Regarding Andrew Keen's warnings of the personal costs built into social media ("You Are the Product," Sept. 11), it should also be noted that the same basic practice has been used by commercial media for decades. You may think of yourself as part of the audience consuming radio, television or even the Bohemian, but in their basic business model, your eyeballs are actually the "product" being sold to advertisers. Yes, the heightened level of online tracking makes Facebook et al. that much creepier (if and when we actually think about it—and I'm glad Keen does), but it's really just a high-tech extension of a long-established paradigm.
News Director, KRCB-FM
Much research indicates that social media and other mediated communication actually has widened, deepened and varied our interpersonal relationships and communication. Though I would intensely agree we share too much and are often inappropriate, used responsibly and in a focused manner, social media can make and maintain relationships that might otherwise not be possible. All things in moderation, perhaps, instead of such a decisive condemnation.
When the Google sidebar ad thing happened to me for the first time a while back, it was disquieting, disturbing—full of "dis"-es, basically.
However, as a musician, I have never and would never buy into that elitist Ayn Rand rubbish—amateurs and professionals, pshah. Yes, there are narcissistic individuals who think they are smarter than everyone else and love nothing more than to profit on what you give away for free. And, yes, we are essentially social animals and we like to share. But I am more confident that we will find new and better ways to deal with this than what Keen recommends.
For the record, I stopped visiting both the New York Times' and the Press Democrat's websites after they started charging. Ever hear of What.CD, Keen? The war over paying for content is already over.
Basically what Keen is saying is that we are sharing too much on social media and paying too high a price without realizing it. I really don't think charging customers like the two leading newspapers are doing is the answer, but Keen makes some valid points.
My wife and I want to thank you for the tickets we won to the George Thorogood concert at the Uptown Theatre in Napa. They came at the right time, for we were so disappointed in the lies and broken promises by the promoter of the Sin City Revival in Las Vegas that we just dropped out of the whole ugly mess. You saved the day! The Thorogood concert in Napa was one of the best-produced live performances we have ever attended, complete with video and light show. The energy and professionalism, along with the rowdy crowd, made it a wonderful gift. Just when we thought things couldn't get any better, George brought Elvin Bishop out to join him on a couple songs. It was swell!
The Uptown Theatre is a great venue. There are no bad seats, and no one missed not having a dance floor because the performance was so much fun to watch. Thank you, Bohemian! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
It's long been known that Vladimir Putin is quite the judo aficionado. The true judo master strives for the greatest possible advantage from his opponent's clumsiness and impetuosity. The past few days have revealed, with startling vividness, that Putin is able to apply his sharply honed martial arts instincts to the arena of global diplomacy. Sad to say, our own leaders seem to be confused souls in comparison.
So far, because of Putin's initiatives, Washington, D.C., has had to hold off on its plans to strike Syria with cruise missiles. At least on this one issue, the force of global opinion is with Putin.
Obama? He's more into basketball.
Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.