“There will be more words written on Twitter in the next two years than contained in all books ever printed.”

“Think about the progression of a young relationship. Two people meet for the first time in person. Talk, drink, get to know each other. Next, if there is a next, is the apartments. The unfamiliar number on the door, a brass handle where yours is steel. The strange but pleasant smell of another person’s sheets. Shampoos in the shower, used, but new to you. Loganberry: Okay, why not? Back at your place next time, she opens the fridge, and it’s just… mustards. Sorry. We’ve all been there in someone’s bedroom, in the den, amidst mementos of events and people we don’t remember, wondering first at the tchotchkes themselves, and then soon enough at how surprisingly yours something like the Ponderosa Invitational Swim Meet (third-place cup, 1985) can become, in spite of the fact – or is it because? – you only know it through her. You meet the friends. The best friend. The other best friend. The other other best friend, like, for real, they’ve known each other forever. Enough drinks, the right kind of people, they become your friends, too. Acquaintances, coworkers filter into the picture, some in passing, some on purpose. Finally, maybe, if it’s really turning into something, come the parents. You relate some fancier version of your life story, parts of which the two of you can tell together, because you’re that familiar – step away from the table for a second, and the parents know more about you than when you left. Settling back into your chair: ‘M tells me that…’ and it’s the perfect setup for one of your favourite stories. Two lives are merging. And then, often, and often suddenly, it’s back to the beginning with someone else.”

“I can’t help but think of the many people getting turned down because of some perceived ‘deal breaker’ that actually no one cares about and wonder if the Internet has changed romance in the way it’s changed so much else – and for the same reason. If I may channel my inner anti-Jagger: Online, you can always get what you want. But what you need, that’s a much harder thing to find.”

One Million Page Princess

Okay, SERIOUS overdose on quotes for this one. I know, and I get it. If you’re still reading this post then kudos to you. Let’s just say that it was very difficult to narrow down my favourite quotes from Dataclysm to just three.

Who we are, when we think no one’s watching… What an interesting concept. We are all aware of how much personal data we willingly put out there via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Google, eHarmony, etc… So what happens when someone (in this case, Christian Rudder, a Harvard graduate with a degree in math and one of the founders of OKCupid) takes all of that data, and rather than using it to try and sell us stuff we don’t need, or unfortunately just plain old spy on us, (cough NSA cough) uses it to analyze and observe some very interesting aspects of human nature that we may or may not want to admit. Can Facebook “likes” really predict someone’s sexual orientation? Does Google Flu really work? Are white men most attracted to Asian women or Hispanic women? What do black women think about Simon and Garfunkel? (Hint, they don’t.)

Rudder dissects all of these questions and more in his book, and does it in a surprisingly eloquent and elegant way. He may have majored in mathematics, but this guy can write. While at times I found some of the facts, charts and statistics a bit much, overall I found it very interesting, and his fluid and conversational tone made it a pleasure to read. I hope the quotes I chose, albeit numerous, illustrate that.

If you’re looking for something nonfiction that is both thought provoking and enjoyable, check out Dataclysm going into 2015.

Until next time.