09 June 2009

7 Ways to Live Better Online

No matter how organized and put together I feel in my professional life, managing my personal life can be a real struggle. I'm talking about staying on top of finances, exercising, eating right, sleeping well, running errands, etc., etc. There’s always more to be done and it’s hard to reach 100% productivity when you just want to relax after work and on weekend.

There is plenty of advice out there about how to manage or share things like photos, videos, and hobby lists with friends and family and how to catalogue your life with a blog or vlog, but what about all of that normal day-to-day "stuff" that can easily fall off the radar and out of order? If you're one of those 76% of Americans with Internet access, here are seven ways you can live better online:

1) Groove to music with DropPlay – Self-acclaimed as the free online equivalent to iTunes, DropPlay lets you stream music from YouTube and share songs and playlists with your friends through Facebook. Although YouTube audio quality isn't always the best (particularly with regards to live performance recordings), Drop Play can help make recommendations based on other recent selections and you don't have to download a desktop client to use it. Even better, it's completely free!

04 June 2009

Will Social Media Enable the Digital Panopticon?

I attended a webcast, "Reconsidering Social Media," last week hosted by the O'Reilly media team and found myself pleasantly surprised at the philosophical turn of the conversation. I bet the Enlightenment philosophes turned over in their graves as we had a webcast "salon."

How did I get from social media to the Age of Enlightment? Trust me, the parallel is there. For starters, Joshua-Michele Ross brought up how the Enlightenment movement advocated freedom, liberty and progress at the very same time as the birth of prisons and asylums. In other words, the Enlightenment championed progressive ideals while institutions began to lockdown individuals and develop ways to control and manipulate society.

The panopticon is a prison 'in the round,' where the guard tower is at the center of a circle of cells (see above image). The idea is that prisoners can't tell when they're being watched and will therefore self-regulate their behavior to avoid additional punishment.