Professor weblog

keith hampton - professor social networkThere comes a time in every informant’s life where they realize the value of their information and circumnavigate all of the middle men and speak directly to their audience. After two years of hearing me blather on about weblogs, my social networks/sociology mentor Keith Hampton has decided to become a primary source himself. Instead of keeping this fact a secret, and maintaining a structurally advantageous position, I’ve decided to make this information public for the greater good of the Blogosphere. Aren’t I nice?

Actually, I have an ulterior motive, namely delegating authority on the subjects of social networks. While I try to keep up with news related to networks, I’m not pulling my weight so it’s time to let an expert take over. Keith is a star researcher on the topics of networks, new media technologies, and social capital as a professor in the Urban Studies and Planning department at MIT. So without further ado, please update your blogrolls to Keith’s site for the real meat on social networks.

Keith Hampton:

Mr. Brown goes to town

the inimitable mr. brownReality TV might be the institutionalization of Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame, and I want to make sure to see all of them. While jonesing for more Queer Eye lately I’ve adopted MTV’s Made as a surrogate. The premise, of course, is that a youngish person (typically high school) has the opportunity to attempt identity change with the help of an MTV-appointed trainer. The results are usually successful, with drama kids turning into prom queens or girls becoming extreme sports athletes.

A recent episode of Made showed the transformation of a Louisiana State University student from geek to player, the story of Mr. Tony Brown. Once a nobody, never having had a girlfriend, MTV gave Tony a complete makeover and the impetus to extend beyond his small social world. The physical transformation is quite striking, which raises a lot of questions, the most pressing being: can a person’s physical appearance and a few tips on behavior really change them at a fundamental level?

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Bring back the pockets

a little booty, sans pocketI’ve been around for a number of fashion eras and witnessed the invention of new fabrics galore (thank god for space age polymers). But I have to say, I’m a little distressed at the overwhelming popularity of a recent mass courture: the stretch pocketless jean. For a while there pockets started to shrink on womens’ pants, and then all of a sudden *poof* no storage in the trunk.

What, exactly is so disturbing about these pants I couldn’t put my finger on, but something was starting to well up inside me. Then this weekend my friend Heemin nailed it right on the head:

Pocketless jeans look cheap.

So what was it: (a) pockets were out of your price range or (b) you can afford pants, but nothing to put inside them, making the pocket an unnessecary feature.

If you own/wear these things, I don’t mean to pass judgement on you, but I’m tired of carrying your wallet and your keys. If you’re a fashion designer, please bring pockets back, I miss them.