A Slice of Life
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commentary on issues in politics, culture, environment and technology
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04 Aug 10 Consume, Be Silent and Die: A Valediction Against Lurking

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The vast majority of internet users are lurkers; passive users who never generate any content, never participate in discussions, never post comments.  This to some degree explains the extraordinary success of Facebook.  The ubiquitous Facebook ‘like button’ allows passive users to interact with online content with a simple click; you don’t need to comment, you don’t need to exercise your brain at all.  Perhaps it also why social media platforms such as MySpace have been less successful.  You can customise MySpace profiles a great deal more than you can with a Facebook profile, especially if you’re comfortable using a little html, but you really need to post some content to get anything out of it.  The simple fact is, most people just aren’t interested in how their profile pages appear.  Posting the odd trivial message, clicking ‘likes’ and playing games like ‘Farmville‘ is a rewarding social media experience for many. Just what is wrong with that?! I hear you ask with a rising tone of indignation and outrage.

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24 Feb 10 This Could Be Your New Home (gasp!)

for_leaseAre real estate agents aware of a certain level of irony when they erect signs like this one?  As the rental crisis continues, many prospective leasees have been forced to lower their expectations somewhat.  I for one, would not be as happy as the two beaming real estate agents on the sign.  The prospect of moving into a dinghy, over priced and under maintained flat in a run down area is less than smile inducing.  Perhaps these two are thinking more of their commissions than the living conditions of the poor souls that end up in this particular red brick box.

Landlords might complain that their lot is not a happy one; late payers, tenants who trash properties, keep vermin infested pets and make constant maintenance demands.  However trying the relationship might be, there is never any doubt about which party holds the upper hand.  Both landlords and real estate agents might claim to care about tenants, but neither could claim to be in the business because of some pressing need to help those less fortunate.  Money will always take precedence over the needs of people, no matter how dire the conditions might be.  Compassion is a rare commodity in the real estate game; ask any tenant who has experienced difficulty in making the rent.  Landlords and real estate agents tend to have about as much compassion and humanity as the average bank manager.

lj_hookedAds that feature ever so cute children acquire even more pathos when associated with the lower end of the real estate market.  Sub standard living conditions might be one thing for adults, but children doomed to a drab and dinghy existence in the endless apartment blocks of the suburban sprawl is another matter.  The cruel irony of ads featuring smiling, happy kids complete with cuddly toys is not lost on those struggling to stay afloat on the fringes of society.  The disparity between their beaming faces and grim reality is all too stark.

At least they have some kind of roof over their heads.  Many are of course, much less fortunate.

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12 Jul 09 Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-07-12

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