Tuesday, October 16, 2007

social media - ego or human necessity?

Facebook status, relationship updates, social bookmarks, blogs, twitts. Why? what's the point
But why? what's the point? Does anyone really care? I suppose amongst a close circle of friends sharing pictures is good, but who cares what I thought about the Bourne Ultimatum?

At times I felt most of "2.0" was very narcissistic. Why should one broadcast this dear diary sort of stuff for all the word to read? After spending some time in this world i realize it's less about my need to broadcast myself, more about connecting with others.

In this increasingly computer-oriented society a basic human need is to feel connected to other people. When people are spending more and more time in the virtual world, and less in the real world it's natural to feel less connected. Social media does bring us closer together. Understanding what excites and motivates our friends and family is important. Being able to share anecdotes with someone after you both saw the same movie or read an article is nice. Social media gives us new opportunities to connect with people we don't always have time for.

Why did I get into social media? I believe a web persona or brand is critical for any career-minded individual. A linked in profile is becoming the new resume. Don't think that your facebook profile doesn't carry weight as well. Recruiters and employers are accessing social networks and just plain googling applicants. Why not? It's the new reference check. Normal references from are glowing half-truths from your former coworkers. Googling someone can provide insight on what sites they frequent, which articles they comment. A little digging and patterns of behaviour begin to emerge. You can get to know someone quite well. Anyone can put on a good show in an interview. Google now contains a life portfolio for all to see. The stalker implications are a wee bit frightening.

There are different motivations for using social media, but I no longer think it's just narcissistic blathering.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

pulling the bottled water over your eyes

A few months back I first heard about the environmental impact of bottled water. I had always had water as a beverage over pop or juice just as a health thing. I knew what a business it had become, but i failed to take a step back and think about the greener picture.

This water is bottled at some 'special source' packaged and delivered. After you drink it (assuming you drink the entire bottle) you hopefully recycle it. More often than not that doesn't happen and the bottle becomes landfill. We haven't taken into account the resources required to ship the water sometimes across the ocean.

The fact that in many locations tap water has more rigid controls is incredible. So what it comes down to is that this is just a product of convenience. It's not any healthier, many times it's much worse than what's available for a fraction of the cost. Put a nice package on it, ship it across the ocean to justify the astronomical price and Bingo - You've got a tremendous waste of resources. It's a 35 billion dollar a year industry. This is better than having people buy baking soda to go home and toss straight in their garbage to make Garbage smell better.

The Economist is recognizing the scam, hopefully the problem will become mainstream.

If you don't like the flavour of tap water, get a Brita. Then get a Nalgene or something and just fill it up, you lazy bugger (and don't start about the carcinogens in the Nalgene type bottles, it's still inconclusive)

edit: Okay, don't get a plastic water bottle, it's fine for the environment-but it can give you cancer.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Wii as a learning tool?

With the new Wii and their game development kit, this could be an incredible opportunity for learning. Nintendo has done a remarkable job already with mental fitness in the DS. The ceiling for the Wii is incredible. The ability to work in 3 dimensions, combined with tactile feedback could provide for a great learning experience.

Anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes will admit that this is not just another game system. Gamers and non-gamers alike love the new experience the Wii provides.

Hopefully the learning community can jump on this new development kit and build something special to help take human performance to the next level.