Monday, July 29, 2013

Digital Jargon

I once wrote a blog post talking about insular communities on the Internet, complete with shared quirks of language that help members of the group identify one another. In that particular post, I used fairly mundane examples of quirky language - mostly single phrases that function like passwords to the group, like Reddit's "What time does the narwhal bacon?"

Still loving this picture.

Some online communities have more specialized vocabulary than others. Sometimes an online community gets to a point where they have so many inside jokes that outsiders have trouble understanding people's messages. But sometimes - in rarer instances, admittedly - it's a conscious construction of a new way of speech. Sometimes it's so extensive that you, as an outsider, can't interpret basic statements without having prerequisite knowledge about the community.

Today, we're talking about two websites that are particularly insular in this way: TV Tropes and Less Wrong.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Age of Collaboration

Sitting as the 8th most popular website in the United States (and 7th, globally) is Wikipedia.

On an unrelated note, have you ever tried reading the Scottish wikipedia out loud?

Wikipedia has become a fantastic resource over the years. It features millions of articles on nearly any subject you can think of. Although people will debate its credibility (and indeed, even Wikipedia says that Wikipedia shouldn't be trusted at face value), the website is still a good starting point for deeper research on a subject, and can guide you toward resources with higher reliability.

The truly interesting thing is that Wikipedia is crowd-sourced. Its contents are entirely determined by user contribution. There are Wikipedia editor communities, editing wars, and even problems with editor drama. Through this bustling and sometimes chaotic group dynamic, an invaluable resource emerges.

And this is something that can be observed in other places online as well.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The New Face of Music

I've been doing a lot of songwriting this past week. It's just been me, a couple instruments, a decent USB microphone, and Audacity. Here and there I'll even collaborate with friends of mine online to put together musical parts I can't get on my own. Then I upload the fruits of my work to Soundcloud. Yes, that link will take you to my music. I can't promise you that my music is good, but I like what I write, at least.

My life right now, but cheaper and jankier.

Nonetheless, it's a wonder that I'm able to do any of this in the first place. It used to be a very costly and sluggish process to produce music. Promoting your music was a matter all on its own - there's a booming industry of record labels and producers holding the keys to the gates of fame. Your options for music as a consumer were the radio, live showings, and media like records and tapes.

Things are much different now. Today, we'll be talking about how the Internet has changed the music industry.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Leaders of the Tribes

We live in a time where the concept of being an "online celebrity" has really taken flight. Of such Internet celebrities, Mark Zuckerberg might be one of the most widely known and celebrated.

He's only got a couple years on me. And a couple billion dollars.

This man has earned the status of being a household name and all-around cultural juggernaut. He is one of the wealthiest people in the world. He's had an academy award-winning film made about him. His Facebook page has over 18 million followers. All this, for being the man behind Facebook.

And there are others like him, too.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Man This, Man That

A video came out online a couple months ago that I found enjoyable to watch. It was poignant, relevant, and an enjoyable way to spend 40 seconds of my time. Take a moment to watch it now, without knowing any context behind it.

If you're well-versed in the goings-on of the Internet, then you probably understood a fair amount - if not all - of the things going on in the video. If not, this whole piece might be very hard to comprehend. So let's dive in and discuss the source material for this video.

Today, we'll talk about online men's movements, and their many many problems.