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Reading Tweets

I see a new kind of writing being created on Twitter, including hashtags, mixed into the text, in a variety of creative ways. In future, we should see a system that allows users to make these kind of connections, but without needing to include obscure computer-like commands in their text. I sometimes feel I'm reading a Linux command line or script when reading some tweets. Sometimes, it takes a moment to figure out what the tweet means.
Recent posts

Traditonal Publishers Still Hidebound

"The idea that something that appeared in print is automatically worth paying for is nonsense." says Mark Coatney in Evaluating Time Magazine's New Online Pay Wall This is an example of thinking from the traditional publishing world, where if something made it into print or was "published" it meant the content with through a lengthy process of adding value and checking quality, through the editorial, fact-checking and proofreading process. This was thought in the olden days to mean something. Yes, it did, but not always. That editors and fact-checkers were available or that they had a hand in content did not necessarily mean puff-pieces, fabricated stories, falsehoods, mistakes, typos never made it into that published content polished to shine like your grandmother's counter tops. Publishing was a measure of trust and quality from the pre-network world. The network has a new set of criteria and indicators of trust and quality. I find that often writers

Angry Diggers and the Death of the Author

Veteran users of Digg are upset with changes to the site aimed at reducing their influence. They have begun gaming the "voting" system Angry Digg users flood home page with Reddit links What is interesting about this is: When I first encountered and thought about sites using voting systems to surface desirable information, I understood that all algorithms for voting can be gamed. That to deter gaming, very sophisticated and arcane algorithms were required. That these discourage contribution because contributors never know where their work will rank nor why it ranks low or high (this is similar to authors puzzling over Amazon's ranking system). I was surprised when sites based on user voting systems began to succeed by simplifying their voting to the thumbs up/down basic counts or other simple and easily gamed voting systems. I believe that when users are satisfied with outcome of their vote, which for Digg means, contributors get their links or comments surfaced an

How I got started writing haiku

When I was about five years old I began having experiences of things that stuck in my mind. I would see something, encounter something, and I would freeze for a moment. When I think of it now, I realize this was "noticing" the whatever-it-was, but very intensely, compared to other things, for a moment. I noticed the freshly washed sheets my grandmother had hung on the clothesline to dry, billowing in the breeze. I saw this from my vantage point sitting in the sandbox. It was memorable for some reason I did not consciously think about then. I was never bored riding in the car on family trips because I was constantly entertained by noticing all the details of everything along the road, there were always things that raised interesting questions in my mind, drew out my curiosity, such as the light on the window in a shop in a strip mall, or the neon lights at night, the stars reflected in the window, the hum of the tires on the highway. On one of my first trips to the beach, I

Bring the Island to You Instead of You Going to the Island

To those of us who are blind to the night sky, and deaf to the language of clouds, currents and ocean swells, it seems like a mystical or superhuman act. I've always been fascinated by the ideas involved in Polynesian wayfinding. The idea of moving the island to you instead of you moving toward the island is so novel to anyone raised on Western thinking. We take so much of our rational, reductionist scientific beliefs for granted, our coordinates and maps, and compasses, as if they are the only way to navigate. While we ignore the most powerful navigational "computer" of all, the human brain. We forget in our "rationality" that there are other equally valid ways of "reasoning" about the world, coping with the world around us, that do not involve precise "facts", numbers and reasoning, but that use our powers of observation, pattern and cleverness. The NY Times has an article on the passing of an important Pacific traditional navigator, wh

Psychology and Politics

I am disappointed by seeing a significant number of articles (mostly in the blogs, such as this article that makes an assertion and then follows with several anecdotes about mental patients to justify the assertion) on Psychology Today where the author is: employing psychology to support negative characterizations of persons holding political views different from the author's own; employing psychoanalysis at a distance to explain the political beliefs and policy opinions of others; using psychology to support speculation about the intentions of others whose beliefs about the world and policy differ from the author's; the labeling of people with opposing views as suffering from diagnosable mental illness, arguing or implying those views are a result of mental illness. Doing so without holding the same mirror of analysis up to their own self seems hypocritical and intellectually sloppy on the face of it. I prefer inquiry that follows the rule of curiosity. Instead of characteri

Twitter's Game of Telephone

I find the criticisms of Twitter, especially by literate people or authors tiresome. They are so wrapped up in their own cherished conception of what literacy, writing and authorship is, they can't see the creativity and value of Twitter's social sharing mechanism. At its best, Twitter is like the game of telephone. That is where a child tells the child next to them something, then that child tells the next child, and after going through several children, a slightly different story emerges. I believe this is a _good_ thing. What I loved about "retweeting" when I first discovered it on Twitter, was how it was a editorializer's paradise. Tweets in the process of being retweeted simply begged me to rewrite them, reorganize them, expand or comment on the idea, adding my own ideas and thoughts to the original tweet. Perhaps even shifting it entirely into my own framework. I posted my retweet in the glorious knowledge that someone else might take my words and reformula