a few items this week

I was traveling on business this past week and need to figure out how to easily post when I am mostly using mobile devices. Meanwhile, here’s a catch-up on some interesting items related to my main topic here:

Click: What Millions of People do Online and Why it Matters by Bill Tancer – saw some press mentions of this new book by the chief researcher at Hitwise and picked it up for airport/plane/hotel reading. It has lots if interesting stories about how our real, trackable behavior (anonymized of course) reveals what really preoccupies Americans – and how marketers can leverage that info. The much-touted chapter on “Searches for Prom Dresses spike in January” was fun, but I think there was a flaw in it. After months of research, Tancer finally meets face-to-face with an editor who solves the mystery by telling him that teen magazines start featuring prom dress fashions around New Year’s. The retailers Tancer called by phone in the first instance should have told him that. 

Get Off the Internet, and Chew Some Gum – this article in the NYT was about a new campaign for Dentyne gum aimed at the Facebook generation. The campaign, called Make Face Time, features print ads with big photos showing intimate moments of “connection”: a couple hugs (friend request accepted); canoodles (the original voicemail); kisses (the original instant message). NYT caption says “The campaign is trying to question whether new technologies are bringing people closer together.” 


A related Web site, www.makefacetime.com, was unveiled on Monday. It opens with a warning announcing that it will shut down after three minutes. “When people are surfing the Web, they’re missing the best part of life — being together,” it reads.

The site includes a Face Time Finder, powered by Google Maps, to locate places to meet offline. The Smiley Chamber of Doom takes aim at the “annoying” emoticons that people use to express humor or sadness in e-mail or instant messages, showing them being killed by fires and sumo wrestlers. An essay contest asks users to write about how social networking has led them to be “disconnected to the people that matter most.”

Quoted in the article,  Zeynep Tufekci, a sociologist at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, who studies the way young people use technology to socialize, points out that this is a “false dichotomy.”

 People use online tools as a way to be more social, she said, updating their acquaintances on what they are doing and making plans to meet in person. Her research has shown that people who use these tools have just as many offline friends and spend just as much time with them as people who do not socialize online.

But I think it does point up the need to deepen the interaction online, which is one of my  main themes.



TimesPeople – This past week, I noticed for the first time a little horizontal bar across the top of the New York Times site. It appears to be a social networking “layer”

The “What’s This? says:

Join the network of Times readers!

Follow friends, co-workers, journalists and other Times readers. Discover and share articles, blog posts, multimedia and reader comments. Read the TimesPeople FAQ to learn more. 

Already a member of TimesPeople? Log in now. Not yet a member? Register now.

2 responses to “a few items this week

  1. Why does CMC resound so well with the population. What is the chicken, and what is the egg. Perhaps a brief survey of the history of MC:

    Analog MC: smoke signals, written language, semaphore, military drums, etc.

    Technology Mediated Communication: Movable type, prinitng presses, the exactly repeatable image. The shift form one-to-many in a precisely repeatable way.

    Electronic MC: Morse code, telephone

    RF MC, short wave and ham radio (ham radio is still civilizations global communications back up back after a complete communications catastrophe of nuclear proportions).

    Hybrid MC: Call in radio, call in TV.

    Advanced Electronic MC: Cell phones

    Digital MC: Smart phones, Internet (Web, IM, Email, etc.),

    The major qualitative advance to DMC is the ability to to communicate one-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-one, and many-to-many all at once,and record all these interactions in databases. This is the revolutionary communications paradigm, and the biggest change since movable type and printing presses made it possible to do one-to-many in an exact fashion.

  2. There is no question that CMC allows people to forge two communications styles out of one person: the analog me and the digital me. i think I’ll use this as a personal email tag line.

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