Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
February 12, 2011 1:18 PM

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #34

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, the author of Complete Web Monitoring and Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks), Hugh McGuire (The Book Oven, LibriVox, iambik, Media Hacks) and I decided that every week or so the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person "must see".

Check out these six links that we're recommending to one another:

  • St Matthew Island - Recombinant Records. "Stuart McMillen created this thought-provoking infographic about the introduction of a dominant foreign species to an Alaskan island, and the terrifying toll of population collapse (explained in more detail, but less fun, elsewhere). It's a lesson we'll likely learn too late, but somehow his art makes it feel like a Christmas card." (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Data intelligence firms proposed a systematic attack against WikiLeaks - The Tech Herald. "Last week, I was at Strata (the inaugural O'Reilly conference on Big Data, ubicomp, and new interfaces). It was a fascinating week. One day, we heard from the Guardian's Simon Rogers about meeting Julian Assange and turning leaked cables into interactive interfaces; the next, from companies like Palantir on how their technology can be used to find bad guys. So imagine my surprise when I read this piece on how soon-to-be-leaked Bank of America hired Palantir and others to attack Wikileaks' proponents and supporters. There's a data war brewing between those with secrets and those who crave access. This is what it looks like." (Alistair for Mitch).
  • How Tech Tools Transformed New York's Sex Trade - Wired. "Sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh tracked the business habits of the sex trade in Manhattan, from 1991 to 2010. Things have changed, mostly because of technology. This short article - with fascinating stats and infographics - gives a broad picture of a huge change.  Reading this, I was struck by something: a similar story could surely be told about musicians, authors, and journalists. I'd love to see a Wired article on how the lives of media producers have changed between 1991 to 2010." (Hugh for Alistair).
  • Thanks For The Memorex - Art Forum. "Old technologies never die, they just get adopted by hipsters. If you are of a certain age, the cassette *was* music. Cassettes were cheap, they were portable, and they were easy to copy. I remember my first dual cassette deck - what joy. I'd borrow tapes from friends and 'dub' them.  It started with 80s AM Radio cheese - Phil Collins, Chicago, Corey Hart, etc... A couple of years later, the cool stuff was 60s music: Led Zeppelin, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, The Band and CSNY. And then of course, the mixed tape. When I was 11, an older friend with an older brother gave me a mixed tape with The Clash and The Specials. It remains my formative musical experience. Even into my university years and beyond, we were making mixed tapes of Canadian indies: Rheostatics, Skydiggers, Spirit of the West, with a bit of Rush thrown in for fun. How many hours did I spend with my music collection (tapes and CDs - LPs always sounded too scratchy when you recorded them to cassette) laid out on my parents' living room floor, planning out the perfect progression only to change course mid stream - picking out that obscure B-side track just to prove your metal..." (Hugh for Mitch).
  • Gladwell Still Missing the Point About Social Media and Activism - Gigaom. "The debate about whether or not Social Media really does affect major change in our world has become an ever hotter debate since best-selling author, Malcolm Gladwell (Blink, The Tipping Point, Outliers, etc...) wrote his column, Small Change, for The New Yorker back in October of 2010 (he followed it up recently with a Blog post titled, Does Egypt Need Twitter?). Many of the more digital-connected media pundits (and this includes people like Don Tapscott) thought Gladwell got it all wrong. In this piece, my friend, Mathew Ingram, takes Gladwell to task as well. I recently presented on the same stage as Gladwell at an Art of Management event and we wound up debating this exact topic during a VIP lunch. Gladwell believes that Social Media does not create strong enough ties/links that can lead to such dramatic change, but that Social Media is great for speeding up the organization and connecting the weaker ties between people. The truth probably lies somewhere in between both sides of the argument. That being said, it's hard to deny the power of Social Media when you consider that we can we can finally say, 'Hosni-you-later!'" (Mitch for Alistair). 
  • Web Words That Lure the Readers - The New York Times. "In the pre-Internet world, what drew a reader in? It was usually a compelling headline, maybe a photo and/or a thought-provoking piece of content. Quality Journalism always rose to the top. It still does, right? Maybe not. Whether or not The Huffington Post has the highest quality of journalism probably plays a distant  (very distant) second to the fact that it rocks the search engines. You don't hear many people really talking about how important search engine optimization still is to draw a reader in. In you're looking for news on the unraveling of Egypt's government, who gets the traffic/attention? The best journalism or the publication that has the best SEO? Don't kid yourself, AOL spent $315 on The Huffington Post not because of the writers, but because of the traffic (which is mostly directed to the site through great search engine optimization). Welcome to the new world where quality of journalism and search engine optimization have equally important roles." (Mitch for Hugh).

Now it's your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.

By Mitch Joel