August 29, 2013 at 5:47 PM
Last night I was up late working on a new column. I reached a place where I’d used the word “awkward” too close to another “awkward.” I wanted to find another word to replace it. Then:
- I switched to my browser to go to thesaurus.com –>
- I saw Twitter open on another tab and tweeted how much I love thesauruses –>
- I noticed a tweet about an upcoming Seattle WordPress meetup –>
- I signed up for that meetup –>
- I looked up a phrase in my Evernote to fill out my meetup bio –>
- I went back to Twitter –>
- I spotted a tweet that made me think of my latest post on another site –>
- I checked the comments on that latest post –>
- I added two more comments to that latest post –>
- I went back to Twitter –>
- I saw a tweet by Seattle author Ramez Naam about his new book –>
- I went to Naam’s tweet stream –>
- I clicked on a link he tweeted to an article about science fiction world building –>
- I skimmed that article –>
- I saved the article on the Pocket app to read later –>
I realized 20 minutes had passed and I’d forgotten what word I wanted to look up.
June 15, 2013 at 6:58 PM
Nobody likes the word “etiquette.”
It feels inflexible and draining, like a teacher whose only joy is pointing out mistakes. This is a time for breaking rules, not making them. Viral videos, Facebook revolutions, CEOs in hoodies. Anything goes.
Etiquette? We don’t need etiquette.
Except we really, really do.
Etiquette is about interacting with people. And with the rise of always-with-us devices and always-connected media we’re interacting with more people more often than ever. We had centuries to figure out if elbows go on the table. Do smartphones go there, too?
Welcome to the evolving, tough-love world of tech etiquette.
“Tech is miraculous. It’s wonderful. But we shouldn’t be using it to make excuses for ourselves,” said Mary Mitchell, Seattle-based consultant and author of the new book “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Modern Manners.”
What guidelines have enough consensus to last? With the help of Mitchell and the many of you who shared your thoughts last week, I submit the following:
December 14, 2012 at 1:20 PM
“Brave woman enters restaurant without first looking it up online,” went the headline on popular parody news site theonion.com.
“Well, I haven’t pored over the menu on the restaurant’s website, read the first 20 Yelp ratings, or scanned any online reviews from blogs or newspapers, but here we go,” the article’s fictional character tells herself in the story. “Christ, I haven’t even seen a single picture of the food before on someone’s Tumblr page. I’m flying totally blind here.”
I laughed. Urbanspoon, a restaurant ratings app based here in Seattle, is on permanent standby on my smartphone. I know exactly what the article is talking about.
Last week I wrote my column on what businesses do to get people to follow them on sites like Facebook or Twitter. It’s a grab bag of discounts, offers, contests and the like, all in good fun and great for the bottom line.
But when businesses offer incentives in exchange for what become biased, fake online reviews, or flat-out cheat to skew their ratings, it threatens one of the most helpful products of the collaborative Web — the collection and organization of authentic public opinion.
July 5, 2012 at 1:14 PM
Sorry, San Diego.
Last night’s Big Bay Boom Fourth of July fireworks show in San Diego delivered too well on its promise to be “bigger and more intense than in past years” when every pyrotechnic piece in what was supposed to be an 18-minute show blew up in just 15 seconds.
The $400,000 show, captured oh so many times on video, looked more like an active war zone than a Fourth of July celebration.
Feast your eyes: