June 17th, 2011
Forward Thinking Vol. 31
Our weekly update, where we share what’s inspiring us:
4chan has been called many things: obscene, hilarious, revolutionary, lawless. In a new – and highly readable – case study, MIT researchers take an academic lens to the site to examine what makes it so unique. They specifically investigate two of 4chan’s most distinguishing features: anonymity and ephemerality. Since most posts on the site disappear within 5 minutes, the study takes a look at how this sense of impermanence affects behavior within a social community.
A collaborative infographic between GOOD and Column Five Media shows what Americans expect the world to look like over the next 40 years. Drawing data from Pew Research and Smithsonian Magazine, the piece reflects research on opinion rather than statistical outlook. But there’s something powerful about what society collectively expects from the future, and if the American public is right, we’ll see a world that’s more socially equal, environmentally conscious, and driven by technology.
Offering a new way to manage your online reputation, Google launched “Me on the Web,” a new tool on the Google dashboard that tracks search results for your name. As our personal lives continues to permeate the web, the tool not only considers what you’re posting online, but also what others are saying about you. It also suggests best practices around managing your online persona and preventing unwanted content from latching on to your online identity.
The one thing that undermines shopping for clothes online is the issue of size. Since no brand makes their clothes exactly alike, the risk of buying something that doesn’t quite fit is always a factor. Fits.me recently launched the female counterpart to last year’s shape-shifting robot mannequin, giving women a chance to step into the company’s virtual fitting room. Besides bringing our lives further into science-fiction territory, Fits.me is a great example of how companies are trying to bridge the physical and the digital.
An infographic from the Shanghai Web Designers brilliantly conveys exactly what takes place online every 60 seconds. It presents a great cross-section of the types and volumes of information that are created and dispersed across the web each minute – from 12,000+ new Craigslist ads to 168 emails sent. Not only does it give a great snapshot of the most (and least) utilized sites at this juncture, it provides a window into just how large the web has become.