Technology as Miracle

8 Oct
Miracle of Science

Photo credit to Nic Wise.

I’m Catholic.  With the big C as in “love the Pope,” but really with a small C as in “my parents made me do it.”  I start with this to say that I’ve never been much of a church person.  But, I go on and off.  Over the summer, that was more on than off, because I was staying with relatives and doing my darndest to prove that yes, I am one of those bright and shiny young people who looks forward to church every Sunday morning.  I don’t think I was fooling anyone. Continue reading

On the Other Side of the Digital Divide

2 Oct

Or, Gutter-Diving Isn’t Enough

Photo credit to lisainglasses.

Photo credit to lisainglasses.

I live my life with my feet (or more so, fingers) firmly planted on the internet.  But, this morning, I read an article about the other side of the digital divide.  (Yes, ironically, I read it online.)  The premise was that Paul Miller, a tech columnist for The Verge, had given up the internet for a year.  Through this abstention, he explored how the other half lived and how living like “them” might change his perspective on the world. Continue reading

On Being The Hero Of My Own Story

1 Oct

Or: The Blog Is Back

True Story sign

Photo credit to NCinDC.

In the last few months, this blog has taken a bit of a hiatus.  True, it’s because I’ve been lazy, but it’s also because I’ve been busy.  I got a new job and move to Chicago!  (Yeah, I know, way to bury the lead…)

So, what’s the new job?  It’s digital marketing for Baxter Credit UnionSo, basically, now I get paid to do what I love – and what this blog is about.  And it’s fantastic.  I’m part of a great team of people who are smart and funny and passionate about what they do.  I couldn’t ask for better co-workers.  But, man were they intimidating the first week.  (“I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so scared.”) Continue reading

Do Not Track — Or, At Least Pretend You’re Not Tracking

24 Mar
Restricted Area Keep Out by Zach Klein

Photo credit to Zach Klein.

The other day I sat in on a webinar about using social media data in marketing.  The webinar was fascinating – and the accompanying Twitter discussion was even better.  Towards the end of the conversation, one of the presenters made the point that marketers need to give customers something in exchange for access to their data.  He named a few possible benefits to consumers, but they were all just dressed up forms of personalized advertising.  On Twitter, I commented that, “The problem is that the things you get in exchange for giving personal data are custom ads – valuable to the company, not you.” Then I sat back and watched the retweets roll in. Continue reading

Searching for Meaning in Spam

4 Mar
Delete Button by .::HMU::.

Photo Credit to .::HMU::..

I get a lot of spam – on this blog, on my work blog, and my corporate website.  It feels like the snow that’s still coming down even though it’s March.  (When will it stop?!)  Most of it is rubbish, utter nonsense that I delete out of hand, easily recognizing it for the gratuitous references to Viagra, work from home jobs, or off-shore e-mail providers.

But, sometimes there’s something about it that makes me stop and pay attention.  The way that, even though it’s cold and you wish it would hurry up and get to spring already, perfect snow can still make you think of Santa and Christmas magic.  There’s something about them and the way they’re written than makes me think that they can’t all be from a computer program in China.  And maybe there really is a long lost Nigerian prince who needs my help. Continue reading

Back to the Facebook Future

1 Mar

Or, How to Rewrite Your Facebook History and Take Control of Your Data

back in iphone time by JD Hancock

Photo credit to JD Hancock.

You’ve probably just gotten used to Facebook Timeline and abandoned your “Give us back the old Facebook” page, but Zuckerberg’s gone and moved your cheese again.  GraphSearch, is the newest new Facebook; it integrates search and social – and invades your privacy – as never before.

If you’re like most users of the site, you’ve been through enough versions of “the new Facebook” that you’ve become immune to the hype surrounding an announcement that a new and improved Facebook is on the horizon.  The frequency of upgrades and staggering of the rollouts makes it hard to know when you’ve been upgraded.  Add to that the fact that Facebook doesn’t do version numbers like most software (i.e. there’s no “Facebook 5.1.4” floating in the corner of your screen), and many users don’t even know if they’re on “the new Facebook” or “the old Facebook.” Continue reading

Ohio is for Lovers, Montana is For Badasses

27 Feb

Ohio is for Lovers HatI love autocomplete and the insight it gives you into the zeitgeist of the internet.  I purposely take my time when entering search terms so that Google will throw inadvertently amusing (and sometimes racist) suggestions at me.

Recently @mattshirley41 decided to explore what his fellow netizens think about the United States and mapped the results.  The United States Is… maps autocomplete suggestions for the 50 states. Continue reading

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