Going viral

by Eszter Hargittai on February 3, 2008

This video was posted on YouTube just yesterday and has already been watched over 150,000 times.* There’s also a site for a ringtone.

It’s impossible to know at this point how such viral campaigns might influence outcomes, but it’s certainly interesting to watch how people are taking advantage of new tools to disseminate material of this sort. It would be a stretch to suggest anyone can do this easily since this video is filled with celebrities, which likely helped it get coverage on ABC yesterday [source]. Nonetheless, having it available online certainly helps in spreading it widely. I’d be curious to know how most people linking to it found it, but many don’t seem to be pointing to sources, which makes this difficult to decipher.

[*] Note that YouTube’s numbers are confusing as depending on when I click on the link I either get around 153,000 or 84,000 views.

[thanks to Discourse.net]

Frozen Grand Central Station

by Chris Bertram on February 3, 2008

I think if you tried this at Paddington or King’s Cross, security and the British Transport Police would be pushing you around within 90 seconds …. A pretty cool piece of street theatre:

Photos as notes

by Eszter Hargittai on February 3, 2008

While I realize not everyone is as obsessed with photography as I am, many phones now have cameras and I wonder if people remember to use them for the logistics of everyday life. So this post is just a reminder that all those things you often forget (I certainly forget all sorts of details that would be helpful to remember later) can be captured easily with your pocket-sized camera.

Cheese A recurring theme when I go shopping is trying to remember the name of that wonderful cheese I purchased earlier. Good cheese can be expensive so it’s a pity to buy the type that doesn’t work out. Last week after buying some cheese that turned out to be very tasty, I decided to take a picture of its label. Yesterday when I returned to the store I started looking for it. I couldn’t find it, but then I showed the image to the person behind the counter and immediately she had an answer. Although they were out of that particular item, she pointed me to another one that, upon sampling it, reminded me sufficiently of the earlier one that I was happy to find it. The woman mentioned that she wished more people would think to take photos as it’s usually difficult to guess what they want from their descriptions.

Princeton-Stanford intersectionThis method can work with all sorts of details that are easy to forget: book titles and authors, wines, where you parked your car, what you ordered off of a restaurant menu, bus & train schedules, maps (yup, I’ll just take a quick snapshot of a map instead of printing it out), and lots more. For some of these (like maps) a higher resolution photo where you can zoom in is helpful, but for others a simple camera phone should work just as well.