Sunday, November 30, 2008

Louis CK

Louis CK on Conan O'Brien. My appreciation of GenY/Millennials changed after seeing a presentation on them in Denver this past summer, so I can't say that I agree with every single statement he makes. However, I agree with his call to a sense of wonder. And this is a very funny clip, so don't worry, you're not going to sit through hectoring.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

'Tis a silly place.

The link in the title goes to Wil Wheaton's blog, where I found the video below. His blog comes highly recommended; he's @wilw on Twitter.

This video is Star Trek/Monty Python mashup goodness. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Asking for comments without being a whore.

I do like the way @chrisbrogan et al on Twitter phrase their requests for comments:

Can you help with some thoughts about _____? Comments and new ideas greatly appreciated. (bloglink)

Your comments will help provide context for others reading the post. (bloglink)

That's how it's supposed to be done. Social media and social networking are supposed to create thoughtful connections with people. Otherwise, let's leave it for PR hacks as a complex yet useless link spam system.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Current topic: Core values, and some tenets.

After a three-day weekend of strategic planning for American Mensa, I've been spending today thinking about my core values, i.e., the values I hold that I would not give up, even in the face of severe or crippling penalty. What got me thinking about core values is Twitter.

I follow some amazing people on Twitter; I was blessed early on by finding @xenijardin and started following the people she followed. I built it from there.

Tenet 1: Cool, smart, and interesting people associate with the same.

The one person I would follow on Twitter, were I ever limited to only one, is @timoreilly. I don't know him, and he doesn't follow me. I don't care. His information is solid, interesting, reliable, concisely presented, clear. I value the way that he values information and communication. His respect for the meaning of information--the act of its conveyance as well as its value-as-thing--is consonant with one of my core values.

Tenet 2: Information is neither repetition nor drivel.

I am less patient than I should be with others; I do not secretly regard this as a virtue and preen myself with it. Most of my impatience comes from wasting not my time, but my attention. I waste my time extravagantly; I do not waste my attention so. One of my core values is that intellectual weight lifting is part of The Good, and as such, its goodness should be self-evident.

Tenet 3: Information is a force just as the truth is a force.

I am unsure whether some political and intellectual principles are resistible. Milton seems to believe, at least as he presents it in Paradise Lost, that grace is irresistible. I believe that the truth is irresistible; perhaps that is because I come from a culture steeped in proselytizing and teleology. I believe that one can have the truth, and that information (as defined above) erodes intellectual blocks of whatever the making. I understand that it is not tony to speak of the truth. I don't care about that, either.

Tenet 4: The truth, once presented, becomes permanent.

Satyagraha: The energizing force of the truth. Gandhi based action on this. I think this is what's behind the notion that information wants to be free. There's already a lot of free information available; what's desired is some kind of constant, some compass, that gives information significance. Truth values, perhaps expressed as trust, give information significance. Information paired with energy leads to change. Satyagraha.

Tenet 5: We can't be good skeptics without believing in the truth.

Some of my early blog posts were about the relationship between scientific research and parody. The common ground is the truth. Parody and research both ask us to compare one thing to another and evaluate them. In other words, we're asked to take the truth and compare it to either a joke or the results of an experiment, then assess the outcomes. Skepticism is a similar matter: We've got to have something as a basis of comparison, and whatever truths we have at a given moment are good enough.

Our understanding of the truth can be neither monolithic nor immutable, though the truth itself may well be. People like to claim relativity, wave away the value of those things that form the foundation of the truth, then dismiss the notion entirely. They'd better hope that scientists remain unconvinced.

What does any of this have to do with Twitter?

Trust and authenticity. So far, and with the caveat that Twitter is still in the early-adopter stage, trust and authenticity can't be faked on Twitter. It takes too much thought to limit a statement to 140 characters. This doesn't mean there aren't plenty of casual comments and posts of low significance; I would argue that those posts are as authentic as any. This also doesn't mean there aren't sociopaths and charlatans. So far, there's nothing to be gained, other than fleeting Internet celebrity, by such practices. There's plenty of room for information and, perhaps, some truth.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

More to come.

I've got a dozen things to blog about. Twitter is blowing me away with source material. And I follow only about 400 people.

Anyway, more blog posts (hopefully) later this week.

Obama's acceptance speech.

I haven't blogged in a while, I know. I've been living on Twitter.

Last night, the miracle occurred. (That's for those of you who're still under that rock.) Rejoice, bitches. It's a new day in America.