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What I want, when I want October 31, 2008

Posted by jamiekim in Society, Technology.
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Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a [woman] on a Jet Ski.

The Web has changed the way I want to process information. It’s not that I’m incapable of analysis, comprehension or contemplation. I’ve just acclimated to the easy search button and condensed bullets of information.

And what do you expect? Here we live in a period where tweets, e-mails and instant messages are common forms of communication. As a result, I’ve been used to getting what I want (information), when I want it (instant access).

Researching for endless hours in the library? Reading through piles and piles of essays and analysis to write a research paper? Using print sources?!

Not so much.

The Web has made it so easy for instant access to information. People don’t need to (or want to) read longer writing pieces on the Web to get the information that they’re seeking. And unfortunately, this translates into the offline world of reading for many people. Like Nicholas Carr writes, our minds now expect us to digest information the way the Internet and Web distributes it: “in a swiftly moving stream of particles.”

The key word is brevity.

I don’t have the time or patience to sit through step-by-step analysis and theories. I have 15 million (yes, 15 million) things to do during an average day. Please give me what I need and I’ll move along.

Just get to the point.

Journalism 2.0 October 23, 2008

Posted by jamiekim in Journalism, Social Media.
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Journalists have already learned the most important thing from bloggers: news can be a conversation, not just a lecture. And recent research is showing that journalists are extensively using social media, which allows feedback, comments, multimedia and more. There is an opportunity for a dialogue—an interaction—rather than a one-sided monologue, and journalists know and utilize these aspects of social media.

However, with more than 100 million blogs floating around in the blogosphere, it’s difficult for many journalists—and bloggers for that matter—to catch the interest of readers and engage them in conversations. Some people are going as far as saying that blogging is dead.

So what does this mean for traditional media? If bloggers die, do journalists live?

Well, bloggers aren’t dead, and neither are journalists. In fact, the only thing that seems to be dying is the average reader’s attention span. Technology has shoved well-crafted inverted pyramids into shorter blog posts and now it’s reducing information into 140 words or less via Twitter. At this rate, we might as well be communicating in acronyms.

The Web is constantly changing and facilitating rapid technological and social change. And this is exactly the lesson to be learned. New social media tools will pop-up and there will always be new ways to communicate information and news. Traditional media should monitor and implement these useful social media tools to retain existing audiences and invite new ones, but they don’t need to go overboard.

The single most important thing that traditional media should do is to keep doing what they do best. It’s as simple as that. They’re masters of their crafts and have been doing it for so long; traditional media obviously provides its audiences with something that new media cannot, otherwise there would be no traditional media still existing today.

Future forecast October 16, 2008

Posted by jamiekim in Society, Technology.
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Forget Smart House or remote-controlled kitchens. Think bigger, better and—quite frankly—scarier.

Let us begin marinating in the idea of every physical “thing” being connected to the Internet.

Ovens telling fire alarms that it’s overheating. Showers telling toilets not to flush. Microchips embedded under the skins of cows electronically notifying farmers where the cows are grazing. 

No, I didn’t just make that up. There’s actually a name for this future forecast. Experts are calling it the Internet of Things.

Although the idea of having a smart ___what have you___ is appealing, I can’t imagine what the drawbacks to this technological advancement will be. Businesses, educational systems, hospitals—every industry may operate more efficiently. But certainly we will face the issue of dependency.

Cell phones, computers, the Web, iPods and other gadgets are already playing big roles in my daily life. Throwing physical “things” operating on their own unique IP addresses into the mix spells out nothing but dependency and convienence. 

Still, who knows how far into the future experts will connect “things” to the Internet. Experts say sometime between now and 2010, but things could go wrong. It may come decades from now when my interest in technology goes on a gradual decline and I’m Googling to keep my ageing brain youthful.

Regardless, I just hope they send me a memo so I can mentally prepare myself for it. I mean, what happens when the “Internet of things” experiences a technical difficulty?

The world just might end then.

Can’t stop, won’t stop October 10, 2008

Posted by jamiekim in Society.
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While simultaneously brushing my teeth and shampooing my hair this morning, I attempted to reach for my body wash and loofa when I realized: a) I didn’t have enough hands and b) I couldn’t even see anything because the face mask I had put on a few minutes prior was stinging my eyes and was ready to be washed off.

At this moment, I have two (different) Web browsers active with six tabs opened in one window and four tabs opened in the other window. iTunes, Google Chat and Microsoft Word are all being used; the television is turned on with the morning news; and it’s almost time to greet my coffee maker. Oh, and I’m having a conversation via text messages with a friend in Los Angeles.

What is wrong with me?

I can’t seem to do just one thing at a time. Multitasking has become such a way of everyday life. There’s too much to do so I do a little bit of everything at once. And even when there’s not much to do, I still multitask because it’s really difficult not to

The biggest problem is that I’ve been programmed to believe that multitasking equates efficiency, that everything I’m doing simultaneously is done with my 100 percent attention. 

But according to researchers, I’m wrong. Human beings don’t really multitask. We just switch our attention from one thing to another at a lightning fast speed. Ironically, multitasking can actually slow us down because we constantly have to remind ourselves, “OK. What am I doing right now?”

I personally ask myself that question at least five times a day. With the increased use and advancement of technology these days, I can’t imagine that number going down for me anytime in the near future.

Drop the attitude October 3, 2008

Posted by jamiekim in Social Media.
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In high school, I always looked down on people who referred to MySpace in conversations. For me, the social network site was something separate from my real life. I was connected yet disconnected, and in a way, even though my MySpace page centered around me, my online persona was still slightly fictionalized.

My name, picture and profile were out for the world to see (pre-privacy settings, of course) yet I separated my virtual identity from my “true” identity.

Interestingly enough, I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. At that time, most of my peers believed in the social taboo, too—not because they didn’t have their own online profiles but because being a member of an online community was still something new for my generation.

I admit that many of us still carried the notion that online communities were for geeks and lowlifes who couldn’t establish real-life relationships.

But the funny thing is, we’re all geeks now.

MySpace and Facebook have long turned into everyday words and I’ve realized that hearing people mention these social network sites in real-life conversations no longer bother me. Why? Because everyone belongs to—or has the option to create—an online community nowadays.

Well, mostly everyone. There are still a select few (two? three?) people who haven’t conformed to the digital norm.

But that’s fine with me, just as long as I’m in the majority.