Just Curious

Please state the answer in the form of a question... Just Curious is the occassional blog of Andrew Nelson. In an attempt to balance the polemical tone of most of the blogosphere, all entries hope to pose at least one useful question. Many entries simply advance useful memes. Personal entries may abandon the interrogative conceit.

Monday, April 18, 2005

so why was Comcast so shitty lately?

Chicagoist provides an answer -- but had to go to the Washington Post and San Jose Mercury News to get it. I'll ask the same question Chicagoist does -- why aren't internet outages bigger news?

are we "digital natives"? (meme)

Graham wonders if our generation could be called "digital natives." As my comments there show, I am somewhat skeptical. I feel about that label sort of how I feel about "bright" -- even if its denotation describes me, the conotation doesn't feel right.

what is the best approach to blog-work relations?

An article in the NYT today is just one of the latest to draw attention to problems bloggers have encountered at work. It contrasts two approaches to the problem. The first is Mark Jen's, who was fired from Google because of something he wrote on a personal blog. Jen has been hired by a new company, Plaxo, and helped draft their policy on employees' blogs and other forms of personal communication. The idea is that if everyone knows the rules, it can be safe to blog about work.

A representative of the Electronic Frontier Foundation is portrayed as more skeptical. This group, which has done lots of good work on how new technology affects our civil liberties, has also published a guide to safely blogging about work. The principle disagreement is about anonymity -- Jen and compnay say it is impossible and unadvisable, while EFF links to tools to protect your identity (tho they don't advocate breaking the law, of course).

I'm not so sure these two approaches are actually incompatible... it does seem wise for corporations to have clear policies about blogs, and if they're friendly, all the better. But the anonymous disgruntled employee is often useful and entertaining, and I would rather they not be fired (even if their employer has a right to do so).

The question is whether there is a real middle ground. It's clear that blogs are becoming part of normal speech more quickly than anyone anticipated. One would hope that the normal rules of a free society -- not just laws, but norms and etiquette and values -- would extend into this sphere. So what is the best way to help do with blogs what we would do with other forms of free speech -- venting about the boss, suggesting ways to improve our community, organizing for change -- while also recognizing that the open nature of the Internet exacerbates the consequences of what we write?

where the hell am I?

This question is asked in two senses. One, where did the blog entires go? Two, am I still in London?

Last question first-- no, I'm back in Evanston, which might not be obvious to those who do not live there. I was just in London for Spring Break, not for study abroad. However, this begs an answer to question one -- why haven't I been posting more?

Well, Internet access became dicey again later in the break, and I actually had to get to work on my research project (and enjoying myself!). However, I have lots of notes and photos and things that I intend to post eventually... probably still under the hed "London, Alone."

Of course, it has also been about three weeks since I got back... that time is explained by a trip to Kirksville, Mo. and general busy-ness. But back in the swing of things now!