School is back in full-swing and my classes and professional interactions are colliding in fantastic ways. I’m taking a group study on sociological social networks, a class on search (mostly guest lectures from key figures in the big search companies), a reading group on participatory media (with Xiao Qiang and visitor Howard Rheingold), and a reading group on identity and storytelling (with visitor Quentin Hardy). Outside of classes, i’ve already gotten into fascinating conversations about everything from the nature of the public to Web2.0 and academia (notes coming soon). The Macarthur project on digital youth is underway and we’re negotiating everything from ethics of human subjects to how to get good data from teens.
In professional land, i’m having a blast at Yahoo! as the socio-technical research gets underway. Plus, Yahoo! hired a friend of mine from the Media Lab – Cameron Marlow. I had totally missed the east coast way of debating everything to smithereens so it’s nice to have someone around who thinks i’m full of shit 99% of the time. Other people that i’ve read and respect also keep popping up at Yahoo! making meetings utterly fascinating.
On a more personal front, i’ve decided to try living alone (well, with feline) for the first time in my life; this is going to be a fascinating experiment. I’m not sure that Marbellio is prepared for this plan and she knows that something is up and feels the need to continuously meow at me – i think she’s more social than i am.
Honestly, life is good and i feel completely spoiled. My biggest challenge is that writing is still brutally brutally painful and i feel like i’m swimming in molasses as i try to finish book chapters and a book proposal.
Of course, because life is good, my workaholic-ness has soared to a new level. I’ve decided to force myself into one social activity per week. This week, i will be going to see Ray Kurzweil at the Long Now talk series. Long Now rocks for bringing in fun speakers and i had a blast at the Jared Diamond talk. I’m quite fascinated by Kurzweil and The Singularity is Near is on the stack of must-read books for this fall, if for no other reason than i always find his ideas push me to think (usually in the process of disagreeing). I will reserve my critiques until i read the book but i figure that the lecture will be a good soft introduction. Hopefully, i’ll see some folks there!