About Me

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I'm an Australian, based in the Washington, DC, area, with extensive experience in the US, UK/Europe and Australia. I have also lectured in IT and Law related topics at King's College, London, and at The Australian National University.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The "Netflix model": "the forgettable is supreme and the supreme goes unseen?"

Laurence Barber asks, on the Crikey website: "does the 'Netflix model' diminish television as art?". The argument is that binge-watching leads to degraded artistic quality as audiences have less time to digest content, shows no longer need to maintain suspense from week to week, and producers lack the opportunity to respond to feedback.

It's a pretty interesting argument. However, after thinking about it for a couple of days, I'm not sure I agree. I habitually watch entire TV series in a short period of time, and, if anything, I think that can foster a better appreciation of a well-written story arc. There are also plenty of traditional weekly TV shows with patchy scripts. At the end of the day, good writers will continue to write well; and the "Netflix model" simply offers consumers more options about how—and when—they consume content.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Twitter, LinkedIn and social engagement

It's interesting to watch the way social networks are developing. Facebook clearly has very strong engagement, largely from tightly-knit networks of friends. Other networks are working to find ways to get users more engaged. In particular, I remember first joining LinkedIn years ago, and then forgetting about it—hardly ever going back to the site. Twitter has long had an issue with people signing up but then not being sure where to go from there.

I was interested to read a couple of articles on this recently.

  • This article, from Wired, discusses the newly launched Twitter Music feature. It's interesting to see the new feature being written up as a way to get people engaged with Twitter as a "second screen" platform. It's not just about offering another music channel.
  • I've also watched LinkedIn's Endorsements feature with some bemusement over recent months. This article helped get me thinking about it. Endorsements help people get engaged with LinkedIn: people notice they are receiving endorsements and check up to see what's happening on their profiles; and the site is quite active in encouraging users to endorse one another. However, I have to wonder whether the engagement comes at the cost of data quality, due to the site's default behavior of suggesting a number of attributes to endorse, and a user interface which leads to blanket endorsement of those qualities—which neither the endorser nor the endorsed party might normally have considered as key qualities.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Can headache tablets help with existential dread?

Does acetaminophen (paracetamol) ease feelings of existential dread, as well as helping with headaches and fever? That's the suggestion from recent research, which suggests that the human brain may process physical pain and psychological pain in similar ways.