Tag Archives: Communication

Give me Plausible Deniability or Give me Death

5 Jun

How the Facebook Message Seen Feature Changes Communication

Peakaboo Kid

Photo credit to teamskins

Recently, Facebook introduced a feature that allows you to see when someone’s viewed one of your messages.  It’s basically a read receipt for Facebook messages, except that the other person doesn’t have to agree to send it to you.  There’s no polite Outlook pop-up saying, “The sender of this message has requested a read receipt.  Do you want to send a receipt?”  With Facebook, you don’t have a choice about sending a message seen receipt – it happens automatically. Continue reading

You have the like to remain silent

8 May

Anything you like can and will be used against you in a court of law

Image

Yes, this is a very dramatic picture for a post about Facebook, but I never get to use the pictures that I took at Williamsburg.

Four score and seven days ago… was the last time I updated my blog.  Okay, so it was probably more like ten score and seven days ago, but that’s not nearly as auspicious an opening line.  And auspicious opening lines do relate to the subject at hand: freedom of speech, more specifically if a like constitutes speech.  So really, freedom of likes.

The New York Times is reporting that, in a case that’s sure to go up on appeal (seriously, anyone want to bet on this?) a judge found that:

“Simply liking a Facebook page is insufficient.  It is not the kind of substantive statement that has previously warranted constitutional protection … For the Court to assume that the Plaintiffs made some specific statement without evidence of such statements is improper.”

Here’s my question: since when does speech need to be substantive to be protected?  I say insubstantial things all the time…  bippity boppity boo, see?  So, what was the like that warranted such a hubbub?  A man was fired from his job at a sheriff’s department, the reason: creating discord in the office by liking the sheriff’s political opponent’s Facebook page.  Okay, probably not the most savvy thing to do, but not exactly the equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theatre.  Continue reading

QR Codes and the future of technology

10 Nov
tangled technology by stuart63

Photo credit to stuart63

Or, Futurist Ramblings and a Terrible Novel Idea

I’m still working on those QR codes, so I’m still puzzling about squiggly, little boxes and what they mean for the future.  My puzzling’s been taken even further thanks to Mashable’s contest: What Will the Next 40 Years of Technology Bring?  Mashable’s giving away a shiny new laptop to the person that can come up with the best answer, and as my laptop’s been threatening an unstable hard drive of late, I’d really like to win.  (Also, I just like winning.)

I’m not a futurist, although I’d like to be.  (Best business card title ever.)  So, here’s my answer, where I think we’ll be in 40 years:

Identity by fotologic

Photo credit to fotologic

In 40 years, we’ll have a virtual layer on top of the real world that will be with us wherever we go. QR codes and location-based networks are just the beginning. First we’ll have screens that we can point at codes (although hopefully they’ll be better looking than the current black and white jumbles) and then we’ll have glasses (which we’ll wear all the time) that will allow us to see the virtual layer all around us. After that, we’ll move to contact lenses that are in all the time, so that the virtual layer will always be part of what we see. That lenses will allow us to see cont

ent (largely ad-based) that will be layered on top of everything. It’ll be customized to who we are personally and our preferences and interests. Targeted marketing will no longer be confined to a screen, but will be everywhere and on everything. We’ll see each see our own subjective virtual layer, full of feeds to which we subscribe, and ads which we’ll all (still) be trying our best to avoid.

Continue reading

QR Codes and Modern Hieroglyphics

5 Nov

Or, Beam me up, QR Code.

QR Code SignAs part of launching our new brand at work, we’re getting new business cards.  This announcement is more exciting in Oprah Voice – “You’re all getting new business cards!”  And, the new business cards will have QR codes on them.  (“You’re all getting QR codes!”)  Clearly this announcement should inspire couch jumping.  Actually, it’s inspired me to spend way too many hours staring at squiggly little boxes.

“But Maggie, what’s a QR code?”

“Thank God, I worried that your question was going to be what’s Oprah, and then I was going to worry about you.” Continue reading

Social Media and the Art of Storytelling, Reader Responses

20 Apr

This is the customary follow-up piece written by someone who didn’t consider all of the lovely ideas that the commenters brought to the table while she was writing her original article.  Unfortunately, a lot of times writers of these pieces seem to miss the bigger issues that the commenters brought up and instead focus on a few straw men that they can tear down to bolster their argument.  Of course, I wasn’t really making an argument, so hopefully I won’t fall into this trap.  (But, let me know if I do!)

Thanks to being featured on Freshly Pressed, Social Media and the Art of Storytelling has become my most viewed post.  After reading the comments (and responding to as many of them as I could), I realize that I left some lose ends in that post.

One thing that was pointed out time and again was that online communication cannot fully replace face to face interactions.  I think broadsideblog said it best:

There is something much more powerful about telling one another our stories face to face, not pixel by pixel. We need to know the effect on one another of our stories, whether tears or laughter, sighs or gasps…. I want to hear the voice, see their eyes, and when I am story-telling I need to see and hear what’s compelling — and what’s not.

Of course, that’s totally correct and applies not only to storytelling, but to communication in general.  You don’t comfort a grieving friend through chat and you don’t celebrate your child’s 5th birthday with an e-card.  It’s just not the same.  Some things do require physical presence, eye contact, and touch.

But, the medium through which we communicate is changing and we’re losing these elements in many of our day-to-day interactions.  (Earlier this year, I did a Facebook poll of my siblings and cousins to see how they wanted to celebrate Christmas…)  That’s happening and we can’t stop it.  So, really, the question is, how can we make sure that changes to the medium don’t affect changes to the message?  (Yes, yes, I know – “The medium is the message.”)  As commenter Jaime Greening said:

the medium of the story matters, but it neither stops nor starts the story. the story originates in the storyteller and germinates until it finds an audience. human beings must tell stories, and we will use what is available–twitter, fb, blog or cave walls.

Perfectly said.  Now can someone please make an evolutionary chart that shows the progression of storytelling mediums from cave paintings to twitter?  Information is Beautiful, maybe?

Another thing that came up a lot was people wondering how all of these stories that we’re creating and posting online could be preserved.  Listener commented:

And to think, for millenia the vast majority of people existed with no record of their existence other than their DNA. I suppose we are lucky.?! This should be motivation to make use of the new-found ease with with we can create.

At what point will historians, museums, or historical societies start to preserve and catalogue the virtual world? It seems quite a daunting task to take a snapshot of the entire web. Since things online are always changing, you’d need to somehow capture everything at once if you wanted a representative view of the web of 2011, for example.

I do have real answers to this one, not just the meandering thoughts that I’ve had to the previous two.  (But, don’t worry, I have meandering thoughts on this, too.)  We as bloggers aren’t alone in recognizing the need to capture our stories, our culture, and our communications and to save them for the future.  The Library of Congress does, too.  Last year, they began archiving tweets.  They’ll be searchable for scholars in the future.  To learn more about the archive, read How Tweet It Is!: Library Acquires  Entire Twitter Archive.  Imagine if historians had similar data from different periods.  What if a civil war scholar could get data about opinion and chatter on any given day in the lead up to the war.  What if a WWII scholar could look into the social networks of Germans leading up to the war and see how densely Jews were tied into larger social networks and at what point those ties broke?  (Have I mentioned that I’m a history nerd?)  Also, the Internet Archive, is working to catalog the Internet and its growth and changes for future scholars.  (Who knows, your blog may appear in a book 100 years from now!)  Their project, the Wayback Machine, allows you to see to internet site at different points in the past and view their development over time.  So cool!

I did have one commenter, Alecia, who kind of stumped me.  (Unfortunately Alecia didn’t link to her blog, so no pingbacks for her.) She asked:

Why is storytelling so important in relation to digital social media?

When I first heard about the importance of storytelling in today’s tech world, I was a little confused. Storytelling doesn’t seem that important to me. But Guy Kawasaki and other ‘connected’ people I’ve read about stress storytelling’s importance.

Why do you think digital storytelling is important?

I think I may have failed a bit on my response:

Hmmm. For me, I guess I’ve never questioned that story telling is important. I think of it as a basic way that we interact with and connect with each other. It bonds people together and forges shared experiences.

I’ve always been really interested in the study of what myths and creation stories say about a culture. I think that you can tell a lot about a people and what they value from the stories that they tell. Are you familiar with the Horatio Alger stories? Stories are often shorthand for our hopes as fears.

My real interest in writing this is that we don’t lose storytelling’s place in our culture as we become a more physically disconnected society.

So, readers, commenters, I put it to you.  Why is storytelling important?  Can you help me articulate it any better?


MaggieCakes is a blog about culture, social media, and what’s new in the world of Internet culture. Every day (okay, I try for every day) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. MaggieCakes is hosted by WordPress and often draws upon Slate, Jezebel, The Hair Pin, and SocialTimes for links and inspiration. My post Social Media and the Art of Storytelling was featured on Freshly Pressed, bringing a while new readership to my blog. Find anything interesting in the worlds of culture or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at 2maggieotoole@gmail.com.

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