ICTs and urban life

In a couple of days, I’ll be attending the Cognitive Cities Conference in Berlin. I’m looking forward to this event since it gives an opportunity to pick up a topic again that I had to neglect for a while: urban communication. I’ve just added a question on Quora that sums up my interest in this subject – In what ways do ICTs influence our experience of urban life? Continue reading

“My name is ___, and I’m leaving Facebook.”

A good friend of mine just sent around an email, announcing that he will quit Facebook. He agreed that I put it up. Maybe somebody wants to use it as a template for announcing his or her own withdrawal from the social network. Also, I’m hoping to update this post later once my friend told me how he’s dealing with his new-found isolation/liberation. If you’ve gone through similar experiments, please share your experience. Continue reading

The promises and obstacles of process journalism

Process journalism somehow reminds me of cell membranes becoming more permeable.

I’ve been lazy about this blog, I know. No excuse, really. I wrote the last post after appearing on a DRadio Wissen radio show where I discussed virtual communities. Yesterday, I went back on that show to talk about process journalism. And again, the discussion – this time with Julia Hildebrand, Ulrike Langer, and Lorenz Matzat – triggered a number of interesting thoughts that are worth writing down. Continue reading if you would like to find out why process journalism is great and what obstacles it’s still facing. Continue reading

Peaceful co-existence – Social networks and niche communities

Last Saturday, I went on a Deutschlandradio Wissen talk show to discuss online communities. The other two speakers were Sarah Krohn, moderator at hungrig-online.de, and Mark Ralea, community and marketing expert. What it came down to was an interesting discussion of large social networks versus smaller niche communities. Continue reading

Metropolis – 83 years later and we’re still afraid of machines

Yesterday, I watched Metropolis, one of the most influential German silent films of all times. To be honest, I had hardly ever heard about it until recently, when an almost original version of the 1927 film was discovered in Argentina. Having seen it now, I can now understand why there’s been so much fuzz about it. With its special effects and high production cost, it must have been the equivalent of today’s Hollywood blockbusters. But more importantly, it’s a historical artifact that reflects an aspect of the modern Zeitgeist that is still with us today – the paradox of technology as progress and technology as enslavement. Continue reading

Privacy and innovation – two parts of the same story

The information society has given birth to a popular new German word – “gläserner Mensch”, meaning a human being made of glass or simply “transparent individual”. It encapsulates Germans’ widespread fears that Google, Facebook, the state and others record every bit of information about them. Unfortunately, this disproportionate emphasis on privacy and data protection threatens to suppress innovation. A call for a more balanced discourse. Continue reading

Extremely Green and Incredibly Remote

I’m back – have been for a while, but settling into a new life with a new job is taking up a lot of time. As promised, I will try to continue this blog. And after one month in Peru and Bolivia there are some stories to tell. One is about our stay with an indigenous community in the Bolivian jungle, where a solar-powered radio was the only link to the outside world. Continue reading