Monthly Archives: January 2004

juarez: a call to action

If you know me, you know how much V-Day means to me. Tonight, i spent a tearful night with Eve Ensler and gang at the San Francisco Premier of the movie. Absolutely moving. It opened at Sundance a bit ago and due to popular demand, a second showing happened. And then the press wanted a third showing. The movie with premier on Lifetime on February 17 (commercial free!).

Well, there are lots of V-Day events coming up (it IS V-Season after all). First, i’d like to strongly request that if you haven’t seen the play and you love me, you’ll find out where it is in your community and see it. Support your local community working to end violence!

Second, there are two major events that i’m doing my darndest to go to. First, there is an all-trans V-Day production in LA on February 21. But, more pressingly, there is a march on Juarez scheduled for February 14. For those of you who don’t know, hundreds of women have been abducted, raped and brutally murdered in Juarez. And the government is not responding. The march is to make the government take action against this ongoing violence against women, to create awareness of this situation. Juarez is just across the border from El Paso (think cheap Southwest flights).

If you aren’t able to get involved in any of these events, but want to support an amazing organization, help keep the movement (and safe houses) alive by donating what you can.

Join me. Join V-Day. Help end violence against women and girls worldwide!

[Update: One of my readers suggested the book Juarez: The Laboratory of Our Future. I don’t know the book, but i’m curious to learn more.]

neurotic pressure: from inside or out?

I hate having a backlog of things that i intend to post to my blog. And of course, me being me, i start thinking meta about that backlog. So, who am i posting things for? It used to be solely for me, but that’s just too haphazard right now… i feel like things need comments, not simply links. Of course, is that me thinking about how you might perceive me? Am i self-inducing my own neurotic state because of my wacked readings of the unknown audience?

Or am i writing because i should share the backlog because it may be of interest to you? But most of you already know half of what my backlog is… You all know about Orkut. And while i have interesting things to say on the matter, i’m still waiting for it to pop back up since i went offline only hours after it came up. You all know about Clay Shirky’s brilliant writings. You all know about Many-To-Many (and if you don’t, you don’t care about that segment of my posts anyhow).

So then am i feeling self-induced pressure to post links that you already know about simply to prove my own status within the blogging community, to show appreciation of others’ brilliant writings? Am i trying to be validated by validating? Even worse, by being untimely, am i only showing my lack of fashionability, my inability to keep up with the times (otherwise known as my decision to go offline for 4 days)?

God, it’s a neurotic day in the life of danah. Or, since i’m back in classes, let’s just call it a reflexive one.

today i understand teens (fucking spam)

When Melora Zaner told me that teens didn’t use email, she was talking about the generational gap of preferred communication methods. Although i’m anxiously awaiting her actual report on this, it doesn’t surprise me in the least. Around 1998, colleges stopped giving out email accounts and pretty much everyone reverted to free accounts (Hotmail, Yahoo and the like). Hotmail purports to have about 1/4 of all email addresses worldwide.

This week, i got the first spam burst that has truly crippled me. Normally, i’ll get a burst of like 10000 messages; it’ll piss off my ISP, make a mess out of my phone and whathaveyou. But this current round is unbearable. Some spam system is hitting random things like joe [at] danah [dot] org and ben and a lot of other random first names. I used hundreds of names at my domain name for specialized addresses. I have no clue which ones i use. But i do know that i can’t handle this, my phone can’t handle this, and i’m utterly uninterested in coping with it.

Personally, i’m horrified by technological communications. My voice mail crashed this week. My email is a wreck. Fucking spammers have inundated my blogs. I just want face-to-face interactions without having to deal with organizing them. This is when i really wonder what life was like before the phone (or even the telegraph). I definitely have romanticized notions of moments of showing up a the town pub when i want to be social.


economics of crack (or how i learned to despise broadband)

I was at a party last night, telling a friend that i was going up to Tahoe to work for the weekend. As our conversation progressed, i asked him why he doesn’t use AIM. He told me that it is equivalent to putting crack in front of an addict so he refuses to install it. This is how i feel about broadband and cable in general.

In theory, i could turn off broadband. But i never do. And even when i’m in a remote location, avoiding the Internet, the first thing that i do is see if i can get connection. There’s something nice when it says “no” in return. I feel this odd sense of relief, mixed in with the normal anxiety about being offline.

I miss having to log in to the Internet. There was something ceremonious about it, something that made it feel like a connection instead of an addiction. By default, i was offline. I could CHOOSE to go online. Now, it’s an addiction and i have to avoid it.

Frankly, i miss the time when there was a cost to logging in. I felt the clock ticking, felt the cents running away as i paid per minute. This motivated me to engage with the Internet with a purpose, not to lag. Get the answers to my questions and move on. Now, there’s no hurry; i pay per month.

I would pay someone to charge me per minute for my broadband, someone to force me to self-regulate, to gain control. Of course, it’s always the institutions that shouldn’t encourage me to avoid that do this most successfully. Take BART. I often fail to take BART because i haven’t pre-paid for it.. i might as well drive. But if i had a monthly pass, i would never drive. Why is it that public transit knows how to motivate me to not participate while the Internet just calls me in. Ah, economics and the twisted way in which our society encourages us to be commercial.

on orkut

OK… the social networking phenomenon has screamed again. This time, orkut. [Read the CJNET article.]

Personally, i’d like to see where they’re going with this. As it stands, it doesn’t look much different than any of the other YASNS pieces and there are still kinks that are irritating. But one thing’s for sure… if Google can’t figure out how to optimize a network computationally, no one can.

I’m just still so uncertain about sites that do explicit articulated networks. And i’m certainly not motivated to contact friends and beg them to join. Of course, if you’re on there and want to find me, i’m using the name i use for all sites that refuse lower case names.

Update: Please note that i’m purposely not commenting on Orkut for a few days. Of course, i’d love to hear your thoughts, but i’m holding my tongue for a bit.

social networking software + me = Etech

For those who will be at Emerging Tech this year, i’ll be giving a presentation on the tension between users and creators in the social networking software space, focusing on how users repurpose technologies to meet their needs.

In addition, Joi Ito, Mimi Ito, Howard Rheingold, Scott Fisher and i will be on a panel about social mobility.

Also, Liz and i are going to gather folks who want to talk about categorizing blogs.

And finally, i’m psyched to attend the Digital Democracy Teach-In.

I hope to see some of you there!

avoid diebold: register absentee

Avoid the questionable Diebold machines. Register as an absentee voter so that you can have a receipt of your vote. In many states, this takes quite a while so DO IT NOW. [I’ll still love you even if you vote for someone i don’t like, but i’ll be very angry with you for not voting.]

If you’re in California, here’s the form. It takes all of 30 seconds to fill out.