The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations,” Mr. Wilhite said. “They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘jif.’ End of story. — Not so fast, GIF-inventing guy. While you were inventing the GIF, I was reading Derrida. The inventor’s pronunciation shouldn’t be privileged above any other. What is this? 1760?
In praise of badly run businesses. Another chat with Lou Reed’s nephew.
Lou Reed’s nephew on literacy.
(via Bertrand Russell to Oswald Mosley in 1962. This is how to tel… on Twitpic)
“A gang of Burmese ballet dancers, he claimed, had perfected a technique for avoiding detection by security cameras. There was nothing mysterious about the technique. It required only otherworldly agility.” —Lou Reed’s Nephew
The artist does what he wants. The businessman does what the market wants. You are in danger of doing neither. — Lou Reed’s nephew on art and business
Lou Reed’s nephew takes a (long) vacation.
I haven’t liked anything in a long time as much as I like Mike Joyce’s modernist renderings of classic punk rock posters at Swissted.
Like a lot of longtime users, I was taken by surprise by Google’s announcement yesterday that it will discontinue Google Reader in July. I confess that it had never occurred to me that it was a thing that could be discontinued. To me, it was like hearing there would be no more email.
This was naive of course. I suppose I should have seen it coming. It’s not like I’ve been running around advising employers and clients that they need to develop killer audience development strategies based on RSS. RSS has not been a mainstream consumer channel for sometime.
But it still is—as yesterday’s Twitter rage demonstrates—a critical trade channel. If you want to keep up with what your friends are doing, Facebook is fine. If you want to keep abreast of headlining industry developments, LinkedIn Today might be enough. But if you want to really understand an industry—and track all the thinking in that industry—you’re going to need RSS and a good RSS reader.
Twitter is great for this, some people will say—and many in my Twitter feed have said this—but I don’t think that is true. Twitter is terrific at telling me what I have to read because everyone in my industry—or, rather, industries—is reading it. See it once, maybe pass. See it five times, with two responses, better check it out. Twitter is an incredibly effective—and very targeted—water cooler. As such, it is much better than a real water cooler, because it brings people together that share the same disciplines but not the same space. With someone from the accounting department, I’m going to talk about Homeland. With another AD person, I might talk click-through rates. Twitter gives me the gravy of those conversations.
But what about the meat? That’s what Google Reader is for. There, I don’t wait for the news to come to me from the group. I select my sources and I go out and get it. Then I browse through every single headline, many of which would never appear in my Twitter feed once, let alone several times—whether they are posts from the Silverpop blog or the latest from consultant Brian O’Leary.
Some of these wouldn’t appear in my Twitter feed simply because they are too specialized. I’m a digital marketer in publishing, but I also deal with email marketing and a particular vendor: Silverpop. Their posts aren’t likely to go viral, but are probably more useful to me than anything that would. That’s the thing about Twitter that is more obvious when it comes to things you don’t care about than things you do. It favors conversations that are insidery and pointed enough to be interesting—but not insidery enough to be really useful. Twitter, even in boring niches, favors sexy—but what I actually need to know is frequently not sexy.
I am anti-declinist, not by nature, but my discipline. It’s a matter of division of labor. There are more than enough people investigating the possibility that things are going to hell. At least some of us need to look into the idea that things just change and that some things are lost while others are gained. I don’t usually buy into web-as-echo-chamber-arguments, in other words, because I think it is obvious that the open web has made it possible for serious people to assemble unique collections of wide-ranging viewpoints—and bounce them off each other like never before. (Don’t believe me? I’m always struck by how something like the entire history of 20th Century philosophy was shaped by something so seemingly small as the translation of Hegel into French, or some such. Now those people were trapped by their channels!)
Twitter appears to do that. That is its pitch. But it doesn’t do it as well as Google Reader—not if you want to get well past the surface—and serious discussion of many topics will suffer without it.
Lou Reed’s nephew takes up media criticism, joins Twitter.
Lou Reed’s nephew on sport.
The more interested I’ve gotten in digital publishing over the years, the harder it’s gotten for me to write without a platform in mind. In fact, new platforms seem to be what inspire me to write at all.
Enter Medium, a new blogging platform from Twitter co-founder Evan Williams. It is spare, well-designed and—if not quite elliptical—then at least less linear than your standard blog. These qualities inspired me to kick off “Lou Reed’s Nephew” an episodic serial I’d been playing with—as one plays with food, pushing it back and forth across my plate—for more than a year. Formally, it is a complete theft, borrowing (very literally) from Diderot and (less so) from Saki. Content-wise, I make it up every week. New installments appear Sunday nights. There are ten so far, although I don’t think it matters where you start. Have a look. Hope you enjoy it.
The Dream of Lou Reed’s Nephew’s Narrator
But if stories are what we do, why work so hard at them? Isn’t this, what’s going on here—with you and me—the story that gives our lives meaning? Why do we have to corral stories onto platforms? Aren’t these platforms really killing, rather than creating, meaning. — Lou Reed’s nephew faces “the structuration of the talespace.”