Thursday, 5 June, 2014
The Internet With A Human Face, the transcript of a recent talk given by US computer engineer Maciej Ceglowski. Thought provoking to say the least.
I’d like to start with an analogy. In the 1950’s, the United States tried a collective social experiment. What would happen if every family had a car? Eisenhower had been very impressed with the German Autobahn network during the war. When he was elected President, he pushed for the creation of the Interstate Highway System, a massive network of fast roads that would connect every population center in the country. Over the next 35 years, America built 75,000 kilometers of interstate highways. If you want to be glib about it (and I do!), you can think of the Interstate as an Internet for cars, a nationwide system unifying thousands of local road networks into an overarching whole.
communication, internet, technology
Tuesday, 3 June, 2014
It’s probably never been so easy to form some sort of opinion on whatever is making the headlines, regardless of how little we actually know about said subject, thanks to the almost instant access we have to trending topic discussion, by way of various social media channels.
It’s never been so easy to pretend to know so much without actually knowing anything. We pick topical, relevant bits from Facebook, Twitter or emailed news alerts, and then regurgitate them. Instead of watching “Mad Men” or the Super Bowl or the Oscars or a presidential debate, you can simply scroll through someone else’s live-tweeting of it, or read the recaps the next day. Our cultural canon is becoming determined by whatever gets the most clicks.
communication, social media, trends
Thursday, 29 May, 2014
Sure, we shouldn’t be trying to overly accentuate the negative, but you just might find yourself in hot water as an employee of General Motors (GM), if it is found you’ve been using words such as bad, defective, failed, flawed, gruesome, horrific, mangling, never, and, wait for it, rolling sarcophagus, in official correspondences.
They are among sixty-nine words and terms some staff of the motor vehicle manufacturer have been told to avoid. Alternatives are, however, offered. For instance, rather than saying “defect”, it is suggested the phrase “does not perform to design” be used instead.
communication, language, trivia
Wednesday, 28 May, 2014
If you’re reading this then you’re probably inclined to consider the web, being the World Wide Web, or the internet, and yes, I know there’s a difference, as being ubiquitous. How else would you be viewing this web page if not?
While the web may feel like it is everywhere, especially as far as those residing in developed nations are concerned, some three billion on the planet still do not have internet access. Three billion people.
Smartphones however stand to change that state of affairs sooner rather than later, and the way many of these newcomers will use the web will differ markedly from what we’re familiar with.
Interestingly, services such as Instagram will be an integral part of many businesses, or “informal businesses” in emerging economies, or places where people are coming online for the first time, at least according to The Emerging Global Web, a slideshow presentation that explores the internet’s future.
communication, internet, technology, trends
Thursday, 22 May, 2014
It takes just four seconds for a silent pause in a conversation to become awkward. This lumbering however is not only difficult for those directly involved, but for anyone else close by who happens to be witnessing the spectacle, or lack thereof.
A Dutch study showed that after people watched a conversation that included an uncomfortably long silence, they were more likely to feel “distressed, afraid, hurt and rejected”.
communication, psychology, well being
Monday, 12 May, 2014
This sounds concerning… it seems people may not be aware of what they are saying until they are actually uttering the words they speak. In other words, no plan or thought goes into our discourse, it simply slips out ad lib.
The dominant model of how speech works is that it is planned in advance – speakers begin with a conscious idea of exactly what they are going to say. But some researchers think that speech is not entirely planned, and that people know what they are saying in part through hearing themselves speak.
Maybe we all need to speak using prepared scripts, or cue cards?
communication, neuroscience, psychology
Thursday, 3 April, 2014
“St. John’s Erection a Miracle”, a proposed headline for a story about the on-going construction of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, is but one headline that didn’t end up making the grade, officially anyway. Maybe that was a good thing, maybe it wasn’t.
Washington, D.C. based editor Jonathan L. Fischer is putting together a collection of similar such article leaders, and I’d say it’s just as well some of those were not used…
communication, news, writing
Thursday, 27 March, 2014
Well I’ll be… Twitter is eight years old. And to think that some of us, back then, didn’t think it’d still be around today. Anyway, relive those early days by looking up your first tweet.
Mine, while by no means original, was at least to the point.
communication, social media, technology, twitter
Friday, 14 March, 2014
The English language is full of loan-words, words that have been taken, borrowed that is, from another language, and incorporated – as is, sans translation – into the vernacular. Still, between our own words, and those of other languages, there are still instances, I’m sure, where we can’t quite find the right term to apply to a particular situation.
With words such as “tartle” being a Scottish phrase for situations where one has momentarily forgotten the name a person they are introducing to someone else, or “jayus”, an Indonesian word that describes a joke so bad it is actually funny, this list of words that we should use more often, may then be what you need.
communication, language, words
Thursday, 13 March, 2014
While French is always a language I enjoy listening to – it may then explain my penchant for French made films – I wouldn’t go so far to describe other languages, that I don’t speak, as harsh, or even obnoxious. It seems though some people take exception to certain languages simply because they don’t like the way they sound…
Languages have been described as sounding “decent,” “terrible,” “whiny,” “obnoxious,” and even “like a headache.” They are praised as “efficient,” “advanced” and “modern,” or “sweet” and “poetic,” or accused of having “too much vowels” or just sounding “strange” – whatever that means. One critic even condemned a language as “annoying,” which sounds like a forthright statement, if a bit judgmental.
communication, language, psychology