Sherry Turkle on the Documented Life

Sherry Turkle articulates, quite gently, a familiar complaint about–among other things–the smartphone-and-selfie obsession: A selfie, like any photograph, interrupts experience to mark the moment. In this, it shares something with all the other ways we break up our day, when we text during class, in meetings, at the theater, at dinners with friends. And yes,Continue reading “Sherry Turkle on the Documented Life”

Social Networks and Loneliness

As a graduate student in the late 1980s, I discovered, in quick succession, email, computerized conferencing, and Usenet newsgroups.  My usage of the last two especially–and later, the Internet Relay Chat–would often prompt me to say, facetiously, that I would have finished my graduate studies quicker had I stayed off the ‘Net more. That lameContinue reading “Social Networks and Loneliness”

More Than 140 Characters on Twitter

I must be a very savvy social networker, because I use both Facebook and Twitter (and indeed, I even have a Tumblr page). That’s a little inside joke – just between me and myself, because in point of fact, I don’t consider myself to be any such thing. And nothing quite shows up my socialContinue reading “More Than 140 Characters on Twitter”

Reflections on Facebook, Part Three

Facebook statuses are legendary. They have been indicted ad nauseam as archives of exhibitionism, narcissism, boring and pointless navel-gazing, repositories of TMI, and many other sins. But they still repay some attention. The Facebook status typically includes a prompt. The current one is ‘What’s on your mind?’ The one before that was ‘How are youContinue reading “Reflections on Facebook, Part Three”

Reflections on Facebook, Part Two

Facebook’ problematic relationship with privacy issues infuriates most of its users; it has ensured that no contemporary discussion of online privacy can proceed without a Facebook-related example. This has largely been the case because Facebook set out to provide a means of social networking and communication with an architecture designed to induce behavior in itsContinue reading “Reflections on Facebook, Part Two”

Reflections on Facebook, Part One

This post is the first of several posts I intend to write on my Facebook experiences. Like many (very many!) people, I’m a Facebook user. And like many of those people, I have a vexed relationship with it, a fact best demonstrated by my decision to leave Facebook a couple of years ago, close myContinue reading “Reflections on Facebook, Part One”

The Distraction of Distraction

I’ve written on distraction on this blog before (several times: detailing my ‘Net distraction; comparing the distraction attendant when trying to write with a pen as opposed to a word processor or blog editor; describing the effect of changing locales of work on distraction and of persistent online activity on the ‘offline’ world; noting howContinue reading “The Distraction of Distraction”

Houston, We have a HotSpot Problem in Austin #SXSW

BBH Labs thought it was being clever, and perhaps even slightly humanitarian, when, at this year’s South by SouthWest technology conference, it enlisted thirteen volunteers from a homeless shelter, strapped Wi-Fi devices onto their bodies, gave them business cards and T-shirts that read, (for example), “I’m Clarence, a 4G Hotspot” and sent them out into theContinue reading “Houston, We have a HotSpot Problem in Austin #SXSW”