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We are all Umberto Eco now | Overland literary journal
"He felt, I think – or at least played at feeling – that he needed to justify being given such freedom in a medium that was perceived as being finite. For him to write on the last page of L’Espresso meant that somebody else could not. To devote that space to expound on idle musings was a self-indulgence that needed to be accounted for.

Now consider how similar this author-position is to online writing, and blogs in particular. I’m sure I’ve read dozens of debut blog posts setting out the author’s intentions to write about disparate topics, and that it might not last very long, but anyway, ‘we shall see’. It’s the same reader contract, which is another way of saying we’re all Umberto Eco now: everyone can start a column of idle musings, and publish it to a potentially wider audience than his – as large as everyone who speaks one’s language and has an internet connection. And sure, there is no money involved, but I can’t imagine money would have been too big a consideration for the author of The Name of the Rose. It was the opportunity to enter into that contract that would have appealed to him.

The other thing about blogs and personal pages or small, non-paying online magazines is that very few people might actually read them, but, on the other hand, you don’t have to feel you’re taking anyone’s space away. Which I think explains why – without my having researched the problem in any systematic way – online first posts are generally less apologetic than Eco’s first matchbook. There are, besides, entire social media platforms devoted to presenting and sharing one’s niche interests.

Eco’s column, as I’ve written in a book on his work published this year, was in many respects an early incarnation of the blog form, trading as it did in lists, word games, pastiche and curiosities. Yet, ironically, it lost its uniqueness and become a much more conventional print magazine column once the World Wide Web took off and actual blogs started to proliferate. In 2012, Eco wrote:
When I get tired once and for all of coming up every two weeks with topics that are somewhat current for this column, I would like to embark on a series of late reviews, in which I talked about books that were published a long time ago as if they were new and it were useful to reread them.

This is, in fact, a most common kind of exercise on the web, and the subject of many popular blogs. We review old books and old films as if new all the time, since not only space but also time has collapsed under the digital paradigm. But maybe Eco’s late misgivings suggest we should interrogate these practices.

This belief that online is ‘free’, that it doesn’t take anyone’s paid writing job away or stifle anyone’s voice – while unspoken and in most respects probably true – needs to be measured against the crisis of magazines and of formally edited selections of content more generally.

While the online edition of Overland is a magazine in a fairly traditional sense, The Huffington Post isn’t, just like Buzzfeed isn’t a newspaper. Looking at my own patterns of reading, I find that I consume individual posts and essays from a wide variety of sources, some of which I’m not even entirely conscious of, as I just happen to end there on somebody’s recommendation. On balance this has enriched my life immeasurably, exposing me to a far greater range of voices than was ever available to me before. These broader connections, in turn, greatly facilitate political articulation and organisation.

Yet the countervailing issues are not merely economic: my reading all of these disparate writings frays the contours of my social and cultural world, fracturing any sense of the topical and the local. Even as I engage on my own musings on obscure topics, reasoning that I am not limiting anyone’s time and space but in fact adding infinitesimally to the available store of knowledge, I must ask myself if this is entirely true, or if the shifts that occur under the surface entail the loss of something else, somewhere else.

I am not suggesting that people should write less, or justify why they write to anyone, let alone to me: but rather calling attention to material realities that are sometimes hidden by the sheen of the digital screen. Not just the mechanics of publishing but also the psychology of writing has changed. We should reflect not just on the economics of the profession, as we do often, but also on the economics of attention. It is, after all, always a valuable question to ask: why do I write?"
attention  blogging  writing  giovannitiso  readwriteweb  2015  twitter  socialmedia  buzzfeed  huffingtonpost  serendipity  web  online  howweread  howwewrite  reading  publishing  umbertoeco 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Manic Pixie Dream Dissidents: How the World Misunderstands Pussy Riot - Sarah Kendzior - The Atlantic
"Western coverage has reduced these Russian dissidents to more familiar narratives of youthful rebellion or damsels in distress, missing their entire point and adopting Moscow's own language."

"Imagine this: The three men sit in a Moscow court, awaiting their verdict. The youngest, an experienced dissident described by Western media as a "sultry sex symbol" with "Angelina Jolie lips," glances at his colleague, an activist praised by the Associated Press for his "pre-Raphaelite looks." Between them sits a third man, whose lack of glamour has led the New Republic to label him "the brain" and deem his hair a "poof of dirty blonde frizz." The dissidents -- or "boys" as they are called in headlines around the world -- have been the subject of numerous fashion and style profiles ever since they first spoke out against the Russian government. "He's a flash of moving color," the New York Times writes approvingly about their protests, "never an individual boy.""
newrepublic  huffingtonpost  nytimes  us  russia  sexism  bias  media  gender  politics  feminism  2012  pussyriot 
august 2012 by robertogreco
13 ways of looking at Medium, the new blogging/sharing/discovery platform from @ev and Obvious » Nieman Journalism Lab
"Degrading authorship is something the web already does spectacularly well. Work gets chopped and sliced and repurposed. That last animated GIF you saw — do you know who made it? Probably not. That infonugget you saw on Gawker or The Atlantic — did it start there? Probably not. Sites like Buzzfeed are built largely on reshuffling the Internet, rearranging work into streams and slideshows.

It’s been a while since auteur theory made sense as an explanation of the web. And you know what? We’re better for it. In a world of functionally infinite content, relying on authorship doesn’t scale. We need people to mash things up, to point things out, to sample, to remix."

[Via and commentary: http://snarkmarket.com/2012/7956 ]
danahboyd  ownership  contents  design  fftisa  jeffreyzeldman  svbtle  app.net  branch  digg  pyra  petermerholz  davewiner  audience  collections  scalability  gawker  buzzfeed  auteurtheory  auteurs  rearrangement  jasonkottke  johngruber  deanallen  joshmarshall  ezraklein  anildash  jackdorsey  evanwilliams  louisck  huffingtonpost  theblaze  talkingpointsmemo  tpm  politico  internet  publishing  web  online  pinterest  tumblr  twitter  odeo  blogger  joshuabenton  obviouscorp  2012  authorship  medium  scale 
august 2012 by robertogreco
David Skok: Aggregation is deep in journalism’s DNA » Nieman Journalism Lab
"Henry Luce’s Time started as a full-fledged aggregator almost 89 years ago.

A quick visit to the library confirmed his statements. Sure enough, all 29 pages of the black and white weekly — its signature red-border cover not yet developed — were packed with advertisements and aggregation. This wasn’t just rewrites of the week’s news; it was rip-and-read copy from the day’s major publications — The Atlantic Monthly, The Christian Science Monitor, and the New York World, to name a few."

"Because new-market disruptions initially attract those that aren’t traditional consumers of The New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, these incumbent organizations feel little pain or threat. So they stay the course on content, competing on “quality” against these new-market disruptors."

"We’ve been here before. The question is not, how aggregation is ruining journalism, but how traditional journalism will respond to the aggregation."
via:allentan  nothingnewunderthesun  newmedia  magazines  news  huffingtonpost  buzzfeed  1923  davidskok  disruption  history  timemagazine  2012  florilegium  curation  journalism  aggregation 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Eli Pariser: Beware online "filter bubbles" | Video on TED.com
"As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there's a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a "filter bubble" and don't get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy."
elipariser  echochambers  serendipity  internet  online  web  media  relevance  search  google  facebook  exposure  2011  ted  via:jessebrand  politics  crosspollination  dialogue  walledgardens  algorithms  censorship  personalization  advertising  yahoonews  huffingtonpost  nytimes  washingtonpost  impulse  aspirationalselves  filterbubble  dialog 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Stephen Downes: A World to Change
"But more than that: we need, first, to take charge of our own learning, and next, help others take charge of their own learning. We need to move beyond the idea that an education is something that is provided for us, and toward the idea that an education is something that we create for ourselves. It is time, in other words, that we change out attitude toward learning and the educational system in general.

That is not to advocate throwing learners off the bus to fend for themselves. It is hard to be self-reliant, to take charge of one's own learning, and people shouldn't have to do it alone. It is instead to articulate a way we as a society approach education and learning, beginning with an attitude, though the development of supports and a system, through to the techniques and technologies that support that…

it's about a complete redesign of the system, from the ground up, using new technologies and new ideas…change does not come from the system."

[See also: http://weblogg-ed.com/2010/a-turn-of-the-phrases/ ]
stephendownes  education  unschooling  deschooling  policy  reform  schools  schooling  learning  teaching  huffingtonpost  humanities  openeducation  distancelearning  21stcenturylearning  edtech  connectivism  self-directedlearning  autodidacts  lcproject  tcsnmy  change  gamechanging 
october 2010 by robertogreco
Matt Langer • This is not our regularly scheduled rant!
"You know, Mark Coatney brought Newsweek to Tumblr with astounding success because Mark knows how to be a part of a community, because he’s smart enough to see that his audience works just as hard as he does at producing the sort of content that makes this community worthwhile, an audience that did all this without ever expecting a ticker tape parade to celebrate our esteemed arrival.<br />
<br />
Meanwhile, established media came to Tumblr to engage their audiences, and in so doing revealed that the only audience that really matters is themselves." [via: http://bettyann.tumblr.com/post/975158391]
tumblr  media  newsweek  theatlantic  newyorker  americanprospect  huffingtonpost  readerengagement  bigmedia  missingthepoint  politico  parisrevieweconomist  journalism  link-whoring  elitism 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Media Companies Try Getting Social With Tumblr - NYTimes.com
"Mr. Coatney describes Tumblr as “a space in between Twitter and Facebook.” The site allows users to upload images, videos, audio clips and quotes to their pages, in addition to bursts of text.

As on Twitter, users can follow other users, whose posts appear in a chronological stream on a central home page known as the dashboard. Users can indicate that they like an item by clicking on a red heart next to it or “reblogging” it.

One of the big differences between Tumblr and Twitter is that Tumblr does not display how many followers a user has, said David Karp, Tumblr’s 24-year-old founder and chief executive.

“Who is following you isn’t that important,” he said. “It’s not about getting to the 10,000-follower count. It’s less about broadcasting to an audience and more about communicating with a community.”"
tumblr  twitter  media  nytimes  journalism  future  2010  facebook  socialmedia  socialnetworking  newsweek  newyorker  huffingtonpost  rollingstone  theatlantic  theparisreview  lifemagazine  blackbookmedia  internet  social 
august 2010 by robertogreco
News Sites Rethink Anonymous Online Comments - NYTimes.com
"When news sites, after years of hanging back, embraced the idea of allowing readers to post comments, the near-universal assumption was that anyone could weigh in and remain anonymous. But now, that idea is under attack from several directions, and journalists, more than ever, are questioning whether anonymity should be a given on news sites.

The Washington Post plans to revise its comments policy over the next several months, and one of the ideas under consideration is to give greater prominence to commenters using real names.

The New York Times, The Post and many other papers have moved in stages toward requiring that people register before posting comments, providing some information about themselves that is not shown onscreen.

The Huffington Post soon will announce changes, including ranking commenters based in part on how well other readers know and trust their writing."
news  web  online  commenting  anonymity  civility  nyimes  wapost  wsj  andrewsullivan  ariannahuffington  huffingtonpost 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Arianna Huffington: Barack Obama Must See Michael Moore's New Movie (and So Must You)!
"while...shooting climax of movie...mark[ing] Wall Street as crime scene, putting up yellow police tape around some of financial district's towers of power...unfurling tape in front of a "too big to fail" bank, he became aware of a group of NY's finest approaching...in this case he knew he was, however temporarily, defacing private property...shooting schedule didn't leave room for a detour to the local jail. So, as the lead officer came closer, Moore tried to deflect him, saying: "Just doing a little comedy here, officer. I'll be gone in a minute & will clean up before I go." The officer looked at him for a moment, then leaned in: "Take all the time you need." He nodded to the bank..."These guys wiped out a lot of our Police Pension Funds." The officer turned & slowly headed back to his squad car. Moore wanted to put the moment in his film, but realized it could cost the cop his job & decided to leave it out. "When they've lost the police," he told me, "you know they're in trouble."
michaelmoore  huffingtonpost  politics  economics  greed  wallstreet  capitalism  crisis  finance  film  police  us 
september 2009 by robertogreco

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