For the past week, I’ve been rounding up the top posts from 2011 on this site — both your favourites and my own. Today, I’m closing out the year by sharing 11 of the best posts I’ve read elsewhere this year. There are many others that belong on this list, too!
- Social media and manhood | The Good Men Project: Yes, much of Tom Matlack’s post is played for laughs. But there are some real nuggets of insight into how social media might just break down some of our long-held ideas about what separates the girls from the boys.
- Ten Mindful Ways to Use Social Media | Tricycle: Lori Deschene of Tiny Buddha shares her insights into how to use social media consciously and conscientiously.
- Please Complain To Me | My Infinity Game: Lauren Thaler emailed me after starting this remarkable blog on navigating her life as a “nuclear family of one”. This post, on how to talk to friends who are going through a major life challenge, is a great example of her wonderful writing and insightful approach.
- Digital fasts. | Stuff Christians Like: Under “surprising discoveries of 2011”, file “Christian bloggers”. If you had told me a year ago that I’d become a big fan of (selected) evangelical bloggers, I wouldn’t have believed you, but I’ve discovered that there are more people writing about the conscious, meaningful use of social media from a Christian perspective than there are in any other community. Jon Acuff may be my favourite, and I discovered him through this post about people who give up the Internet for Lent.
- How to find new SEO opportunities with Google Analytics: Over the past month, I did a deep dive into SEO. I came back to this blog post from 6S Marketing, which talks specifically about how to use the latest reports in Google Analytics, again and again.
- A Personal Guide to Digital Happiness | The Atlantic: Anna Akbari slices and dices the question of how the Internet can help or hinder our happiness, providing a whirlwind tour of the latest academic thinking before landing on some clear and tangible prescriptions.
- ProfHacker | The Chronicle of Higher Education: I found the ProfHacker blog when I was looking for a way of hacking together RSS feeds for Twitter hashtags, but the blog is absolutely crammed full of useful tech tips for academics — or for anyone who does research or teaching online.
- The top 5 regrets people have on their deathbeds | Lifehacks: The Internet has yet to cheat death, but thanks to this post from Lifehacks, you can at least reimagine your final moments.
- Dear Hooligans | The Vancouver Observer: My friend and colleague Morgan Brayton wrote this brilliant post in the aftermath of the Vancouver riots, summing up the depth of feeling about the folks who tore up Vancouver, and pinpointing its likely cost.
- Don’t Mimic Real-World Interfaces | The Brooks Review: A smart, clear assessment of where so much of interface design goes wrong,and how we can do better.
- Productivity, Multitasking, and the Death of the Phone | HBR IdeaCast: Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together was my favourite nonfiction book this year, even though I disagreed with much of what she wrote. But in raising the question of how our online lives reshape us, Turkle opened the door to making better choices. In this podcast interview with the Harvard Business Review, Turkle gets to the heart of the matter by pointing out how our current critique of Internet use — often framed as “addiction” — limits our ability to make effective choices online
Happy new year, everyone. I hope 2012 brings you much joy, on- and offline.