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Mónica Guzmán

Stories at the intersection of tech and life from a boldly connected city.

Category: Identity
November 2, 2013 at 8:03 PM

Four digital divides: Where do you stand?


Maybe you’ve heard of the “digital divide.”

It’s a term coined in the ’90s to refer to the mostly socioeconomic gap between people who can access information technologies and those who can’t. The concept gave thinkers and policymakers a grasp on a new problem: For more people to prosper, the digital divide would need to be closed.

I’ve been thinking about digital divides a lot lately, but rarely in this traditional sense. Tech has come a long way in 20 years, and it’s raised all kinds of sticky new issues. It’s made me think: If we take a fresh look at what divides us in our use of tech, we might get a better grip on whether we’re headed somewhere we want to be.

So here goes: I think there are four digital divides that matter. As we consider them, ask yourself: Where am i on these divides? And do they all demand to be resolved, or in some ways, protected?


Comments | More in Code, Column, Conversation, Education, Identity, People, Privacy, Security, Tech Devotion

August 23, 2013 at 3:34 PM

Think Seattle’s awesome? This community backed film will show the world why

Adam Baggett, Adam Wygle, Bryan Zug, Sara McNally and Scott Berkun (crouched) show off We Make Seattle coasters at Pioneer Square letterpress shop Constellation & Co. Thursday, the morning after their project to create a film celebrating Seattle was funded on Kickstarter. (Mónica Guzmán / Seattle Times)

Adam Baggett, Adam Wygle, Bryan Zug, Sara McNally and Scott Berkun (crouched) show off We Make Seattle coasters at Pioneer Square letterpress shop Constellation & Co. Thursday, the morning after the film was funded on Kickstarter. (Mónica Guzmán / Seattle Times)

The kids speak over each other, all at once: “I want to be the next Silicon Valley!” “I want to be the next Silicon Valley!” “I want to be the next Silicon Valley!”

“What are you doing?” says the voice of another child. “Let’s be ourselves. Let’s be Seattle.”

The kids are siblings Ruthie and Thomas Zug and the three friends who happened to be over when their dad, Bryan Zug, gave them their lines and hit the “record” button. The clip is a teaser for “We Make Seattle,” a community-backed short film that’s out to show the world what we who love this city already know — that Seattle is more than rain and coffee, that it’s stronger than comparisons to that tech hub down south, and that it’s one of the best places in the world for creative people with big ideas to give them root and make them happen.

It’s a story that needs telling, and no one can do it better than we can.

That’s why it’s fitting — perfect, even — that the film is not some institution’s initiative but a Kickstarter project dreamed up by Zug, principal at techie video shop Bootstrapper Studios, and Scott Berkun, a Seattle-based author and speaker who proposed the idea at a roundtable put on by Mayor Mike McGinn’s office last year. (Disclosure: Zug and Berkun are co-organizers of the community-speaker series Ignite Seattle, which I emcee.)


Comments | More in Column, Identity, Seattle

September 29, 2012 at 8:00 PM

Elders, be jealous: How tech makes early parenthood feel like cheating

Logging in with the little guy from Uptown Espresso in Belltown (Photo: Mónica Guzmán)

About five minutes after I had pushed my baby to the park in his stroller, I realized: I just pushed a BABY to the PARK in a STROLLER.

Two months in, nothing’s changed. Being a mom is still crazy.

“It’s a fundamental identity shift, and it hits you hard,” Adriana Gil Miner told me minutes after her 2-year-old toddled up to me at View Ridge Playfield.

No kidding. But technologically, at least, things have been easy. Mom says she’s jealous, and I can’t blame her.
Tech is making parts of early parenthood feel damn near like cheating.

Case in point: A week after Julian was born in late July, the doula who assisted us in labor visited for a much-needed check-in. When we were done, I handed my husband, who had been listening in from behind his iPad, a list of her recommended bottles, books and supplies. “Don’t need it,” he said, turning off the screen. “I already bought them.”


Comments | More in Column, Identity

June 13, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Why is Seattle thought to be passive aggressive? One site collects answers that resonate

If you haven’t heard of Quora, it’s a question-and-answer site (get it? Q or A?) that took off a couple years ago and has been collecting an encyclopedia of knowledge so new, speculative or anecdotal that it goes right for the richest and most questionable source: people’s minds.

Nobody likes a stereotype, but Quora can be surprisingly good at getting to the often fascinating conversations at the root of them.

Take Seattle. Ever since I moved here five years ago I’ve heard mutterings about how people here are supposedly passive-aggressive. Is it true? Not for everyone. Not for me. Everyone experiences cities differently. More important, it seems, is that these mutterings are popular enough to exist at all.

In this Quora thread, Seattleites attempt to explain the stereotype. As is usually the case with Quora, a few provocative, often contradictory points stick out:


Comments | More in Identity, Seattle, Social

June 12, 2012 at 6:26 PM

Blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn: Which personal site captures your identity best?

I’ve been writing online for a while now, and when I quote or mention people in stories, I like to link their names to a public site where readers can go to learn more about them when I can. It gives readers a way to see what they’re about, and it gives the people I’m quoting visibility they appreciate.

Today I realized that about as long as I’ve been doing this, I’ve been more or less guessing which of a growing assortment of public pages associated with just one person is the best one to link to for each story — when I miss a chance to ask, that is. I go through a process to make the pick, and it usually depends on the context of the story, but I’ve never stopped to check it.

So today I asked people on Twitter and Facebook: If you’re mentioned or quoted in a story, what link would you prefer the writer share?

The answers, I realized, do more than provide a check on my own process (I’m not too far off). They say a little bit about which sites users of two top social media sites trust as their best ambassadors.


Comments | More in Identity, Privacy, Social | Topics: Identity