Tag Archive for privacy

Social Media Hour Appearance

Just a quick note to let y’all know that I’ll be a guest on Social Media Hour on Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 1:00 pm EDT.  The topic is privacy, transparency, and social networking sites.  You can listen live by clicking here; the archived recording will be available here.  Here’s a complete description of the program from the SMH website:

SOCIAL MEDIA HOUR #59: PRIVACY, TRANSPARENCY, & ONE MORE LESBIAN

This week the show will explore the topic of privacy and transparency specifically looking at how social networks and social technologies/platforms are changing the standards of privacy … or are they? With the amount of transparency in today’s world, are people reevaluating what they share? Is that a good thing? Ted Striphas from Indiana University joins the program to discuss. Also on this week’s show, Shirin Papillon, the Founder & CEO of OneMoreLesbian – a media site that aggregates the world’s lesbian film, television and online video content in one place. What does this have to do with the other topic? Simple. An array of sites and networks have arisen catering to myriad special interest groups. You can find site and networks for just about anything … that’s not new. But think about it, you choose to visit a site and participate in a social network … that behavior is tracked – whether by Google or brands that may appear there. If you choose to post links or comment on posts, others see your participation – so suddenly your personal affinity for a particular group is now public, which means in the case of LGBT oriented content, you are now more out than you were before. We’ll talk about OML as a business and about its growth and what it means when it comes to helping further expose a wider audience to the gay community.

Should be a blast!  Please listen if you can.


UPDATE — Here’s an embed from which you can stream the entire episode:

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“The Localized Appreciation of Books Is Gone”

Sherman Alexie
www.colbertnation.com


I love it when something that you think will be good turns out to be even better than you’d hoped.  Case in point: author Sherman Alexie’s visit to The Colbert Report last Tuesday night.  I expected Alexie to chat up his latest book, War Dances. I didn’t expect to be treated to such an intelligent commentary on the future of book culture in America.

Colbert starts out by affirming the author’s decision not to allow the digital distribution of his book.  Alexie cites concerns over piracy and privacy as his motivation for doing so.  I’ve noted here on the blog how certain e-book devices can expose book lovers to all sorts incursions into their intimate reading lives.  Alexie, for his part, ups the ante.  “I’m an Indian,” he states.  “I have plenty of reasons to be worried about the U.S. government” peering over his shoulder while he e-reads.  Colbert — ever the (alleged) enemy of literacy — chimes in with his objection to digital books. “You can’t burn a Kindle.”

Alexie then notes how the revenue structure of the music industry has changed in the digital era.  Here I believe he over-reaches somewhat, but in any case his claim is that the music is no longer what primarily makes money for top recording artists.  Now, touring and performances comprise their primary revenue stream.  He fears the same may one day hold true for book authors as well, suggesting a future in which the book-as-cultural-artifact will become incidental to paid-for author appearances.  And here Alexie echoes one of Kevin Kelley’s predictions from his 2006 bombshell published in The New York Times Magazine, “Scan This Book!“, from which the late John Updike recoiled in horror.

The rest of the interview offers something of a rejoinder to this vision for the future of the book.  In a word, it is unsustainable.  Alexie recounts how the experience of the book tour has changed for him over the last decade or so.  It used to be that he would engage all sorts of local media and indy bookstores while traipsing around the country to promote his latest work.  Today, Alexie complains, “the localized appreciation of books is gone.”  Book blogs notwithstanding, what little coverage books receive in the media today mostly occurs in the national press — in exclusive forums like The New York Times and, well, The Colbert Report.  Chain bookstores, meanwhile, now play host to the vast majority of author events.  The result, he notes, is not only a diminished conversation about books at the local level, but also the elimination of untold numbers of book-related jobs that are ancillary to, yet nonetheless sustain, the book industry proper.

I can’t say that I agree with everything Alexie had to say about the past, present, and future of books in America, but his insights were provocative enough for me to air them here.  I do agree with his final point wholeheartedly, though: “White folks should be ashamed that it’s taking an Indian to save part of their culture.”  Indeed.

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