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While Dean is away in the field the rest of the gang discuss the Chicago’s Ambitious plan to eliminate traffic fatalities, Ed’s terrifying yet adorable baby cousin, whether academics are too uptight about grammar, and their ambivalence toward a movie that stars both Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron. Featuring the songs “Pull Yourself Together and Fall in Love with Me” by Cold Mailman and “Chocolate and Cocaine” by Lorenzo’s Music.
Ed makes a triumphant return. The guys do a PBS-style rapid fire roundtable discussion of the week’s events including rampant speculation about the causes of Junior Seau’s untimely death, the impact (or lack thereof) of Facebook’s new organ donation feature, and Newt Gingrich’s campaign “suspension.” And, as always, the panel provides you with their weekly “smart suggestions.”
While Jordan’s away, the rest of crew pick up the slack. On this very social episode we discover a smart rock band, cover a controversial news story, and Ed talks about why he left Goldman Sachs. Then we delve into the reasoning and risks behind unfriending and managing awkward social interactions online.
Raise your hand if you use Wikipedia on a daily basis. Okay, now raise your hand if you know what Boing Boing is. If your hand is not up, chances are you unaware that some web sites have chosen to blackout their content today in a protest to the internet censorship bills SOPA and PIPA.
The idea behind the protest is to give people a taste of what the internet would be like if these bills were to pass.
The protest probably is effective if you use these sites on a regular basis. However, Wikipedia and Boing Boing are far from the most popular sites on the internet. Arguably the most popular and useful site on the internet — Google — a staunch opponent of the legislation, could only muster this lame protest:
Mashable reports that “Facebook” was the top search term of 2011. They must really have a lot of “mindshare,” right? Well, sort of. This study really shows what kind of people use Google (primarily) to get to their favorite website, and not necessarily that they are looking for other information about that site. Other top searches this year included “facebook login” and “www.facebook.com”.
Facebook has 800 million registered users, this is a year when practically anyone with a computer and an internet connection has an account. Many of those users know very little about bookmarking, or the advanced capabilities of most web browsers. We’ve all seen a relative trying to “surf the web”. They pull up Internet Explorer and go to Google (or maybe google is their homepage) and type the full address of the site they want, then click the first result that appears. That’s not exactly any indication that the user is any more invested in that site or that brand. And, while I’m a big fan of shortcuts and timesavers to reduce repetitive tasks like entering the same search term every time I use my computer, but that might not really be a priority for many users.
This kind of report is more of a reflection on the users of search engines and how people are using technology, not what they searched for. The study by Hitwise is pretty comprehensive, and defines the majority of top searches as “navigational search,” which seems to hit on what Mashable’s article misses. Its also unfortunate that the study didn’t include mobile searches, which is rapidly growing and becoming the primary means of search and experiencing online content.
Its one thing to get hyped up on a new site or service (Schemer, anyone?). Its another to hit on new (at least to you) tools you find online that you actually incorporate into your regular life. Be it for work or play, here’s a breakdown of sites and apps I’ve come across this year that I actually use. Some of these are not necessarily new this year, but are all new to me and deserve more users and supporters.
I love data. I don’t know if I make that clear enough here on the blog, but I always am thinking about how to quantify things, from the macro (“how much money the average american spends on Christmas gifts”) to the micro (“how much money to I spend on snacks a year”). I track everything and regularly do minor analyses on the (admittedly) stupidest things. That’s why I loved this slideshow from the week on the stats of our lives. Here are my favorite stats from the article: