America is a religion - God help us

One of the fundamental contradictions of growing up in America that I found so difficult to understand was the alleged separation of church and state.

This article in the Guardian 'America is a religion' reminded me of that palpable tension and how religious fundamentalism is such a core part of life in America.

It is quite noticeable that the zealotry that's so dominant in the American landscape is not a major force here in New Zealand. Maybe it's because most people are Anglo Christians, so there's nobody to convert and preach to, everyone is already on the same page (but we all know that will never stop a preacher from preaching).

I think that the big difference is that Kiwis don't so much talk about the separation of church and state. They live it.

August 1, 2003 in behavior, Current Affairs, Life, New Zealand, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friendster vs Blogger

In reply to my recent post about Friendster Wayne commented...

[snip]

What is a more open, honest way to connect with people online? A blog?

[snip]

Let me be cynical for a brief moment and say that when most people write about themselves [in a blog], there is a thick layer of bullshit. They are presenting who they want to present. It's safe.

[snip]

You can read my full comments, posted after Wayne's.

I absolutely do believe that blogging has substantially raised the quality and standard for connecting with people online.

Blogs and bloggers do raise genuine questions, many do earnestly challenge conventional thinking. I think blogging does require soul searching. I think that meaningful connections and important ideas are occurring on a monumental proportion, like never before, directly as a result of blogging.

July 27, 2003 in behavior, emerging trends, FOAF, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Can't we just be friendsters?

Kevin wrote:
> what the hell is this? a swinger's club?

Yes. But it's also great for ego surfing, apparently. It's kinda like 1992 when you would look at people's AOL profiles.

I don't know. I don't quite get it. I mean I get it, but it's one of those things that I think to myself, "There must be something I'm not getting that makes this so great". But there really isn't. It's massively huge. Addictive according to many.

It seems to be the same social phenomenon that drove chat and IM. Insecurity, vanity, shallow desperation, loneliness, fear of connecting with people in a vulnerable, direct, open, honest and meaningful way. It also seems to be an attempt by try hard hipsters to compete in a popularity contest. The irony of course is that these "neo-hipsters" are actually former outcast geeks back in their awkward teen years.

Okay, that's definitely a cynical bitter view of it. Maybe it is all about having fun, goofing around for kicks. Or just being curious enough to follow your natural instincts to learn about your fellow humans in a genuine attempt to make meaningful connections.

And let me also be the first to say that I am not above all that vain, insecure, popularity seeking try hard shallowness.

There is something about it that I find fascinating. (a) that it's so popular is fascinating and (b) reading what people have to say about my brother has cast him in a somewhat new light for me.

I also do realize that it is foreshadowing the bigger phenomenon. Which is the whole taste networks mob-ocracy, to borrow a euphemism from Howard.

Is it a flash in the pan fad that people will nostalgically cringe about tomorrow? Probably. But this is just carrying on the tradition of AOL profiles, which I'm sure had many predecessors, and this will have many a successor that's equally shallow and addictive.

Oh. And just in case you want to be my friendster, here's the link: http://www.friendster.com/user.jsp?id=69039

July 26, 2003 in behavior, emerging trends, FOAF, Life, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Digital pocket devices: the long view?

Erik poses a question: in 5 years will we all have pocket devices that are more powerful and more useful than any desktop computer is today? I think the answer is fairly well confirmed in Smartmobs.

My response: I absolutely believe that in 5+ years a good proportion of the digerati - ie, people now blogging - will carry a single pocket device with them that is their communicator, their electronic identity, their electronic bank and payment processor, their digital content and preferences container - in short, their primary INTERFACE and connection to everything that they do and know in the world.

Having said that, it does remind me of the overly opptimistic projections we had at General Magic. It was over 10 years ago that I developed a design for a device that was supposed to be General Magic's 3rd gen device - 5 years out. Smart phones (or Media Phones as I called it way back when) are only NOW starting to show up on the market, 10 years later.

My concept design from 1992...

The real thing circa 2002...


July 21, 2003 in behavior, emerging trends, future tech, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Smoking really does make you look hip and sexy

Why couldn't that geezer in Santa Monica have mowed down a group like this?

I marvel at this phenomenon. This and the cancer lounge at airports. And to think that once upon a time people were permitted to smoke on airplanes.

July 21, 2003 in behavior, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack