a more mobile, transparent web: on crackberries and twittering

over the past few months, the ways in which i interact with the internet have undergone a dramatic shift- one i attribute chiefly to the introduction of twitter and my new blackberry storm, which now looks like this:

Blackberry smash!! and i thought they were supposed to be really hard to break! i had avoided acquiring a fancy mobile device for precisely this reason, as i am exceptionally talented at destruction and chaos. thankfully, the insurance on this baby means i get a brand new storm for just $50 – which pays for itself, considering that I’ve now acquired an additional media card and battery.

no, i don’t know how it happened. i keep it in a holster on my hip, so the only thing i could think of was that i smashed it with my (admittedly rather pointy) elbow…

i had feared becoming a total crackberry addict, but it actually hasn’t been overly demanding. it vibrates when i receive an email, text message, or phone call, and i use it primarily to get directions, do my email on the subway, and to check twitter at various points throughout my day.

Twitter has become my primary source of news and entertainment. i don’t follow many people, but those i do are always interesting. in addition, it enables me to become a citizen journalist in my own right. the other day, i was running a dog along the chelsea piers when that plane landed miraculously and gracefully on the hudson. no, i didn’t see it personally, but it was impossible not to notice when the west side highway fast became populated with flashing lights and sirens. it seemed like every cop car and ambulance in the city had raced to the scene. my fingers itched for my blackberry, which had sadly been busted just the day prior. i raced home to tweet about it. that was actually the first impulse i had.

the smartmobs blog has been posting a lot of stories about twitter lately. this post talks about how twitter kept the city of toronto informed and connected when the power went out on a bitterly cold night, and this one discusses how the UK is starting to use twitter to promote transparency between citizens and their elected representatives.

I downloaded an interesting case study of Twitter last month: Social networks that matter: Twitter under the microscope. The researchers conclude by contradicting the common claim that examining online social networks implies a definite bond between connections. In the case of Twitter, those you follow and those who follow you often don’t sync up. I don’t use Twitter to keep in touch with my friends, I use it for functions that are quite distinct from one another: personal broadcasting and personal preference in the kinds of information i enjoy consuming in bite-size pieces.

My favorite twitterers? Howard Rheingold (who runs the Smart Mobs blog and tweets regularly about his digital journalism class and social media in the classroom) and John Maeda (president of RISD and producer of amazingly profound aphorisms).sign up and follow me! 😉

i heart future folk records!

All the things that this blog is about, that my research is about, are beginning to be truly realized in the work of my friends at Future Folk Records. Let’s just say that, for my friend Rod, unemployment + immense creativity & talent + love = this website, where you can find tons of awesome (free) music, media, and art.

Their ideology? As stated on their site:

What is Future Folk Music?

Folk music is the music people make in their own homes, with their own limited resources, for themselves and the people around them. It is the music people use to define their identities, whatever those identities may be. Folk music is the music of community.

The future is now. Cliché as it may sound, technology now makes it possible for networks of likeminded individuals the world over to connect as easily as if they lived in the same neighborhood. Countless numbers of people the world over are now all a part of the same community.

This is the ideology that fuels Future Folk Records. We believe that art is too important to be treated as a commodity. If you want to hear our music, take it. It’s yours. We only hope it provides you with a fraction of the joy and fulfillment it has given us.

If you are an artist of any medium who would like a place in the Future Folk Records community, we encourage you to contact us at: futurefolkrecords@gmail.com.

A snippet:

i <3 future folk records

shaking off the cobwebs.

As much as I enjoyed my vacation with the boy’s fam, I’ve determined that I’m not really a *vacation type*. It’s disorienting, and I feel as though my mind has lost its edge, like loose elastic with no snap left. In the past month, there’s been a good deal of broken glass: I acquired a Blackberry Storm and somehow broke the screen, and also had my car broken into and had to get three windows and a rearview mirror replaced. Our lease is up next month and we’ve already found an awesome sublet in Chelsea, so we will be spending our final four months in NYC in high style.

I’ve been hard at work crafting my first two publications, both book chapters for edited collections. One is a revised version of the final chapter of my thesis, an ethnographic account of processes of remembrance and commemoration of the dead on Facebook. It will hopefully be accepted as one of the final chapters in The Psychology of Facebook, edited by BJ Fogg. The other chapter, “Weaving the Underground Web: Neotribalism and Psytrance on Tribe.net,” is for a collection titled Psytrance: Local Scenes and Global Culture, edited by the marvelous Graham St. John.

Additionally, I’ve applied to seven different Ph.D programs, all located in California with the exception of Brown’s Modern Culture and Media Program. I am hoping at least one of them will accept me and offer decent funding so that I have a direction when we move to California in June. It’s simultaneously terrifying and exciting that I won’t really know where the hell I’ll be come August, but I fully intend on adventuring my way westward. Give a shout if you’d like us to hit you up on our travels. My car is already fully stocked with a tent, an air mattress, and a brand new campfire coffeepot 😉

Next up on the agenda: Crafting a book proposal for The Virtual Campfire, and finally getting to work on percolating the website projects that have been brewing for far too many months.