Gettin' learned

18.5.05

folka on a what?

I have never really been a fan of "onomies." They remind of science and therefore scare me. But with folksonomy I ave finally found one that doesn't send me screaming through my house to hide under my bed until the monsters are gone. A folksonomy is a revolutionary way to sort and classify information. It's revolutionary because is takes the classifcation process out of the hands of the scientists and into the hands of the people who actaully use the classification system. With the development of folksonomies people are connecting to people rather than the system.

In taxonomies, who gets to decide what should be classified under which category? And who’s to say that I would agree with the decisions that they make? The problem with traditional taxonomies lies in the fact that there are 6 billion people in this world who all have 6 billion different opinions and ideas. The chances of all 6 billion people agreeing on one single classification for any given item is in the slimmest percentage of possibility. What folksonomies do is to allow items to have more than one classification. By doing so, it makes the system more user friendly to the people who actually use it.

These types of classification systems are particularly a growing phenomenon on the web. Sites such as Flickr and Webshots allow people to post pictures on the internet and place whatever classifications they wish on them. These are called tags. Simply do search and you will find all the pictures that other people have defined with that particular tag. Sites such as Delicious do the same thing for websites.

15.5.05

my contribution

For this Art Mobs project I was in Bobby Mac's group. Our first project was to interview Megan's girl scout troupe about 4 pieces of art from the MoMa. Myself, Bobby and Joy trekked out to Queens with Bobby's equipment in tow and interviewed 4 different groups of girl scouts about the art. There were 4 girls in each group. After that, the three of us plus Megan headed back to Bobby's place to start the editing process. We listened to all of the raw material that we had recorded and chose the clips that we thought would best fit our project. Unfortunately, Bobby's computer had something else in mind for us and deleted all of our files. So the 4 of us plus Matina and Pamela put our heads together and collaborated on a new idea. Pamela played a foreign psychiatrist type of character interviewing Bobby and myself on a newlywed tour of the MoMA. For this project we chose to do Blue 393 by Vassily Kandinsky. I also created the flyer to distribute advertising the launch of Art Mobs.

9.4.05

take action and start talking

“In the courage of creation, they find a place to hang their individuality.”

Rightly said Mr. Levine, rightly said. It is not easy to be creative. Rather it is not easy to share your creativity. It does in fact take courage. It takes someone who is willing to candidly search deep within themselves for the voice that has been lost in the corporate shuffle of usurping the consumers attention long enough to deceive them with disingenuine “conversations.” It takes someone who is willing to stand up and say, “Heaven help you if you get in my way or try to stifle my voice.”

E-mail is certainly one of the fastest growing forms of not only communication, but conversation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still an old fashioned mail, open my box and see a letter sittin’ in it kind of gal. I have and always will appreciate the feeling of adoration that comes from receiving a home grown, pen-to-paper letter. That said, I am also well aware of the fact that in this day age, old-fashioned letters are not exactly practical. I have realized this especially being a college student in New York City, hundreds of miles away from my home and my friends that I left behind. It is not practical for me to expect to be able to sit down and write a letter to every one of my friends that I miss so dearly. However, it is practical to expect to send them an e-mail. Particularly when I have the option of sending them each a personalized message, or sending them all the same generic update of my life (though I am not a fan of the latter of these two options). E-mail is a convenient form of conversation that lends itself to human qualities- spelling errors, iconic smileys and all. It’s exciting. For many of us, it was our first small taste of freedom and independence. The first thing I did when we got the internet in my house was to sign up for a Hotmail account. After all, if I was receiving letters the old fashioned way my parents would know when and from who. But with my e-mail, that was all mine. They were my secret conversations that no one else could be a part of unless I wanted them to. Though I do believe in e-mail and think that it gives a wonderful opportunity to be ourselves and use our voice, I also think that it can allow us to shy away from who we really are and create distance between ourselves and others. If we let it, it can become impersonal.

Similarly intriguing is the world of chat. It offers a new world where anything is possible. It is possible to become anyone. But most people choose to face their fears and choose the most daring path by choosing to be themselves, choosing to let loose for once the voice that has been crawling inside of them, clawing to get out. “You can adopt a new persona, but you’re going to need to button it all the way up and live it, or we’ll be able to tell there’s someone else underneath.”

Levine was correct when he said “talk is cheap.” That is unless that talk signifies taking action. Strange as it may sound, the internet has now provided a forum where talk can indeed be action. Take the case of the Saturn employee. Just like Scoble, this employee “took a risk” to become “humanized” with the customers. He created a credibility not only for himself, but for his company by taking the time after a 12 hour day to answer a frustrated customer’s question. Not only did he answer it, but he answered it honestly and explicitly with taking caution to giving the company he works for a little bad PR. It is human nature to disbelieve what is perfect and to trust and accept what is not. By showing the world their flaws, companies would regain the trust and respect of the consumer to which they are trying to market.

2.4.05

finding our voice

“Our culture’s pulse is pounding on the Web.” Or so says David Weinberger, author of chapter 2 of The Cluetrain Manifiesto. And I must say, I would have to agree.

One of the first points that the Weinberger makes is that though our nation had become crazed and obsessed with the Web, we actually have no idea what it is for. There had been innumerable amounts of speculation as to its purpose but here is no solid form, Webster’s dictionary definition for it. At least not yet. But here, in chapter 2 Weinberger suggests that Web is for building a new world.

In order to successfully find this stage of rebuilding, rejuvenation and revolution there are certain facts that we must realize. The first fact that Weinberger suggests we take a look at is our desire for the Web and why it exists so strongly. He claims that we long for the Web because “something is missing in our lives” and “what is missing is the sound of the human voice.” We desire the Web because we desire human interaction and conversation. We desire the ability to be ourselves, our real selves that society has taught us to suppress in order to support the “greater good” of all mankind. When the Web first began it’s journey into the lives and homes of Americans my primary excitement with this new technology was the idea of chat rooms and message boards, the idea that I could successfully communicate with people who were halfway around the globe and worlds away from me, the idea that I could be anyone I wanted to be. Most stimulating was the idea that I could be myself, the self that I allowed to come out when no one was watching. But not I could allow it to surface in the face of countless strangers because of this newfangled Web. I no longer had to fit the mold that society had fashioned me to fill.

If “nothing is more intimately a part of who we are than our voice” than why is it that we are so quickly willing to give it up? And why then, if we are so willing to give it up are so angry for losing it? It is because the business world has found a way to obliterate all traces of the human voice without actually commanding that it be demolished. In order to subscribe to the professional standards that most corporations demand employees must the right to their own voice. So, if there are a set of rules that you must follow in order to be successful and your voice does not fit into these rules, then there is no other choice than to sacrifice voice for accomplishment. Professionalism creates one unified front and kills inidividuality, though some would tend to disagree.

Once we have mastered the ability to express ourselves without fail and remain successful in business, then we can begin laying the groundwork for a world in which the human voice becomes a driving voice in business.

29.3.05

becoming human again

I must say this is the first technical type for reading or really any kind of reading for a class that I have actually truly enjoyed. Christopher Locke finds away to approach the subject of internet and business, a topic that is inherently somewhat lackluster and uninspiring, that draws the reader in and keeps them interested.

Locke understands the dangerous rut that our culture has slammed itself into. We have reached a plateau of self-pity, overriding depression and general unhappiness and if we do not act quickly to solve this problem, the only place to go will be to sliding steadfastly back down from the top of the plateau. Children “grow up hearing news of a world more frightening than anything in ancient fairytales. The wicked witch won’t really push you into the oven, honey, but watch out for AK-47s at recess.” This notion is indeed disturbing. Because it is true. Locke understands that our culture needs a jolt to send us into the next age with an explosion of passion for life and a renewed sense of identity and creativity. He knows that this jolt, should we embrace it and allow it to be what it has the potential to become, is the internet.

Work and business are two unavoidable entities in today’s society. Though there are exceptions to this rule-perhaps you’ve won the lottery or been lucky enough to come from a wealthy family- chances are that at one point or another you have held a job for some period of time. I personally have been working since 2 weeks after I turned 16. And I hate it. As is the case with most people in the United States. I have never, nor do I ever want to hold your typical 9-5 paperwork desk job. While there are certain comforts that come with a regular schedule, the monotony and routine of this class of profession needs to be shaken loose. A change has to occur. Or it will be detrimental the mental and emotional health of the people in this country. Though I know I will lose some of my cool points for this- because by using this quote I must admit that I watch and enjoy ridiculously cheesy ABC family channel movies- I must agree with a line that I heard in the most recent ABC family movie (the one with Ryan Reynolds). One of the characters said, “It takes far less than death to kill a man.” This is exactly what Locke points out is happening to our society. We are all slowly and unknowingly dying because in our jobs we are not allowed the freedom to pursue creativity and passion, we are not allowed to explore ourselves. The mold needs to be broken.

Locke compares the internet to an ancient market. He believes that like these markets, people do not use the internet merely to buy the goods. They flock to this new technology for the promise of a genuine conversation with another human being. We have been emotionally suppressed and subdued to the point that we lost the ability to sincerely interact with one another. Because the desire for this never left us, the internet may be the tool needed reach deep within us and find the courage to let the desire to be human again flourish. People do not desire corporations; they desire each other. This is evident in the popularity of internet dating. There are sites aimed at linking singles from all walks of life. There are web dating services for men looking for men, for women looking for women, for men looking for women, for punks, for conservatives, for the young, for the old, for the deaf. People are clamoring for the chance to find in one another what they have been missing in their jobs; a soul, a heart, a human being.

Though some of my fellow students may disagree with Locke, it is undeniable that the internet has only begun to change us.

22.2.05

smart people

I was browsing through my fellow classmates blogs the other night when I came across an interesting entry from Lyndsay. Finally, I had found someone who, like me, was utterly mystified at the phenomenom created by The Gates in Central Park. I was beginning to think that I was the only one who didn't understand the apparent amazment that these orange tapestries hold.

Jennifer made a good point about the heart of Marymount students. We may be a small school but we have the potential to be mighty.

Cheryl had an interesting entry about bosses. Why is it that our bosses always suck and furthermore, always seem to suck more than everyone else's?

14.2.05

go figure

Have you ever been in that situation where the name of an actor or that movie you loved when you were a kid is on the tip of your tongue but it just refuses to leave? Or you recognize that thrid guy from the left in the back row of Mr. Feeny's classroom from something but you just can't put your finger on exactly what it is? Help is here. This movie database has saved my sanity on more than one occassion.

Ok, though my babies, my Steelers, may have lost to the evil evil New England Patriots in the championship game, they are still in my mind and my heart undoubtedly the best team in the NFL. We beat them once and we can do it again. And I would just like to take this opportunity to say that I hate the Pats with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns and they will never be the dynasty that Pittsburgh once was and will be again soon.

I hate it when people friend me on facebook that I don't even know. But I was recently friendded by this kid from North Carolina who had just started his own web site. While I did reject him as my friend, I did check out his website and I will admit, his t-shirts are pretty cool. If you're a nerd. Which I am.