Mac Slocum's Recommended Stuff and Links of Note

Really? That's your move?

0 notes

The practical application of science fiction

A great description of sci-fi’s importance (yes, it’s important) from Intel’s Brian David Johnson:

“So you know that if we write science fiction based on science fact, it allows us to explore the human, cultural and ethical implications of technology. It enables us to ‘prototype’ our ideas. Even the futures that we don’t want are good fodder for this. Think about the combination of authoritarianism through constant surveillance, linguistics, changing history books – all of those awful things can be encapsulated by ‘Big Brother.’ George Orwell’s 1984 gave us a symbol of a future we didn’t want to see, and it’s part of the culture now.”

See the full interview

Filed under Sci-fi Future

0 notes

Gawker took the pain out of page views, and the same model applies elsewhere

Phenomenal analysis by Andrew Phelps looking at Gawker’s approach to low-level content (i.e. the weird goats, the funny videos, the celebrity scandals, etc).

Here’s how Gawker handles it:

"A different staff writer will be forced to break their usual routine and offer up posts they feel would garner the most traffic. While that writer struggles to find dancing cat videos and Burger King bathroom fights or any other post they feel will add those precious, precious new eyeballs, the rest of the staff will spend time on more substantive stories they may have neglected due to the rigors of scouring the internet each day to hit some imaginary quota."

And it appears to be working:

On their assigned pageview-duty days, Gawker writers produced a cumulative 72 posts — about 14 posts per writer per day. On their off-duty days — and remember, each had four off days for every “on” day — the same writers cumulatively produced 34, or about 1.3 posts per writer per day …

… Those 72 pageview-duty posts produced a combined 3,956,977 pageviews (as of the days I captured data, Friday 3/9 and Monday 3/12), a mean of 54,958 pageviews per post. The 34 off-duty posts produced 2,037,263 pageviews, a mean of 59,920 pageviews per post.

Most important: Gawker’s editors have found a way to take the soul sucking out of the soul-sucking content. I could see how a one-day-per-week approach to page view duty could actually become fun/competitive. It’s a great idea.

The same “shift-based” approach would work for any repetitive editorial task — copy editing, headline writing, overseeing a Twitter account, updating Facebook, etc. This adds new voices and fresh creativity to activities that can easily become boring if any one person is forced to do them day after day. That’s good for the staff and good for the audience.

Filed under edit editorial page views Gawker

6 notes

Must read: "Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?"

Via oreillyradar:

Some lovely bits from Paul Ford’s excellent piece, “Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?

“There should be a word for that feeling you get when an older person — and not much older, so quickly are things changing — shames him or herself by telling young people how to live. I’d vote for Bedeutungslosigkeitschmach, or ‘irrelevance shame,’ (made up with the help of Google translate) or perhaps Rünschmerz, the horrifying gut pain one experiences watching Andy Rooney.”

“Google regularly announces initiatives to ‘save’ the newspaper and book industries — like a modern-day hunter who proclaims himself a conservationist.”

“I keep sensing some serious hurt feelings from the older-media side — ‘Why would you love that thing instead of me?’ They act like my wife would if I brought home a RealDoll. But it’s not like that. I don’t think people love Twitter or Facebook in the same way they might love Parks and Recreation or Twilight. Rather, we like the beer and tolerate the bottle. And even if we have those other browser tabs open, we’re still hungry for endings.”

Those are just highlights. This is a phenomenal essay.

Filed under social media traditional media recommended