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Reading Roundup: Tweeting cats, hockey vs soccer in Canada, and free towels for Iceland – June 2, 2010

Posted on 2 June 2010

I’ve sort of played with doing this before, but now I’ve found a better system for doing so. Google Reader is by far the best way to keep up with your favourite blogs, but it also has a handy note function (a great tutorial on getting started with Google Reader can be found here). So I’ve started (re)using Google Reader as a means of sharing articles that I find interesting or useful, and the note function for adding my own comments.  Now every once in a while I can just copy the best of this and share it here. If you’re interested in getting this stuff more often, my Google Reader page is here. Feel free to connect.

A note about the format: the italicized text is my own comment, followed by an excerpt from the article itself that I deem a good explanation of what it’s about.


1. What Twitter Must Learn From TechCrunch in Oder to Thrive via The Steve Rubel Stream

I’ve yet to see a really good example of something emerging as a Twitter account without that account being linked to something else: a corporation, a celebrity, or a blog. It’s a good place for real-time conversation, but I don’t think it will ever be a medium in the same sense that blogging is.

“Nevertheless, in many ways, I believe TechCrunch and others from the Blogging Class of 2005 (like Mashable) are the last of their kind — superstar blogs with iconic founders. The good old days of democratized media, where anyone can launch a blog and achieve worldwide influence, have come to an end. While there are still untapped niches that are crying out for good blogs — ones that I believe corporations, not just entrepreneurs can fill — the most profitable topics are spoken for. The window has closed. The game has changed.”

2. Recreate Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on Foursquare with Chicago Tourism Promotion via mashable.com

From what I’ve read, Chicago’s tourism department has really grasped the opportunities that geolocation services offer municipal governments– here in Prince George (and anywhere) the “Be a Tourist in Your Hometown” or Golden Raven events are basically offline versions of these, so I’m somewhat surprised they’ve yet to even touch these things. Even if not many people in the city use the services (yet), it’s a relatively low-cost, low-risk way to be viewed as cutting edge.

“Chicago’s tourism office is giving away a free trip to so that two out-of-towners can visit Chicago and try their hand at the Foursquare mission. “

3. The PARKS Problem via TV Guidance – Macleans.ca

Jaimie Weinman gives fantastic insights into the medium of TV. Ever since I discovered his blog, I’ve enjoyed television viewing a lot more because the community he’s built (along with the Onion AV) offers an opportunity to take a deeper look at a medium that doesn’t tend to have the same sort of cultural discussions surrounding it as books, movies, and music do. This is a good look at why Parks & Recreation, despite being one of the best half-hour programs currently airing, is having such a hard time finding an audience. And it’s true. I only gave Parks & Rec a second look because I trusted the critics saying it had turned around and was willing to go with it. The really hard part is that so many of the jokes are character based, so it’s somewhat helpful to slog through the uninspired first episodes to get to the pay-off in season 2– which doesn’t bode well. You had to watch every episode of Arrested Development to get all the jokes, but at least if you watch them from start to finish you don’t hit any weak spots.

“So now the show has righted itself and become a first-rate half-hour of TV. But who, having seen the first season, is going to believe that, unless they know how good Greg Daniels is? In a strange way, P&R is suffering from the fact that it improved without a major re-tool: no characters were dropped, no major format shake-up was instituted. So there is no hook for NBC to use when trying to get people to give the show a second chance; you can’t make an advertising tagline out of “We didn’t change anything, but it doesn’t suck now.” “

4. Best Party wins polls in Iceland’s Reykjavik via BBC News

Ha!

“The new Best Party wins local polls in Reykjavik, promising transparency, free towels and a polar bear for the zoo. “

5. Iceland has longest-lived men, U.S. scores poorly via Reuters

Maybe it’s because Iceland elects political parties that win on a platform of free towels and a new polar bear.

6. Canada’s game not so Canadian via the Vancouver Sun

Curling. Hockey. Golf. I think most sports will eventually be traced back to Scotland.

“Two hockey-history researchers from Sweden have unearthed the first seemingly unassailable evidence that Canada’s national winter sport — the subject of a long-running debate over its true birthplace — originated not in Nova Scotia or the Northwest Territories in the early 1800s, but in the British Isles decades earlier. “

7. Cats Can Now Tweet with New Liveblogging Device via mashable.com

Eliminate the Tweeting aspect and just give me the GPS of where they are– THAT would be a heck of a lot more efficient than shaking a bag of catfood out on the back porch.

“This revolutionary new toy, which was created with the help of the University of Tokyo, comes all pimped out with a camera, an acceleration sensor and a GPS, which monitors kitty’s every move, translating actions like walking, eating and sleeping into tweets. Sadly, there are only 11 fixed phrases currently available (I’m guessing, “I left a lovely hairball in your sneaker” is not among them), but Sony CSL is hoping to improve Fluffy’s conversational skills soon.”

8. The CBC, and the difference between soccer and hockey via the Globe and Mail

An interesting starting point for a discussion about sports and identity in Canada.

“Thus, I’m not sure Kenney understands that soccer is a social signifier. While hockey represents certain core Canadian values, it is essentially insular. Don Cherry and his rants, and all that. Skepticism and even derision for soccer signals Canadian traditionalism, if not patriotism itself. Scorn for soccer – and it exists here, though not as emphatically as it does in the United States – is a kind of signifier of small-c conservative attitudes. That scorn amounts to a hard-line belief that soccer, unlike hockey, is not a manly game that requires strength, skill and masculine fortitude. Soccer is seen as metrosexual – David Beckham epitomizes that – and urbane, representative of small-l liberal values.”

9. And lastly, here’s a a little hack that the social media savvy among you may want to implement. It was a great find for me, since a lot of CFUR‘s fan base interacts with the station on Facebook, and for whatever reason blog posts from the main page were taking days and in some cases up to a week to import.

How to Connect Google Reader Shares to Facebook via Hootsuite via SheenOnline

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