Media & Tech
An exploration of the possibilities opened, and the avenues obscured, when changing technologies shape the way we communicate with one another.
The reasons for the fact-checker’s sudden emergence into the media consciousness are obscure. Has online media made us nostalgic for a rather old-fashioned job?
Two Minutes Hate
Commercials walk a line between annoying and addictive. By letting viewers skip ads by shouting the brand’s name, a new Sony patent may tilt that balance.
“Yes, actual living human beings are behind this book,” says Kory Stamper, “and they feel a connection to you.” The Associate Editor at Merriam-Webster gives the f-bomb a break and talks with us about writing the dictionary, communicating over social media, and recognizing the elasticity of language.
Jacob Silverman says that social media is driven by enthusiasm, and it’s killing literary culture. Roxane Gay thinks critics like Silverman should spend less time scrutinizing authors on Twitter, and more time reading their work. They’re both wrong about the role of social in literature.
Three Keys to Understanding the Evolution of Social Media
It might seem obvious that the ability to share your information across social media platforms would make each service even more valuable. So why don’t social media sites don’t see it that way?
The nature of government investment goes a long way toward explaining the can of worms we’ve opened when it comes to internet privacy. It would not fall wide of the mark to say that the technologies that define the internet era were all built on research coming out of the defense and intelligence communities.
The Rush and the Echo
There is a predictable rush that follows calamitous events like the Aurora, Colorado shooting, millions of people reaching out at once through whatever media is available to them. With our thinly argued quibbles we are building for ourselves a story about the meaning of the event. No doubt we have gotten that story at least partly wrong.
If You Can’t Be With the One You Love, Baby…
If the principle of Dunbar’s number is correct, most of us have trouble keeping up with more than 150 deep relationships. What happens to that limit when you introduce technology that allows us to decouple our social lives from physical proximity?
News For Titans
The New York Daily News is reporting (not, perhaps, without a touch of schadenfreude) that CNN’s rating have hit a 20 year low. The network’s ratings for the second quarter of 2012 are down more than 40% since last year, their lowest since 1991. The other 24-hour cable news networks have also slipped in the [...]
Smartphones and the Revival of Print
Publishers and print media enthusiasts take note: The era of leisurely reading on a desktop or laptop is drawing to a close. At least, that’s one way of interpreting recent data from the Pew Research Center. Last week, their Internet & American Life Project released a report on Cell Internet Use 2012. Here’s the breakdown [...]
Social and the Social Bubble
The big story in social media over the course of the last week has unarguably been Facebook’s wobbly stock market launch. Frankly, it doesn’t surprise me that things have gone awry, but I’d be lying if I said I had expected things to go wrong as quickly as they did. The initial stock offering (IPO) [...]
Digital is the fragile medium
An interesting bit of commentary over at The Sydney Morning Herald, where Dr Rachel Buchanan discusses the archival difficulties arising as a result of our digital age: ”Obsolescence is built into computers,” Buchanan says. ”That’s why it is so hard to preserve any of this digital material. It rots. It leeches. It decays. On the [...]
Oppose SOPA (but brace for the future)
If you pay attention to the issues surrounding online culture, then you’re no doubt already aware of the Stop Online Piracy Act (112 H.R. 3261) [pdf], not to mention its Senatorial fraternal twin, the PROTECT IP Act (S928) [pdf]. You’re also likely aware that the bills have provoked a wave of protest among many in [...]
Writing On Water
If you direct your browser to its website you may discover that Grafik, the British design magazine that started out life as Hot Shoe Graphics, has been discontinued after nearly a quarter century in print. If you don’t direct your browser that way, you might not realize it at all, which is very much the [...]
Bookstores and Booksellers
I was asked the other day how any independent booksellers were surviving at all, given the popularity of online shopping and ebooks. We had been talking about the closing of yet another local mainstay. It had been a fixture of the community for decades, but the downturn in the brick-and-mortar business had first forced the [...]
How to Post-Process Experience with a Camera Phone
Nearly two centuries ago, a Renaissance enthusiast by the name of Henri-Marie Beyle fainted on the road to Florence. Beyle had never been to the city before, and anticipation had apparently worked him to a pitch of agitation. In fact, there have been hundreds of recorded instances of tourists fainting when they finally encounter the [...]
Digital, Social and Connected: The Future of the Public Library
Because it lends rather than sells the books and periodicals in its collection, the New York Public Library has fearlessly built the sort of vibrant, literate social network that big media companies are too cowardly to try on their own. That, at least, is the idea suggested by The Atlantic‘s Alexis Madrigal in his latest [...]
How Cheering on the Information Crisis Is Good for Business
On Friday, I linked to Sam Anderson’s most recent essay for the New York Times Magazine. There, Anderson contrasts the World Wide Web to that hoary old institution, the World Almanac, as a lesson in coping with information crises. Closing in on the problem, Anderson writes: So what about our current crisis? (No matter how [...]
The Anti-Diluvian Author
Alistair Barr of Reuters reports that “spam” continues to flood Amazon’s Kindle market at an alarming rate: In 2010, almost 2.8 million nontraditional books, including ebooks, were published in the United States, while just more than 316,000 traditional books came out. That compares with 1.33 million nontraditional books and 302,000 conventional books in 2009, according [...]
Lieutenant Kijé in Damascus
No doubt you have, by now, caught the denouement to the mystery of the missing Gay Girl In Damascus. If not, this David Kenner article in Foreign Policy will catch you to speed. Spoiler: She’s neither gay, female, nor Syrian. More importantly, the article spells out some of the implications the Gay Girl episode may [...]
The Bomb and the Printing Press
As you may have heard earlier in the week, PBS Newshour was hacked last Sunday, and a second time on Monday. The damage was of the minimal, prankster sort, and PBS put things back in order relatively quickly. But the attack seems to have left the organization somewhat shaken. Rightly so. On Wednesday, senior correspondent [...]
Sock Puppet Journalism
Guernica has an interesting interview with Michael Hastings, the journalist who penned the Rolling Stone article that got Gen. Stanley McChrystal dropped as the head of forces in Afghanistan. The bulk of it concerns the dangers, both physical and social, of practicing war journalism, but there’s an interesting sideline about the potential for using social [...]
Eschatology of the Book
In case I haven’t made it entirely plain in the past, let me specify that I am not particularly impressed with most predictions about the death of print. Nor am I totally sure who does buy those arguments; though, given the high volume of discussion, it seems like someone must. Whomever they may be, Ben [...]
“The ads were God.”
David Simon, who wrote Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets and created and produced The Wire, never fails to get me thinking. This time, it’s in an interview with Bill Moyers in Guernica. There’s plenty in there to mull over, but the exchange that caught my attention was that over the decline of journalism [...]
The Politics of Federally Funded Radio
If you’re a regular listener to National Public Radio, then you no doubt already know that the federal subsidy it receives has recently become the subject of intense scrutiny, particularly on the part of House Republicans intent on voting NPR off the federal budget altogether. The implication is that NPR has a liberal political slant, [...]