Things of note for the week ending Friday 3rd July, 2015.
1. THE LOST ART OF READING
I read a post this week, entitled ‘‘Marginalia’, the ‘anti-library’, and other ways to master the lost art of reading’ – and it actually made me want to read even more.
I’ve got the Kindle app on my iPad and on my phone too but bizarrely this had made me want to purchase a hardware Kindle so that my reading isn’t constantly interrupted by incessant notifications (mono-tasking FTW, yo).
Give it a read, see how/if it inspires you to read more too.
2. FACEBOOK EXPERIMENTS(?)
This has been everywhere of late (so much so that I was very close to not including it – this list is here to show you new things, yes?) but it’s still super interesting.
After last week’s [phenomenal] decision by the US Supreme Court that same-sex marriage is a Constitutional right, Facebook profiles everywhere turned awash with rainbow colours.
Facebook itself made it possible for its users to, in just one click, create a rainbow-variant of their profile photos.
It didn’t take long for the more cynical network anthropologists to start joking about how it could be all be one big Facebook experiment.
For me, there are perhaps two schools of thought here:
FIRST: Mark Zuckerberg wears his political beliefs on his sleeve. The drive for equality and openness has been an underlying driver of all things Facebook since its inception (to its own detriment at times) and while it’s easy to dismiss it as ‘just another data test’, ‘you are the product’, etc etc – it’s not often such hidden motives are so well thought about.
‘Hey guys! SCOTUS just announced that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right!’
‘What?! NO WAY!’
cue: campus-wide cheering
‘Guys! I’ve made this thing, look!’
*one click changes to rainbow*
‘That’s awesome – roll it out!’
We’ve seen how Facebook can get over-excited by its own inventions before. And I totally buy that this could be how it happened. It may have had the feature on the back burner for such a day or it may have even made it for PRIDE and the SCOTUS decision gave it the uber-amplification nudge that it needed. Who knows.
SECOND: With all the data collected from this service-wide (ish) photo u[date (and given all research conducted to date – see also ‘Dunbar’s Number’), you know that Facebook will absolutely be using this latest spike in mass-user profile change to further its ongoing research into networked behaviour and the effects therein.
So in answer to the question ‘Was the whole thing a social experiment or not?’ I propose the answer of ‘No it wasn’t, but the accidental data thereafter will certainly be analysed as if it was.
And why not?
In a world where slacktivism is encouraged/challenged depending on your opinion, knowing if a simple profile photo change contributed to any profound effect to the way users both interacted with its platform as well as each other, makes a very interesting white paper indeed.
Let’s just hope Facebook publishes it.
3. THE WALTZER KICK-STARTER
Nigel Edginton-Vigus has been capturing fairground art for over twenty years. Not just any old fairground art mind, specifically the art of the The Waltzer.
As Nigel himself explains in his Kickstarter video, the art of the Waltzer is actually quite surprising (covering everything from Will Smith to Hellraiser to Marilyn Monroe) and while the photography itself looks excellent, it’s the history of these rides that interests me the most.
‘What’s that love? You want another art book for the coffee table? Will do!’
4. THE PRESS RELEASE IS DEAD
I’ve known Mike Butcher for years. Editor at large of TechCrunch Europe nee UK and at the forefront of the tech / startup bleeding edge, the man has to deal with a LOT PR pitches.
And a lot of them are awful.
Mike is proposing a new system in its place.
In PR? Read this.
Ps. That smart lad Ben Matthews has gone and templated it for you too. What a ledge.
5. READ THIS
At the top of this week’s FTOF I extolled the virtures of reading.
Do me/yourself a favour and start with this heart-wrenching piece by Guardian US Correspondent, Gary Younge, ‘Farewell to America‘.
Powerful. Moving. Saddening.
It’s the best thing I’ve read all week.
– – – Bonuses – – –
There are LOADS of bonuses this week, what will you do with all of this bonus goodness? Read it, maybe? Or just simply open in a new tab and only return to it in about a fortnight? Who knows what you’ll do. Either way, here that are:
- X-Men: Days of Future Past – The Rogue Cut is, as the name implies, a new cut of the most recent X-movie with all of the previously cut Anna Paquin footage re-edited into the film, it’s coming to Blu-ray later this month and, as is the norm for these kinds of things, the first clips are appearing online. Worth a look.
- The Greek Bailout in charts.
- Stop saying ‘just’ (try it).
- Here in the UK, we’ve been basking in MENTAL SUNSHINE all week. It’s gorgeous. If you’re enjoying the summer, then here’s the Spotify playlist you’ve been waiting for.
- These backstage Hollywood photos are lush.
Right, that’s me done.
THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE.