Category: technology

facebook: disorienting

I’ve heard grumbles from many friends about facebook.  Indeed, there’s something amiss about this megalithic inbox replacement social utility that I have had difficulty diagnosing until recently.  I’ve found a few articles on the interwebs that I take to be clues.

First, Dunbar’s Number is a network theorem that states that individuals can sustain meaningful relationships with 148 people.  Beyond that point, network salience becomes much too difficult to sustain strong ties among nodes in the network.  Some neurologists and primatologists postulate that our threshold for juggling social connections is directly related to the size of our neocortex – which is bigger in women. I digress.

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Object-Centered Networks To The Rescue

Last year I wrote about the difficulty of social networking for a purpose – vis-a-vis politics and governance.  I believe I have a solution to the problem presented in my essay, “What LinkedIn’s Reorganization and OFA 2.0 Means for Politech Online”.  The problem in a nutshell was:

Many internet theorists speak of social networks online as a ‘map of the relationships between individuals.’ Politech thinkers and online organizers like myself, have taken these principles and used them to inform the social software we built for campaigns and political advocacy organizations with mixed success.

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itsasickness – the obsession network

itsasickness was an obsession network honoring sicknesses; the objects of our obsession.

That thing you geek out about, that you could talk about endlessly, obsessing over the minutia, that’s your sickness. The itsasickness project hinges on the fact that people who are most interested are the most interesting.

We celebrated the most extraordinary people that we found in our online obsession network with short tribute films on itsasicknessTV; Alan Cumming was the emcee.

The website itself [offline as of 3/14/15] was a proto-Pinterest website app that the TV production crew would use for story leads, research and as a branded-content feedback loop.

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Click-to-Call Widget v1

Netflix is Great

They are smart.

A Marxist Approach to IAS

In Marx’s critique of political economy Das Kapital, commodity fetishism denotes the (quasi-religious) mystification of human relations that are said to arise out of the growth of market trade, when social relationships between people are expressed as, mediated by, and transformed into, objectified relationships between things. The things are commodities and money.

Commodity fetishism is not unique to capitalist societies, since commodity trade has occurred in one way or another for thousands of years; but in Marx’s opinion, commodity fetishism became pervasive especially in capitalist society, because this kind of society is based almost totally on the “production of commodities by means of commodities”.

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The “Come To My Event” Problem

How can you get people to come to your thing?
Are you a politician who wants to have a full house at a fundraiser?
Are you launching a website and want it to ‘take off’?

Some network theorists would tell you that you need to genuinely reach a maven and thus achieve that elusive tipping point.


Clients sometimes ask folks like me how to get a lot of people to love their [whatever] so that they can fork over $.

Well, strategists like me can quack about actor network theory and post-ANT, and clustering along shared affinities all we want, but let’s be honest… as evidenced in the above clip, rule #1: Your shits gotta be good.

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What LinkedIn’s Reorganization and OFA 2.0 Means for Politech Online

Many internet theorists speak of social networks online as a ‘map of the relationships between individuals.’ Politech thinkers and online organizers like myself, have taken these principles and used them to inform the social software we built for campaigns and political advocacy organizations with mixed success.

Things are going to have to change.

The ways in which Obama for America (OFA) 2.0 is phasing in it’s reinvention should serve to teach politech strategists that we all must rethink our orientation to social networks… but it won’t.

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Click-to-Call VoIP As a Political Tool

Advomatic got a great press hit today that we’re happy to share with you. VoIP News, a niche news and information publication dedicated to covering all aspects of the VoIP and Internet Telephony marketplaces wrote about our Click-to-Call system.

Robert Poe writes:

Advomatic application lets advocacy groups wage calling campaigns using an online interface.

…The recent battle over FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) bill provided a perfect example of how VoIP can be a political-advocacy tool.

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How Social Networks Think

I’ve had difficulty explaining my networking concepts without resorting to some exasperated cliche like, “that’s just how I think about it.”

Well, turns out that scientists at the National Institute of Mental Health are coming to the conclusion that that’s actually how the brain thinks.

Of course that’s how I think about it. It’s literally how I think…

In this “small world” architecture of the brain, clusters of cells link to their nearest neighbors with some neurons connecting to distant clusters. It’s the same phenomenon that social networking pioneer Duncan Watts of NYU and Steven Strogatz of Cornell previously showed emerges in the electric-power grid, relationships between professional actors, and the brain cells of worms.

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Societal Culture and the Internet’s Clusters

China’s internet users number 130 million – and are growing 30% every year. Second only to the U.S., China is installing broadband everywhere, and internet cafes are the size of K-Marts and as abundant as Starbucks.

In 2005, Dr. Guo Liang of the Chinese Acadamy of Social Sciences published a study showing that one third (and growing) of internet users had no email accounts, and of them, only a third check their email daily. Forty-two percent of netizens did not use a search engine. Seventy-five percent had never made an online purchase.

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The Internet as Third Place

Ray Oldenburg is an urban sociologist who writes about the importance of informal public gathering places. In his book The Great Good Place, Oldenburg demonstrates why these gathering places are essential to community and public life. He argues that bars, coffee shops, general stores, and other “third places” (in contrast to the first and second places of home and work), are central to local democracy and community vitality.

By exploring how these places work and what roles they serve, Oldenburg offers a compelling argument for these settings of informal public life as essential for the health both of our communities and ourselves.

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Bombs Away

—AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl
—AZ-01: Rick Renzi
—AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth
—CA-04: John Doolittle
—CA-11: Richard Pombo
—CA-50: Brian Bilbray
—CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave
—CO-05: Doug Lamborn
—CO-07: Rick O’Donnell
—CT-04: Christopher Shays
—FL-13: Vernon Buchanan
—FL-16: Joe Negron
—FL-22: Clay Shaw
—ID-01: Bill Sali
—IL-06: Peter Roskam
—IL-10: Mark Kirk
—IL-14: Dennis Hastert
—IN-02: Chris Chocola
—IN-08: John Hostettler
—IA-01: Mike Whalen
—KS-02: Jim Ryun
—KY-03: Anne Northup
—KY-04: Geoff Davis
—MD-Sen: Michael Steele
—MN-01: Gil Gutknecht
—MN-06: Michele Bachmann
— MO-Sen: Jim Talent
—MT-Sen: Conrad Burns
—NV-03: Jon Porter
—NH-02: Charlie Bass
—NJ-07: Mike Ferguson
—NM-01: Heather Wilson
—NY-03: Peter King
—NY-20: John Sweeney
—NY-26: Tom Reynolds
—NY-29: Randy Kuhl
—NC-08: Robin Hayes
—NC-11: Charles Taylor
—OH-01: Steve Chabot
—OH-02: Jean Schmidt
—OH-15: Deborah Pryce
—OH-18: Joy Padgett
—PA-04: Melissa Hart
—PA-07: Curt Weldon
—PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick
—PA-10: Don Sherwood
—RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee
—TN-Sen: Bob Corker
—VA-Sen: George Allen
—VA-10: Frank Wolf
—WA-Sen: Mike McGavick
—WA-08: Dave Reichert

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Open Thread

The forecast is chance of brainstorms: 100%.

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