Around the Web

Here’s a few goodies from this week

  • Only Disconnect – Author Gary Shteyngart writes eloquently about his technological transformation, “With each post, each tap of the screen, each drag and click, I am becoming a different person — solitary where I was once gregarious; a content provider where I at least once imagined myself an artist; nervous and constantly updated where I once knew the world through sleepy, half-shut eyes; detail-oriented and productive where I once saw life float by like a gorgeously made documentary film. And, increasingly, irrevocably, I am a stranger to books, to the long-form text, to the pleasures of leaving myself and inhabiting the free-floating consciousness of another.”
  • Grades don’t drop for college Facebook fiends – Another study wondering whether Facebook usage affects students’ performance in college. My guess would be that in the early days of Facebook, it did make a difference, but over time as students are introduce to social media at a younger age, they use it more natively and it therefore has less off an effect on them – just as it has been with all prior new media.
  • Amazon’s Former Chief Scientist on Influence, Twitter’s Fake Audience, and iPad Sex Appeal – “Why do people tweet? What is the driver of them spending time doing this? I think it’s because they think they have people giving them attention, and they do everything to play with that attention. The reason Twitter works so well is that they don’t have a feedback-loop, where people can realize just how little attention they’re getting. I’m not saying the system was set up that way deliberately, but it’s a very well setup system. People can fool themselves into believing that others are listening, which is not easy in real life. When you’re talking to other people on the street and nobody is listening, after a while you sort of have to stop talking. Not so on Twitter.”
  • Apple’s new ads highlight FaceTime’s emotional connection – I really like the four new Apple iPhone 4 FaceTime commercials. And I find them to be a perfect example of how effective marketing doesn’t advertise “features,” but attempts to create an emotional connection to the experience of using the device. After watching the commercials, it almost feels like it would be better to experience those events over FaceTime than in person.

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John Dyer

In my day job, I work at Dallas Theological Seminary, and at night I write Bible software for countries whose leaders could be called "overlords." This one time, I wrote a book about technology and Christian faith. You can find out more about what I'm up to at