Jed Cohen

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I’ve got so many things that I want to write about that I start a ton of posts and don’t necessarily finish them.  I’ve got drafts in WordPress.  Virtual sticky notes on my computer and phone.  Voice memos that I recorded on my phone (some taken while driving, which probably wasn’t the best idea).

Yet I haven’t posted anything in a month.

Why?  Because work has been crazy.  Because I start something here but forget to finish it as this blog is low in my list of priorities (it really should be higher).  Because I’m a little too perfectionist when it comes to posting.  Because I spent more time proofreading and editing my posts than writing them (thank high school essays for that one).  Because I forget about this blog.  Because I’m paralyzed by the routine of my schedule and don’t adjust for the things I want to accomplish but don’t.

Sadly, almost posting doesn’t count.  It’s yet another one of those areas where showing up is what matters.  So I thought I’d start by listing all of the things I’ve been thinking about writing about lately.  It’s a way to jump start writing posts about some of these ideas.  It’s also a way to make sure that I actually follow through, as putting this out in public places imaginary social pressure on me to start writing.  So without further ado, here’s a few lot of seed ideas:

  • Symbols allow us to inhabit a shared reality (see Walter Lippmann).
  • Why time isn’t fixed despite the fixed nature of the second.
  • There is so much information online we need to rely on the Internet to process and store it (think exocortex).
  • How the branding of commodities isn’t that different from the branding of general retailers.
  • Why I have way too many profiles on way too many social media networks/websites/platforms.
  • How being on the inside often means we can’t communicate with the outside – even though we know everything about the inside and there’s nothing stopping us from talking. (Expanded a bit in Inside, Outside, Upside, Downside)
  • Overriding Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a defining aspect of free choice.  Also why every single professor I had who mentioned it in class thought it was inaccurate (except for my Intro to Psych professor).
  • Tweeting like a pro isn’t that different from playing video games like a pro. What does it mean to be a power user?
  • What quantum mechanics teaches us about Russian Roulette and our understanding of success.
  • How going from a user to a marketer on a platform allows for the possible growth of a kind of code of ethics of marketing in that space.
  • Twitter = microblogging = tiny blogging. How does the Twitter ecosystem change our definition of blogging? Or should we redefine our definition of Twitter (note that Twitter did this a little bit today)?
  • How ritual allows us to access personal and cultural memories, leading to a continuity of expectation and ability to surrender the decision-making process to precedent.
  • Plan your dive, dive your plan.

And last, but most definitely not least:

  • How I work best when extremely busy (as in every hour of the day accounted for and filled with some kind of activity).  How I need a new side project (five to ten hours a week).  What I’m looking for in said side project (social media, community outreach, marketing, etc).  Why I like working virtually (and generally for free).

I know that not all of these make sense right now.  They don’t necessarily make complete sense to me either.  Which is why you’ll probably never see full posts on all of these topics.  You may see mini-posts focused on one or two ideas from a bullet point.  Or what’s written above (kind of a micro-post) might be it.  We’ll see.

Scientific Fascinations

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There are certain physical responses to stimuli that fascinate me.  I suppose it’s in part because I studied science for so long (at one point I wanted to be a biochemist).  Mostly it’s because I think these particular sequences of cause and effect are, in a way, elegant.  Here are a few examples.

  • The contraction and expansion of the pupil in response to sudden changes of light.  I find the movement of a camera’s entrance pupil to be equally fascinating, which makes sense as one was modeled on the other.
  • The absorption of liquid via capillary action.  Dip the corner of a tissue/towel/anything absorbent and capillary action will pull the liquid up into areas of the material that aren’t in direct contact with the liquid.
  • The concept that what I eat can impact my brain chemistry.  Imagine eating chocolate.  Your taste buds send sensory data to your brain, which releases serotonin and all sorts of other chemicals that leave you with a pleasurable feeling.  I think of this occurring, and I imagine flashes of colored light happening in my head representing the various neurotransmitters being released.

How about you?  Do you have anything you’d add to this list?

Written by Jed

September 25th, 2009 at 4:20 pm

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I wish I could go to more social media events/conferences/festivals/whatever.  Sadly, my schedule is a bit tight, and I don’t live on the west coast.

I stumbled across Threadsy via Twitter (the opening comment makes sense when you consider that Threadsy launched at Techcruch 50).  Anyway, it looks interesting, and I signed up for a beta invite.  Then, because they asked, I started filling out their survey.  In addition to the usual demographic information, they asked “How would you improve email, Twitter, or Facebook?”

Before I post my response, I should note that I don’t have access to Threadsy now.  And I didn’t write this post because I want an invite faster.  Don’t get me wrong, I do want to try it out, but I wrote this post because they made me think.  So way to go them – in my eyes, that’s as important as providing a service I’ll actually use.

Now here’s my response to their survey question:

I think Threadsy is a good way to start. With the rise of Twitter clients (especially those that can integrate with other services), we now have an expectation that not everyone will view social media content the same way – that way being through the service’s website. Opening up the data stream across platforms and allowing third party applications to access, sort, and analyze it can help to increase the signal to noise ratio, and make sure that we’re seeing content we actually want to see.

I suppose this mirrors the original development of e-mail clients, especially when you consider that they often include additional features beyond that of what e-mail services provide (like better spam filtering).

This said, it’s interesting to note that nothing above truly changes the concept of e-mail – although that may be just what it needs considering that it’s been around since the 1970s. And if I knew how to completely revamp e-mail, well, I’d probably be off trying to do it.

So yeah.  That’s what popped into my brain in response to their question (and I didn’t even go into Google Wave).  I’m still thinking about this, but I’m also curious – how would you make e-mail better?

Written by Jed

September 16th, 2009 at 10:06 am

Squidoo, Followers or Friends, and Twitter on the TV


So this is the first of my experimental series of mini-posts; just a few thoughts on some things I’ve come across recently.  As/if I write more detailed entries, I’ll insert links.

Squidoo Internship

Remember that Squidoo internship I wrote about a little while ago?  Happy to say that I was selected for it and have been working on it for the last few weeks or so.  There’s five of us; we’re a mixture of experienced Squidoo lensmasters, bloggers, left- and right-brainers.  We’re putting together a few different things now, and while they’re still in the planning phase, stay tuned!  I personally find what we’re doing is really exciting, the people I work with are incredibly engaging and remarkable, and I’m looking forward to seeing our efforts grow over the course of the next month and a half (the internship ends mid-October).

Followers versus Friends

Brazen Careerist has chosen a follower model for their (somewhat) new social network.   Instead of becoming “friends” with someone, you become their fan, and as a result all of their activity across the site is added to your feed.  It’s an interesting choice, and one that many new social networks must make.  In a follower model, you may end up with all sorts of skewed network dynamics (some might say weak ties if they span interest groups) due to the single sided nature of the relationships.  On the other hand, you have the reciprocity principle driving people to follow back and complete the two way relationship – something that defeats the point of establishing a one-way relationship network.  Brazen Careerist is not LinkedIn, and it of course serves a different function.  But I wonder how Brazen Careerist’s network will grow given this one-way relationship, and what we will be able to learn from comparing it to LinkedIn.

Fringe “Tweet-peat”

I watched the “Tweet-peat” of Fringe on Fox last night (I happen to like the show), and it’s an interesting concept.  They had a number of producers and cast members responding to viewer questions and providing thoughts throughout the show, which they both broadcast on @FRINGEonFOX and over the airing of the episode on the TV.  It’s an interesting blending of new media and old.  I’ve seen this done before, like with Current TV’s election coverage, but it’s nice to see the larger networks hopping on the bandwagon.  One thing though: they only broadcast the tweets of the producers and cast on the TV, so it was like listening to half a conversation.  It would have been much better had they put the questions and answers up, so we could follow along.  Or better yet, they could also have had a streaming version of the episode so we wouldn’t have to watch two screens to get the whole picture – it was a bit distracting.  There’s another tweet-peat tonight of Glee, which I actually don’t plan on watching, but I wonder if they’ll take the lessons they learned from last night and apply them tonight.

Written by Jed

September 4th, 2009 at 12:05 pm