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robertogreco : waggledance   10

in praise of living in public |
Chances are, when you learned to write, you wrote for your teacher. Or for yourself, maybe, and the vague shadowy posterity who might someday find your peach satin diary when you were no longer around. But you had some vague sense of who to address, and in what register.
This is called ‘self-presentation’: we navigate and manage it, all the time, in human life. Most people speak differently to their friends than they do to their mothers, for instance. And, we address people in power over us from different relational positions than we do cashiers in grocery stores, even if we’re entirely respectful in both interactions. We have what Goffman (1959) called different ‘faces’ for these different facets of our lives. We have lots of faces, and we navigate between them all the time.
That’s what makes blogging as just one’s plain old self harder, in a sense, than sitting down and writing for a far larger audience under somebody else’s masthead. There, no matter how thoughtful your piece or how much pressure to rise to the reputation of that publication, you are already handed a voice of sorts to inhabit, a self that is both shaped and backed by a brand far bigger than you.
Not here. Here, you can be anybody. But you have to cobble that self together from the nearly infinite contexts and selves reflected back at you by the disco ball of the blank screen.
The academics who don’t ‘get it’? Who object essentially, as some did, to the idea of their work being represented outside of their control?
Sure, they’re ignoring the water-cooler discussions conferences exist to provoke. Sure, they’re conflating a whole pile of prejudices about what the internet is and isn’t and what prestige is and isn’t in a world turned upside down by information abundance. But.
I also think some of them may be grappling with – or maybe trying to fight off – context collapse. They’re clinging to a notion of professional self that circulates in professional, gatekept circles. They don’t want their ideas represented in a medium they associate with the illustrious musings of Snooki, or with litanies of what people had for lunch.
That’s what it all looks like until you throw yourself into that void and figure out who else is out there to talk to.
Maybe they glance our way out here and they don’t see ideas and peers and the potential for networks or connections. Maybe they glance our way and they see all that plus the rest of the infinite mirror ball of possibility and they cannot figure out who they’d ever speak as, here, and don’t want to be tossed into that paralyzing void?
No way out but through. Welcome to living in public.
internet  identity  waggledance  via:tealtan  writing  livinginpublic  workinginpublic  networks  bonniestewart  education  participation  2012 
october 2012 by robertogreco
A *Brief* History of Reading & Culture |
The book, then, symbolized an end to church hegemony over knowledge,
but it was not the political danger to the dominance of the
church that was addressed in its resistance to this change. Rather
the church emphasized the purported dangers of embracing the new and
unholy technology, positioning its opposition in moral terms.
Like the modern critics, the Church did not state its grievances in
terms of self-interest. Religious dignitaries did not go about
complaining that the book was challenging their power, reducing
their influence, and marginalising their professional skills. Rather
the objections were all about the damage that was being done to the
individual and the community…discipline would disappear, brains
would go soft, honour and uprightness would be sapped by all this
salacious, violent, permissive literature.
Recognize any parallels yet between these claims and contemporary pearl-clutching concerns over digital media? Not that many of the concerns aren’t legitimate, on the terms by which we were raised to understand life and knowledge and education and ourselves. But there are power interests involved and invested in these understandings.
And all the hand-wringing about the terrible things happening to our children because of digital practices? They read a lot like Don Quixote, published in two volumes in 1605 and 1615, wherein the protagonist buries himself in his books so deeply – individual, independent reading was a new practice in European culture at this point – that, from so little sleep and so much reading, loses his wits and his capacity to distinguish real from imaginary. He then, of course, became an icon for all the generations after who saw in his story the possibilities of literary imagination and format.
That doesn’t mean the losses for those invested in monastic culture in 1500 or so weren’t real. It doesn’t mean Socrates wasn’t right about memory. It just means that when we talk about reading in a digital age, we need to think carefully about what is being protected in the lamentations and critiques.
publishing  history  culture  power  waggledance  via:tealtan 
october 2012 by robertogreco
Getting the News — danah boyd |
In some ways, I want the inverse of or Tweeted Times. Because the hardest thing for me is figuring out: What is everyone else talking about that I have no fucking clue about? The web tends to narrow your consumption more and more. And as a news junkie, that tends to piss me the hell off.
The problem with reading the New York Times is that the Times is all about tempered and metered interpretations of what’s going on. Meanwhile, TV news is all about total extremism. It’s about facial expressions, and performance over content. Watching Fox, I can understand the appeal of Santorum. It doesn’t make me like him anymore, but I can at least get it.
My network is not talking positively about Santorum in any way. It’s not even talking positively about Romney. They’re both lunatics. But I know better than to think that’s how they’re actually being discussed beyond my network. I want a tool that gives me what’s outside of my perspective on these issues — because otherwise I have to do a lot of really difficult and exhausting work to find it.
With young people, the thing that gets them fastest and easiest is the thing that can spread the most easily. They access news through the ether. It’s pretty crazy — it’s not active consumption. I interviewed a whole group of kids 24 hours after the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007. I asked them — “How did you hear about the shootings?” The answers were all random. “My grandmother called me. She called me to talk about how dangerous colleges are.” “My parents saw it on the news and they asked me about it.” “‘Love and Support for Virginia Tech’ went through my Facebook because this one girl I met three years ago went to Virginia Tech.” It was very ambient.
I’m definitely optimistic. I roll my eyes when journalists say, “oh my god, kids these days, they’re not into news, when I was that age, blah blah blah.” I’m like — you were a nerd! There have always been geeky youth who were always into news. But the vast majority of young people have never been into news. Maybe kids ended up getting ambient news through newspaper routes. But then again, because of how the internet is structured, maybe they’re getting ambient news in new ways.
news  culture  journalism  waggledance  danahboyd  reading  howweread  tweetedtimes  twitter  learning  threadfollowing  understanding  outsidetoinside  discovery  networks  socialmedia  via:tealtan 
september 2012 by robertogreco
[this is aaronland] the status of truth
If you, as curators and archivists and generally anyone involved in the preservation of promotion of cultural heritage, think that the authority record is the pinnacle of your careers – that is, the most important thing you will leave behind – then you are about to be eaten by robots.
I am here to suggest that this the work we need to face in the years to come because the unit of measure for whether or not something is important is no longer dictated by the cost of inclusion.
Google has never wavered from their goal of being an information retrieval company because “information retrieval” is just a benign way of saying “everything”. If every natural language researcher on the planet uses Wikipedia as its training set Google was clever enough to realize that they could do what Facebook is trying to do by building a suite of tools – often very good tools – and treat the entire Internet as their training set for teaching robots how to interpret meaning and assign value.
Dispute is notoriously difficult to codify, especially in a database, but one of its most important functions is to shine a light on two or more opposing views so that might better see the context in which those ideas exist. I am not suggesting that we do away with structured metadata but this is not necessarily where all of your time is most needed today. You have the gift of magic that no robot will ever have: We call it language and story-telling and these are the things that you are good at.
I am saying that by encouraging documentary efforts outside the scope of the contemporary zeitgeist we create a zone of safekeeping for historical records and their stories for a time when we are ready to reconsider them.
I am saying that all those works not yet deemed worthy of a scholar’s attention still have value to people and their inclusion within a larger body of work is an important and powerful gesture for encouraging participation. Consider the authority record as a kind of gateway drug to scholarship.
internet  data  curation  waggledance  digitalhumanities  aaronstraupcope  glvo  cv  storytelling  human  humans  art  archives  search  google  metadata  language  robots  whatmatters  choices  via:tealtan 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Everything That’s Wrong with Political Journalism in One Washington Post Item » Pressthink
Now I ask you: What is the job of a political journalist today? Is it to describe the reality of American politics, as a “straight” reporter would? Or is it to defend reality and its “base” in American politics, more like a fact checker would? I know what you’re thinking: the press should do both! But this is exactly what’s missing in the Aaron Blake item. There is no tension in it between insisting on truth and describing what works. Truth has seemingly become irrelevant.
journalism  truth  political  waggledance  via:tealtan 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Links are a Contract | Moovweb Blog
The truth is that the links to and from your website are a contract. If a user has bookmarked page X, then they expect that link to keep working. Even if you are just making changes to your desktop site, it’s critical that your links remain backwards compatible. I’m a convert. In fact, my blog still honors link structures from a decade ago! Why? Because there are blog entries and twitter links and documentation and bookmarks people have made to those URLs and I won’t dare break my contract with them.
archival  mobile  design  internet  waggledance  linkrot  bookmarks  bookmarking  links  linking  persistence  longevity  referencing  via:tealtan 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Triumph of the human-powered aggregator: Dan Shanoff on moving Quickish to Gannett » Nieman Journalism Lab
In his 18 months running the site, Shanoff said he’s learned a lot about the reading habits of online audiences and the rhythms of sports journalism. “When it comes to curation, less is more. You are doing a greater service for news consumers by cutting down on their clutter as much as you can,” he said. Though Shanoff wouldn’t go into specifics about the site’s traffic, he said Quickish gets a lot of eyeballs, with people looking for updates during sporting events or catching up during the workday.
“There is a value to being first, sure, but in a world where social currency has become preeminent, it is so much more important to be good,” he said. “In real-time, ‘first’ isn’t even a factor anymore; everyone is chiming in within 3 minutes of a news event happening, but it is the truly outstanding analysis that gets passed around.”
publishing  journalism  aggregation  sports  waggledance  via:tealtan 
june 2012 by robertogreco
Peter Vidani on the Evolution of the Tumblr Dashboard
Most of the feedback comes from everyone in the company. I hope that doesn’t change. I feel like even when we were five people, we all knew when something was right or wrong because we use it so much. We still get feedback from the Support team. If Support’s getting thousands of emails about a design or functional piece, we can react to that.
The advantage of this system is we’re making all the decisions ourselves — we’re recognizing the problems and solving them ourselves — so when something doesn’t work, we know exactly why. When you’re A/B testing or solving problems for other people, and you ask for someone’s opinion, you’re not going to get an honest answer. You’ll get an answer because you asked a question. Also, you’re not going to recognize why you’re fixing something if you didn’t yourself recognize that it was wrong. You’re solving someone else’s problem.
For example, there is no longer a follower count displayed on the Dashboard. We moved that to the user’s blog page for two reasons. First, we wanted that column on the Dashboard to only relate to things you subscribe to — who you follow, who you like, tags you’ve subscribed to. Second, we wanted to take the focus off follower counts. It can be an intimidating number, and something to obsess over, and ultimately a huge distraction from why you’re on Tumblr. A high follower count is not a good reason to share something, and posting something purely as follower-bait is not ideal. You should post something that you like, to attract the audience that’s kindest and most similar to you.
But when we moved the follower count to another page, it bothered a lot of people. Data would show that the number of visits to the page dropped off dramatically. Both of those facts would indicate that we should move the page back up front, but we made a conscious decision: We just don’t want to show the number so prominently.
I’m a big fan of old car dashboards, like Volkswagen’s Mark I Golf. I love seeing dashboards in old concept cars. Car dashboards are fascinating because they’re supposed to be usable instantly. And a lot of it needs to be usable without even looking at it. Turning on a blinker, using the radio. Checking speed, fuel, hitting the horn, even steering — all usable at a glance or less. You have hundred-year-old technology that makes sense to anyone as soon as they sit in a car. These dashboards deal with colors, they deal with touch, they deal with language, they deal with ergonomics. The result when it’s done really well — when someone can use it without being told how to use it — is really beautiful. And yet it doesn’t need to be beautiful because no one’s really looking at it.
design  control  tumblr  feedback  cars  waggledance  via:tealtan 
may 2012 by robertogreco
More than just text
BOOKS may appear to inhabit a flat, monochromatic space. But Sarah Werner, a director at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, stresses that they carry a wealth of information which pours out only on close inspection, by looking, touching or even smelling a physical copy. They also change over time. This richness cannot—at least not yet—be captured in book-scanning projects.
She turns to a page with a handprint on it. The stain had to be that of a printer's devil, as a young shop assistant was known in those days. The handprint extends into the binding (see picture), so it must have been made before the book was still in large sheets (called signatures) and before it was folded and bound, she explains. In "Incipit textus Sententiarum", a book printed in Basel in 1482, she shows your correspondent a similar handprint on an outer margin. That was probably smeared at a later stage, possibly by a reader.
The assembly is important. Previous centuries treated books and manuscripts interchangeably, Dr Werner says, and some books were delivered as loose pages that were folded, sewn and bound. Books had their covers and bindings removed at times, and were rebound into new forms that suited the owner.
books  technology  digitization  waggledance  via:tealtan 
may 2012 by robertogreco
Making Sense of the Data — Imprint-The Online Community for Graphic Designers
"Dysfunctional measurement has the following characteristics:

1. It's outsourced. You're paying someone else to do it for you because, for whatever reason, you believe you can't do it for yourself. As a result...

2. It's irregular. When you rely upon someone to do something else for you, it typically doesn't get done the way it should. And when you're paying for it, it probably isn't getting done as often as it should. But when it does get done...

3. It's too quantitative. Think about it. A third party cannot know enough about your business to ask the right questions—the questions you probably already are asking. They can give you stats, but stats aren't always answers."

"Functional measurement isn't occasionally paying someone else to gather numbers for you. It's regularly gathering data that provides enlightening, qualitative insights."

"Thing #1: There are no independently meaningful metrics. It's about combining them to answer questions.
Thing #2: Anything can be a source of data."
data  waggledance  publishing  web  measurement  metrics  dataanalysis  graphicdesign  via:tealtan 
january 2012 by robertogreco

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