Reading List: Thinkfluence, E-books, and How God Turned into Money

Does social media really help us socialize, or are they really more about attention grabbing and thinkfluence? We’ve got some insights on the social media trends of 2014, an excellent longform examination of the digital publishing world and what we gain and what experiences we still miss from our e-books, an interview with Giorgio Agamben and more. And, if you missed it last week, please don’t forget to check out Brian Brock’s though-provoking discussion of the effect of transparency and surveillance on our sense of morality.

How to de-friend and thinkfluence people – NY Post

“There are no “readers,” only Klout-holders. So it’s necessary to segment target audiences by Klout score as a primary metric. For example, for a faster route to thinkfluence, it may be better not to focus on a certain subject, but to draw other thinkfluencers into a fight about that subject, thereby amplifying your personal brand.”

Electronic Literature: The Hopeful Monster – Creatavist

What’s missing from our current e-book experience? Handwriting, marginalia, browsing, and bookshelves. Annie Nichol examines the current state of digital publishing through the eyes of Virginia Woolf and Washington Irving and imagines its future.

“God didn’t die, he was transformed into money” – An interview with Giorgio Agamben –

giorgio agamben

“In order to understand what is taking place, we have to interpret Walter Benjamin’s idea that capitalism is really a religion literally, the most fierce, implacable and irrational religion that has ever existed because it recognizes neither truces nor redemption. A permanent worship is celebrated in its name, a worship whose liturgy is labor and its object, money. God did not die; he was transformed into money. The Bank—with its faceless drones and its experts—has taken the place of the church with its priests, and by its command over credit (even loans to the state, which has so blithely abdicated its sovereignty), manipulates and manages the faith—the scarce and uncertain faith—that still remains to it in our time.”

How The Internet Of Things Is More Like The Industrial Revolution Than The Digital Revolution – Forbes

In terms of the Internet of Things, we have reached that same point of critical mass. In fact, the present moment is more similar to 1876 than to more recent digital disruptions, Stogdill argues. “It’s not just the sheer physicality of this stuff,” he says. “It is also the breadth and speed of the change bearing down on us.”

Spying by N.S.A. Ally Entangled U.S. Law Firm – NY Times

A top-secret document, obtained by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden, shows that an American law firm was monitored while representing a foreign government in trade disputes with the United States. The disclosure offers a rare glimpse of a specific instance in which Americans were ensnared by the eavesdroppers, and is of particular interest because lawyers in the United States with clients overseas have expressed growing concern that their confidential communications could be compromised by such surveillance.

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About the Contributor

Benjamin Robertson

Benjamin Robertson
Benjamin Robertson is a founding editor at Second Nature. He has worked in advertising for the Chicago Tribune and Gannett, and now is a web developer at Mediacurrent. He studied Communications and Media Studies under Dr. Read Schuchardt at Wheaton College in Illinois. He has presented papers on Marshall McLuhan, media ecology, and Christianity at the Media Ecology Association, National Communication Association, and the McLuhan's Philosophy of Media Centennial Conference in Brussels. He lives with his wife, Ruth, in Greenville, SC. His personal website is

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