2011…Time for a new route or an old rut?

The end of a year is a time for reflection and so it is that I find myself ruminating over the keyboard during this last week of 2010…

“We know what we are, but we know not what we may become”- William Shakespeare

I have no great words of wisdom or forecasts for 2011 except to note that the Gales of Change will continue to blow in 2011. At a minimum, we can expect further disruptions in the economy, government budgets, and the general well-being of society.

In short:

  • It is more than likely that 2011 will not be a good year.
  • We will be fortunate if it is no worse than 2010.

The above notwithstanding, I offer two futuristic observations on our digital communications media world in the coming year(s).

__________________

I.

The almost relentless drive to digitize all forms of consumer media will accelerate in 2011

DVD’s and CD’s will be harder to find as they are replaced by downloads and on demand services. The pressure to buy e-books, to watch movies online, and to consume music by download will continue.

Large scale Sunday newspapers may soon disappear…

Eventually, everything will be available online–exclusively–for consumption on an electronic device…

  • Digital downloads will generate a tremendous savings in resources previously dedicated to producing and distributing consumer books, recordings, magazines, newspapers, DVD movies, etc.
  • Homes will no longer be cluttered with books, magazines, photo albums, and recordings.  They will be available online and on demand…for a fee of course.
  • Public & private libraries will no longer be necessary in an online digital world.
  • Book stores, like the Dodo, will become extinct.
  • Book signings will be replaced by Facebook entries & Twitter Tweets.

Eventually, all human generated content and information–writings, books, film, photos, government records, business records, personal records, and archives–will be stored in a central computer cloud…and accessed through a wireless umbilical cord.

Of course, there is one question…

http://tracking.technodesignip.com/?action=count&projectid=642&contentid=6558&referrer=-&urlaction=r...LightningWho will control the cloud?Storm cloudhttp://tracking.technodesignip.com/?action=count&projectid=642&contentid=6558&referrer=-&urlaction=r...

http://tracking.technodesignip.com/?action=count&projectid=642&contentid=6508&referrer=-&urlaction=r...Just asking…http://tracking.technodesignip.com/?action=count&projectid=642&contentid=6508&referrer=-&urlaction=r...

II.

To Tweet or not to Tweet–That is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous Facebook fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of social media links*

Recently, I have been reflecting on two books (hard copy versions) that have stirred my little gray cells in the spirit of Agatha Christie’s Poirot. 

They are interesting contradictions, these two books…

Both can be read at several levels… 

  • The first deals with the tensions, dynamics, and strains of creating something in and for the “real” world.
  • The second describes how the “real” world is being replaced by the Virtual Internet Worldwith its infinite array of marketing, news, and social media communication channels…the latter filled to the brim with a stew of 140 character texts, digital snapshots, video clips, and banal messages–a world where constant communication is more important than content or context. It is a world we have yet begun to understand as it changes our entire media landscape…and us. ***

In musing over the information and ideas presented in these books, I asked myself two questions for 2011…

Is it time to find a new route in the new Social Media?

Perhaps…

Or…

Is it time to go back to the future and stay in the old rut?

After careful deliberation, my answer is…the old rut!

Why?

Simply put, I have no interest in contributing to the digital vapors of the new “social” media.

I find less and less reason to follow, much less take part in, a virtual world where people, for the most part, would rather commune with others on their mobile devices or computers instead of engaging in face to face encounters.  I am well aware that this is the reality of the day and it is not going to change. I do wonder if this is not one of the reasons why some decry the increasing coarseness of, and rude behavior in, society…

Could it be that we are losing our ability to interact and communicate personally because it is so much easier to do it through a surrogate electronic device?

I have always tended to pick the “road less traveled” in the spirit of Robert Frost or to cheer the underdog in conflicts and see no reason to change now.

Therefore, I will continue working in the now out of date world of 300 to 800 word blog articles written and formatted as if they were set out on a real page with large scale photo prints. While read or seen by few in the Virtual World, as they are not suited for quick consumption on handheld screens, it is the course I elect to maintain. ****

Looking ahead to 2011, my plans are to continue posting articles from time to time on such topics that may come my way–usually by way of photographs made during the month.

  • If you care to follow along in 2011, there is a free, easy e-mail subscription section in the right hand column on this page. 
  • The Photo Blog (Click Here) will also continue in 2011. As with this blog, the Photo Blog has a free subscription link if you care to follow my irregular photographic meanderings. The subscription link is at the bottom of the page

In closing, Happy New Year to one and all. It’s going to be a bumpy ride to an uncertain destination.

Strap on your seatbelt and…Fingers crossed

TEXT NOTES

  • *With apologies to Mr. Shakespeare!
  • **I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to get a sense of the changes in our media world in terms of how they took place and what lies ahead.  It is extremely well written and documented.
  • ***This “virtual” article is the equivalent of five 8 1/2 by 11 pages set in size 11 Georgia font. It contains 1153 words, 6,524 characters with spaces, three full-sized photographs, five emoticons, and six notes.  Obviously, it is hopelessly out of date by current Internet writing standards!
  • ****As an alternative explanation for my decision, I borrow a few words from that great philosopher from Texas, Waylon Jennings: “I’ve always been crazy and the trouble that it’s put me through…I’ve always been different with one foot over the line…I’ve always been crazy but it’s kept me from going insane.”

PHOTO NOTES

  • For those not familiar with Petaluma, the first photo is a composite of two exposures of the Clock Tower at the corner of Western Ave and Petaluma Blvd.
  • The “tunnel” photo is a triple exposure of the inside of the Waldo Tunnel approach to the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • For larger views, click on each photo.

 

A Petaluma Homeless Christmas Carol…2010 (Another Redux)

I fully intended that last year’s post on this subject (Click Here) would be my last. 

However, while riding through Lucchesi this Christmas Eve morning, I noted someone sleeping next to the Community Center…

This scene persuaded me to break my vow and to check out the now (in)famous Homeless Christmas Carol location on Lynch Creek Trail.  As I approached the bridge, I noticed that the tree was once again decorated, although not as gaily as in past years. In fact, it was a fairly sad looking tree…

One ornament was particularly poignant…

Tis The Sunday before…

…Christmas.

And the retail push is on! 

Based solely on a review of the ads in today’s Press Democrat, it is clear that the hot items for Christmas are communications and electronics:

  • “Tis the season to watch movies in 3D”
  • “Four great ways to get connected”
  • “Unlimited Talk & Text”
  • “Beyond Talk–The way to be continuously socially connected”

In this sea of consumer electronic wizardry I happened to come across a new board game. I heard about it on an old-fashioned am radio commercial on San Francisco’s KGO. If you are interested in a game where two or more people actually sit down and play the game together, check out Think Thrice. It is available in some stores in the East Bay and is also available for purchase online by Clicking Here.

Who knows, it may start a trend of people actually interacting face to face.

Such a concept!! Crazy

You can still get it by Christmas! I am advised that online orders through Wednesday, December 22 should still be received in time. Also remember, there is Boxing Day or any day after Christmas open to receive a gift that does not require batteries, a connecting cable, or a service contract to use. 

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Petaluma Patch…In A Sticky Wicket?

Petaluma Patch launched its online news service for Petaluma on November 23. I briefly wrote about their debut in The Petaluma Patch–Hyperlocal News

Petaluma Patch’s user agreement imposes a high standard of behavior for posting online comments.  They require that real names be used and insist that personal attacks be avoided. 

Such a concept!

To give you an idea of their policy position on public comments as posted on their site, I am reproducing portions of that agreement here with the permission of Janine Iamunno of PATCH Public Relations:

We want everyone to enjoy Patch, so you may use the Service without registration (ie, signing up with a email address and password). However, in order to access some aspects of the Service, you will need to register for an account…. Patch believes in transparency, and we ask that all your registration information be truthful. You may not use any aliases or other means to mask your true identity. (Emphasis Added)

Communities thrive when people care about each other, and as such, Patch expects all of its users to be respectful of others. If you notice any violation of this Acceptable Use Policy or other unacceptable behavior by any user, please report it to support@patch.com.

While we encourage people to be honest and post what’s on their mind, there are some types of Content that we simply can’t allow on Patch. We’ll go over some of the prohibited items…but these are merely examples and the list is not intended to be exhaustive.

We understand that everyone has different opinions, but Patch will make the sole determination as to whether Content is acceptable for the Service. is defamatory, abusive, obscene, profane or offensive…

Instead of trying to memorize all (this), you might boil it down to three main policies: “Keep it clean,” “Don’t try to trick people,” and “Treat others as you’d like to be treated.” Easy, right? (Emphasis added)

However, having a well written policy is one thing.

Enforcing it is another.

So far, it appears that Petlauma Patch is willing to do so. But there are signs of waffling on this issue.  Note how the monitoring comments by the editor have shifted:

  • “Please keep your comments to the issues at hand and refrain from personal attacks. Also, you must use your real name when commenting on stories or we will delete your thread.” (Emphasis Added)
  • “Dear commentators. While we love and encourage your opinions on our site, you need to keep them civil or they will be deleted. There is no need to get nasty. Patch is about fostering community and divisive and rude comments do not help. Thanks!”
  • “Hi Patch readers. While we’re very happy you are discussing this important topic on our site, we just want to remind everyone to keep the comments to the issues at hand and not make any personal attacks. In the spirit of transparency, we also encourage you to post using your first and last name so it’s clear who the comment is coming from. You can also submit letters to the editor to karina@patch.com, which will be reviewed and posted on our site.” (Emphasis added)
  • ARTICLE: “Comments Rule up for Debate”–“Two items we’ve posted… have generated a stream of comments on our pages. That has resulted in discussion about whether Petaluma Patch should require every person commenting on the site to use their real name.” (Emphasis Added)
  • “As a new site, we are a work in progress, so we may amend our policy as we go on, but for now, our hope is that people will respect our “honor system” and not hide under aliases or nicknames.” (Emphasis added)

Monitoring comments is a daunting task and I applaud the effort.

Going forward… 

  • Will Petaluma Patch serve as a model for other online news communities?
  • Will they stand by their written policy regarding identification?

To read the entire Patch User Agreement, Click Here

For supplemental information, go to 13 Things You Need to Know About Petaluma Patch

Wanna Bag For That Receipt?

“Enviros” and others concerned with the amount of waste we generate as we participate in our consumer society have “educated” some of us to take our own shopping bags to the store and to practice other means of waste reduction and recycling.

I generally support such efforts. 

However, a recent experience at one of our local grocery stores really broke me up! 

I went in to buy one item…a box of graham crackers. I paid $3.00 cash and told them that I did not need a bag.

Fair enough.

But Wow! Look at the receipt and coupons the purchase generated…

Wanna Bag for that receipt?  Yep