Tag Archives: facebook

“Your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.”

There was a moment in an episode of The Simpsons (“Mountain of Madness”), that aired back in 1997, that I’ve mentally revisited every so often over the past decade:

In transcript form:

Homer: So, Mr. Burns is gonna make us all go on a stupid corporate retreat up in the mountains to learn about teamwork. Which means we’ll have to cancel our plans to hang around here.
Bart: Teamwork is overrated.
Homer: Huh?
Bart: Think about it. I mean, what team was Babe Ruth on? Who knows.
Lisa+Marge: Yankees.
Bart: Sharing is a bunch of bull, too. And helping others. And what’s all this crap I’ve been hearing about tolerance?
Homer: Hmm. Your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

In 1997, that last line was the joke: I wish to subscribe to your newsletter. Homer is such a dope that he thinks that he can subscribe to a newsletter from just one person, as if that would ever be practical for your average person, especially his own nine-year-old son.

Of course, that’s a thing now: Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. On Twitter, about 1,200 people “subscribe to my newsletter,” in its various guises (I have six Twitter feeds). At least a couple of times each week, I think “your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter,” and I hit “Follow” or “Subscribe” or “Add to Circles.” It was a punchline 14 years ago. Now it’s just part of our social fabric.

Links for May 10th

  • IBM Many Bills: A Visual Bill Explorer
    IBM is doing some really interesting work with legislation here. In my own work on Richmond Sunlight, I've long treated the text of the bill as a black box, doing very little with the text of bills. IBM demonstrates here that there's actually some valuable data to be gleaned from the actual words within the bill. Their interface is lousy—the site is hard to use—by I really admire their original thinking.
  • Think Progress: In Washington, You Don’t Need To Know Anything About Policy To Be a Senator Or Chair Important Commissions
    Former Senator Alan Simpson knows disturbingly little about Social Security and, indeed, history and math, especially for the guy who is the co-chair of the President Obama's budget commission.
  • Wikispecies: Free Species Directory
    From the Wikimedia foundation, Wikispecies is like Wikipedia, but for species. One entry for every species. They're up to 265,369 articles.
  • Wall Street Journal: Grandparents and Grandkids Connect Via Facebook, Twitter and Texting
    My grandfather kept up with his grandchildren—and we kept up with him—via Facebook until shortly before his death last year. My grandmother had photos and status updates cherry-picked from Facebook and e-mailed to her—delivered via her HP Presto e-mail printer—until her death last month. Of course, the ability to assign grandparents (and grandchildren) to a specific group to limit access is helpful, too—kids need not share everything with their elders.