- [from steve_portigal] One Day For Design 2011 – [I'm always impressed by the enthusiasm and creativity that folks like this show in order to bring people together, build community, evolve a profession, and infect others with that same enthusiasm] On April 13, 2011, add your voice to an open, digital dialogue on design. One Day For Design brings together a global community of designers and design enthusiasts to exchange ideas, challenge viewpoints and push boundaries-collaborating in real time on the future of our profession and the organizations behind it. Spread the word. Join the conversation.
Yes, it turns out that All This Chittah Chattah is the place to wrestle for the hearts and minds of today’s consumers. With our frequent discussions of the consumer’s perspective as well as innovative technologies that respond to cultural shifts, we’ve developed a reputation as the place to be seen and read by the alpha-influencers who make any product a success.
Three years ago I blogged about a dual-flush toilet (and it’s explanatory memo).
What followed were a number of “comments” from people championing this product or its competitor, sometimes with a less-than-transparent reveal of their identity as someone who works for the company itself.
And in a similar vein, just the other day, I blogged about a device that would let you open a bathroom door with your toe. Immediately a competitor jumped in to defend his product as the “original” (and while you can’t tell from here, he posted from the domain name he’s championing).
A few days later, a devastating riposte from someone who is clearly not a fan.
Now, we don’t know if Elise (who goes by fuzzygirl89) is authentic or not, but I’m definitely suspicious (extraneous specific detail rings false to me). The gloves are definitely off here in the Chittah Chattah Product Death Match. Seriously, is this what it means to be an entrepreneur (or worse, a sales guy)? Sitting at home with your alerts, fingers in the ready position, inches above the keyboard, ready to pounce on any mention of your product in any corner of the web?
- [from steve_portigal] Crewspace – a social network for roadies – [The Internet provides a regular reminder of surprising or niche communities, connecting people that might otherwise remain disconnected, and revealing that these seemingly fringe groups can have significantly large membership. But how does a specialized social networking site differentiate from Facebook or LinkedIn? Do users inhabit both? How will all of us manage the different facets of our lives? How does a site like Crewspace adapt to its users in its user experience? Plus, how can I get backstage tonight?] Crewspace is the private social network for professional road crew (roadies) in the music industry worldwide. Membership is by invite only, so no time-wasters! Anyone who tours can become a member of crewspace (crew space) – tour & road mgrs, production mgrs, audio engineers, sound engineers, LD's, light techs, electricians, backline techs, road crew, catering, carpentry, riggers, security, transport, roadcrew, merch, wardrobe, make-up, crew, roadies.
- [from julienorvaisas] Shoppers videotape their ‘haul’ [San Jose Mercury News] – [Head-slapping superficiality, scandals, self-reflection, spoofs and thousands of subscribers define the world of haul video mavens. Haul videos are defined by one hauler herself as, "videos about crap I bought." Solid gold for marketers.] These young women, and thousands more, are cranking out "haul" videos — as in, "here's all the stuff I hauled home from Forever 21 and the Walgreen's makeup department" — and inviting friends and strangers alike to check out their latest purchases. The videos, which range from oddly captivating to crashingly dull, represent yet another way in which the Internet is both nurturing new communities and redefining retail.
- Learnvest: Our mission is to provide unbiased financial information to all women – Women have come a long way financially over the last three decades. Women today make up half of the professional work force and are found to buy or influence 80% of all consumer purchases in the United States yet they continue to lag behind men when it comes to managing their personal finances. According to a 2006 Prudential financial poll, 80% of women say that they plan to depend on Social Security to support them in their golden years and 38% of women 30-55 years old are worried they will live at or near the poverty level because they cannot adequately save for retirement. So even today–despite coming so far in many ways–too many women are still ignoring their finances. LearnVest provides a solution that is relevant and timely – it is something women need.
- Some Queries Prompt Google To Offer Suicide Hotline [NYTimes.com] – Last week Google started automatically giving a suggestion of where to call after receiving a search seemingly focused on suicide. Among the searches that result in an icon of a red phone and the toll-free number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are “ways to commit suicide” and “suicidal thoughts.” The information takes precedence over the linked results and is different and more prominent than an advertisement. Guidance on suicide prevention was suggested internally and was put in place on Wednesday.
- Virginia Heffernan – The Medium – Online Marketing [NYTimes.com] – An online group becomes formally classified when it comprises an advertising category. That’s the magic point in e-commerce: when the members of an online group turn eager to purchase, say, tank tops or bottles of sauvignon blanc as badges of membership in communities like the ones that flourish at Burton.com or Wine.com. The voluminous content that these sites produce — blogs, videos, articles, reviews, forums — becomes the main event. To sell actual products, the company then “merchandises” that content, the way museums and concert halls and, increasingly, online newspapers hawk souvenirs, including art books and hoodies and framed front pages. At the moment when content can be seamlessly merchandised, a group has generally developed robust forums in which the members (hoarders, mothers of twins, bodybuilders) develop codes and hierarchies and a firm notion that this is a place where they can finally be themselves.
- The Book Club With Just One Member [NYTimes.com] – Reading might well have been among the last remaining private activities, but it is now a relentlessly social pursuit. …The collective literary experience certainly has its benefits. Reading with a group can feed your passion for a book, or help you understand it better. Social reading may even persuade you that you liked something you thought you didn’t. There is a different class of reader, though. They feel that their relationship with a book, its characters and the author is too intimate to share. Ms. Stead remembers having had especially intense feelings about books when she was young. “For me, as a kid, a book was a very private world,” she said. “I didn’t like talking about books with other people very much because it almost felt like I didn’t want other people to be in that world with me.” Particularly with the books we adore most, a certain reader wants to preserve the experience for reflection, or even claim the book as hers and hers alone.
- Don Norman on Ethnography and Innovation – Some great commentary on Norman's piece (discussed here as well) including the very exciting revelation that Edison did something very much like ethnography!
- General Motors – The Lab – It’s a pilot program for GM, an interactive design research community in the making. Here you can get to know the designers, check out some of their projects, and help them get to know you. Like a consumer feedback event without the one-way glass.
We work on ideas that will influence our future vehicles. We want to share our ideas, inventions and pre-production vehicle designs. We want to build the right cars and trucks for your future. We want your opinion.
- Iceberg Digital Book Reader for the iPhone – Digital books as content, as hardware, as a platform, as an OS, as an app? Interesting to see a range of approaches appearing. Iceberg use the iTunes store to sell the books, which seems like a brilliant strategy, leveraging a storefront/distribution platform that already exists.
- Steal These Books – From Wikipedia page about book theft, a set of articles that describe what books get stolen from bookstores (independent, chain, and campus) and libraries.
- Archaeology’s Hoaxes, Fakes, and Strange Sites – A large set of links to articles about fake archeological-type stuff (discoveries, artifacts, and the like). How and why.
- The Ephemera Society is a non-profit body concerned with the collection, preservation, study and educational uses of hand-written and printed ephemera. – The term ‘ephemera’ covers a wide range of documents including leaflets, handbills, tickets, trade cards, programmes and playbills, printed tins and packaging, advertising inserts, posters, newspapers and much more. In the words of the society’s founder, Maurice Rickards, “the minor transient documents of everyday life”.
Essentially produced to meet the needs of the day, such items reflect the moods and mores of past times in a way that more formal records cannot. Collectors of printed ephemera vary in their approach. Some focus on the ephemera of a particular trade or profession, others are interested in its social or graphic history. Other ephemerists collect documents simply as evocative reminders of the past.
- What does it mean when getting access to medical care looks like getting tickets for a popular concert? – Ottawa's chief medical officer of health announced Thursday that the city will start issuing single-use, non-transferable wristbands in place of tickets to indicate each person's place in the queue. He expects that to make things fairer than the ticket system for others in line. "People are picking up tickets and then disappearing, picking up more than one ticket, just generally misusing and gaming the system," Levy said.
Until now, some healthy people have been picking up tickets ahead of time so their children or other vulnerable relatives won't have to spend hours waiting in crowds at the clinics, where they could be exposed them to diseases such as swine flu. The new system could prevent them from taking such measures.
- Summer Reading Programs Gain Momentum for Students About to Enter College – Nationwide, hundreds of colleges and universities, large and small, public and private, assign first-year students a book to read over the summer, hoping to create a sense of community and engage students intellectually.
While there are no reliable statistics on summer reading programs, a recent survey of more than 100 programs by a student researcher at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., found that most had started in the last four years, although a few go back decades.
The range of books colleges use is enormous, covering fiction and nonfiction. Classics are largely absent, with most of the works chosen falling closer to Oprah than academic.
Still, a certain canon of summer reading is emerging: books that are readable, short, engaging, cheap. Often, it helps if the book is a best seller dealing with some aspect of diversity, some multicultural encounter — and if the author will come to speak on campus.
- Canada Reads — CBC Radio – Canada Reads celebrates five Canadian books for three months online, on the air and at public events. It all leads up to a week-long show hosted by Jian Ghomeshi. In this annual title fight, five celebrity panelists defend their favourite work of Canadian fiction. One by one, books are voted off the list, until one panelist triumphs with the book for Canada to read this year.
- Beyond the Book – Beyond the Book: Mass Reading Events and Contemporary Cultures of Reading in the UK, USA and Canada is a 3-year interdisciplinary research project.
Our main objectives are to determine why and how people come together to share reading through a comparative study of selected mass reading events.
The mass reading event is a new, proliferating literary phenomenon. Events typically focus on a work of literary fiction and employ the mass media as a means of promoting participation in the themed activities and discussions that take place around the selected book. Beyond the Book uses research methodologies drawn from both the humanities and social sciences to investigate whether mass reading events attract new readers and marginalized communities. We also wish to determine whether this contemporary version of shared reading fosters new reading practices and even whether it is capable of initiating social change.
<"ONE BOOK" READING PROMOTION PROJECTS (Center for the Book: Library of Congress)– "One Book" projects (community-wide reading programs), initiated by the Washington Center for the Book in 1998, are being introduced across the U.S.A. and around the world. Here's lengthy list of authors, communities, and dates.
- The Big Read – The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment.
The Big Read gives communities the opportunity to come together to read, discuss, and celebrate one of 30 selections from American and world literature. This initiative supports innovative reading programs in selected communities, providing engaging educational resources for discussing outstanding literature and conducting expansive outreach and publicity campaigns, and a Web site offering comprehensive information about the authors and their works.
- Literary Reading in Dramatic Decline, According to National Endowment for the Arts Survey – (July 8, 2004) Literary reading is in dramatic decline with fewer than half of American adults now reading literature, according to a National Endowment for the Arts survey released today. Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America reports drops in all groups studied, with the steepest rate of decline – 28 percent – occurring in the youngest age groups. The study also documents an overall decline of 10 percentage points in literary readers from 1982 to 2002, representing a loss of 20 million potential readers. The rate of decline is increasing and, according to the survey, has nearly tripled in the last decade.
- 15 Books That Have Stuck With You (yet another of those Facebook etc. "memes" that are more like chain letters than memes) – Pick 15 books that will always stick with you. Don't take more than 15 minutes. Tag 15 friends including me because I'm interested in seeing what books my friends choose.
- My pictures from Belgium 2009 (345 of 'em!) – Here's the whole set on Flickr. I'll continue to blog highlights from the trip.
- Google book project far from settled – As the deadline draws near for authors and publishers to opt out of a proposed legal settlement allowing Google Inc. to forge ahead with plans to scan millions of books, more opponents of the landmark deal are stepping forward, and the local literary world is growing more perplexed.
"Smart people, major players that are sophisticated in the ways of publishing, are still at loggerheads," said Ted Weinstein, a San Francisco literary agent. He said they're not just arguing whether the deal is good or bad, "but still expressing disagreement about what exactly it will do. That's a problem."
- OneMillionGiraffes.com – fascinating to look at how a simple exercise can be tackled in so many different ways – My friend, Jørgen, doesn't believe I can collect one million giraffes by 2011. I'm gonna prove him wrong, but I need your help. So far I've got 76.870 giraffes, so I need 923.130 more! And I have 503 days left to get them.
- See my giraffe – Will it be one in a million?
- Sherry Turkle is Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT and a sociologist. – She has focused her research on psychoanalysis and culture and on the psychology of people's relationship with technology, especially computer technology and computer addiction.
- apophenia – danah boyd's blog – danah boyd is a researcher at Microsoft Research New England and a Fellow at the Harvard University Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
- Michael Wesch's IA Summit 09 Keynote – Even though the presentation itself uses a lot of visuals and YouTube examples, I found the podcast to be extremely interesting and provocative. Wesch takes many examples of Internet and social media culture that we're familiar with but wraps them together to create a new and exciting story about the kinds of new things that technology is enabling. While I might have thought I knew it all already via danah boyd and Sherry Turkle, I learned a lot (that's not to say that boyd and Turkle haven't covered this material, I have no idea; but for me this podcast was a huge leap forward in my grokking of the issues).
- Core77 launches a product: a limited edition "curated" bike with a $1500 price tag – Core77 has been insanely brilliant at facilitating design discourse and ultimately design itself for a very long time. They've experimented before in launching their own product, I think, (I seem to recall a shoe) but this is a big leap, with this fancy-shmancy bike. To those that know what makes for a great bike, it may be a truly wonderful object, but it seems to manifest the worst part of design: elite hipsters making artificially cool stuff for other designers who revel in the semiotics of exclusivity, rather than what I believe Core77 can better champion: the design field of talented passionate people solving tough problems in unique, beautiful and successful ways. I challenge Core77 to take this (hopefully successful) experience in Launching Products (no doubt an insanely difficult thing) and apply it next to Launching Products That Make A Difference To Everyone (or at least Helping Others To…). The MoMA design world doesn't need Core77, but the real design world so badly does.
- R.I.P., Oscar Mayer – The 95-year old retired company chairman dies. He was actually the third Oscar Mayer to run the company, co-founded in the 1890s by his grandfather, Oscar Mayer. "They began using the Oscar Mayer brand name in the 1920s, stamping it on the country's first packaged, sliced bacon, which the Mayer brothers introduced in 1924 — an innovation that earned them a U.S. government patent."
- The Ruins of Fordlândia – Henry Ford's miniature America in the jungle attracted a slew of workers. Local laborers were offered a wage of thirty-seven cents a day to work on the fields of Fordlândia, which was about double the normal rate for that line of work. But Ford's effort to transplant America– what he called "the healthy lifestyle"– was not limited to American buildings, but also included mandatory "American" lifestyle and values. The plantation's cafeterias were self-serve, which was not the local custom, and they provided only American fare such as hamburgers. Workers had to live in American-style houses, and they were each assigned a number which they had to wear on a badge– the cost of which was deducted from their first paycheck. Brazilian laborers were also required to attend squeaky-clean American festivities on weekends, such as poetry readings, square-dancing, and English-language sing-alongs.
- Fordlandia: The Failure Of Ford's Jungle Utopia – Henry Ford tries to build a Midwestern American company town in Amazonian Brazil – for the rubber, even though you can't grow plantation rubber in the Amazon. Absolute epic failure results: they were unprepared both industrially and culturally. "But the more it failed, the more Ford justified the project in idealistic terms. "It increasingly was justified as a work of civilization, or as a sociological experiment," Grandin says. One newspaper article even reported that Ford's intent wasn't just to cultivate rubber, but to cultivate workers and human beings."
- Report Non-Humans – Marketing for upcoming sci-fi flick District 9. See my interactions column "Interacting with Advertising" for more discussion on the "tricks" of hiding advertising in the aesthetics of real informational signage. Is it okay here because we're in on the joke?
- Is Alain Robert, the "French Spiderman" who ascends skyscrapers, authentic? – The author contacts Christian Beckwith, founder of Alpinist magazine: "'The technical difficulty of what he does is not extraordinary,' he said-but acknowledged an element of sacrilege in his 'shtick." He said, 'The climbers who garner the most respect in the sort of hard-core climbing community are the people who go out an are climbing for the love of it, and they pull off the bitchingest thing anybody's ever done, and they never say a word to anybody.'
Other prominent climbers asserted that Robert was a member of the community in good standing. 'Climbers tend to say, 'Oh, this is just bogus, it's like a stunt,' and what it is of course, is pretty badass," Ivan Greene said. Alex Honnold: 'I don't have anything particularly inspiring to say about Alain Robert. Except that he's totally badass.' Matt Samet: 'One word: badass.'"
- What is the deal with Jughead's hat? – This is something the Internet is truly great at: as an archive for the exploration and explanation of the obscure aspects of the familiar. What will future anthropologists make of the Internet of our generation?
- Karachi, Pakistan manufacturing firm produces corsets and fetish wear (for export) – The brothers said Pakistan’s “stone-age production” worked to their advantage. The country, they said, lacks visionary product development. “Everyone’s still making the same products,” Adnan said.
Then, they discovered a kind of straitjacket online. At first, they thought it was used for psychiatric patients, but it quickly led them to learn about the lucrative fetish industry.
Today, they sell their products to online and brick-and-mortar shops, and to individuals via eBay. Their market research, they said, showed that 70 percent of their customers were middle- to upper-class Americans, and a majority of them Democrats. The Netherlands and Germany account for the bulk of their European sales.
“We really believe that if you are persistent and hard working, there is an opportunity, in any harsh environment, even in an economically depressed environment like Pakistan,” Rizwan said.
- Average frustrated chump – for what's a subculture without its jargon? – Often abbreviated "AFC," is seduction community jargon for a heterosexual male who is unsuccessful at finding sexual or romantic relationships with women] This person seeks attraction and longingly desires intimacy, but only finds cordial friendship and platonic love with women. The term AFC is pejorative, and is attributed to NLP teacher Ross Jeffries.
- Seduction? Yeah we've got a group for that – The "seduction community" refers to a loose-knit subculture of men who strive for better sexual and romantic success with women through self-improvement and a greater understanding of social psychology. It exists largely through Internet forums and groups, as well as over a hundred local clubs, called "lairs" Supporters refer to the subculture simply as 'the community" and often call themselves "pickup artists." Origins date back to Eric Weber's 1970 book How to Pick Up Girls.