We are people, and people have lives. Lives involve losses. Losses of friends, of loved ones, of children, of parents. Everybody everywhere feels something about some loss sometime in this interconnected age; maybe even you feel things. Maybe then, also, you can explain what the hell David Brooks is on about in this column.
What's the key to acquiring a quick reply to your email? Make the recipients think that if they do not reply immediately, it will be the final action that tips your day—nay, your life—into an abyss of distressing turmoil. No, it's not clarity, urgency, or brevity that garners replies; it's negativity and pessimism.
In a letter to a congressional committee, AT&T said it is "carefully considering" monitoring how its users surf the Web. In a similiar letter, Internet service provider Charter Communication said it had plans to do the same. ISPs Bresnan Communications, CableOne, CenturyTell, Embarq, Knology and Wow already track their users' activities on the Web, according to Silicon Alley Insider, which put together a list of ISPs and portals that do and do not track users.
Email: it's no longer cool! Was it ever? Apparently it was, so I hope you didn't miss your opportunity to use your inbox as a "gauge of Digital Age machismo." Because now email, like The Blob, has turned into a monster that threatens to swallow us all in its pulsating, gelatinous walls. The problem has spread from nerds to regular people, and America is now paying attention. The LA Times even quotes one nerd proclaiming "EMAIL shall henceforth be known as EFAIL." Dang! "All your time are belong to email," I imagine internet scientists saying. And they're more right than you know!: Experts have discovered that Americans no longer go to work to perform actual work; they simply go to work to send and receive email about what would happen if they theoretically were to do some work. When they're not doing this, they're mentally recovering:
Tracey Grinhaff, a 42-year-old mother of two in Sheffield, England, was murdered by her angry husband after she posted a message on her Facebook page saying that she was leaving him. Cops found her body in a shed in the back yard of the couple's house, and her 41-year-old husband Gary's body was found in the woods nearby. She died of head wounds, and so did he, although his were self-inflicted. Apparently the message made him extremely angry:
The prospect of having the Internet suddenly disappear, leaving us in a wasteland of masturbating to our own lame imaginations, isn't just the basis for a hilarious South Park episode. It's coming! So says one biased goon for the horrible, horrible AT&T. "U.S. telecommunications giant AT&T has claimed that, without investment, the Internet's current network architecture will reach the limits of its capacity by 2010. Speaking at a Westminster eForum on Web 2.0 this week in London, Jim Cicconi, vice president of legislative affairs for AT&T, warned that the current systems that constitute the Internet will not be able to cope with the increasing amounts of video and user-generated content being uploaded."
The Freelancers Union is telling its irate members today that enrollment forms for new health plans were sent to their new provider on Monday and that all of its members should have ID numbers by tomorrow. Or maybe not! According to one freelancer, Empire's customer service says that FU "had sent over 'only a handful' of enrollment forms, and that it could be weeks before everything is processed." Another union member tells us just the opposite: Blue Cross will backdate applications so that FU enrollees can visit health practitioners today, should they need to. Confusion! Mixed messages! "Needless to say, the Union fucked up completely," said the same member. Did the Freelancers Union learn nothing after helping organize striking Viacom permalancers last month? Cost-cutting happens everywhere and always will. But the way bad news is delivered is, in large part, how people will remember you as an organization. Quit screwing it up!