Author: Julian Dibbell

  • Trading Up

    On July 12, 2005, Kyle MacDonald posted an ambitious request on Craigslist: He wanted to trade a single red paperclip ( for something of slightly greater value, to be traded in turn for something better, then something better, till at last his trading landed him a house. Dramatically enough, he succeeded in less than a […]

  • Play War

    Oh, sure, no harm in spending your Fourth of July rooting for one former Axis power or another in the world semifinals of un-American football, but sorry, a few of us just don’t get what’s so corny about 230*** years of freedom, and we spent this Independence Day the way Tom Jefferson would have wanted: […]

  • All Hail

    Is there anyone within shouting distance of a Wi-Fi connection who doesn’t already know that Google is taking over the universe? Maybe not. Even so, you’d think a few more headlines would have heralded the recent news that Google has launched its own Excel-compatible spreadsheet application, Google Spreadsheets ( OK, so nobody gets excited about […]

  • Talk Therapy

    Narcissists of the world, check it out: The folks at Ether ( seem to think you have something extra important to tell the world. “Sell what you say,” they propose—on the bold assumption you have anything to say worth paying money to hear—and count on them to make it easy for you. Just sign up, […]

  • Comic Relief

    The year is 2011: John McCain is president, the war on terror slogs on, and the mainstream media officially refer to suicide bombings as “homicide bombings.” Meanwhile, back in the ‘hood, Williamsburg’s last surviving bodega has been declared an American Apparel outlet by eminent domain, a New York magazine cover line asks “When Did Staten […]

  • Edit Me!

    Whip-smart media theorist McKenzie Wark is no yippie anarchist (too much Marx, McLuhan, and tenure in him for that), but his provocative new book in progress G4M3R 7H30RY ( gamertheory) does give him at least one thing in common with Abbie Hoffman: Not since Steal This Book has a book’s radical packaging so threatened to […]

  • Web Zen

    If you’ve caught the ads for this summer’s inevitable Adam Sandler vehicle Click (“What if you had a universal remote . . . that controlled your universe?”), you’re aware that only weeks remain before the subtle, underrecognized connection between the act of pointing-and-clicking and the fantasy of world domination becomes an official 21st-century cliché. Perhaps […]

  • Surfin’ Safari

    “Search when you know just what you’re looking for, stumble when you don’t,” advises a press release for fresh-out-of-beta “Web discovery service” StumbleUpon ( Not the catchiest catchphrase in marketing history, no, but with product as obscenely addictive as this, the marketers can afford to slack off a little. StumbleUpon adds an unobtrusive little button […]

  • Crafts Bizarre

    The chance that future archaeologists will identify the 21st century as the Duct Tape Age is looking good right now, and you can blame it on a peculiarly 21st-century crafts bazaar called Etsy. True, Etsy’s eBay-style community of crafters do sell a lot more things that aren’t made entirely out of the one 3M product […]

  • Web Love

    “Fantasizing aside?” says vlogger genius Ze Frank in a recent installment of his daily three-minute webcast The Show (, answering a viewer’s question as to what exactly motivates this frenetic exercise in freestyle news commentary, political snarl, and raggedly personal hilarity. “A side of what? Bacon? Amanda Congdon likes bacon and she has her own […]

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