This is a quick note that will only be important to a few of you, I imagine. As you probably have noticed by now, grammar is not my strongest gift. I sometimes struggle (ofttimes?) to get the words to communicate the thoughts I want to express. I’ve subscribed to Grammarly for a while now, but it’s been hard to access the service when writing on a desktop computer. (Either a windows pc or a Macintosh.) […]
Walter Ong, a Jesuit who studied linguistics was fascinated by the difference between oral and literary cultures. Oral cultures value one sort of communication structure and literate ones another. (The difference is explained in The Atlantic article by Robinson Meyer linked below.) Twitter (and to a similar degree Facebook, and I guess in a way even Instagram and Snapchat) represents an intersection between the oral and literary communication paradigms. Meyer writes: Before Ong died in […]
We’ve become slaves to the pace of the technology in our lives. My “epiphany” this first week of Epiphany was that I don’t have to let myself get caught up in the machine pace of daily life, especially when I’m on a break.
Here’s hoping that this helps real journalists find a way to make a living doing what we need them to do.
In an article that examines the root cause of the problem with most of all of social media, but particularly about Facebook, Nichil Sonnad makes the following observation: Arendt [the Israeli psychologist who analyzed Nazi Adolf Eichman] concludes that it was neither sadism nor hatred that drove Eichmann to commit these historic crimes. It was a failure to think about other people as people at all. A “decisive” flaw in his character, writes Arendt, was […]
Our hyper-networked world has given us super-human powers. Sometimes this has been beneficial. But of late, there is a dangerous side to being able to communicate quickly and without the need to reflect. At least two dozen people have been killed in mob lynchings in India since the start of the year, their deaths fueled by rumors that spread on WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging service. In Brazil, messages on WhatsApp falsely claimed a government-mandated yellow-fever […]
The Original Sin of the Internet is that it pays its bills by selling our attention to the highest bidder. We’ve been focusing on Facebook at the moment, but as Ethan Zuckerman points out in an essay on the Atlantic.com site, Facebook is a symptom, not the problem. I’ve referred to this bargain, in which people get content and services for free in exchange for having persuasive messages psychographically targeted to them, as the “original sin” […]
Human experience is that technology is born filled with promise and usually quickly subverted to less than honorable ends. Wired reports on the way big tech, specifically Facebook, recognized what it had done, and what it thinks it can do to respond: This is the story of those two years [before and after the 2016 election], as they played out inside and around the company. WIRED spoke with 51 current or former Facebook employees for […]
Here in Rhode Island, those of us working in communications ministry are trying to gather quarterly to talk about our work, share tips and see how we can do things better. At the first of our gatherings I was given the task of presenting on “the theology of church communications”. This is the video of that presentation. It’s not… horrible. Actually, it’s rather entertaining to watch me fling the microphone cable around as I flail […]
Benedict Evans asks us to consider the full implications of the coming revolution in automobiles: the self-driving car. If you think Uber is a disruptive force in transportation, just think about the implications of these sorts of vehicles on something as mundane as parking your car in the city: [I]f your car doesn’t need to wait for you where you got out, then city-centre car parks disappear and retail gets remade (such of it as […]