Grant McCracken analyses the quotidian babble of cats, toast and toothpaste that makes up so much of the content of Facebook/MySpace/Twitter social networking, and concludes that the point of all this communication is phatic, that is purely to reinforce social bonds rather than convey information. (Or to put it another way - it's about the conversation not the content.) All very Dunbar, and leads me to wonder whether when Leisa Reichelt says that online social networks let us "keep in touch with people with a level of regularity and intimacy that you wouldn’t usually have access to" she implies that humanity's Dunbar number is expanding as a consequence of online social networking.
Inksniffer Jon Duncan on everyone's favourite subject - what newspapers need to do to survive. He comments on the economics of online advertising: "advertisers have multiple suppliers to choose from and advertising is
becoming a commodity where the marginal cost of production for the
lowest cost producers is zero". (He doesn't add that a recent Blue Lithium study showed that ads surrounding user-generated content were more effective than those surrounding other content, but it did.)
Simon Cast wonders whether photoshopped adverts for beauty products, in which "the implicit message...is you could look like this if you used the particular product" are guilty of false advertising since in reality to look like that you'd need not just the make-up but the image retouching too. (By coincidence Jessica Hagy makes a similar point pictorially.)
The Onion looks more like prophecy than satire with the story "no-one admits to singing, writing, producing nation's number one song".
MR has been recommending The World Without Us for a while now, so I read it. It's a fascinating Gedankenexperiment and well worth a read for anyone with an interest in conservation or what I'm tempted to call counterfactual futurism.