Archive for the 'Web Culture' Category

News Maps

Friday, February 24th, 2012

It’s quite easy these days to geo-tag blogs posts, photos, comments, and other bits of data and then display them on a map.  The comments geo map plugin I made a few years ago did just that for comments and allowed a conversation to have an added geographic dimension.

I just came across the way Gothamist does this with what they call a News Map:

I think this would be a great way to list stories on,, Streetfilms and also GothamSchools as an alternative to the reverse-chronological blogging format.  The map could position itself by default at the location of the user to show them stories immediately surrounding them.  The sidebar could display a reverse-chronological list of blog posts.  When you click on a title it will highlight the blog post on the map.

Embedding Twitter

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Our editors have been asking for a way to embed twitter searches into their blogs.  It turns out it’s really easy.  Twitter offers a number of embeddable widgets.

  1. Log in to Twitter and click on Resources in the right sidebar
  2. Choose Widgets and then click “My Website”
  3. Choose the Search widget or any other widget
  4. Customize then embed!
  5. You may want to add some css on the page to customize the look of the widget. I had to here because my styles were interfering with it a bit.
  6. Edit the settings to set interval: 5000.  This will make the widget update every 5s instead of the default 30s.  You can also adjust the width and height.

Motion and Stillness

Friday, November 11th, 2011

This video was inspired by the following lines from Eihei Dogen’s Bendowa:

In stillness, mind and object merge in realization and go beyond enlightenment. Nevertheless, in the state of receptive samadhi, without disturbing its quality or moving a single particle you engage the vast buddha activity, the extremely profound and subtle buddha transformation.

I made this video using an iPod Touch and iMovie. The music is Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise, sung by Anna Moffo, and Four Tet, She Moves She.

Inspired by Bike Share

Friday, September 16th, 2011

The Bike Share site we launched on Wednesday has been a huge success in being a showcase for the enthusiasm for the upcoming Bike Share program in NYC.  Already we’re up to 4505 bike share locations suggested.  This has been helped along by people sharing their bike share suggestions on twitter and facebook.  It also benefitted from blog posts and tweets from some particularly influential people.

It has also inspired several derivative works.  This is what makes the Internet fun!

Here’s a tumblog showing humorous and noteworthy bike share suggestions.  Feel free to post one on the site:


An Internet Birthday

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

It was my birthday yesterday.  It was also, perhaps, my birthday that generated the most ever Internet activity.  By that I mean facebook wall posts, emails, eCards etc.  And that got me thinking about the Internet and what it is doing to and for human relationships.  This birthday event is the perfect microcosm from which we can study that.


So first, let’s take a look at exactly what activity was generated by my birthday yesterday.  Let’s start with Facebook.

Facebook reminds users when it is the birthday of one of their friends in a little panel beside the main news feed.  For example, I’m reminded that it is my cousin, Robert Duffy’s, birthday today. Using this reminder, I can click “Rob Duffy”, type “Happy Birthday!” at the top of his wall and be done with it.  Let’s time this action… okay, 2.5 seconds.

So, of my 185 Facebook friends, 3 decided to do just that.

The next rung on the engagement ladder was to type my name as well, such as “Happy Birthday Chris!”, “Happy Birthday Yudo”, “Happy Birthday Fed” or some variation on that.  That might have taken an extra second, especially if they came up with some kind of nickname.  I count 9 who did something like that.

Next we have those who followed the best wishes with something like “Have a great day” or even “sending a birthday dance your way.”  I’d give equal points to someone who came up with an original way to wish me a happy birthday, such as “happy happy!” or followed it with an open question like “How are you doing?”  So in this category we have 8. (more…)

You Just Don’t Get Twitter!

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

welcome-to-south-by-southwest-2009-sxswcomAt the South by Southwest Interactive conference this past weekend I attended a number of sessions that dealt with the sociological effects of our new suite of social networking tools including twitter, facebook, online dating sites, blogs, and news and tech forums.  At each talk during the five-day conference, a twitter hash tag was used to coordinate a background discussion on the topic being presented.  This twitter stream was often used to steer the direction of the presentation and was used for questions during the Q & A period.

In “Change Your World in 50 Minutes: Making Breakthroughs Happen,” Kathy Sierra talked about how she had famously avoided using twitter for years.  People would insist, however, that, “You just don’t get twitter!”  and in this talk she finally conceded to the mysterious genius of twitter—something no one seems to be able to really explain except by presenting a series of anecdotes about how twitter has changed their life.

Right after her talk Bruce Sterling took the stage for his meandering poetic monologue on the state of cyberspace.  About half-way through the talk he got to the topic of twitter and looked out upon a sea of twittering audience members, paused a moment to listen to the tap-tap-tap of keyboards, before saying something like, “you listen to what’s being said for 2 minutes and then have to let everyone know what you heard so you twitter about it and then miss the part where I talk about dogs fucking horses… Don’t fool yourself–you are losing out here!” (more…)