Part of the Problem

I have been traveling for work a lot lately and I feel as though, passing through airports, train stations, and a wide variety of other public spaces, there are fewer and fewer unbranded places left. We are quickly reaching a state of hyper commercialism where every bat of the eye is a transaction at once physical, cultural, and economic. In a world filled with ads we are unwitting (and often unwilling) consumers, traded and bargained for by ad execs and sales reps betting we’ll pass through their branded space.

Already fed up with TVs blaring from every lobby corner and storefront window, computer screens embedded in walls and kiosks, and old fashioned billboards and banners everywhere, I was dismayed recently when I turned the corner in my local airport and saw enormous ads being projected onto a formerly clean white wall. However, once I walked by I realized that these projections were much worse than just big ads. Continue reading “Part of the Problem”

Space, Place, Social Networking and Social Change

I hold onto magazines for a long time. A quick survey of my house will turn up a wealth of magazines from the past two years and even a smattering of periodicals from five or text years ago. It is something I picked up from my mom, who had wicker baskets of magazines tucked into every corner of my house growing up. We have book shelves with vast editions of National Geographic and Newsweek. I think the force of this habit, learned at a young age, has combined with two other facets of my personality to create a nearing hording mentality when it comes to these publications. I can’t read magazines cover to cover, and am constantly skipping around – which leaves me convinced that I have missed some great nugget of writing in-between unturned pages. And I love the magazine as a format. I am fascinated with the making of magazines and their history in things like political pamphlets and small presses.

All of which is a preface to my main point. I was recently flipping through an old Smithsonian magazine (fished out of a wicker basket that used to be in my mom’s house but now occupies a corner of my little apartment) and began reading about Jon Kleinberg’s research on social networks and online communities.Continue reading “Space, Place, Social Networking and Social Change”