Is privacy the new taboo?

I’ve been online now for just over 5 years. Recently I accidentally found the first video I made of myself, where I self-consciously wondered whether the information broadcasting movement I was about to join had any relevance, or whether it was a half-witted attempt to engage in broader but seemingly disconnected discourses, as half-witted as the information selected for the Voyager time capsule meant for both future generations and extraterrestrials, now spinning around in outer space.

No, I am not going to share it. Too much information.

My blog is again disconnected. I’ve effectively shut down the communication overload that was making me spend more time than I could afford or than was good for me on the internet. Other bloggers are doing similar things it seems, as many networks with their own channels have formed. Facebook is the new general watering hole, and that too will need reducing. Facebook is scary. And that’s me saying it, someone who has shared domestic scenes and childhood memories on her professional blog. It’s the interconnectedness of everything that is so disturbing. It costs the wrong kind of time to keep up, and makes finding things so easy for the wrong kind of people.

I just watched the film on the Anonymous movement and am really somewhat taken aback by the extreme change in attitude that seems to have developed not only among hackers, but among many young people in general that the public has the right to know pretty much anything at any time, certainly about people with any kind of social or economic or political power. It used to be that you had to understand history to understand the now in perspective. I studied history for that reason. Today, history is history. Recently, the loud and pervasive advice to normal people who venture online is: forget privacy, you’ve long lost it. So it seems the only protection against privacy invasion is not to be interesting.

For everyone else, privacy is the new taboo.

Links about Anonymous:

Writing

I’ve started a book project, which forces me to conceptualize something from the big picture down to the last detail. After poking around for about a month exploring the areas I have found important in my business English classes over the past years, thinking through individual features and refreshing my contact to clients who might help me make the case studies more realistic and concrete, I came up with a general concept that was unfortunately too big to handle. Last Saturday we had the big kickoff meeting with the advisers. Their ideas were really helpful in enabling a new rough book map. There is still a lot of blank space and some repetition, but all the advisers have said what they want in the book, and that will clearly make the book appeal to a larger audience in the end. But I’m temporarily stuck: Some of my favorite ideas don’t seem to fit in anymore. The ideas have different origins now, so it’s more difficult to make them match seamlessly. I’ve just only noticed that one of my favorite chapters, the one on Sales, is suddenly missing. Oh, no! I’ll probably have to let it go. Painful.

OK, bedtime. It feels freezing in my flat, and I’m really tired. Tomorrow is another day.

Cassandra Wilson: Red Guitar

Cassandra Wilson Red Guitar
(from: Another Country 2012)

Wash my face with blue water
Lay my head on white linen
Morning comes, drink black coffee
Then I play my song on red guitar

Take my flight through blue heavens
Walk my path in green gardens
Drive my car on black highway
Then I play my song on red guitar

Everyday the colors come and dance for me
Every night they fade and disappear
We are merely shadows floating in this world
We got nothing to lose, we got nothing to fear
oh no, no, no, no, no

Drink my wine from pink glasses
Take the stage with purple princes
Love my man, yellow roses
Then play my song on red guitar
Play my song on red guitar
Play my song on red guitar

Kickstarter

Kickstarter is a website that helps crowd-source funding for creative projects. So they invite finite enterprises with specific goals that need concrete financial backing. It’s not primarily geared to companies, and it’s also not for charity, it really comes down to supporting the arts, where the performance, the product or the outcome is not expected to generate revenue.

The site forces creatives to articulate their story (first and foremost in a video) and to define their specific funding targets. The public is invited to pledge money to back these projects, and in exchange they are promised some sort of reward connected to the level of funding. For instance, a woman who sailed around the world alone provided those who were contributing money a polaroid from every harbor she stayed in. Or in the case of GoldieBlox (which first got me started on this topic), backers received a combination of magnets, stickers, a copy of the game etc.

So overall, the model falls someplace in between commerce and patronage.

If the financial target is met within the specified time, all of the funds are released; if not, the project is dropped. It’s all or nothing. In the interview with Rocketboom moderator Ella Morton, Kickstarter co-founders Yancey Strickler and Perry Chen explain that people procrastinate unless they have a specific goal to work toward (and don’t I know it!), so forcing people to focus their energies this way helps projects succeed. The tipping point for a project to succeed, they say, is in fact raising about 25% of the funding goal, and once that is reached, 90% of the projects work out.

The successful projects share certain traits: They have a real and passionate story to them, and (on the technical side) they have a good video and interesting rewards going for them. So, for daily good news on the scope of creativity on our planet, check out the Project of the Day.

Charles Ferguson

I watched Inside Job the other day, the Acadamy Award winning 2010 documentary about the 2008 financial meltdown, directed by Charles Ferguson, and had a bit of a meltdown of my own. As the blurb to the posted interview with Ferguson states “the film makes the powerful case that an out-of-control finance industry took advantage of a deregulated atmosphere and purposely sought to get rich at the expense of others.” …”Ferguson crossed the globe to find proof that the financial industry intentionally engaged in unethical behavior. His gripping account of the global recession is sure to evoke feelings of disgust, anger, and concern that this all may happen again unless our regulatory system is changed.” That I can confirm. The thing is that nobody minds if banks get rich, as long as everyone else does ok. But they don’t, clearly, and the banks have become more powerful than ever, through the consolidation after the crisis. And Ferguson shows that unfortunately President Obama hasn’t done much to resolve the real issues. (despite Dodd Frank he gives Obama a C-minus overall).

Charles Ferguson is an impressive guy. After majoring in math at UC at Berkeley, he got a PhD in Political Science at MIT, then did postdoc work at MIT on the intersection of high tech and global policy and  advised federal agencies. He then went on to found Vermeer Technologies, the company that developed FrontPage, which he sold to Microsoft to begin his career as a documentary filmmaker. His first documentary was about the Iraq war. And then came Inside Job.

Nothing about the featured interview and the film is new – I’m a full year behind the loop – but if you, too, didn’t catch the film last year, watch it. And watch this interview. It’s an hour well spent.

“What are you selling?” “Personality”

Comedian Salesman Kenny Brooks: “I’ve got a disease called enthusiasm”. Catching!

Goes into suburbia with his cleaning liquid, deals with bad attitudes, and lays his word wit on his potential customers, playing to their social anxieties (“Don’t laugh too hard cause the neighbors gonna see this black kid scrubbing your windows”).

My favorite one-liners:

  • My mom says, “If it’s darker than me and it don’t pay the bills, it shouldn’t be there.”
  • My mom said, “If you can’t get the whole chicken, at least get the wing.”
  • You get the HBO Special. You know what HBO means? You get to Help a Brother Out.
  • That one bottle lasts longer than my last relationship.
  • You just go back and forth like an argument.
  • You can do cash, checks, or chicken wings.

I tried to collect as many of his one-liners as possible, after the break:

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