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Monthly Archives: April 2016

You need to let it breathe

I wanted to enjoy this documentary about wine sommeliers, but I couldn’t get over how unlikable most of the subjects were. Plus, the whole “Master’s exam” has an unpleasant fraternal odor to it. Then again, maybe I’m just jealous that I don’t get to spend every waking moment consumed by (and consuming) wine history and culture.

I love libraries. I plan to live in one someday.

I recently started following Tressie McMillan Cottom, Professor of Sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University, on Twitter and then quickly added her to my “do not miss!” list. Her recent interview with WordPress has some great quotes about writing, teaching, and libraries. 

On blogging:

“[A]s my mother always told me, “If the lease isn’t in your name, you’re homeless.” You have to have a place of your own to take the kind of risks necessary for intellectual development.”

On libraries:

“Oh! I just love libraries. Love them. I plan to live in one someday.”

On learning:

“We can come to know alone, but to learn we have to be social. If I cannot translate my research into praxis and my praxis into research then I don’t really know what I’m talking about.”

Read more on her blog.

We’re eating ourselves alive

“Our current version of the internet lives and breathes off a currency of human attention. With the success and failure of many internet companies predicated on how much of a person’s time they can capture.” Jesse Weaver, Instagram and the cult of the attention web.

After stepping away from Facebook and Twitter for a month and subsisting on a diet of chronologically, self-customized feeds instead of algorithmily-defined ones, I realized how empty much of that content is. Also, I miss Google Reader.

March 30-day challenge: Twitter and Facebook

During the past 30 days, I decided to take a break from Twitter and Facebook. Here’s what I discovered:

Facebook

I didn’t miss it much and, to my surprise, there wasn’t much in terms of news and announcements that I wasn’t able to get from other sources. There is one professional group that provides me access to information that I can’t get anywhere else (without as little effort) and it’s necessary for me to be on Facebook for my job, but I could easily let my profile go dark, quietly exit that space, and only use the FB messenger app to stay in contact with friends.

Twitter

This was much more difficult to ignore. For real-time events, conversations, and news, there really isn’t an alternative for me. While I was certainly able to get by without it, I missed checking in during breaking news and, most of all, connecting with the community there. One obvious benefit: it’s been much easier for me to single-task. So I’m torn on whether I want to return to my previous levels of engagement.