Brian Shaler

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Archive for June, 2011

Distance

Over the last year or so, I’ve gone from being hyper-local—I attended and helped organize countless events in Phoenix—and hyper-connected—I was constantly reading and interacting with my local contacts online—to being global and disconnected. With technology, it’s very easy to stay in touch while being physically out of reach, but technology changes as quickly as people change the way they use it.

We have all this technology to stay connected, but nowadays, with everything we do sharable with a single click, the echo chamber has gotten too noisy. The technology we use is saying “share more!” (because more activity equates to more value for service providers) but we’re not given good ways of cutting through the noise and seeing what matters. This is something that bothers me, as a data-minded person. Some pieces of content matter more, and there are various ways of computing how much something matters.

Facebook does this to a degree. The news feed is listed by how much activity (comments/likes) is on a given item, with a “secret sauce” element of deciding which friends show up more often than others based on your previous interactions. But then again, Facebook sucks. And what about your friends who are not on Facebook? You can only connect with friends who want to hang out in the Walled Garden.

Ideally, we would have technology that aggregates content from where ever your friends are posting it and applying this type of computation on it.

All this is to say, I could use the excuse that I’ve been too busy to stay connected online while being away, but I’m blaming some of it on the current state of technology!

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