On Reading the NYT Business Pages

I've read the New York Times for years.  My oldest online account is for access to the NYT, registered at the dawn of the Web in the mid-'90's.  We subscribe to the paper Sunday NYT.

For years I threw out the Business section without a glance, until I noticed that it contained some of the best technology reporting on new products, Internet ventures and competing platforms.  I began to get a better understanding of companies like Google and the "social networks".

Guess what?  They are businesses!  Long before a story appears in the Style section about why everyone loves or hates Twitter, you will have seen a thorough profile in the Business section:  who came up with it, who's backing it, how they plan to make a profit, who the competition is.

There are three tech stories in the Feb. 6 Sunday Business section.  Who's the Boss, You or Your Gadget?, a front-page story, polls corporate executives on how they balance the need for family and down time with the need to be always connected to work.  One woman carries an amazing four devices, "an iPhone and an iPad for family and social life and a Blackberry and a laptop for work."

Why Some Twitter Posts Catch On, And Some Don't is pretty interesting.  It is about a study of "the 500 most popular Twitter hashtags among more than three billion messages posted on Twitter from August 2009 to January 2010."  The article talks about how metrical analyses of Twitter messages and blog posts can offer valuable insights for digital marketing.  If you studied bibliometrics in Library School, you will have a point of connection here.

This week's Digital Domain column, Online Courses, Still Lacking That Third Dimension, by Randall Stoss, talks about how even the very best online course cannot replace a relationship between a student and an instructor, and a classroom experience.  This is one of my favorite soapboxes, but the exciting information I took away from this piece is that many universities are putting lectures and courses online for free use, (but not for credit).  Academic Earth, for example, offers 150 courses!

Right away I see several history lectures I'd love to listen to.  It's what I miss most about college, hearing Professor Horward speak knowledgeably and entertainingly about the Napoleonic Wars, or Professor Halpern on the revolutions of 1848.

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