Pope Francis, Jesus, Redemption, Facebook, SNAP

writing

How about those meta tags?

Last night I shared this piece to Facebook.  It shares some of Pope Francis remarks from yesterday about redemption through Christ being for all.   I summarized them by saying “do good, leave the rest to Jesus,” and then affirming this sort of hyper-public discourse.  (It’s the pope, after all…very few leaders have their words so quickly entered into the tapestry of public ideation.)

By 7:30 this morning, there were quite a few comments and good conversation.  There was a robust consideration of the degree to which this pope can be lauded for human rights advocacy given his views on homosexuality and gender.  There were also questions about being saved by faith and not through works, reminders about the historic difference between Catholic and Protestant doctrine and so on.  People also talked about the good we can do through this give and take.

I thought for a while and responded with the thread below:

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These certainly aren’t all my thoughts on the matter. I’m joyful for a Christ who is bigger than I can imagine, never smaller.

Meta Sermons and Social Media

social media, spirituality

I’m very grateful for the opportunity I had to share the message at First Presbyterian Church yesterday at the 8:45 and 10:10 alternative services. Thank you!

I used social media to frame part of the message, saying that Pinterest had bucked conventional wisdom because it’s a platform where people share inspiring and uplifting things.  By offering a new kind of experience and an environment where generative things are shared and curated, Pinterest now drives more traffic to external sites than Twitter.

A bit of meta fun before I hit the hay:

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Blessings, all, and peace.

A Real Live Webpage from 1996, Preserved In Its Natural Habitat; Fiction as Public Engagement

comics, culture, Fiction

Christopher Cocca

No, not the official Berkshire Hathaway page. I’m talking about the Periodic Table of Comic Books! If you’ve been trying to cross reference an element with its appearances in various comics over the last few decades, I’ve just given you the last resource you should ever need.

If you’re trying to explain the internet of the 90s to your kids between Legends of the Hidden Temple reruns on TeenNick, this will also come in handy. See if they can find the rotating “under construction” graphic before you do.

It’s funny: in some ways, the web has always been about the compilation of trivia (personal or otherwise) and the cataloging of human interests. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook enhance and also undermine that instinct: instead of Angelfire web sites and Tripod accounts with spinning pictures and MIDI music, we give our strange fascinations over to a few centralized social networks who keep meticulous, obsessive track of everything we say we love. While these services have been used powerfully for activism, there’s an argument to made about the ways we’ve regressed as owners of our ephemera. It’s easier, I suppose, to curate our interests with posts and tweets and likes and shares than to build the online shrines that once defined the consumer internet. But those repositories had what Mike Schmidt might call a certain charm that social media doesn’t capture. Maybe I’m remembering the world that seemed possible before we got the world that came. I don’t mean that cynically. Commitment to social action X over social action Y might mean no flying cars or jetpacks, but we have no way of knowing, really, in the short term.

More knowable, it seems, are the outcomes of politics devoid of concern for environmental regulations, economic justice, the sanctity of life, and the generative renewal of our communities. If you thought I wasn’t going to get from the Periodic Table of Comic Books to public ethics in a few short steps, you might not know that The New School (MFA ’11) just announced organizational changes to some of their graduate programs. The writing program, of which I am a proud graduate, is now part of the newly-named School of Public Engagement. TNS is making a bold cultural and political statement here: poets, fiction writers, and essayists trade in public engagement as a matter of vocation and as a matter of fact. It’s probably no coincidence that former TNS president Bob Kerrey shared similar sentiments with my entire class on the first night of our program.

Bloggers, artists, writers, musicians, comic book creators, coders, scientists, actors, preachers…the list goes on and on. We are enlisted in the craft, and it is a craft, of public engagement. The evolution of the social web from siloed shrines of quirky interest to the integrated platforms of curation, criticism, and creation shows just how powerful our drive to contribute something back to the avalanche of corporate politics, media, and culture-making really is.

It’s ironic and subversive that we do it on the corporate platforms of companies that make millions delivering targeted ads based on the content we create and share in resistance to the monolithic messages of people with vested interests in framing these conversations in very specific ways. That’s the world we live in, for better and for worse.

Let’s keep making it for the better.  And when you need a break, check out the Periodic Table of Comic Books.  And don’t forget to sleep.

Divergent Visions of the Past: What Would Google+, YouTube, and Facebook Have Looked Like in 1997? (And Some Guest Apperances)

memories, music, social media

Once Upon has their answer. I love the spirit of their project, but I believe the truth is much simpler, and it’s called AOL. Circa 1997.

Speaking of which:

Beck in 1997

I literally cannot watch that video for fear of the uncontrollable mourning that might pour forth.  Not a longing for my teenage years as such, but a sadness at how the Beckthos just didn’t stick.

MTV in 1997

That song is as good now as ever.

Drew Olanoff on Klout and Doing Things

blogging, social media
Image representing Klout as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

An excerpt from “Klout Is Breaking Up With Early Adopters”  at The Next Web:

 

Klout is going after middle-American novice tweeters who might have mentioned a body spray once or twice. With its service, Axe could reach people like that directly in large bunches and give them samples of new products.

How do we know this? Because Klout recently changed its scoring algorithm. People absolutely lost their minds in the comments on the post and on Twitter.

This type of comment was posted over and over again there:

Very unhappy with this change. My score went from 73 down to 53. 20 point drop. I’ve been working for months to increase my Klout score. Please fix this.

This is proof that people who are “working” on being relevant shouldn’t use any type of service. As my good friend Alex Hillman says and has tattooed on his arm, “JFDI”. Just do it, and don’t worry about what you’re getting out of it, and all will be fine.

 

He’s right, isn’t he?  It’s tempting to worry about Klout, to obsess about why your Facebook friend count is down or why someone stopped following your blog.  It’s easy to fixate on stats.  Just do what you like and do it well.  Curate that beauty and be that unique voice.

Also: It can’t be a coincidence that JFDI is just one letter from Jedi.

 

Is Google Rebranding or De-branding?

writing

Resolved: People, for whatever reason, tend to view Google as less of a brand and more of a utility.

Suggested reasons: Google is, in fact, utilitarian. It’s under-branded to the extreme, and even its logo is generic.  Before anyone had Google accounts or Gmail, we were already using “google” as a verb.  The lack of flash, the absolute dearth of iconography…the lame font and funny multi-colored name, these things are disarming almost to the point of making you forget that Google wants each and every bit of your personal information even more (perhaps) than Facebook.

Facebook is nothing if not a brand.  Rightly or wrongly, we think we get what Mark Zuckerberg is all about, and that necessarily flavors our understanding of his company’s ethics, ambition, and culture.

I said last week that when I’m using Google+, I don’t feel like I’m in some proprietary fishbowl circa 1990s AOL.  Google looks and acts like a utility, and we’ve come to think of access to what Google does best (search) as precisely that.  Facebook is a fishbowl by design, and Zuckerberg’s quest to keep you in/on Facebook for all your webly needs shows that he’s bound and determined to validate and more effectively monetize Steve Case’s old vision. Maybe Google+ does, as Zuckerberg claims, validate Facebook’s (old) vision, but only in terms of ambition.  Plus is built with the relationships grown-ups have in mind, and Facebook was built as a college network.  It has adapted over the years to fit the needs of adults, but it still feels like your last visit to the pediatrician.  Early adopters are hitting 30 and needing a social network that’s intuitive and easily customizable, something more akin to real-world connections than “friending” and more useful and dynamic than boring old LinkedIn.

Last week we learned that Google will retire the Blogger and Picasa brands as they begin to roll those services into Plus.  Is everyone starting to understand that Google+ is Google, and Google is Google+?  Blogger.com is the epitome if Web2.0 branding, and if you’re not already using Picasa, it just feels like another thing.  So Google is rolling these brands into itself, making them more useful and more generic than they’ve ever been.  The lighter the brand recognition, the more likely we are to trust you with our data.  Silly, isn’t it, given Google’s size, influence, and sometimes-faltering commitment to publicly stated values?  Sure is.  But it’s also true.

Don’t think so?  Check out Delloitte’s recent study proving that we already hate branded apps.  While Facebook is busy becoming the largest branded app in history, Google is de-branding everything but YouTube (which also doesn’t feel like a brand).  Interesting, isn’t it?