A Snippet of History: Technology, Excitement, and Fear

From “Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat”

As the train approached, everyone in the room freaked out. Some ran out of the building.

I should clarify: a train wasn’t actually there. It was in a movie. 

But people freaked out because it was the 19th century, film was new, and the crowd couldn’t help but feel awe (and terror) at the new technology 

That story still gets passed on today, a century later, even though historical scholars believe it is somewhat bogus folklore. It’s still noteworthy to me because it reflects one narrative about humankind’s struggle with technology — a narrative where we’re excited and curious about tech, but also fearful at times.

My next post will feature quotes from the 19th and 20th century that touch on different reactions to technology.

Vine Video: Short Content With Century-Old Roots

Whether we’re talking about Twitter updates in 140 characters or Vine video clips no longer than six seconds, many people are clamoring to communicate more through less.

Some critics say Twitter statuses and short Vine videos are gloomy reminders that society can no longer focus. Modernity is killing our attention span, they say. Just look at this super-short aberration!

I’m not here to argue the finer points of dwindling mental capacity. I haven’t done enough research to take a stand. But I do think it’s interesting to note that abbreviated media isn’t exactly cutting edge. It has been around a while.

A man using a kinetoscope

A publicity photo for the Edison Kinetoscope

More than a century, actually.

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Online Content Creation: 6 Predictions For 2013 and Beyond

Online content creation shows no signs of slowing down in 2013. Many companies planned to increase spending on content marketing this year, and who can blame them? Content marketing has a long history and, in digital times, cutting-edge significance.

After all, content is the cornerstone of your online presence. It’s the stuff visitors usually flock to the internet to consume, and if it’s created well enough, it will have visitors coming back for more.

Your presence online matters a lot in 2013. Active internet use continues to increase, encompassing huge segments of the population. 67 percent of adult internet users in the United States use social media. (And that figure hops to around 80 percent if you’re counting internet users younger than the age of 50). Even demographics once resistant to the internet are beginning to check email

Increased interest in content-driven marketing tactics have meant that staggering amounts of online content is being produced, sometimes by companies and individuals that have never tried to be a publisher before.

What will that mean for online content creation throughout the rest of 2013 and beyond? Here are a few of my predictions. Continue reading

Online Sentiment Analysis: 5 (Free!) Social Media Monitoring Tools

With social media as it is, when companies mess up, online sentiment can take a nosedive. Just ask the fitness center in San Francisco that failed to pay a freelancer. (They now have one seriously disgruntled Yelp page!) [Update: Looks like most of the angry reviews have been removed.]

That’s one of the reasons online sentiment analysis has caught so much attention lately. Businesses and individuals need to know the buzz in their industry and whether they’re apart of it, for better or worse.

A slew of social media monitoring tools have cropped up to accommodate this need. While they don’t tend to offer the kind of robust analysis that dedicated sentiment analysis are designed to produce, they do allow you to “listen in” to conversations and glean useful insights.

If you’re looking to do online sentiment analysis but you’re struggling with a limited budget, here are five free social media monitoring tools to get you started! Continue reading

Social Influence on the Internet — Backlash Against Abundance?

If you want it, chances are the Internet can help you can find it.

No set of interests is too obscure. For example, once the web made it possible for me to buy British candy from Florida while researching Finnish grammar rules. Living in a digital age is awesome.

And at times overwhelming. Continue reading