July 2012 Articles

All too often, we come to technological or even biological explanations for why a particular social network is popular among a particular group of people. Women love Pinterest because of their brain chemistry! Women love Pinterest’s simple and clean interface! Etcetera.

But what if the answer is simple and human, rather than complex and technological. What if it was Pinterest’s seed that created a community that was both welcome and welcoming to women? The site’s early heavy users were largely young women drawn from non-coastal areas. They set the site’s tone, which then began a self-reinforcing process of more women gathering because more women were already gathered.

Since reading Sarah Wanenchak’s Cyborgology post on abandoned digital space, I’ve been thinking about the digital spaces I have forgotten or deliberately abandoned, that sit and collect dust, like my rst blog on Diaryland. I started writing entries on Diaryland in 2002, and in 2006 I decided I needed a platform that was more professional. For a reason I can’t remember, I could not delete my Diaryland account back then, so I password- protected it.

…Wanenchak writes that abandoned digital space is empty and static, “frozen at that last point at which something was done to it.” After reading her piece I decided to take a peek at Diaryland. Typing that site’s password was like inserting a vintage key into a rusty lock, and I was led to my last entry, dated October 6, 2006. Typical of my entries there, it is very long–much longer than anything I’ve written here. In this nal post, which I did not know would be the nal post, I wrote about juxtaposition and paradox in regard to my time in Thailand; about the nancial and emotional instability of Twixters, a term used at that time to describe my age group stuck in between adolescence and adulthood; and my struggle to complete the last third of the book I was writing at the time.

Ihave been talking to other business owners about whether their sons and daughters will be taking over the family business when they retire, and I have been thinking about my own succession plans. I have three sons, and I don’t know if any of them will eventually want to run the business. The fact is, some people do not want to run a business, and some just don’t want to run the family business. But it has got me thinking. Shakespeare wrote, “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,” and as usual he was on to something.

If you think an apostrophe was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, you will never work for me. If you think a semicolon is a regular colon with an identity crisis, I will not hire you. If you scatter commas into a sentence with all the discrimination of a shotgun, you might make it to the foyer before we politely escort you from the building.

Some might call my approach to grammar extreme, but I prefer Lynne Truss’s more cuddly phraseology: I am a grammar “stickler.” And, like Truss – author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves – I have a “zero tolerance approach” to grammar mistakes that make people look stupid.

Once upon a time, Microsoft dominated the tech industry; indeed, it was the wealthiest corporation in the world. But since 2000, as Apple, Google, and Facebook whizzed by, it has fallen at in every arena it entered: e-books, music, search, social networking, etc., etc. Talking to former and current Microsoft executives, Kurt Eichenwald nds the ngers pointing at C.E.O. Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates’s successor, as the man who led them astray.