I just want Tumblr to know that I have never, not once, wanted to reblog a text post as a link.
The new mindset for risk managers requires rituals and approaches that are deeply embedded in the scenario thinking process: a capacity for learning, an appreciation of uncertainty and ambiguity, an understanding of the value of strategic conversation and a willingness to explore uncharted territory. Increasingly, executives are appreciating that the changing nature of risk requires approaches that may initially be uncomfortable, but over time turn out to be more effective in embracing the unknown.
Doug Randall and Chris Ertel, Moving Beyond The Official Future
There used to be all sorts of criticisms of the old “culture industries” like Hollywood and the top 40, which entertained us with stories or songs that always ended on an upbeat note, no matter how false. But at least the culture industries went to the bother of entertaining us. Their replacements don’t even bother. They expect us to entertain each other, and pay a tax for it. Facebook or Google’s YouTube are not the culture industries so much as the vulture industries, taking an information surcharge from us while we amuse each other, and selling us to advertisers. Like do-it-yourself commercial TV.
These are all elements of what I call the “spectacle of disintegration”. The old spectacle of television and radio papered the world with images of what the lovely soul of the commodity was supposed to look like. We were at least still free to daydream while we sat idly watching.
But in the spectacle of disintegration, all that breaks apart. The big screen decays into so many little screens. Our leisure time is now to be spent producing information for the vulture industries of Google and co, in an unequal exchange of information. In exchange for the poll tax of personal data, we get to watch each other’s cat videos, while Google becomes some new version of the state, presiding over all our bitty lives, master of all our data, in aggregate.
Like any state, Google has its patriots. But there are also those who think this latest version of the spectacle offers some quirky avenues for having fun at its expense. Its time for a certain opacity, a certain glamour of obscurity. Not all the information we offer up has to be even remotely true.
Mackenzie Wark, Who dares to dodge Google’s information tax?
With all of the Yahoo-Tumblr reporting still going on right now it surprises me how many writers still mistake Tumblr for a “blogging platform.”
Anyone who has spent significant time on Tumblr knows that this whole “blog” thing is a front.
70% of a given blog’s post traffic actually happens in the Dashboard. For some blogs, that percentage is even higher.
This makes things like ranking a Tumblr blog’s popularity through site traffic fairly dubious.
It also means that the value of Tumblr isn’t just in the original posts but the amplification of ideas through reblogs and the like.
This becomes apparent when you dive into Union Metrics for Tumblr and break down any given post’s reblog tree:
There’s probably an iceberg.gif of some sort that would work really well here.
(btw, the numbers in that image are from an “official” blog that I run, not my personal blog.)
Pictured below the surface: all of the reblogs.
[…] the problem of nutrient loading into the Mississippi isn’t the methods of commodity-crop farming but commodity-crop farming itself: a system that destroys how water should naturally move from the plains to the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. Chief among those critics is Wes Jackson, director of the Land Institute in Salinas, Kansas, and an oft-quoted spokesperson for the ending of farming as we know it.
“The essential problem is this,” Jackson told me. “Humans went from perennial polyculture to annual monocultures. This in my view was the biblical fall.”
Jackson’s goal is to create, through plant breeding, a set of crops that function like the plant communities of the native prairie. His research has shown that the root structure of the perennial and diverse prairie grasses of the primeval Midwest extended their roots as much as three feet down into the soil. When nutrients flowed toward the Mississippi and its tributaries, they were intercepted by these root structures, processed, and dissipated. Indeed, Jackson’s monitoring of a plot of prairie left in its native state on the Land Institute’s grounds reveals that almost zero nutrients leave a system planted in native grasses.
Paul Greenberg, A River Runs Through It
Organizational psychology has long concerned itself with how to design work so that people will enjoy it and want to keep doing it. Traditionally the thinking has been that employers should appeal to workers’ more obvious forms of self-interest: financial incentives, yes, but also work that is inherently interesting or offers the possibility for career advancement. Grant’s research, which has generated broad interest in the study of relationships at work and will be published for the first time for a popular audience in his new book, “Give and Take,” starts with a premise that turns the thinking behind those theories on its head. The greatest untapped source of motivation, he argues, is a sense of service to others; focusing on the contribution of our work to other people’s lives has the potential to make us more productive than thinking about helping ourselves.
Susan Dominus, Is Giving the Secret to Getting Ahead?
A deep piece on the research and personality traits of Adam Grant, Warton Business School professor and the author of the soon-to-be-released Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, in which he argues that a sense of service to others — an almost obsessive focus on the contribution of our work to other people’s lives — may be the single greatest key to productivity, much greater than trying only to help ourselves.
Read the case study that started his career: as a sales lead at an academic fundraising call center, bringing in a student who benefitted from that fundraising, and letting him tell the callers, directly, of how it had changed his life, led to enormous gains in their productivity, gains that could not be explained by other factors, even when the callers themselves were unaware of that motivation, or actively pooh-poohed it.
Web anthropologist, futurist, author. My focus is the future, and the tectonic forces pushing business, media, and society into an unclear and accelerating future. more.
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GigaOM Research analyst and curator.
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