If you are in Spain, you might enjoy attending the SocInfo 2014 conference which will be held at the Yahoo Headquarters in Barcelona. The goal is to bring together people at the edge of computer science and social science. Click here for the program and details on papers.
Each wave of Internet commerce “solves” a particular social issues related to computing:
- 1980s: PC computing – how to get everyone a machine
- 1990s: The email/Internet revolution – how to get everyone hooked up into the system
- 1990s (late): The Amazon/Ebay/PayPal eruption – how to solve the issue of exchanging physical goods using the Internet
- 1990s (late): The indexing revolution – how to help people quickly find information.
- 2000s: Social networking – how to build systems of tailor made communication
- 2000s (mid): Mobile devices – how to make computing mobile
So what is the 2010s about? My guess is that we’re in the middle of Internet as commodity monetizer. AirBnB turns extra rooms into lodging, Uber turns cars into transport for hire, and so forth. Interesting observation: Apple and Google are the only firms to successfully participate in two waves.
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I often wonder: why should someone blog? Philosopher John Danaher explains that it helps him:
2. It helps to generate writing flow states: I appreciate that the term “flow” state is something of a buzzword. Still, it has a basis in psychological science and it is something that blogging can help generate. The psychological barriers to writing a blog post are much lower than the psychological barriers to writing an article for peer review. Yet, when writing the former you can get into a flow state that can then be leveraged into writing the latter. Many is the time that I have finished writing a blog post and jumped straight into writing a more serious article.
Agree. Writing a blog post is like a warm up. The whole post is worth reading. The rest of the blog is fascinating as well.
Higher education has become dependent on human capital arguments to justify its existence. The new gainful employment rule for for-profit colleges, announced yesterday by the Obama administration, reminded me of this. It clarifies what standards for-profits have to meet in order to remain eligible for federal aid, which makes up 90% of many for-profits’ revenues.
Under the new standard, programs will fail if graduates’ debt-to-earnings ratio is over 30%, or if their debt-to-discretionary-earnings (income above 150% of the poverty line — about $17,000 for a single person) is over 12%.
Now, we could have a whole other conversation about this criterion, which is really, really, weak, since it no longer takes into account the percent of students who default on their loans within three years. By limiting the measure to graduates, it ignores, for example, the outcomes of the 86% of students who enroll in BA programs at the University of Phoenix but don’t finish in six years — most of whom are taking out as many federal loans as they can along the way.
But I want to make a different point here. More and more, we are focused on return on investment — income of graduates — as central to thinking about the value of college.
Work in Progress, the blog of ASA’s organizations, occupations, and work section, just launched a new series on the future of organizational sociology. It launched today with a introduction from Liz Gorman and a first post by Howard Aldrich. Liz has an impressive slate of sociologists lined up — in the days to come, you can expect to hear from:
Martin Ruef (Duke)
Harland Prechel (Texas A&M)
Elisabeth Clemens (University of Chicago)
Ezra Zuckerman (MIT Sloan)
Gerald F. Davis (University of Michigan)
Heather Haveman (UC-Berkeley)
Brayden King (Northwestern)
Charles Perrow (Yale)
W. Richard Scott (Stanford)
Mark Suchman (Brown)
Patricia Thornton (Duke)
Marc Ventresca (Oxford)
Elizabeth Gorman (University of Virginia)
Matt Vidal (King’s College London)
Thanks to Liz and OOW for organizing this conversation and here’s hoping it gets the attention it deserves.