Internet Famous – Cases in Point

The ability to express yourself through social media is not new. And to fight to become Internet famous.

And Gwen Bell asks some great questions on the topic of Internet Famous at what price?. All of which reminded me of this.

“The role of prizefighters, surgeons, violinists, and policemen are cases in point. These activities allow for so much dramatic self-expression that exemplary practitioners – whether real or fictional – become famous and are given a special place in the commercially organized fantasies of the nation.”

– Irving Goffman, The Presentation of Self, Pg 31

The Tricksters of Social Media; Fakesters vs Avasters

“So much seems possible at the beginning of a trip, so many  things seem brimmed with meaning.” pg 5hat trick by cayusa on flickr cc license

“…trickster is a boundary-crosser. Every group has its edge, its sense of in and out, and trickster is always there, at the gates of the city and the gates of life, making sure there is commerce.” Trickster, pg 7

Reading about fakesters led me to this post on fake twitter accounts varying from Fake Steve Jobs to Fake Seth Godin to my favorite, Chuck Norris. Chuck throws down the tracks like

When google has a question, they “norris” it.

And some fakester parodies are richly deserved like rahodeb of Whole Foods (In)Fame(ity).

Motivations for fakester accounts based on famous people might include a desire for attention, satire, performance art, hatred of what a person represents, desire to be in on a “secret”, or admission into a Goffmanesque “back room” to blatant monetary goals. But there is a motivation of some kind that piggy-backs on top of someone else’s fame.  Every invention of a new namespace opens up opportunities for these reputation barnacles.

But there is a different type of “fake account” in the form of a completely made up person or object. A persona. And this type of fakester account is lumped in with the impersonators, and this is a mistake. I submit they are entirely different.

In disparaging terms, these are called “sock puppets.” Wikipedia clarifies

“The key difference between a sock puppet and a regular pseudonym (sometimes termed an “alt” which is short for alternate, as in alternate identity) is the pretense that the puppet is a third party who is not affiliated with the puppeteer.”

My problem with the “sock puppet” term is that the pejorative nature overrides the trickster legitimacy and social commentary conveyed. Hence I suggest a new term for those that have passed a social acceptance threshold within the community. For lack of a better word I’ll call these characters Avasters.

Avasters – an character created by a person or persons that is not based on a specific person living or dead. An invented character that acts and behaves with a unique personality. And earns the right to be considered a “person” within the community.

Continue reading “The Tricksters of Social Media; Fakesters vs Avasters”

Google’s Child Care Debacle in NYT and what SHOULD they do?

We can learn from this article.

On Day Care, Google Makes a Rare Fumble By JOE NOCERA Published: July 5, 2008
Two months ago, Google held a series of secret focus groups with employees who have children in Google’s day care facilities. The purpose was to gauge their reaction to the company’s plan to raise the amount it charged for in-house day care by 75 percent.

The summary (paraphrasing the Times article here) is Google put in place day care. Then they did their own (better?) day care which almost doubled the costs. Then the closed the less expensive one and eliminated a 700 person wait list by pricing the day care out of range for everyone but the most wealthy googlers. And charged to be on the wait list. And now they don’t list day care as an employee benefit because at $2500 per month per kid few can afford it. And for philosophical reasons there is no longer any lower cost option for mere mortals who don’t buy into the latest Warholian 15 minutes of Teletubby child development fads.

The full article is worth a read. But the *main problem* is one of economics. They put in place benefits that sounded great, the CEO felt like a hero announcing them I bet. Yet benefited only a few with kids (like me) while the rest of the company paid for it (was taxed effectively). So sure I *would* want subsidized child care personally, but does everyone else want to pay for my benefit that they cannot use if they don’t have kids?

Meanwhile, someone at Google woke up one day and realized that the company was subsidizing each child to the tune of $37,000 a year

Is child care a universal right? Because all those years I spent driving crappy unreliable cars while my friends had new ones because we had a $1200 a month day care bill compared to $800 in rent, well actually actually those years were awesome because I love my kids. But it would have been cool to have my cake and to eat it too!

The article concludes:

Continue reading “Google’s Child Care Debacle in NYT and what SHOULD they do?”

Austin Coworking Write Up in the Statesman

Nice coverage of the Austin Coworking and Jelly communities in today’s Austin American Statesmen.

Instant coworkers
Austin telecommuters soon will have places to go when camaraderie of the office is missing

By Omar L. Gallaga
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Sunday, July 06, 2008

Julie Gomoll has been thinking about where and how she wants to work for a long time.

The tech entrepreneur — who started and sold several successful companies since she moved to Austin in the mid-1980s — has often worked at home, alone. (more)

Congrats to

  1. Conjunctured Coworking (heh… they have a "manifesto" link on the nav – awesome)
  2. Launchpad Coworking (hey guys, put in a redirect for the www. reference, eh?)
  3. Austin Jelly
  4. Michelle – general Austin trouble maker who just had a hugely successful blood drive. And is emailing me snarky challenging emails behind the scenes. But I promised not to blog that part b/c I’m not petty like that.
  5. Too many other cool Austinites that make Texas proud!

So what is coworking? The definitions abound on the coworking wiki. But for me it is a slightly tech heavy artists collective where you can rent out space and the social aspect matters.

What am I most excited about? The fact that the community is coming together. That is a good thing if it happens in Austin, Houston, San Antonio or Dallas (hello? Dallas? You up there still?)