Hello dear readers,
How have you all been doing? I've been getting a whole lot of spam comments recently on this blog... I wonder why there's been a sudden spike? Perhaps the Spam factory overstocked. Did you know that spam is named after Spam because of a Monty Python sketch where lots of dishes in a diner have Spam? Also, the Spam museum is relatively close to Carleton, in Austin, Minnesota. I've never been there, though. But I've been to the Spam website, and it's actually pretty cool; it's all gussied up for Spam's 75th anniversary. Spam has something of a bad rep in mainland US, but it has some quite tasty applications. Spam musubi, popular in Hawaii and among Japanese Americans, is very tasty. My mom made some for my sister's comps talk and many people were shocked when they found out it was Spam. My biggest gripe with the Spam website is that EVERY® SINGLE® INSTANCE™ OF© THE® WORD™ SPAM® is capitalized and has some sort of reserved or trademarked symbol. Is that really necessary? Although I do find it funny that SPAM® could be read as "SPAMMER". Also, I was looking through the SPAMMER Store and one of the best-selling items is a cute plush piggie with a SPAM® brand ribbon tied around its neck, symbolizing its ultimate demise. Surprisingly, it does not have dotted lines demarcating the cuts of meat that comprise SPAM®. Unlike these Pokemon charts by Sarah Becan...
And once again I'm alerted to something interesting on the internet by xkcd. Klout is this online service that grades your "influence" level based on information gathered from your social networking sites. Apparently, as you increase your influence, you can redeem prizes, kind of like a frequent flier program for Faceboook and twitter. I suppose I can see the value of this for analyzing the social media campaigns of businesses, but it seems sort of depressing for individuals (and individuals seem to be the target audience). The sentiment that is perpetuated by this sort of thing is that life is all about quantities. You get a numerical grade on your life based on how many people share or retweet or like your posts. I doubt if it takes into consideration the impact that your post has on anyone's actual life. Also, maybe it's just me, but I tend to find business-oriented social networking to be a bit funny as well. There's always this strong "I'm your friend" element, which is complicated by the fact that most social networking initiatives are focused on turning fans into advertisers by drawing on their desire to express their connection to a product. Like the Nature Valley, Amazon, and My Little Pony Facebook pages are always polling users on "What's your favorite this?" and "Who's your favorite that?" so that everyone can revel in their love of a product. It feels like the sort of conversation one might have with one's friends, except that the company doesn't know you and is really just interested in increasing it's own influence... or Klout.
I'm having a bit of a websistential crisis here because what I'm doing right now is not really that different than the things I was just talking about. A good part of this blog's function is admittedly to promote Carleton. But I think and hope that rather than simply advertising, I'm helping prospective students to learn facts about Carleton as well as one facet of its personality. Contrary to what might be suggested by all the ranking systems, schools can't really be ranked in a way that is entirely true across individuals. Hopefully I'm helping people get a sense of the school without giving the false impression that I am an impartial, intimate-friend-of-all type of character. Although I think I may be fooling the spambots... they've really been commenting a lot. I should probably let them know that we should take things a little more slowly, seeing as we've never met in person and they only know me through my blog.
Well, I should be off now. Have a great week! Until next time,
P.S. the title is a reference to my love, the Decemberists.