Then, The Eagerly Awaited Letter; Now, The Notification

Every weekday of my two years in boarding school bore witness to the implacable ritual of the mail from home: run to the teacher’s staff-room, ask for the day’s letters and postcards–sorted into piles corresponding to your ‘house‘–and then, surrounded by eager supplicants, call out the names of the lucky ones. At the end ofContinue reading “Then, The Eagerly Awaited Letter; Now, The Notification”

On A Minor Fast

I went on a little fast today. It lasted seven hours. But before you snicker at my pompous announcement of insignificant renunciation, do consider that I did not give up food or drink for that length of time. (Indeed, I made myself a four-egg omelette in that period and ate it with gusto.) Rather, IContinue reading “On A Minor Fast”

The World As Raw Material For Facebook Status And Tweet

Last morning, as I walked along a Brooklyn sidewalk to my gym, heading for my 10AM workout, I saw a young woman walking straight at me, her face turned away, attending to some other matter of interest (a smartphone, but it might have been kids or pets; the precise details of this encounter have slippedContinue reading “The World As Raw Material For Facebook Status And Tweet”

Cutting Some Umbilical Cords (The Virtual Kind)

The day after the World Cup ended, I called my cable company and cancelled my cable and land-line subscriptions. (My phone call with my internet service provider’s customer service representative was long-winded, perhaps inevitably so given the number of inducements sent my way suggesting I only change the offerings in my subscription packages, but itContinue reading “Cutting Some Umbilical Cords (The Virtual Kind)”

Not So Fast With The Private Surveillance

A revealing–no pun intended–reaction to news of Steven Salaita’s troubles at the University of Illinois was that he was only paying the price for having his social media speech monitored (or surveilled) by his employer. As the argument goes, all employers monitor social media; we should all accept the consequences–in our places and zones ofContinue reading “Not So Fast With The Private Surveillance”

Steven Salaita and Academic Freedom in Academic and ‘Non-Academic’ Spaces

Steven Salaita might have thought he was headed for a new faculty position: the University of Illinois had made him a job offer, he had accepted, and resigned his position at Virginia Tech. But not so fast: the Chancellor of the university rescinded the offer, apparently because of Salaita’s aggressively vocal presence on Twitter, whereContinue reading “Steven Salaita and Academic Freedom in Academic and ‘Non-Academic’ Spaces”

Helping Writers Through Social Media

A very smart writer friend of mine wrote something on her Facebook page today, which I think makes a lot of sense and is worth reproducing widely. Comments and feedback from writers welcome. Here goes. The first status: I think we’ve reached the point at which a Like doesn’t necessarily mean Liking, or endorsement, orContinue reading “Helping Writers Through Social Media”

Social Media From Beyond the Grave

Charles Simic describes an ingenious and profitable aspiration for immortality: [The] poet Mark Strand…told me excitedly one day that he had invented a new kind of gravestone that….would include…a slot where a coin could be inserted, that would activate a tape machine built into it, and play the deceased’s favorite songs, jokes…whatever else they findContinue reading “Social Media From Beyond the Grave”

Facebook and Writers’ Status Messages

My last post on Facebook led me to think a bit more its–current and possible–integration into our lives, especially those conducted online. As ‘net users are by now aware, almost any site you visit on the ‘net features a Facebook button so that you can indicate whether you ‘Like’ the page and thus, share itContinue reading “Facebook and Writers’ Status Messages”

Facebook and Impoverished Sharing

A few days ago, on this blog, I excerpted a couple of passages from Richard Klein‘s Cigarettes are Sublime, and wrote of a little episode in my life centered on smoking cigarettes as a way to kill time.  Once I had written the post and published it here, as is usual, I posted links toContinue reading “Facebook and Impoverished Sharing”