Idealistic love

Sometimes, I’m so glad I was never this idealistic. I never once thought that I would find “The One” on my first time out. I never lived a fantasy life in my head of traveling and idealizing things that I had no real idea about.

It’s interesting to now be writing about this article, after reading/writing about how homophobia hurts straight men. I’ve always wondered what people think of when they read books by the Lost Generation, that generation of the grew up during WWI, affected by the war. From my understanding, this was essentially a generation who lost their youth – having had to serve in WWI or at least witness what was going on.  It’s not about a carefree lifestyle, but rather a general disaffection towards society and societal norms. Expats in France are what we traditionally think of when we think of the Lost Generation. Their disaffection comes off as being aloof and romantic – moving from place to place without any worries.

To bring it up to modern times, they are a little bit like hipsters – mobile, untethered lifestyles, attempts to be at the forefront of culture. However, the Lost Generation has a reason behind their attitude. To witness something of the scale of WWI can severely affect anyone – they are firsthand witnesses to the effects of war, be it losing a loved one or fighting in the war itself. Their response is to live life to the fullest – to experience things that they haven’t before and may never get to.

I’m unsure about their thoughts on love. Do they take the same approach to love as they do with their careers and experiences? Do they jump from one love to another, wanting to experience as many different versions of love as possible? I would think they would drag the love of their lives to everywhere they go, ceaselessly jumping from job to job, country to country. This is such an idealistic lifestyle – nothing can really come out of it.

I feel that we have an innate need to settle down sometimes. I don’t mean the American dream of the white picket fence and the the 2.5 kids and dog. But that we all feel that urge to have some normalcy in our lives. At this point in my life, I don’t think I can deal with permanency. I love the idea of being able to pack up and leave at a moments notice. I hate that I’ve tied myself down to items – I’m such a materialistic person and it makes me feel terrible. I idealize the technomads for what they do, but can’t really imagine myself doing that.

Perhaps later on in my life, I will get that urge. I will feel the desire to settle down with a loved one. It could happen soon, it could happen later. Right now? I’m just trying to live life…Everything’s gonna be okay….

Source: Would Hemingway Cry?

The backlash against things not considered “masculine”

It’s funny to read this article – I just finished reading a book called American Nerd, in which there was a section describing why there is such hatred towards the nerd and what Americas reaction towards the nerd was like in the early part of this century. The backlash against the nerd was that nerds in general behaved in a way that was non-traditionally masculine, eschewing things like sports, physicality, grunting (kidding!) – things we think of when we think of JOCK. It was almost as if Nerds were launching an attack on the American male, and so the JOCK and the persecution against nerds started.

The concept of intimacy between men is not always about a sexual nature. There are cases in which men are close to each other and show intimacy by being friends and caring for each other. One can see this still in Korea, where men can be seen holding hands and actually showing emotions. This was the norm apparently in America before the 20th century.

Think of America, pre-Industrial Revolution. People were moving from the farm to the city, losing the supposed masculinity of working on a farm. To many people, this meant that men were become sissies. I guess that showing emotions was okay for men pre-Industrial Revolution since they were also doing hyper masculine things on the farm. However, they lose this identity when they move to the city and become urbanized. The backlash against non-masculine ideals becomes stronger because they are no longer balanced by farm work. Men are discouraged from acting in anyway unmasculine, or else their masculinity will be called into question.

This is getting a bit long winded, but I guess my point is that homophobia is hurtful to everyone. For gay people, it hurts because of the general stigma against homosexuality, leading to gay bashing, suicides, depression, etc. For straight men, it discourages anything that could be construed as homosexual behavior. This doesn’t mean intercourse or even anything remotely sexual. This includes what has been traditionally thought of as feminine ideals – such as showing emotions, physical affection, etc.

Source: Homophobia Hurts Straight Men Too

Slacktivism: I’m too lazy to care

As much as I’m a fan of social networks and social media, I think to say that they are a major push for change and reform in society is a bit much.

There are some things that people can argue about social media, and I would support their statements:

1) Social media brings awareness to people that would normally not be aware of world events. To use Gladwells example – Save Darfur. I remember seeing this campaign/statement everywhere when I was in college. Mainly though, I saw it on the Internet, on peoples Facebook pages. When I saw it in real life, it was usually tied to an event organized on Facebook. But, as Gladwell claims, liking something is not the same as supporting it. Yes more people are aware of the situation, but they don’t really do anything about it or make their voice heard.

2) Social media is a great way to organize events, specifically rallys and such. You are able to get a message out to lots of people at the same time, and to get people to attend.

While these two things really are what I think of when I think of the power of Social Media for change, there is still something to be said about real human interaction.

Gladwell brings up a very good point in saying that “the risk-free kinds of relationship that technology promotes are the antithesis of genuine complex human interaction.” I don’t know if people really think that online interaction is in any way shape or form similar to actual human interaction, but I feel that some people rely on it way to much. I know I do. I mean, look at me. I’m on facebook and twitter interacting with people I’ve never met! I’d rather hang out with them in person, but unfortunately, we live so far apart that’s not a possibility.

I just think it makes people feel good to “like” some cause, because they feel they are getting the word out…but how about you actually do something about the cause instead of just liking it?

Source: Twitter and Facebook cannot change the real world, says Malcolm Gladwell

A fractal/recursive social network

Today’s announcement of a modified Groups feature brought out my latent mathiness (the concept of recursion/fractals)  with this thought – that Facebook is now opening up…a Facebook.

From my understanding of Groups, it will be a closed social network that you can invite subgroups of your friends to, kind of what Facebook was like in the beginning. Great and hopefully useful feature.

However, some points:

1) It’s a nice feature because then you can create subject specific groups. In my case, it would probably be Family, Library Dorks, Grad School, Work

2) If your goal is to communicate to specific groups, then yay. If your goal is to exclude people, then boo. If you have to exclude people, why did you add them in the first place?

The Mashable article makes the point that I wanted to make – why is there a need to cloister ourselves inside Facebook? It’s probably because we have added people we don’t want to interact with and now, through a lack of regulated social media etiquette, we don’t know what to do about them. Do we delete them? Do we block them? Do we hide them? Will they know?

Source: Groups feature is the new Facebook

Hyperlocal ads

Two things come out at me from this article, about Google moving towards a hyperlocal ad revenue stream

1) Before, I would have said this was a major invasion of privacy, using the phones GPS unit, or triangulating the location using the cell towers, to send out local ads to Google results. But really, this is useful for a lot of people. While many searches done today are not necessarily location-dependent, those who are searching on the go, on their mobile devices, probably care about the distance to what they are searching for. From personal experience, I know that when I Google something on the go, it’s because I’m curious as to its location. However, this doesn’t necessarily have to be on – I usually do this in the Maps application, which is supposed to be able to access the GPS unit and NOT necessarily store my searches and connect it to my google screenname. hmm, sounds like I’m being suspicious, but I’m not! i think it’s great to allow for local searching. Trust me. I’ll all for it.

2) Googles comment about how they envision the majority of their revenue coming from mobile searches. Interesting comment – I wonder how they quantify this. Do they have a projection setup predicting the number of mobile users in the future compared to desktop users? I supposed they’ve seen more traffic coming in from mobile versions of popular browsers – how do they account for users of the Google mobile app? When I did a brief research project on user perceptions of mobile device usage, I found that people were still using Google SMS to do their searches for them. I’m not too familiar with this, but I imagine Google doesn’t get much, if any, revenue for this…do they sell your number to get revenue?

Anyway…I, for one, look forward to our Overlord Google dominating us. I say this while I Google news articles in Google Chrome…

Source: Google Brings Hyperlocal Ads to Mobile Search

I wish I had stuck with being a CSandE major…

Sometimes, I really regret giving up on being a programmer/engineer. I started UCLA as a Computer Science and Engineering major, but dropped out after a semester to transition to Math, then eventualy to a double major in Math and Sociology.

Along the way, I ended up taking some basic programming classes – I did fairly well in C++ and studied MatLab in a few of my math classes. But in the end, I don’t have the programming background to really get a computer type job. It’s only know that I’m four years out of college that I’m realizing how useful a programming background could be, especially with the types of things I enjoy doing.

I love doing web design, which is not programming, but could take bits of code, such as PERL or Javascript.

I want to get involved more in interactive design, user interfaces, etc. I’m trying to learn Ruby on Rails and PHP.

It’s just really time consuming, to do those things along with everything else I’m doing with my life.

It’s terrible to think that there is a whole generation of kids who are excited and willing to join the military to fly the latest plane or man the newest drone – but they can’t program them to save their lives. It feels like a consequence of the digital age – though we are surrounded by new technology, we are not really aware of the inner workings of it. We take things for face value.

Source: Why Johnny Can’t Program: A New Medium Requires A New Literacy

How did we come up with our idea of reality?

So I’m currently trying to get through this book that I found at Barnes and Noble: The Construction of Social Reality. It’s kinda too deep for me, and it makes me feel like I’m back at UCLA studying for my sociology classes, but I like it.

It’s been a while since I’ve been challenged on a different level by a book. Most of my reading for SJSU SLIS has been technical reading – learning how to do things not learning about how things work (especially in a sociological sense). I’m only about 10 pages in, but it’s already really good and has forced me to reread everything twice to make sure I understand everything.

Here’s an example:

With consciousness comes intentionality, the capacity of the mind to represent objects and states of affairs in the world other than itself.

-John Searle, The Construction of Social Reality

In this case, intentionality is not about cause/effect, but rather aboutness – so an object or thought has intentionality when can be about something or create something…I think? See? It’s confusing…and it’s only the tenth page!

I have a feeling I’ll be reading this book very, very, VERY slowly….

Creator Glut

One thing that I’ve been meaning to do has been to do stuff. I’m in this rut where I just don’t feel like doing anything cool.

I haven’t knitted anything in forever. I haven’t finished any of my art projects. I haven’t been studying Processing.

Looks like I’m not only in this rut. According to a new study, less people are creating content. Less new content, more eyeballs looking at the same content. This is definitely a bad thing in terms of Internet culture – with the same users creating content, this can fork one of two ways: we might end up with creators constantly reinventing themselves to come up with new and exciting ideas, or we might end up with creators rehashing the same, stale ideas constantly.

I’d like to hope that new creators show up – maybe teens or young adults just discovering their voice, encouraged by what they see on the Internet, transitioning from a Spectator to a Creator. Older people can contribute as well – they offer a different perspective on the Internet and Internet culture as whole. I especially would like to see those on the cusp to partake in creation – those users who were born in the 80s and know what it’s like to not use a computer to do their homework, but also have lived through the digital revolution. The Digital Half-Natives.

Source:Social Networking Users are Creating Less Content

way too much information, all the time