Monday in Santa Fe

02010-02-16 | Uncategorized | 3 comments

Carnival in the Netherlands and carnival in Brazil. (from a slideshow)

Clive Thompson in Praise of Online Obscurity | Magazine
Then, in 2007, she began a nifty project: tweeting recipes, each condensed to 140 characters. She soon amassed 3,000 followers, but her online life still felt like a small town: Among the regulars, people knew each other and enjoyed conversing. But as her audience grew and grew, eventually cracking 13,000, the sense of community evaporated. People stopped talking to one another or even talking to her. “It became dead silence,” she marvels.

Why? Because socializing doesn’t scale. Once a group reaches a certain size, each participant starts to feel anonymous again, and the person they’re following — who once seemed proximal, like a friend — now seems larger than life and remote. “They feel they can’t possibly be the person who’s going to make the useful contribution,” Evans says. So the conversation stops. Evans isn’t alone. I’ve heard this story again and again from those who’ve risen into the lower ranks of microfame. At a few hundred or a few thousand followers, they’re having fun — but any bigger and it falls apart. Social media stops being social. It’s no longer a bantering process of thinking and living out loud. It becomes old-fashioned broadcasting.

The lesson? There’s value in obscurity.

Socializing does not scale. Funny, we knew that didn’t we? It’s one of the lessons we learned in grade school.
I always enjoy, when it appears as if the camera floats.


How to Raise Racist Kids | GeekDad |
And what are they learning? Here are a few depressing facts:

* Only 8% of white American high-schoolers have a best friend of another race. (For blacks, it’s about 15%.)
* The more diverse a school is, the less likely it is that kids will form cross-race friendships.
* 75% of white parents never or almost never talk about race with their kids.
* A child’s attitudes toward race are much harder to alter after third grade, but a lot of parents wait until then (or later) before they feel it’s “safe” to talk frankly about race.

Nice interactive 2009 holiday card

Crowfoot – Wikiquote
What is life?
It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.

Crowfoot‘s last words, 1890

Beautiful. Reminds me of Japanese Death Poems.


  1. steve

    Clive Thompson: “Why? Because socializing doesn’t scale.”

    Malcom Gladwell talks about this in _The Tipping Point_ where he refers to “the rule of 150” which states that, “the optimal number of individuals in a society that someone can have real social relationships with is 150.” [1]

    [1] Gladwell, Malcolm, The Tipping Point. Little Brown, 2000. Print. (p 179)

  2. Carol

    I have very few really close friends. I know that when we are together we can practically feel the others thoughts, but when we are with many more people it becomes diluted and we are a little more general in our conversations and a little more distant.
    You have really given us a lot to chew on and enjoy in this entry. What fun with the Carnival photos and the toy shop ! The computer is a wonder, and there are those with such creativity and know how.
    Thank you for all of this. And I know you even do other things in a day. Wow!

  3. Brenda

    Thank Goodness that is website is a good thing – I really wouldn’t want to give it up for Lent. hee hee – Living in one small city package of life is good but it sure is good to see the rest of the world through a quality filter of Ottmar – friends.


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