nora at inkstain

February 17th, 2009

“Why are you friends with the Mayor?” “So I can send him pokemon, duh!”

Posted by nora in internet drama, politics, wikiality

Some of you may remember when I began annoying the Mayor on Facebook.

Well, after posting one too many sarcastic remarks on his status updates, it seems he has defriended me. He also defriended my friend Devin, who suggested something that has since been deleted about how he can’t make the economic stimulus work for Albuquerque and he should have a drink and get caught running a stoplight instead.

Did I mention I have the best friends ever?

Oh well. I guess it could’ve been worse.

January 4th, 2009

Twitter and Me

Posted by nora in wikiality

I’ve been using a lot of Twitter lately, and I’ve also been spending a lot of time trying to explain Twitter to people. Here’s the basic explanation of what you can do with Twitter:

Post whatever you want as long as it’s under 140 characters.

To which people reply with “why”. What can you say in 140 characters?

Here are some of the things I say:

  • happy new year. if you’re reading this: drink some fucking water. you’ll thank me tomorrow.
  • The wind outside is literally howling and the sunlight peaking out from the clouds makes the fluttering leaves sparkle a bit. #NMWeather
  • Snow-covered trees in the foregroud of my window seem to make headlights flicker and tremble as cars drive past, grabbing my attention.
Twitter creates a dialogue between people as well. A lot of my Twitter feed is me bantering with my dad about things. People find it amusing. It’s also been a good way to get to know people I admire– mainly comic artists and podcasters– which is always fun.
Also, it’s how I found out that UNM had a position for a student on their web team. I am much happier at my new job than at my old job.
A problem with Twitter is that there are things that you cannot say in 140 characters. Here is a list of things that usually take more than 140 characters:
  • Short stories
  • Newspaper articles
  • Blog entries
  • Love letters
  • Novels
  • Scholarly essays
Luckily, mediums like this already exist:
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Blogs
  • Email
  • Books
  • Journals
So even if you use Twitter, you still have the option of publishing things that you cannot say in 140 characters in other mediums. You cannot, however, make poetic comments about the weather or banter about the dead cow you saw on the Rail Runner today in those other mediums, so I’m gonna keep using Twitter.
Further reading:
May 21st, 2008

wishing for Harajuku Fun Madness

For anyone interested in a “rabbit hole” of a possible new alternate reality game that JC Hutchins found, check this out. I know some of you are clever/obsessive enough to be interested in this kind of a game, but I don’t have any ideas of where to go with the information given so far.

May 16th, 2008

on not knowing

Cory Doctorow started out a recent BoingBoing post with ” If you know me, you know I…” and I had this weird feeling.

“I know that,” I thought to myself. “But I don’t know you.”

Internet fame breeds a really interesting sort of faux-intimacy with all of these celebrities. I follow a bunch of people I’ve never met (and likely never will) on Twitter. I get to see JC Hutchins go through fits of creative genius (he’s doing one now with this John Alpha for President idea). I hear when Annalee Newitz’s computer starts making horrible fan noises.

I don’t know exactly where I’m going with this, it’s just a weird observation– I keep catching myself almost repeating things I heard on I Should Be Writing with a “A friend told me that…” because that really tends to be the tone of new media.

I’m not sure if it’s a sort of pathetic “imaginary friend” thing or if it’s a really, really good way to do publicity. I guess time will tell.

May 3rd, 2008

Eastern Standard Wampeter

So I’m thinking more on the Cat’s Cradle/Eastern Standard Tribe methods of grouping people and on my combination of them both. Here’s what I’m thinking now.

In Cat’s Cradle, the karass, or god-chosen group of people, always revolves around two objects, known as “wampeters”, one of which is waxing in importance and one of which is waning. Here’s what I’m thinking of the Tribes right now:

  • They are internet-based counter-cultures. Their members are alienated from mainstream American society.
  • One can be a member of more than one Tribe and there are some with significant overlap. The podcast fiction Tribe has a lot of overlap with the BoingBoing-style blogging Tribe.
  • Each Tribe has a waning “wampeter” that is the center of cultural understanding in that particular Tribe.
  • Each Tribe has at least one waxing wampeter that is to become the new wampeter after the old one become passe.

I’m postulating that the wampeter of my Tribe, which is the BoingBoing-style blogging Tribe, is currently xkcd. I know I’ve waxed poetic about this comic before, but it’s quickly becoming the new hub around which this particular brand of internet culture revolves. Munroe manages to capture perfectly how the members of my Tribe think and we revolve around him for that reason.

I’m pretty sure our last wampeter was Questionable Content, which is still an important part of that culture but one which is not as central to it as it used to be. I think that the wampeter of the fiction podcast tribe is Scott Sigler, but since I’m not really a part of that I could be wrong. One could probably make a good argument for Escape Pod being the wampeter there too.

April 26th, 2008

Eastern Standard Grandfalloon

I’m waiting for the day when, if you tell someone ‘I’m from the internet’, instead of laughing they just ask ‘oh, what part?’ (Alt text to xkcd #256)

Anyone who’s spoken to me for an extended period time in the past few months has probably heard about my fascination with Eastern Standard Tribe, which gives the idea of “Tribes”:

Tribes are agendas. Aesthetics. Ethos. Traditions. Ways of getting things done. They’re competitive. They may not all be based on time-zones. There are knitting Tribes and vampire fan-fiction Tribes and Christian rock tribes, but they’ve always existed. Mostly, these tribes are little more than a sub-culture. It takes time-zones to amplify the cultural fissioning of fan-fiction or knitting into a full-blown conspiracy. Their interests are commercial, industrial, cultural, culinary. A Tribesman will patronize a fellow Tribesman’s restaurant, or give him a manufacturing contract, or hire his taxi. Not because of xenophobia, but because of homophilia: I know that my Tribesman’s taxi will conduct its way through traffic in a way that I’m comfortable with, whether I’m in San Francisco, Boston, London or Calcutta. I know that the food will be palatable in a Tribal restaurant, that a book by a Tribalist will be a good read, that a gross of widgets will be manufactured to the exacting standards of my Tribe.

We’re not yet in a world that distinguishes itself like the Tribes in EST do, but I think the social groups I run with are getting increasingly alienated from their peers in a way that encourages this kind of Tribalism. We aren’t divided by time zone but by frame of reference; most of us are indoctrinated enough in internet culture that Randall Munroe is a far more important figure than Britney Spears could ever hope to be. EST posits that “…anyone outside of the tribe is only mostly human,” and that’s very much akin to the philosophy I’m used to seeing; we’ll give individuals the benefit of the doubt but society as a whole we see as a sort of teeming mass of ignorance.

I’m not sure that Doctorow’s got it completely right in how he lays the Tribes out; the way he puts it, groups in certain areas end up forming Tribes with people outside of that time zone who reset their clocks to show affiliation to people in a different area who share the same aesthetic/philosophy that they do. I think that with the internet becoming so many people’s primary culture/affiliation it’s unlikely that we’re going to end up fragmenting ourselves in the real world way more than we ever have before. I’m predicting an explosion of global subcultures– it’s going to go way beyond the punk scene, the emo scene, the indie scene, etc when there are enough /b/tards in any given area to form social cliques in high schools/colleges.

I’m also trying to relate this to Vonnegut’s idea of a karass (from Cat’s Cradle). A karass is a group of people rotating around some particular object, doing God’s work, and the people who you find yourself inexplicably caught up with, whether you like them or not, are members of yours. A false karass (“grandfalloon”) is a group who thinks they are more important than a karass– Hoosiers, nations, sports teams, etc. I guess this would classify the tribes as grandfalloons, except the idea of the Tribes is much easier to apply to my life than that of a karass– there are only a couple people who I could identify as definite members of my karass, who I know in unlikely enough ways to think that we have been driven together by any sort of higher power, but almost all of the people I spend time with I was able to connect with in the first place because they are my Tribesmen; they share an outlook that I understand.

March 5th, 2008

a thousand fans

Interesting thing on BoingBoing today: being an artist is sustainable when one has 1,000 “true” (read: hardcore) fans. Nice application of the Long Tail bit:

A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name.

It does make me a bit worried, though. I’m a member of fandom, which would make be a fairly hardcore fan, but I’m definitely not someone who could be counted as a “True Fan” of anything I’m a fan of. I’d love to see this idea applied to webcomics, where one would have to switch out their entire wardrobe to be a “true fan” who’s bought everything in the Questionable Content store.

Many BoingBoing readers seem to think the entire idea is overly optimistic, though:

“In the Big Rock Candy Mountains, there’s a land that’s fair and bright,
The handouts grow on bushes and you sleep out every night
Where the boxcars all are empty and the sun shines every day
On the birds and the bees and the cigarete trees,
The lemonade springs where the bluebird sings
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains”

February 19th, 2008

I need those to drive

Posted by nora in wikiality

I end up in a sort of philosophical dilemma whenever Google can’t answer my questions.

February 5th, 2008

hostility of the takeover

Posted by nora in internet drama, wikiality

Originally uploaded by ososment

Alright, so I’ll state this up front: I don’t hate Microsoft any more than your average Windows user. I don’t use Linux, and though I do cheer for the little open source guys when they win their battles, I obviously don’t have enough faith in them to make the switch.

I’m also not a major Yahoo user. I don’t use the search engine, I don’t use Flickr (much), I’m irritated with their maps project. However, I can’t help this ominous feeling that we’re all totally fucked.

MS!Graffiti, MS!Flickr, MS!Doodle… MS!Geocities. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The end comes nigh! Ours is deserved damnation!

Now playing: Michael Penn – Me Around (Live)
via FoxyTunes

January 30th, 2008

Periodic art table

Posted by nora in art, wikiality

Those of you with an interest in printmaking or the periodic table of the elements will find this massively collaborative art project interesting.

Also, I just noticed that I keep categorizing practically everything on this blog as “wikiality”. The idea of a reality based on what people on the internet think is just so fascinating to me that I pretty much have to apply it to everything, I guess.

Now playing: The Beatles – Two Of Us
via FoxyTunes

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