Posts in: April, 2016

What we can learn from “The Selfie Generation”

Skip Prichard

Teenagers taking a selfie photo

Here are two questions you don’t often see next to each other.

  • Why do academics need to “publish or perish?”
  • Why do teens love to post online pictures of themselves doing silly things?

While their circumstances couldn’t be more different, I believe that the motivations for both groups are remarkably similar and comes down to four principles: visibility, reciprocity, creativity and authority.

These are some of the guiding beliefs of a group that has been called “The Selfie Generation.” But they are also those that encourage all of us, more than ever before, to share who we are and what we do using inexpensive, omnipresent digital technology and social networks.

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Here comes the sun

Jeff Jacobs

here-come-sun2

Certain things are wonderful because they are unique. Artwork, musical performances, memories, the important people in our lives. In these cases, we treasure differences.

That is not true, however, for software development. While a service or a feature may perform a very specialized task, the background infrastructure isn’t helped by inconsistencies. Every time you add a different piece of hardware, operating system, software platform or process, you multiply the number of ways you’ll need to maintain your code, impacting quality and driving costs up.

In the technology realm, these inconsistencies are referred to as “snowflakes.” I like to refer to the process of eliminating these inconsistencies as melting snowflakes. Because, just like in real life, snowflakes may be interesting, but they’re not great for software development—they often make you slow down or slip up when you want to move quickly.

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Local action for national impact: some closing thoughts on “Geek the Library”

Sharon Streams

Geek the Library event

I recently came across an excerpt from John Palfrey’s book, BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google, in which he made passing reference to Geek the Library as a “clever online campaign.” Although the shout-out was certainly nice to read, the description gave me pause. The online piece of the campaign was only one small facet of the project. Truly, the vast majority of the activity and the outcomes happened at the grass roots, in nearly 1,800 communities across 48 US states.

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