If you and I are close on social media, or real life, you probably knew that I took two and a half months off this year to attend Officer Training School (OTS) in order to pursue my commission in the Air National Guard. The whole endeavor was fairly intense, so blogging about it in its entirety would be virtually impossible, but I want to highlight a few aspects that I think will be worth remembering throughout the rest of my career.
Patent and Trademark Law has been engrossed in the rise of e-commerce over the last several years and through a few recent cases (particularly Allen v. IM Solutions, Inc.), has finally determined what we netizens have always known: Websites and pop-up advertisements are a numbers game.
Unfortunately, this "numbers game" approach to advertising isn't isolated to just pop-up advertisements, but also spam e-mail, junk mail, and even the advertisements you see plastered throughout our nation's busiest airports. In order to sell their products, marketers must determine a cheap way to reach tens of thousands of potential customers to find that 1% who fall for their hook.
Matthew Crawford recently wrote a op-ed on New York Times about the effect that the rise in advertising has on society during what is referred to as the Attention Economy. This faux economy is the attempt to explain the finite ability of modern humanity to focus our attention on specific items. We can only focus on so many things, and in today's world we are increasingly being confronted with uncomfortable choices on what is and is not important enough to warrant our attention.
Every now and then, a peer of mine will ask me why I spend so much time "Arguing on the Internet" and they usually follow it up with a quip about how it's futile and how arguing on the Internet has never changed anyone's mind. I've always found this question to be a little misguided, but never quite knew how to articulate my misgivings.
You see, I'm a humanist - meaning that I believe in the inherent worth of every human, regardless of their race, gender, orientation, or religion - and I've been a fairly passionate advocate for it since I was old enough to string two sentences together. Plus, as anyone in my family will be quick to tell you, I like arguing - on the Internet or otherwise.