I'm not a big fan of pop music, so I must admit Michael Jackson wasn't on my iPod. (Although I do have a copy of "Thriller" on LP, which I bought for $0.99.) But as a bassist, I have fond memories of playing a 30-minute rendition of "Billie Jean" at an outdoor party a few summers ago. I'm not sure how it happened, but everybody kept dancing, and we didn't know how to end the song, so we just kept going around and around those same sixteen notes over and over … Read more
Given that Generation Y is often pegged as narcissistic, lazy, having high expectations, craving the limelight, and other such flattering characterizations, one might expect we'd be Twittering as if it were breathing. After all, Twitter is known as a place where people expose the most minute details of their lives--missing the bus, stubbing a toe, toasting an English muffin.
But a recent survey from Pace University and the Participatory Media Network shows that only 22 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds use Twitter, while 99 percent have profiles on social networks.
This may seem surprising on the face of it, but as a member of the Millennial Generation myself, I have some theories as to why it might be true. To see why we're not into Twitter, I'll have to revisit the start of the social-networking timeline: MySpace.
We Gen Yers spent hours on MySpace customizing our profiles and making them perfect representations of us (or rather, who we wanted to be). We couldn't wait for our friends to comment a new photo: "New pic, please comment!" MySpace made many of us feel popular, or even famous. I remember posting a new profile picture and refreshing the page in anticipation of responses.
Jean Twenge, psychologist and author of "The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement," calls this phenomenon "self-branding." People use MySpace as a portal for creating their own personal brand, Twenge says, complete with photos, custom banners, gossip, and fans (friends). One of the most successful self-branders is Tila Tequila, who tactfully used MySpace to achieve status as one of the users with the most friends on the site, and later parlayed that fame into a career as an MTV reality star.
Though we weren't international superstars, my friends and I were content on MySpace. But fast-forward a couple years to Facebook. It proved to be a difficult transition: where were all the flashing graphics, purple fonts, and exhaustive, multimedia-laden About Me sections? Why weren't the number of photo comments shown? Every user's profile looks the same, and at a glance, it seems self-branding is not easily attained.
The clean design of Facebook deemed decked-out profiles and artsy photos passe, but the site provided us with a new form of self-expression--"What are you doing?" status updates, which became the new platform for what Twenge describes as my generation's narcissistic need for attention.
What Facebook intends as a forum for sharing, Gen Yers see as a game of show-off. A quick look at my news feed and I see "Melissa" (name changed to protect the innocent) is having "one of the funnest nights of her life," and "beer and vodka make a interesting combination oww." 'Nuff said.
Brendon Nemeth, a 22-year-old San Franciscan whom I met this spring, says he updates his status to "keep family and friends informed on what's going on that's interesting in my life."
We no longer impress our friends with profiles that represent us through our creative flourishes, but rather with profiles that spell out what we're doing. (Out of fairness, our status updates don't always revolve around happenings at the local bar; plenty of us want to share our work promotions or volunteer activities, too.)
When Facebook implemented its news feed, users formed groups to oppose the feature. Now our status updates are… Read more
PewPew is a free 2D shooter game with classic vector graphics, a bouncy trance soundtrack, zero back story, and the kind of spare, single-minded gameplay that serious shooter fans will love. The controls are gratifyingly simple: a virtual, 360-degree thumb joystick on each side of the screen, one for moving, one for shooting. PewPew currently only has two levels/modes, both played in a tight arena: "Dodge This," which only uses the movement joystick, as you zoom around picking up spinning boxes and avoiding enemies; and "Assault," which uses both joysticks, as you weave through and … Read more
We made it onto Engadget! Well, sort of. It was kind of an accident, but Engadget is Engadget right? On today's show, we discuss some video game news with our buddy Russ Frushtick, the games editor for UGO.com. We also talk about our accidental plug on Engadget.com, explore some of the unhealthiest foods on the planet, and we briefly consider raising our kids on our favorite movies from the sci-fi universe. The second half gets absurdly dirrrty, with red light talks on fleshlights, 3d porn, massage therapy, and a very disturbing reading from Wilson Tang.
Today's … Read more
This year's winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio of France, has a dream.
In a lecture Sunday to the Swedish Academy that awards this stunningly relevant prize, Le Clezio suggested that the Web, had it been around in those days, might have prevented World War II.
"Who knows, if the Internet had existed at the time, perhaps Hitler's criminal plot would not have succeeded--ridicule might have prevented it from ever seeing the light of day," he said.
It is hard to find good fiction these days. And it seems even harder … Read more
Guest post: Jean-Louis Gass?e explains how Microsoft's future business model will borrow from both Apple and Google to compete with the free world of software. The essay was originally posted on Monday Note.How do you compete with free? That's the question Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, is trying to answer every morning when he goes to work. On the server software side, Windows Server is doing well, especially with the Exchange e-mail server and the unheralded but very good collaboration server, SharePoint. These products have matured, they're relatively easy to set up and manage by … Read more
This week we have Oliver's Stone's The Doors, with Val Kilmer's riveting portrayal of a volatile 60s icon, another Jean-Claude Van Damme film to add to the many other films in his cinematic canon, and Smart People, starring Ellen Page; you know, that actress who starred in that unknown, Oscar-winning indie film (sarcasm) called Juno.7 Seconds (Sony) Beat the Devil (Blu-ray Only) Belly (Lionsgate) CJ7 (Sony) The Doors (Lionsgate) Elvis: Viva Las Vegas (CMT) Felon (Sony) Half Past Dead (Sony) Kiss of the Spider Woman (City Lights) Last Time I Saw Paris (Blu-ray Only) Maximum Risk (Sony) Prison Break: Season Three (Fox) The Secret (2008) (Walt Disney) Smart People (Walt Disney) xXx: State of the Union (Sony)… Read more
Guest post: Jean-Louis Gass?e looks into Apple's MobileMe launch misfire and whether Apple can run a worldwide wireless data synchronization service for tens of millions of users. The essay was originally posted on Monday Note.Simple is hard. Easy is harder. Invisible is hardest. So goes one of the many proverbs of our computer lore. As Apple found out last month with the MobileMe launch misfires, the lofty promise of "Exchange for the rest of us" translated into a user experience that was neither simple nor easy--in a highly visible way. Four weeks later, the service … Read more
Yesterday I suggested two things. (Well, here anyway.)
That McDonalds sometimes make better ads than bugers and that it seems display advertising online isn't quite the big money souffle you might think.
Today, I discover that a wonderful McDonalds billboard last night won a Gold Lion at the Cannes Advertising Festival.
And that the Washington Post published an article suggesting big brands are not embracing display ads online.
The article attributes the lack of hefty cash being invested online to three factors: the reluctance of big brands that have been around a long time to experiment with something new; … Read more