What’s that got to do with the price of ads in Russia?

I’ve been reading comments on articles about the Russian intelligence effort to influence the US election by social media subterfuge. I know this is a dumb idea. It directly goes against Matt Groening’s advice: “No matter how good the video on YouTube is, don’t read the comments, just don’t, because it will make you hate all humans.” But, against my better judgment, I’ve come across an argument a few times that I want to discuss. It goes something like this: “Clinton and Trump spent $81M dollars on Facebook ads, but we’re supposed to believe that Russia spending just $46K made an impact? Yeah right, libtards, har har har.” Fair enough. The candidates spent a butt-load more money than the Russians did, as they should have. The basis of the argument is real: Facebook’s lawyers came right out and testified those exact numbers to Congress. It would be naive to argue …

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on The Facebook Effect

I decided to read David Kirkpatrick’s book, The Facebook Effect, because I wanted to rationalize my somewhat recent decision to ignore a product that has become one of the most widely used in the world, achieved staggering valuations, etc. So here is my rambling reaction to the book, and my latest thoughts on Facebook in general: There are reasons I want to like Facebook. I love sharing photos, reading opinions, and the little dopamine spritz that comes with any online interaction. Mark Zuckerberg even seems like a decent guy, at the very least a champion of my generation in leadership and business acumen. When I go all the way back to 1984 to compare our lives’ paths, starting with his birthday about 3 weeks before my own, it’s impossible not to be awed. Although we probably took the same spelling lessons in 4th grade, and maybe asked similar questions in …

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On being ‘Alone Together’

I recently finished reading the book by Sherry Turkle, ‘Alone Together’ which analyzes the growing relationship between humans and technology. As someone whose occupation is dependent on using the internet and social media, I’m moderately skeptical of the benefits of 24/7 connection. Could having the internet everywhere, all the time, be analogous to having holidays every day of the year ? Could the internet become redundant? I think it’s important for people to find ‘offline’ time. Turkle is an MIT professor whose research in human/computer relationships inspired her to write the book, and give the corresponding TED talk. Throughout ‘Alone Together’ she gives several examples of what scares her about the dependency people have on using machines to communicate; she also looks deeply into the interactions that people have with robots. I wasn’t expecting so much of the book to detail human/robot relationships. She is mostly concerned with how children who interact with robots …

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