Something I find a tad annoying about online behaviour these days is the ‘drive by comment’ on social media platforms. This is a remark triggered by a headline that flows by as a link. The commenter doesn’t click the link but merely posts a response based on the headline alone. I’ve been noticing it happening, … More Drive-by commentaries and social media
Back when I was a kid I read an awful lot of science fiction – mostly Clarke, Asimov and Heinlein with a fair amount of Niven, Pournelle and others stirred into the mix. All of them portrayed futures in which the engineering problems that still confront us today had been largely solved. Space travel was … More We are living in Arthur C Clarke’s future
My phone has an annoying habit of doing things by itself. Among other things, it’s made blank Facebook Messenger phone calls to random people on my Facebook friends lists. It frequently mutes itself, meaning I miss calls. And the other day it turned the screen brightness down to almost zero, rendering the phone virtually useless. … More When phones have a mind of their own
I watched ‘The Social Dilemma’ a few days ago, the Netflix semi-dramatised documentary exposing the business model behind social media, and what it’s doing to world society. I wasn’t surprised; the social outcomes have been clear for a while. The ‘confirmation bubbles’ to which social media reduces people are a function of the way in … More The social media dilemma and its consequences
How do you want to be remembered? It’s a pertinent question as our current civilisation apparently enters its end times and the focus turns to the way each of us responds to the growing collapse. But it’s also apt, I think, at any time. Historically, the way famous people are remembered flows from a mix … More How do you want to be remembered?
The year 2020 is upon us. It seems incredible that it’s 20 years since the turn of the millennium – a socially-defined key date in western society where the predominant beliefs were always millenarian, although we have to accept that a ‘millennium’ was sometimes figured to be other than a thousand years, hence the social … More Is 2020 the future of the future?
As the twenty-first century approaches its third decade I am deeply worried about the nature of how social media is served to us. It didn’t really exist twenty years ago when everybody was worried about the ‘millennium bug’ destroying everything. Today it’s engaged by a really significant chunk of every human alive on the planet, … More If it’s free, you’re the product – again
These days, it seems, some people only read headlines before reacting. I suppose it always happened, but social media means the response is right there for everybody to see. Sometimes they get entirely the wrong end of the stick. A while back I published a piece on the early 1950s sex scandal at the Elbe … More It’s annoying when people comment without reading the substance
A few weeks ago there was a rather nasty and violent incident in Queenstown, one of New Zealand’s main tourist traps, involving two groups of passers-by on the street. Something happened, a brawl broke out, and at least two people were stabbed. Apparently it came out of absolutely nowhere. And this sort of thing seems … More Why do people fight each other over nothing?
Something I’ve noticed lately on social media has slightly puzzled me. It happens to me, and I’m sure it happens to others. I always post links to my blog on Facebook – it’s one of the tools available in WordPress, and why not? The link consists of the first words of the post along with … More Why do people react to headlines alone?