I's King of the WorldWith the world in a constant state of flux, it seems like we’re always missing something. In some instances, the web has brought us closer together; in others, we seem to be oblivious to what’s happening in our own backyards.

Well, I’m not here to bum you out for not focusing enough attention on the oft-neglected issues plaguing our society. No, for this round of In the World, I’m going to put a smile on your face and offer up some neat, little discoveries and innovations that might make your life a little easier. And if not that, make you seem a little cooler just for knowing they exist. 🙂

So without further ado, take a moment to turn your attention to the “little things” in the world — the Fun edition.

In the World of … Social Media

Ethan Bloch put together this infographic of awesome over on Flowtown.com. In the design, he takes a closer look (and healthy swipe) at the odd, adolescent-adjacent world of social media and its many cliques. Anyone active on more than one social media network knows that there are more than a few stereotypes associated with each popular network. For instance, Livejournal will be forever branded as the home of emo poetry and teenage angst for some reason.

So when Bloch lays out a method behind the madness for each social media stereotype by comparing it to a high school-level clique of equal insanity, you can’t help but nod your head and chuckle in recognition. Don’t believe me? Click on the link for the larger image and take a closer look.

In the World of … Journalism

Let’s say you run a smaller hyper-local publication in your city or town, and you want to make sure your operation is running just as smooth as the big boys of journalism. Well, look no further than Lauren Rabaino’s incredibly helpful rundown of the Six Must-Have WordPress Plugins for Newsrooms.

Rabaino may have intended this piece for larger-staffed newspapers and magazines who (still) may be a bit slow to discover all the benefits of WordPress as a CMS. But I can easily see how smaller staffs of the Fourth Estate and online publications could find these tiny treasures innovative for their operations as well. Rabaino’s article offers a greater insight into how WP plugins are beneficial in many ways for the writer churning out quality content under tight deadlines. The “Assignment Desk” plugin looks especially interesting.

Assignment Desk overview from Matt Diaz on Vimeo.

In the World of … Work For Hire

What freelancer hasn’t been hit with this conundrum at least once or twice? The decision to spec or not to spec manages to always rear its head when you least expect it. Thankfully, Jessica Hische has created this delightful flowchart to help with the process of determining whether to say yes to spec work or to walk away. She’s even been so kind as to offer the flowchart in multiple languages.

As it’s been noted many times by freelancers of all shapes and sizes, there a lot of factors to consider before deciding to accept or reject an offer to work for free. And Hische’s handy-dandy chart is there in a pinch to help you decide which path to follow.

In the World of … Art

By now, you may have heard about Google’s new creation involving “street views” of 17 internationally renown art museums around the world. The Google Art Project allows citizens all over the globe to “wander” through the halls of some of the greatest art collections without leaving their sofas. More museums will be added over time, but each site promises to include one masterpiece available for closer inspection. Using “gigapixel” photo-capturing technology, art lovers have the exciting opportunity to stop and stare at one specific work, viewing it with the scrutiny usually left to those standing only a few inches away.

But what about appreciating the homegrown artists in my own backyard? Well, if you’re within a stone’s throw of the Indianapolis area, you’re welcome to stop by the Herron School of Art and Design to view their latest exhibit Curious and Curiouser. The event showcases the work of Casey Riordan Millard, Wayne White and Sarah Emerson. Each artist has a remarkably distinct style that not only delights the senses, but challenges the concept of graphic art as we know it. The exhibit is free to the public and running through February 24, 2011.

In the World of … Just Plain Cool

I have to thank Mark Luckie for sharing this lovely find via Twitter. It’s easily one of the coolest uses of a high-speed camera to capture the simplicity of human behavior I’ve ever seen. Essentially, the videographer Graeme Taylor pointed the camera toward an Intercity station platform as the train he was traveling on pulled into the station. And we’re left with an ingenious look of ordinary behavior moving at a snail’s pace, not for the sake of art, but for the sake of life.

Taylor describes what we’re seeing in the Glide 2 video in his blog post:

The ‘trick’ is the camera collects images at a rate of 210 per second – but the film is played back at 30 frames per second. So, every seven seconds of footage that you watch corresponds to 1 real second. At least at the start, one real second is plenty of time for someone to move into, then out of, the camera’s field of view, but isn’t enough time for them to really do much: hence, the frozen effect.

Have you found any interesting discoveries in the world
that might’ve gone unnoticed around your neck-of-the-woods?