Social Studies in a Digital World

Filed Under All Posts, Cathy Fischer, Technology | 20 Comments

Cathy examines social interaction and social change in an ever-shifting landscape

Navigating the social graph is fraught with obstacles. If I were to draw a diagram, it would probably look something like a dream catcher with extra large holes. You’ve got your Real World Friends, and you’ve got your Facebook Friends: you’ve got your Facebook Friends who aren’t Real World Friends but work associates, your Facebook Friends who are old schoolmates, but not currently Real World Friends, and then you’ve got your Facebook Friends who are inspirational, famous or dead, who you wish could be your Real World Friends. It’s as exhausting as high school, navigating the world of cliques and mean girls. Read more

Friend Request

Filed Under All Posts, Group Posts, Prudence Baird, Relationships, Technology | 21 Comments


Prudence Baird reflects on midlife connections in the age of social media.

I know why baby boomers are joining Facebook faster than Bernie Madoff’s victims are moving in with their adult children.

We’re not done yet. We’re not done dominating popular culture as defined by our presence in the media, including the “social media” like Facebook and MySpace.

We’re not done with—even though we’ve long exceeded—our 15 minutes of fame. Each. We’re not done prancing in the spotlight—even if for some of us, it’s our first time. Read more


Filed Under All Posts, Group Posts, Melissa Howden, Relationships | 7 Comments


Studies show that people with pals lead longer, healthier and happier lives. For our group post this month, we’re each sharing thoughts on friendship.

Melissa Howden reflects on the enduring impressions left by friends, real or otherwise.

Cindy Atkins had a long blond ponytail that swung from side to side. Invariably the bow in her hair matched her dress. At six, Cindy Atkins was my first real best friend. During the course of our friendship, which lasted until about third grade, I spent hours trying to coax my curly frizzy hair into a ponytail like Cindy’s. In the bathtub I would lay my head in the water and swish my head back and forth to get the feeling of a swinging ponytail. For a time, while my hair was wet, my ponytail would be smooth and organized like Cindy’s, but then one by one, a frizzy curl would pop out of my tight ponytail, all my effort defeated by nature. Be it for our friendship or her ponytail I have never forgotten Cindy Atkins. Read more

That Was So Much Fun, Let’s Do It Again

Filed Under All Posts, Christie Healey, Humor, Work | 12 Comments

Ten Years After album cover (1972) "Rock & Roll Music to the World"

Ten Years After album cover (1972) "Rock & Roll Music to the World"

I recently joined Facebook at the urging of two friends. I am quite bemused by this social network, and the comments people post: E wants to know if B is awake, M has changed his profile photo, B confirms he is awake but that it’s not the world’s business. I have ceased striving to find meaning.

Recently former colleagues from Chrysalis Artists/Records/ Music have found me on Facebook. There’s a 40th reunion in the planning stages. We are trying to meet up sometime this year before we are all too gaga to remember why.

I joined Chrysalis when Swinging London was in full swing, although how a shy girl from the industrial Midlands came to be part of a white-hot music scene is still a bit of a mystery to me. Read more

Technology: Blessing or Curse?

Filed Under All Posts, Cathy Fischer, Technology | 11 Comments

Computers are incredibly fast, accurate and stupid. Human beings are incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant. Together they are powerful beyond imagination.
—Attributed to Albert Einstein

At a conference last spring I learned that baby boomers have in fact embraced technology, however they are typically five years behind the curve. Early adopters? Not so much.

By day I’m an online producer. I work on websites. I don’t build them or make them function (the smart folks I work with do that) I’m all about content—what’s on the screen and how to get people to find, read, explore or interact with it—hoping it’s time well-spent. In the mid 1990s, I had a yellow handwritten Post-it Note on my computer. Like an affirmation it read, “Fear not the machine.” And soon, I got over it—the fear that is. Read more