Media & Tech
An exploration of the possibilities opened, and the avenues obscured, when changing technologies shape the way we communicate with one another.
Last Chance for Gas
If publishing is one way we build a culture worth having, it’s imperative that we find a reliable way of paying for vital and thoughtful writing.
Believer in the Corner
Does it matter that Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings makes money by linking to Amazon? Yes—but Popova is not the point.
Brick-and-mortar bookstores have to know their communities better to survive. If they’re not sure how to connect, maybe social media can show them how.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
By reporting on promotional material as though it were news, Web publishers have redefined advertising to mean whatever enthusiasts don’t want to see. Consider the movie trailer.
For Aggregation Only
When it displaces original content, aggregation undermines publishers like The Verge, but don’t be too quick to blame Google. We’ve let them call the shots.
Back at the Altar
How The Atlantic‘s sponsored post debacle reveals the Web’s advertising theocracy.
The Pocket World
Can seeing digital media as a kind of pocket help us understand how e-books are tied to the fate of physical bookstores?
Setting a New Orbit
“People can resent Facebook and still use it,” says Hubski founder Mark Katakowski. “I don’t imagine that anyone that resented Hubski would still use it.”
Social News Triage
In several key ways, social media encourages faulty reporting and the spread of misinformation. Here’s one way that we as readers can help stem the tide.
Through a Filter Darkly
Responding to backlash over changes to the Terms of Service, co-founder Kevin Systrom made some unexpected admissions about Instagram, but stopped short of what really needed to be said.
Carving Up the World
Social media and e-commerce platforms made the Web accessible to the masses. In doing so, they may also have closed off the possibilities we once found so promising.
The steady expansion of the Christmas holiday season is more than a retail strategy—it’s a marketplace ritual. Ironic, then, that the internet would provide comparatively safe haven.
One Web, Many Spiders
A blackout like the one in Syria serves as a vital reminder that access to the internet depends on an infrastructure that makes it both costly and, at times, vulnerable.
The End of the Affair
When it comes to the history and future of publishing on the Web, following the money reveals a story that looks strikingly like a tale of tainted love.
The Style of the Web
Some say The New York Times’ “very mean and very funny” review of a Guy Fieri restaurant is better suited to the dignity of a blog. But traffic has never been a matter of dignity.
The Substance of the Web
Almost from the moment it was coined, the meaning of the word “blog” has been up for grabs. After fifteen years of cultural change on the Web, it may have finally ceased to mean anything at all.
Flying Off the Presses
Sophisticated tools like WordPress are the online platform of choice for many traditional publishers. For culture hawks, that makes blogging an internal threat.
1,000 Words and Some Change
What may have originally been little more than a child’s reticence to mug for the camera has since been transformed into an icon of cross-cultural distrust. That may be just how image macros work.
The Price of Revolution
Streaming and playback devices are changing the economics of television. Network must evolve to survive. Here are four possibilities for the future.
The Wandering Electorate
The growing use of cell phones as a portal onto the Web is reshaping the political discussion. Whether or not that’s a good thing likely depends on which end of the vote you’re standing.
The Significant Society
One way to understand our ambivalence over digital media is as a cleavage within the culture, one that has long remained hidden but which is being forced by changes in technology to articulate itself.
Reactions to the leaked video of Romney criticizing the 47% have fallen predictably along party lines. There is, however, another opposition that casts the episode, and most episodes like it, in a more revealing light.
The View From Cupertino
By rushing the release of its Google Maps competitor, Apple may have exposed itself to a measure of ridicule, but don’t let that overshadow the more significant point: We need more than one perspective on the world.
By serving up stories à la carte, digital media has unbundled the traditional magazine — and may have rendered depth and nuance too costly to sustain.
The Pyrrhic Press
Single-newspaper markets are giving local investors a monopoly over political and commercial influence. It’s time for online news to live up to its promise.