Category Archives: fun links

the Internet Lexicon

Over at the Berkman Center, a bunch of Fellows put together The Internet Lexicon (spearheaded by none other than The Great David Weinberger). The Internet Lexicon is “a wiki-based list of Webby people whose names are treated as if they were definable words.” To make me giggle uncomfortably, someone (presumably David) defined me:

boyd, danah (v) to provide an environment for floating new ideas. E.g., “Sociologists were boyd by the research showing the class differences between Facebook and MySpace.”

Some other entertaining ones:

shirky, clay (n) A tool for opening the most securely locked objects. E.g., “We’ll never get past this door…unless someone has brought a shirky.”

wu, tim (v) to attempt to persuade while staying strictly neutral.

zuckerman, ethan (n) One who pays equal attention to all species, no matter how exotic or unfamiliar. E.g., “Who takes care of the zoo? Why, the zuckerman, of course!”

zittrain, jonathan (n) a passenger locomotive conveying one in a direction over which one may be powerless. E.g., “I wish I could stand and pull the emergency brake cord to prevent this vehicle from plunging over a cliff, but it is, alas, a zittrain.”

And of course, one cannot forget David:

weinberger, david (n) a delicious sandwich that makes sense of countless miscellaneous ingredients in an entertaining fashion. E.g., “The acclaimed chef threw up his hands and let his customers combine his mis-en-place, venison and precious truffles into fantastic weinbergers.”

::giggle:: Happy One Web Day!! Cheers to the Internet and its role in shaping society! ::clink::

MacArthur Series on Digital Media and Learning (it’s live!)

I am very very very pleased to announce that the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning is now out in the world and ready for your affection. The purpose of the series is to “examine the effect of digital media tools on how people learn, network, communicate, and play, and how growing up with these tools may affect a person’s sense of self, how they express themselves, and their ability to learn, exercise judgment, and think systematically.” The series is published by MIT Press and contains six books:

(Btw: I linked to the paperbacks. If you like hardcovers, go here.)

Each book has 8-10 peer-reviewed articles plus an intro and foreword. The articles are academic in nature, but written for a public audience and meant to be accessible and relevant to public discourse.

While I encourage everyone to purchase the books (they’re cheap!), individual articles are also available for download here thanks to MacArthur and MIT Press. My article “Why Youth Heart Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life” is part of the “Youth, Identity, and Digital Media” book. I’m super excited about this series and I hope you are too.

Also, for those who don’t know, MacArthur is doing unbelievable work in building a community for those invested in digital media and learning. To learn more, check out the website or the Spotlight blog. MIT Press is also launching The International Journal of Learning and Media to collect and publish research in this area.

LOLCat Bible = infinite entertainment

I’ve been traveling constantly for over five weeks now. Whenever I’m feeling annoyed, I open up my Sidekick and stare at the LOLcat Bible for a few minutes.

“Teh Ceiling Cat giv me cheezburger, teh Ceiling Cat takded mah cheezburger awai. I stil laiks teh Ceiling Cat.” — Job 1:20

I don’t know why this gives me infinite amounts of pleasure, but it really does. There’s something absolutely amazing about webfolk engaged in a collective action project to translate the bible into cat pidgin. I can’t work out whether or not these webfolk are religious, but I wouldn’t be surprised if many of them grew up Christian and know the bible well but aren’t practicing (many practicing folks see this as denigrating the bible, although most of my friends just think it’s damn funny).

I’m really hoping that a linguist out there will look into this phenomenon. One of the primary language sources that most linguists use to analyze languages is the bible. Missionaries went around the world translating the bible into all sorts of local languages so it’s the only source text that exists in most languages. So here we have a collective action project where webfolk somehow know the grammar of cat pidgin. But what exactly are all of those rules? How does this collective action linguistic move resemble or differ from other pidgins and creoles? I just think it’d be a fun project to linguistically suss out how this phenomenon took shape.

In the meantime, I’m happy just to read and giggle.

“Oh hai. In teh beginnin Ceiling Cat waz invisible, An he maded the skiez An da Urf, but he no eated it.” — Genesis 1:1

Update: Apparently, there’s a bunch of linguistic analysis. And, hackers have created LOLCat.NET

Continuous City: Berkeley play involving SNSs

If you’re in the Bay Area, go check out Continuous City, a funky play at Berkeley concerning what it means to live in a networked society (with various references to social network sites). I would if I were in town.

CONTINUOUS CITY is a meditation on how contemporary experiences of location and dislocation stretch us to the maximum as our “networked” selves occupy multiple locations. We want to examine not only how we see what’s happening in the world, but how we deliver it to an audience-using “real world” events to include “real world” people.

SHOW: Continuous City: Excerpts from a Work-in-Progress by The Builders Association, created with students from UC Berkeley. Admission is $14/10/8. Tickets can be purchased at the door or at Performances at 8pm on October 5, 6, & 13 and 2pm on October 7 & 14.

a different approach to medicine

Jay Parkinson is a doctor in Williamsburg who does e-visits. Think you need stitches? Send him a picture and he’ll advise via video chat/IM/email/etc. It’s a pretty fascinating approach to medicine and I’m curious how well it’ll scale. Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t play nice with health insurance. I’m having a hard time imagining who will pay a annual fee for this who wouldn’t have health insurance. Don’t get me wrong, I’d *love* to have a personal doctor but the cost would be prohibitive for me. And it’s all fine and well to do this instead of traditional health if you’re relatively healthy, but if things go dreadfully wrong, you’re going to want health insurance. Does a practice like this discourage young people from being responsible in maintaining health insurance? Anyhow, I’m fascinated. Cuz goddess knows I hate clinics and hospitals.

(Tx Ryan Shaw)

MacArthur Competition wrt New Digital Media and Learning

The MacArthur Foundation (the folks who fund my advisors and thus support my research) have just announced an open competition to encourage innovation and knowledge-sharing surrounding new digital media and learning. There are two types of awards:

– Innovation Awards will support learning entrepreneurs and builders of new digital environments for informal learning. Winners will receive $250,000 or $100,000.

– Knowledge Networking Awards will support communicators in connecting, mobilizing, circulating or translating new ideas around digital media and learning. Winners will receive a $30,000 base award and up to $75,000.

If this might be up your alley, check out their announcement and the competition homepage for more information.

Personally, I’m really interested in the knowledge networking awards. This is explicitly to help get knowledge out far and wide, to put theory into practice, and to make practice replicable. This is a great opportunity for educators and journalists and others who want to take what is known to the next level. Too many good ideas get locked down in small experiments or academic articles that few will ever hear of. The more effort there is to scale good ideas, the better we’ll all be! So start brewing some good ideas!

cat predicts deaths, web folk LOL

Oscar the cat lives in the dementia ward of a nursing home. When one of its residents is about to die, Oscar comes in and settles into their bed, comforting them for the last few hours of life. Researchers and doctors are intrigued by this. How does Oscar know that people are going to die?

Web folks can’t help but LOL. They want to know if Oscar is really predicting deaths or causing them. Their discomfort is emerging through the production of LOL cats, arguing for both in that distanced way that you know comes from nervous laughter. I mean, it is kinda eerie that a cat knows that someone’s going to die before they do, right?

music to live by

This week, Apple announced that it would make EMI albums available at MP3s for a premium. For the most part, i’m pleased (although a bit disturbed that you are to pay a premium for said songs). While it’s great that iTunes is finally doing what users want, i think it’s important for folks to realize that many smaller music sellers have been doing this for quite some time. I’m particularly partial to Fake Science

If, like me, your music tastes are heavily in the downtempo, dub, breakbeats, and chill zone, iTunes rarely has what you want and offers terrible recommendations (while i love Radiohead, they are not the only electronica out there). When i get bored of my music, i tend to go to Fake Science and download a handful of their new arrivals – $5 an album (MP3 only) and most of it goes to the artist. I actually feel good about buying music from them and am regularly astounded by the high quality of music that they choose to sell there (they’re rather picky).

Anyhow, if you’re looking for some new music to work to, check them out. My top three recommendations would be:

(This recommendation is genuine – they don’t know that i sent you so shh don’t tell them.)

conference circuit

I’m about to begin my crazy spring conference circuit. First up is SXSW where i’m speaking about teens at 11.30 on Saturday and interviewing Henry Jenkins at 11.30 on Monday. For those attending the conference, do *not* miss the latter. Henry’s ideas are of utmost importance to those involved in social media and i’m excited to help him share with a new audience. Following SXSW, i will be interviewing teens in Texas before heading to ICWSM to talk about social media. Immediately following that is Etech where i will be giving a fun talk entitled “Incantations for Muggles.” Humor me. I think it’s a hysterical title and it makes me giggle every time. Each of these conferences will provide a different slant on social media and i’d encourage you to attend the ones most relevant to you (aka: all).

After the tech circuit, i will be off to New York, Kansas, and Iowa for a combination of speaking gigs and interviewing teens. And then back to LA for 10 days. It’s gonna be brutal but i’m looking forward to it.

Anyhow, i’m letting you know this because my response time is probably going to go below its normal terrible time. I’m really stoked for the conferences though so i hope you’ll join me and come out and play. I apologize that i won’t schedule meetings during these events – i treat them as a mini-vacation where i release myself from schedules. Join me on that level and i promise they will be fun and goofy!