Zuckerberg’s business model requires the trust and loyalty of his users so that he can make money from their participation, yet he must simultaneously stretch that trust by driving the site to maximize profits, including by selling users’ personal information. The I.P.O. last week will exacerbate this tension: Facebook’s huge valuation now puts pressure on the company’s strategists to increase its revenue-per-user. That means more ads, more data mining, and more creative thinking about new ways to commercialize the personal, cultural, political, and even revolutionary activity of users.
There is something vaguely dystopian about oppressed peoples in Syria or Iran seeking dignity and liberation inside a corporate sovereign that is, for its part, creating great wealth for its founders and asserting control over its users.
Facebook is hardly the only corporation managing these sorts of dilemmas—Google is a target of investigations seeking greater information about how it manages customer information it collects, about which it has sometimes been opaque, and it too has broken trust with users. Facebook points out that it has been responsive to revolts and protests from within. Zuckerberg proudly told Kirkpatrick that he revelled in the ways Facebook’s users had forced him to become more democratic: “History tells us that systems are most fairly governed when there is an open and transparent dialogue between the people who make decisions and those who are affected by them. We believe history will one day show that this principle holds true for companies as well.”
Indelibly etched on my brain, I tell the class, is a phone call I received one winter break from the aggrieved mother of a student to whom I had given a C-minus in a course that fall. The class had been a graduate course, a Ph.D. seminar, no less. The woman’s daughter, a first-year Ph.D. student, had spoken nary a word in class, nor had she ever visited during office hours. Her seminar paper had been unimpressive: Indeed it was one of those for which the epithet “gobsmackingly incoherent” might seem to have been invented. Still, the mother lamented, her daughter was distraught; the poor child had done nothing over the break but cry and brood and wander by herself in the woods. I had ruined everybody’s Christmas, apparently, so would I not redeem myself by allowing her daughter to rewrite her seminar paper for a higher grade? It was only fair.
While startled to get such a call, I confess to being cowed by this direct maternal assault and, against my academic better judgment, said OK. The student did rewrite the essay, and this time I gave it a B. Generous, I thought. (It was better but still largely incomprehensible.) Yet the ink was hardly dry when the mother called again: Why wasn’t her cherished daughter receiving an A? She had rewritten the paper! Surely I realized … etc. One was forced to feign the gruesome sounds of a fatal choking fit just to get off the phone.
Looks super cool. A waterfront arena really would be awesome. Logistically this is probably going to be a nightmare. What happens when the Giants and W’s have a game at the same time? Total clusterfuck. Also, SF isn’t a hoops town and doesn’t have that many basketball fans. How many loyal GSW fans really want to deal with SF’s infrastructural nightmare 41+ nights a year?
If you live in Daly City, you don’t live in SF. Just like if you live in Hoboken, you don’t live in New York. Rep where you are from, be ok with it. When you go abroad you can say you live in SF or NY, because no one has any idea where the fuck you are talking about. If I am 20 minutes away, just tell me where you actually live.
Q: It¹s clear that great urban centers, like New York, Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco are back, but what is the future of more hard-hit cities like Cleveland, Buffalo, Detroit, or Newark, where I was born?
A: Demographic inversion will occur — is occurring — in many places, but it can’t occur everywhere at the same time. Even at a given level of demand among would-be urbanites, it depends to a great extent on the job base in the metro area and particularly downtown. Cities such as Chicago, Washington and Atlanta, where the central job base is strong, will be the centers of demographic inversion. Places such as Detroit and Cleveland, that lack this job concentration, may see it in a very gradual and attenuated form. But I do believe that demographic inversion will ultimately occur in many more places than the numbers would lead us to predict at the moment.
I am blown away that people actually still care who can get married to each other. Of all the shit to get off of your couch and vote against. “Two dudes love each other and want to commit to caring about each other forever? FUCK that shit! We’re voting today Beavis!” North Carolina you just went down quite a few notches of awesome in my book.
Ben Folds Five is back: The piano-rock legends, last heard from around 2000 (though the namesake has been busy), has a new song called “Do It Anyway” as part of their planned reunion. Whaddya guys think?
Umm…Yes! Gonna have to get the high school crew back together and get to this show.