curso na TV

screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-1-13-13-pmTCM, Turner Classic Movies, está silenciosamente fazendo um grande trabalho de marketing multi-plataforma com programação de arquivo. Este mês eles lançaram seu projeto mais arrojado, um curso online grátis que explora o humor palhaçada (slapstick) no cinema. No ano passado, eles já tinham promovido um curso sobre filme noir — e ambos traçam um paralelo com filmes programados no ar. As aulas são semanais, o curso foi criado em parceria com uma universidade/educação integrada e o de humor, Ouch, terá 56 comédias em um mês. Quero fazer igual, Viva!

The Socially Deficient

Digital connections are at a point of mental-emotional exhaustion… Has it reached the ceiling? I find it hard to believe it will grow more; or evolve into a way that makes us connect in a  more productive or fulfilling way. Maybe this is the Mayan prophecy after all.  The global village is full. Here’s a story by David Carr, published today at the NYT, with the title of “My Dinner with Clay Shirky….”

Last week, I had dinner at Clay Shirky’s house along with a group of journalists and academics, all of whom are very active on the Web. Mr. Shirky is the oft-quoted thinker who wrote “Here Comes Everybody” and “Cognitive Surplus.” I have no idea why he was having the dinner or why I was invited, only that it sounded like a fun, smart bunch. We all “know” each other, either through a direct online connection or by digital reputation, but I am more familiar with them as digital avatars than as people.

As a group, we have some things in common, like an obsession with the future of journalism, and I’ve engaged in vigorous digital debate with people at the dinner over the willingness of people to pay for journalism.

But, funny enough, we didn’t talk about that much in person. We talked about Twitter, the Facebook I.P.O. and the limits and glories of Storify. But we also talked about “Homeland,” school politics, New York provincialism and, as it turned out, bread.

Before dinner, Mr. Shirky set out some bread. It was warm on the inside, crusty on the outside, little French loaves of goodness. I went into the kitchen to ask where Mr. Shirky had found such treasure and he pointed to the oven and the loaf pans on top.

As it turns out, Mr. Shirky became very good at bread eating at a young age, so his mother decided that he should also be good at bread making. We all chewed on the bread as Mr. Shirky told the story of learning how to make bread as a 10-year-old.

Now, he could have told that story in a blog post or in an e-mail chain, but it became a very different story because we were tasting what he talked about. The connection in an online conversation may seem real and intimate, but you never get to taste the bread. To people who lead a less-than-wired existence, that may seem like a bit of a “duh,” but I spend so much interacting with people on the Web that I have become a little socially deficient.

In her book “Alone Together,” Sherry Turkle has written about the lack of nutrition in what seem like significant online relationships.

After an evening of avatar-to-avatar talk in a networked game, we feel, at one moment, in possession of a full social life and, in the next, curiously isolated, in tenuous complicity with strangers. We build a following on Facebook or MySpace and wonder to what degree our followers are friends. We recreate ourselves as online personae and give ourselves new bodies, homes, jobs and romances. Yet, suddenly, in the half-light of virtual community, we may feel utterly alone. As we distribute ourselves, we may abandon ourselves. Sometimes people experience no sense of having communicated after hours of connection.

I left Mr. Shirky’s apartment with a full belly, but even more filled up by what happened around the perimeter of the bread. No one tweeted, no one texted, everyone talked. I’ve noticed more and more that when I go to gatherings, people are walking around in their own customized world defined by what is on their smartphone, not by who is sitting next to them at dinner. The serendipity of the offline world has been increasingly replaced by the nice, orderly online world where people only follow whom they want to and opt in to conversations that seem interesting.

The funny thing is, the user is not always the one who is doing the deciding. As the author Eli Pariser has written in “The Filter Bubble,” Facebook, Google and Yahoo are deciding what we want to know, even though we are the ones doing the searching.

We end up in what seems like a self-selected informational ghetto, finding out about what is most “relevant” to us, but not finding out much of anything new. Google would never know that I wanted to bake because I didn’t know it either. If someone had Google Plus-ed Mr. Shirky’s recipe for bread or provided a link on Twitter, I would have never clicked on it.

But because I had tasted the actual bread out in the actual world, I wanted to try to make it myself. I got online — yes, I stipulate to the irony — and goaded Mr. Shirky back into sharing the recipe. It might as well been a formula for cold fusion, what with its two separate pauses to let the dough rise and daunting list of tips, but the memory of the smell, of the taste, compelled me to try to make the bread.

(The writer and educator Zeynep Tufekci would point out that I never would have gotten around to eating that bread with those people unless I had had a digital connection to them. She has observed that so-called weak ties often lead to strong ones, )

I circulated a picture of my lumpy but fundamentally sound loaves to the ad hoc group that was formed around that dinner and we had some laughs. Yes, we did that online, but it was reprising something that had actually happened when we were together.

In addition to asking Clay for the bread recipe, I asked him about the ingredients of communication in a wired era. “When people talk to one another long enough, they want to meet, and when they’ve been in one another’s presence, they want to keep in touch.” In other words, we will probably break bread together as a group again.

All of which is a way of saying something that is probably obvious to others who are less digitally obsessed: you can follow someone on Twitter, friend them on Facebook, quote or be quoted by them in a newspaper article, but until you taste their bread, you don’t really know them.

the google of recipes

So somebody finally did it! An aggregator-type site that sweeps the web in search of recipes, and all things kitchen. It was created by two Yahoo veterans who searched for a 5MM VC investment to take it off the ground. And they did. In times of social networks and be-friend-me-or not, you can even browse chef’s recipes.

It is very similar of my own idea of aggregating apps. When Apple made all that fuss about having downloaded a gazillion apps, I went, “why?” So in search of someone that told me why did I need an app, and among so many, which ones, I created Apploaded with a group of friends. The phone is an extension of your life today, and it’s called a smartphone not for no reason. so we worked on it for over a year, no pay, long hours, and we did all the homework, including the business plan. I learned all about apps. But the project is a source of frustration now because it never took off. Main partner was a buddhist constantly in retreats, GM a stoner in california, the other partner a clueless academic… oh well. It is currently filed under the shoulda, woulda, coulda….

Coffee’s Social Trend

When Starbucks officially became the ‘new home office’; the independent coffee bars latinized themselves introducing americans to the standing coffee-bar-habit. The excuse was to be social. OK then. I really don’t like Starbucks. And for several reasons, from capitalism to moral to plain taste. But I confess they get it so right at times, it’s amazing. On the day of presidential elections, coffee was free…. Hear Music has always been a fabulous label with the coolest compilations, and one of the first stores where consumers could create their own CDs….  Then the smart consumer gimmick,  and “working from home”  became synonymous with “working from my neighborhood Starbucks”.  Trendsetter they are.

Independent coffee stores, on the other hand,  are upgrading their design schemes to facilitate social interaction. As noted by the NYT, Stumptown Coffee Roasters in NYC’s Ace Hotel, Café Grumpy’s new Park Slope outpost, and Intelligentsia in Venice Beach have all found success in this shift away from coffee bar-cum-workspace culture. Maybe it’s that Italian thing (and the recently opened Eataly is their best representation so far), the latinization of habits (um cafezinho….)  Anyway, comfy chairs are out, and standing room-only bars are in. The purpose is to make one move away from behind the laptop, stand side by side a fellow customer…..and get social.

unplugging is the new black

After being wired online for so many years, becoming adept, addicted, supporter, critic, I am, together with an army of like-minded people making the effort to unplug.The poweful blackberry re-shaped the brain, and changed our attention span, the Iphone and every other smart phone is currently an extension of my arm because “I am what I app”…. But abroad and incommunicado I unplug and it feels good. Like ending a bad romance, it was inevitable that one day we’d start to say “enough is enough.” WhY? what is scarier: that big brother is watching, that someone will hack into my email or that I jump onto the band wagon like sheep? Unplug is the new black. After a character in Greenberg decides that “she’ll try to get off email”, it’s time to praise the National Day of Unplugging (March 19 to sundown of March 20) when participants were asked to put technological devices to sleep and reconnect to the real world.


social media, the online cocktail party

oh…and it is so tiring…. Social media is public, everything is out, one has to watch its words, choice of photos and tone. Social media is the new cocktail party. It’s where we meet in the ‘telemodern’ age, being it for work, new friends, like-minded meet-ups, lovers, or romantic liaisons. Its hard to keep consistency; and our overly used words need to be wisely chosen as they are the first impression you make. One needs to be strategic. It is exhausting.
Linkedin works for the resume in your own words, and I usually sound pragmatic and passionate. It’s also the new address book, the little black dress. I have a good and extensive resume, and I’m having fun reducing my career of 25+ years to a paragraph….what a nerve! Facebook is about friends, and old friends, and how you lighten up. Hobbies, colored pictures and stickers. I have been part of the Facebook exodus group and am working on my own social network start-up…ha. And because social media is democratic and free, the lack of ethics abound. More than once I was caught by surprise with a faux-pas picture on my boyfriend’s Facebook page that I really could live without seeing. Alas, ethics. Or the lack of. But the new requirement in the professional world is the blog: do I have an opinion? do I express it? what exactly do I think? And truth be told I haven’t wrote much lately because everything seems shallow and volatile. The 30 seconds of fame of every joe schmo is overwhelming and uninteresting. I don’t tweet and I don’t care.
Scarcity volatility technology… the blooming era of me. Even Nobel prizes now are given to big personality promises rather than their achievements.