This week, we’re taking a look at social media marketing, weird soccer matches, and the complex relationship between video games, the Internet, and our shared cultural history.

  • If you’re anything like me, then social media is that weird, newfangled thing the kids keep talking about, but you don’t really understand it. This diagram won’t help you understand social media any better, but it will show you just how vast and complicated social media marketing has become over the past couple of years. *sigh* Remember when the Internet used to consist primarily of government websites, porn, and Backstreet Boys fans’ shitty Angelfire fan pages?
  • The Guardian has an interesting article about how Indian movie star and former beauty queen Aishwarya Rai has faced criticism for failing to regain her pre-pregnancy figure. Here’s a thought: she’s in her upper thirties, and maybe she’d rather spend time with her family than trying to maintain an unhealthy body weight in order to appease a bunch of horny, mouth-breathing moviegoers.
  • Most of the time, soccer is a fun sport to play, but a mildly entertaining one to watch at best. However, every once in a while, things get wacky, like when Zinedine Zidane headbutted Marco Materazzi at the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Here’s something even wackier: the story of how Barbados found it advantageous to score on their own net in a match against Grenada at the 1994 Shell Caribbean Cup.
  • As I wrote about a few weeks ago, HBO’s new series, Girls, has polarized TV viewers. Gawker has come down firmly in the “this is a steaming pile of shit” camp, as evinced by this snarky recap of last week’s episode. I know I said that I wouldn’t write about Girls anymore, but given its recent plunge in storytelling quality, I might give a revised assessment of the show some time next week. Stay tuned. (Or don’t, because Girls really isn’t very good.)
  • Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware that Diablo III came out earlier this week. And unless you’re a huge fan of dungeon-crawling and sorcery, you probably don’t give a flying fuck. But for those who bought the game (i.e. not me), its always-online requirement has proven to be a huge pain in the ass. Game Informer, Rock Paper Shotgun, and Cracked all weighed in on the frustration that Blizzard’s server-side problems have caused gamers, and I must say, I find myself agreeing with these articles. Whenever there’s a server-side issue, the game will become inaccessible, so people won’t be able to play the game whenever they want. On top of that, not everyone has access to an always-on, lightning-fast Internet connection, and many people are restricted by bandwidth caps or download allotments. I understand the appeal of the “cloud,” the idea that everything will be available all the time, anywhere, on demand on a fully-integrated digital network. But we’re just not there yet. Earlier this week, when Nvidia unveiled its streaming graphics technology, where graphical processing is conducted server-side, I couldn’t help but think, ‘If I were to use this service and Nvidia’s servers went down, I wouldn’t even be able to watch an HD movie.’ But perhaps more importantly, in six or seven years, when Diablo III’s player base dwindles and server upkeep costs become too high, Blizzard will likely shut down the servers, and the game will become permanently unplayable. And just like that, a part of our cultural heritage will be gone for good. With bits and pieces of video games stored both on the cloud and on players’ computers and consoles, video game preservation is becoming nigh impossible. Brandon Sheffield at Gamasutra has an editorial on the issue, and it’s a must-read. We already have the means to preserve books and movies. If we don’t find a way to do the same for video games, we risk erasing our digital heritage, leaving it to be forgotten by future generations.
  • And now for something a little lighter. Did you ever want to feel old? No? Well, this list will make you feel old anyway.

As always, comments, discussions, and queries are welcomed. Happy reading!