ArchiveApril 2013

Try it: Graph your Facebook friends


Last week, Stephen Wolfram released a long and interesting analysis of aggregated and anonymized Facebook user data from his Data Donor program. He offers some observations about how Facebook behaviors illustrate the trajectories of people’s lives — how many people they friend, where they settle, and how clusters of friends reflect communities (school, friend, neighborhood). In...

3 tips for timelines


I can still remember the pain of drawing history report timelines during an analog childhood. The inevitable result was a shaky line of unequal width, with at least one or two skips on the ruler, and uneven pointed arrows each end. A career in draughtsmanship did not beckon. Timelines seem like the kind of thing digital technology would solve easily. We’d all agree on a protocol and set of...

Prepare for your digital afterlife


100% of the people who read this post will die. As will 100% of the people who have accounts with Google. And Google’s finally doing something about it with the launch of Inactive Account Manager, an awkwardly-named but sensible service for deciding what to do with your digital legacy. I’ve written about death in the social era before and the need for social web services to develop...

Morning Prayers @ Memorial Church


Today I was lucky enough to speak at the morning prayers service, a Harvard tradition since its founding in 1636 (more here). Many thanks to Jonathan Walton, who is the Pusey Minister of Harvard’s Memorial Church and the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals in the Faculty of Arts & Sciences — and a true proponent of making connections on campus and on Twitter. Good morning. My name is...

Boston Marathon, and the value of social


Please keep checking in.   People often complain about social media. Facebook is time-consuming and pointless and self-aggrandizing and there’s no real connection — yes, all right. Twitter is a constant, exhausting, too-cool-for-school barrage. And both of them leave you feeling a little more distant from everyone, at the price of keeping a line open to everyone you’ve ever met.   But...

Email is dead; long live email


Email is the Rasputin of digital behaviors. 2011 saw a peak in the “email is dead” theme; people complain incessantly about email deluge and time spent in the dreaded inbox; and teens are resisting it (although they’re spending more time online via mobile). Good articles abound about how to fend off email and manage it. And yet, nothing has taken its place: services like Yammer...

Why social content is extra memorable


Turns out that people can remember social content better than a CNN headline, a sentence randomly selected from a book, or even than a human face. Psychology researchers published a fascinating paper back in January that showed through a series of experiments that Facebook posts — chosen with a range of emotions and writing styles — are extraordinarily memorable. But why? A few reasons: the text...

7 tips for solo travel for women


Back from a needed break in Seville — where the rains finally stopped to provide a hint of Spanish spring. In an era when many women are striving to Lean In professionally, I’m surprised how many still express trepidation at the idea of traveling alone. There’s a lot of sensible online advice for logistics, like useful safety tips (and bad things can certainly happen), but far less...

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