Aldon Hynes's blog

Emerging Quirkiness

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!

- Robert Burns, To a Louse

In 1999, Professor David Jacobson of Brandeis University led a group of anthropology students into a text based virtual world where they were asked to interact with certain residents of the virtual world, and write up the impressions they had formed. Professor Jacobson then used this data to explore how we form impressions of people we interact with online.

I was one of the residents that the students interacted with and I found it very interesting to read Professor Jacobson’s paper about their impressions of me. It was particularly interesting to me since I was going through a divorce at the time and trying to reform my own self-impressions.

It is interesting to reflect on this in terms of my recent experiences with Spock, Spoke, Wink, Zoominfo, and other sites focused on online reputations.

The Christmas Tree

The large green tree
waits patiently
next to the growing pile of wrapped Christmas presents,
the dust covered boxes of last year’s ornaments,
and the couch, where the college student,
home for the holidays,
lays half delirious,
from this season’s stomach bug.

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A fragment of one of last night’s dreams remains with me this morning. I was in school. I had been distracted and was trying to find my place. We were studying poetry and I commented to the instructor about having not been writing much poetry recently. She asked me why I hadn’t been, and I said I didn’t know. I’ve just been distracted.

Well, maybe there is a message in that dream fragment. Maybe some of the reason I haven’t written much poetry recently is that I read or listen to some great poetry and get discouraged. Then, I read some blogs where people are putting up poetry that just doesn’t resonate with me, and I think, I don’t want to be putting up poetry that doesn’t resonate with anyone.

Yet, like with NaNoWriMo, there is something important about just doing it, so today, I’m going to start putting up some of my poetic scribblings.

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Have we been thinking about the Dean Legacy incorrectly?

In my previous entry, I asked, “Will any of the campaigns in 2008 or 2012 show the sort of bold courageous leadership necessary to have a campaign that is of, by and for the people?” It reflects the way people seem to be thinking about the question, “what is Dean’s legacy on upcoming campaigns?” Maybe that isn’t the question we need to be asking at all.

Whenever I heard Gov. Dean tell people, “You have the power”, my mind always went to that scene in The Life of Brian, where Brian tells the crowd, “You are all individuals” and everyone responds as if by rote, “We are all individuals”. Too often, I attended Meetups where people talked excitedly about “having the power” and then asking the folks around them what they were supposed to do with that power.

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More About Spock

Since I wrote my last piece about Spock, I continue to get interesting emails, tweets, and so on about Spock. Three blog posts about Spock that are worth noting are Web 2.0 Experiments, snafus and stumbles, where the author is ‘hoping that Spock ends up in the dead pool’, Dislikeing Spock Even More, where the author compares Spock to Shelfari, and I am not Spock where the author wonders what Spock really has to do with any of the trusts that he has.

One person twitter, I'm surprised they aren't leaving us comments. Well, I sent an email to Maia Bittner a member of the Spock Team that had added a tag to my Spock profile. I pointed her to some of the blog posts and asked why there hadn’t been comments. She said,

We haven't commented (yet) for several reasons. One is that we want to be judged by our actions and not our words. Trust me, we've been paying very close attention to the parts of Spock that users take issue with, and we've been incorporating suggestions from blogs into our development plans.

I cannot emphasize enough to you how dynamic and (hopefully!) evolving Spock is. We try something out that we think is a good idea, and if people don't like it, we change it.

Another reason we haven't commented is that because of how often the structure of the site changes, we can't make any promises.

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