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I'm going out tonight, and am thus forced to write this at (and in) a reasonable time. I will therefore recommend two essays about the internet:

The first is Whatever made you think it was your data anyway? by Steven Poole. I've been reading his work for ages, and love his dry, cynical and insightful style. The stand out line from this piece is “If you’re not paying for something, you’re not a customer; you’re the product being sold”, which is characteristically brutally accurate. If you too enjoy his style, I also heartily recommend his book Unspeak, which looks at the tactical use of euphemism in politics and the media, and is fantastic. I have a copy that I'll happily lend to interested Oxford people.

The second essay is also rather marvellously named: The Social Graph is Neither by Maciej Ceglowski. It's addressing a similar problem from a different perspective: asking what it means to make your relationships public, and what makes for a good social network. I wasn't aware of this guy until someone linked me to him today, but (amongst the technical stuff about his site) he's also written some other interesting stuff about social networking: the influence of fandom in this case, for example.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
jinty
Nov. 11th, 2011 01:59 pm (UTC)
High-quality linkage there. I particularly liked the stuff on the Pinboard site - the Social Graph and the fandom stuff. Am now tempted to sign up to Pinboard and move my Delicious bookmarks there - the only thing that's stopping me is that I never really go back & look at my saved bookmarks in any case, so probably there's not much point in me having access to such a service. Do you use it & if so what do you reckon to it?
oxfordhacker
Nov. 11th, 2011 02:36 pm (UTC)
I don't use Pinboard, though I too was tempted after reading his stuff. I do use Read It Later, which seems to do a similar thing, but I have never gone back and looked at anything I've bookmarked with this. I seem to use it as a staging post to lessen the pain of acknowledging that I'll never get round to reading something, even if I'd like to or think I should: rather than just closing the tab and losing it forever, I mark it so that I could find it again. I used to do the same with TV: video things so I didn't miss them, but never actually choose to watch them. I suspect that this points to a psychological flaw of mine, but at least the internet provides tools with which I can manage it. And it could be worse: I could be commenting on local news sites, for example.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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oxfordhacker
Drifting in and out of consciousness

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