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robertogreco : theatlantic   21

Why I Believe in Text — Thoughts on Media — Medium
"The next step is to have publishing and blogging platforms introduce “medium form” structures. Formats like Medium’s responses help you get your point across in faster and more lightweight manner. There has yet to be a widely adopted writing format that is medium form, under 2500 characters, can be read under 5 minutes, and designed with constraints for brevity. I see great potential for fast, medium-length, text sharing on the web. The format can be written in an abstract form where the user is constrained by a character limit under 2500 (approximately three paragraphs). Constraints in writing structure can breed innovation and concision. It also solves the blank canvas problem where people are intimidated by a never ending blank text editor.

Gone are the days of 10 minute long reads like http://longform.org/. People are producing and consuming content in shorter, quippier, digestable ways (listicles, Buzzfeed, Twitter, theSkimm etc). As a writer, I find this paradigm shift towards short form text both fascinating and scary. The scroll can be your friend when you write long prose (Source: Michael Sippey). Now people just stop scrolling when your content doesn’t catch their attention in the first 30 seconds.

The market for text is larger than ever

People are still reading and producing text more than ever. Facebook, Messenger, Whatsapp, and iMessage indicate that the demand for text in messaging and commenting is exponentially increasing. People are just writing and consuming text in different ways.

For a social network to cater to as many people’s needs as possible it needs to provide a spectrum of sharing as diagramed above. No one sharing format can perfectly capture one person’s identity or needs. There is an amalgamation of personas within social networks. Snapchat is for fast, casual sharing in real time; Instagram is for beautiful images + text to capture your best moments; Notes and Medium are for deeper and richer storytelling when you want to get your points across. For a healthy sharing ecosystem you need a wide spectrum of sharing from lightweight to heavyweight richer storytelling.

Christiana and I broke down the sharing ecosystem by content types and depth of expression. Depth of expression is how much emotional content you can convey in one post. As you progress to the right of the spectrum the content format becomes more meaningful and deeper in expression due to a combination of text and multimedia stories. When I see a singular check-in or Snapchat, I get a glimmer of a person. When I read a note or Medium post, I feel connected to that person and know how they think.

The future of writing is going to be Text+

Text’s linguistic sentence structure adds unique organization to other media. When it comes down to telling a story in visual, video, or written form it is all about flow and organization. The ability to communicate with simple words to complex sentence structures to paragraphs offer an unique advantage for text to be a flexible and modular media that organizes photos and videos into a multimedia story.
Text is the most flexible communication technology. Pictures may be worth a thousand words, when there’s a picture to match what you’re trying to say.
— Always Bet on Text [https://graydon2.dreamwidth.org/193447.html ]

The future of text is going to be text+ (text + multimedia e.g. photos, videos, gifs, podcasts etc). In a mobile first world coupled with our shrinking attention span, readers and users want text+ for a faster, more immersive, gratifying consumption experience. Multimedia stories are the future of text. For rich storytelling to have the fast consumption of videos and it photos, it also needs to be interwoven with the depth and organization of text. It’s not going to be enough for Medium to be just text + photos. The Atatvist Mag does a great job embedding rich media into longform content. Now anyone can generate Pulitzer-winning content on par with “Snowfall”, which is powerful. The Atavist is democratizing high brow publishing to the masses. You don’t need programmers or photo editors anymore to produce high quality long form content. Publishing platforms like Facebook Notes, Medium, and the Atavist empower anyone to generate publisher-par content.

Text Conveys Emotional Depth

I question a world and system that overweighs “fast food consumption” over “slow food consumption”. Text is slow food because it takes longer to produce and consume. Like fast food, fast consumption fills you up fast but doesn’t do much for you. In a world where we measure user satisfaction and trust, we neglect the very basic metric for “connectedness” between users. NPS scores mean nothing if your users don’t feel connected to each other. I want to see companies adopt a metric for “connectedness” measuring how a reader feels towards the writer after reading a story. We should measure how you feel after reading a post. Did it make you feel more connected to the writer? Was the 1 minute you spent reading quality time? How does 1 minute of cat video trade off with 1 minute of reading?

Most importantly, text conveys a certain emotional depth that is not possible in photos and videos. People write during heightened states in their life like when Sheryl Sandberg wrote about losing her husband (I broke down reading her beautiful and poignant post) or when Mark Zuckerberg wrote about the miscarriages he and his wife Priscilla experienced before Max was born (very few people talked publicly about the pain of miscarriages until Mark’s text post). Writing helps us share our pain and heal together by connecting others to us through shared humanity. Through writing we find out that we are not as alone as we thought about our hardships. Writing is a conveyor of vulnerability and brings people together.

You can get to know someone through their writing. Writing makes me feel like I know someone like katie zhu before meeting her. From reading Katie’s Medium posts, I felt like I knew her and skipped the small talk when we met in person. We talked about everything from our shared love for writing to love-hate relationship with SF to internet ethics to cognitive diversity. We started on what would have been a fourth or fifth conversation level all thanks to me reading her writing. Writing connects people because it provides a deeper understanding of someone’s psyche, their beliefs, and their values. And that is a powerful thing in a world with so many disparate beliefs and divisiveness in political and religious factions. Writing has the ability to help you understand the other side’s opinion and dismount hidden biases.

Your product is only as good as the amalgamation of the people who use it. Content changes on the web but products that build deeper, meaningful connections between people will be lasting.

Let’s not get caught up in a “fast food consumption” world and forget that the internet can also be place for permanent, deep, and meaningful expressions. And this is why I believe in text. Text is not over yet, it’s just the beginning."
boren  writing  text  web  digital  via:tealtan  2015  slow  reading  slowreading  howweread  howwewrite  communication  socialmedia  atavist  longform  mediumform  snowfall  christinachae  twitter  theskimmm  buzzfeed  michaelsippy  slate  theawl  text+  theoffing  theatlantic  alwaysbetontext  sms  texting  snapchat  connectedness  emotions  storytelling  instagram  medium  facebook  internet  online  photography  video  toddvanderwerff  messaging  chat  multiliteracies 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Austin Kleon — The many designs of David Foster Wallace’s “Host”
"When David Foster Wallace’s heavily footnoted and annotated “Host” was originally published in The Atlantic it looked like this:

[images]

The colored footnotes were a unique challenge to present online, but The Atlantic web team did a pretty decent job by using hyperlinks and pop-up boxes (archived link here):

[image]

And then later, for the print collection Consider The Lobster, the footnotes lost their colors and were replaced with arrows and boxes:

[image]

The Atlantic has recently redesigned “Host” so that the footnotes expand within the piece like so:

[GIF]

It works particularly well with footnotes-within-footnotes:

[GIF]

This is one of the rare times that I think reading a piece online is now actually easier and more delightful than reading it in print.

It should be mentioned, by the way, that the eBook of Consider The Lobster doesn’t even contain the piece:"

[See also: http://greaterthanorequalto.net/blog/2009/07/david-foster-wallace-different-hosts/ ]
davidfosterwallace  annotation  footnotes  design  theatlantic  digitalsertão  expandingtext  digital  publishing  text  web  online  highlighting  telescopictext 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Notes on the Surrender at Menlo Park - The Awl
"8. These stories, for now, only exist in the Facebook iOS app. If you share them on Twitter from within the app—which is an option—you will be sharing a link to web versions of these stories. As I understand it, publishers have basically been given an API for Instant, which they can use to more-or-less automatically export their stories to Facebook. Follow this through:

– Publishers want to publish directly to Facebook because it gives them greater access to Facebook’s users
– This belief in greater access is predicated on the idea that native Facebook stories will share better than linked ones
– If this is the case, and if all stories are co-published on Facebook, the result is that the near-entirety of a publisher’s Facebook mobile is hosted and monetized through Facebook (for some partners this is clearly the intention; for others, maybe not)

Facebook owns an enormous share of mobile traffic overall, meaning that any publication’s mobile web referrals were already composed largely of people coming from Facebook. With wider adoption, Instant would effectively remove Facebook from the mobile referrer pool, and mobile web traffic would plummet—for adopters, totally; for everyone else, more than they might expect. If enough partners use Instant, and if there is enough good Instant content to read, users will begin to regard linked-out stories as weird slow garbage that should Not Be Clicked.

9. Basically: Instant allows publishers to hand over nearly all of their mobile business to Facebook.

10. The Facebook app converts any link to a story with an Instant version to an Instant embed. I posted a link to the Times launch story—the web version—on Facebook. Viewed on mobile, this link was replaced with the Instant story. Makes sense! Remove the inferior version when possible. Death to links!"



"13. Some future controversies we can look forward to: differences spotted in web versions and Facebook versions of articles; publications exceeding vaguely defined standards for, say, violent content; image rights issues (the DMCA never imagined this scenario in its wildest nightmares). Haha, sex stuff. Have you SEEN Facebook’s “community standards?” Facebook is very prudish, historically! Many, many discussions about the ideological opacity of T H E A L G O R I T H M. Idk, some other stuff. It will be crazy-making for all kinds of people. Lots of tweets. Can’t wait!

14. Now that we can see Instant in action,**** we can more clearly see what constitutes a publication on a Facebook-centric internet. A Facebook publication is… a brand? A “vertical?” It doesn’t own its distribution, it doesn’t meaningfully control its sources of revenue. It has no “design” outside of its individual articles. It is composed entirely of its content, as represented to Facebook users by Facebook. A lot of institutional advantages sort of evaporate. What is the difference, from the outside, between a large publication and a small one? One with a hundred reporters and one with ten? One with bureaus all around the world and one with a single office? One with strong institutional politics and one without? These distinctions are to be expressed through Facebook, which means through the News Feed, which means… not very coherently at all. An internet intermediated by Facebook is one in which publications are constantly struggling to stay on the right side of a thin line: are they justifying their own existence on Facebook’s new terms, or are they just weird middlemen introducing inefficiency into a system in which they are very obviously guests? This is slightly worse than a channel relationship. Partners are not guaranteed any more space, or traffic, than they can earn within Facebook’s own structure. They are essentially Facebook users with special publishing tools, legacies, momentum, and an immediate need to make money. Or are publications…. celebrities? No. I mean yes, sorry! Definitely! Congratulations!"



"234875627839452. Or maybe this is all just a short detour for Facebook. The history of software and web platforms is instructive here: Platforms grow by incorporating the labor of users and partners; they tend, over time, to regard the presence of the partners as an inefficiency. Twitter asks developers to make a bunch of apps using its data, so people make a bunch of mobile apps, then Twitter notices that these apps are actually very important to Twitter, and so Twitter buys one of the apps and takes steps to expel all the other apps, rendering the job of “Twitter app developer” more or less obsolete. In this formulation, publishers are app developers: They are working not only for their own benefit but, in addition, to find ways to increase Facebook’s share of user attention and satisfaction. If they find ways to succeed, through the practice of journalism or some other sort of content production, Facebook will take note. Perhaps Facebook will then devise a way to compensate reporters, or content creators, directly, rather than through the publications they work for. Maybe they’ll just buy a publication! Or many publications. If Instant is a success then, like everything at a functioning technology company that wants to make money, it will be iterated.

45862170348957103946872039568270. This is unspooling into a more general complaint, but whatever. There is toxic mindset that permeates discussions not just about Facebook but about most accelerating, inevitable-seeming tech companies. It conflates criticism with denial and nostalgia. Why do people complain about Uber so much? Is it loyalty to yellow cabs and their corrupt nonsense industry? Or is it a recognition that, as soon as a company reaches its level of importance and future inevitability, it should be treated as important. A word of caution about Facebook is not a wish to return to some non-existent ideal time. Print media was broken, TV was broken, commercial and public radio were broken, local media was broken, web media was very broken. Understanding this—or even just assuming it to be true!—is understanding that it is imperative to seek out the manner in which your media is broken, and the pressures that keep it that way. Worrying about the details of the coming future is merely taking that future seriously. People who insist otherwise? They have their reasons.

19. Oh, right: So what happens when Facebook goes away? Are today’s publishers, by then, just portable content generators ready to be passed to the next platform? Or have they been replaced by something else entirely? There is apparently only one way to find out!"
johnherrman  publishing  facebook  facebookinstant  journalism  2015  unspooling  twitter  walledgardens  archives  data  advertising  analytics  theatlantic  nytimes  buzzfeed  nationalgeographic  nbcnews  snapchat  snapchatdiscover  web  internet  online 
may 2015 by robertogreco
The Atlantic Redesigns TheAtlantic.com - The Atlantic
"We've redesigned TheAtlantic.com. What do you think?

From the beginning of the project, we've had the fundamental question in mind of what this site is—which is to say, both what it's become (as regular readers know, a lot's changed here over time) and what we want it to be. Is it the website of a magazine? Is it a news site? Is it, as James Franco possibly once suggested, a blog?

The answers, we recognized, are all in one way or another yes. But we figured we'd try a thought experiment: What if we described TheAtlantic.com as a direct, dynamic, digital extension of our core identity in journalism—as a real-time magazine?

That seemed to us both authentic and aspirational: an idea that captured what The Atlantic has been doing in new media for years and a framework that could bring the right focus to rebuilding TheAtlantic.com now.

So here's what we did:

We created a site that makes a new priority of visual presentation, that offers a cleaner reading experience across digital devices, and that gives us the flexibility we need, both in our articles and on our homepage, to join the speed and urgency of the web with the noise-cutting and impact that have always been central to The Atlantic's ambitions.

The new homepage is composed of full-width modules each representing either one big story or a constellation of connected stories. We can move these modules up or down the page, allowing us, among other freedoms, alternately to lead with the urgency of our news coverage or the impact of a big feature, according to the needs of the moment.

It also allows us to give full play to the same urgency and impact beyond the top of the page. As you return to the site, you'll find different homepage modules in different orders with different kinds of stories in different combinations. What you won't find, we hope, is the impression of diminishing importance as you scroll down.

Neither should you find yourself disoriented. So rather than placing stories arbitrarily adjacent to one another, we're using each of these modules to display a single story or a group of stories that are in some way related. This approach is inspired by the emergent logics of scrolling and swiping in mobile media: The vertical axis of the homepage represents a logic of exploration (scrolling); the horizontal axis, a logic of connection (swiping). A good magazine should, after all, help us keep our bearings.

Our new article pages are likewise more visually engaging and flexible. We're using larger images, and better image integration, with a fuller range of options for bigger feature stories, as well as more controlled templates for quicker hits, which we'll sometimes need as The Atlantic moves fast in trying to make sense of a rapidly changing world.

We've thought about the logics of exploration and connection on the article pages too: Next to our stories (horizontally), you'll find links to related articles; below the stories (vertically), you'll find links to normally unrelated articles, or for that matter photo essays or videos, currently popular on the site.

Maybe most conspicuously, across TheAtlantic.com, we've replaced our old nameplate and navigation bar with a simple new flag bearing our logo, options to subscribe or search the site, and an expandable menu. This treatment is influenced by the way the logo is set on our monthly covers; the minimalistic integration of the subscription, search, and navigation functions is based both on extensive user testing and our guiding dedication to keeping signals high, and noise low, around our brand and our work.

Oh, and the typefaces are new. Hawk-eyed readers will recognize the display and text fonts, both Lyon, as the same ones we use in print."
theatlantic  digital  2015  publications  magazines  news  jounalism  webdev  design  presentation  flexibility  typography  fonts  urgency  impact  reading  howweread  blogs  jjgould  webdesign 
april 2015 by robertogreco
How 'Radiolab' Is Changing the Sound of the Radio - Alexis Madrigal - Technology - The Atlantic
"What's different about Radiolab (&…changing about the web) is that it *is* a production…one of a very new kind. Radiolab is actually post-blog & post-livestream…not aping oratory of old or raggedness of new…a hybrid that takes lessons from the past, recent & deep.

That's where…web journalism is headed…"No one wants to read a 9,000-word treatise online. On the Web, one-sentence links are as legitimate as 1000-word diatribes—in fact, they are often valued more."

While this might have been true at one point, it simply no longer is…at The Atlantic, there is a very strong positive correlation between length of post & readers attracted. The genre conventions of blogging are changing. Few old-style linkblogs exist & a whole culture has developed around the longread. New online publications…look beautiful.

This is the Radiolab effect extended: expect less pretension to authority, greater understanding of one's nodeness, but greater respect for the production culture of the pre-web era."
post-livestream  post-internet  pretension  radiolabeffect  robertkrulwich  twitter  blogging  journalism  storytelling  productionvalues  authority  longformjournalism  longform  theatlantic  online  web  radio  alexismadrigal  jadabumrad  2012  radiolab 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Page One: Banish Multi-Page Articles (Global Moxie)
"I DESPISE MULTI-PAGE ARTICLES WITH THE HEAT OF A MILLION SUNS. The Page One extension for Safari and Chrome fixes them, automatically displaying the single-page version of articles for several popular news sites. Install the extension now:"
tools  productivity  news  safari  chrome  googlechrome  extensions  browsers  plugins  singlepage  nytimes  newyorker  theatlantic  slate  wired  vanityfair  gq  lapham'squarterly  newrepublic  rollingstone  villagevoice  washingtonpost  thenation  businessweek  browser 
july 2011 by robertogreco
The Disappearing Alphabet - Magazine - The Atlantic
"If the alphabet began to disappear,Some words would soon look raggedy and queer(Like QUIRREL, HIMPANZEE, AND CHOOCHOO-TRAI),While others would entirely fade away.And since it is by words that we construeThe world, the world would start to vanish too . . ."<br />
[I remember reading this to my fifth grade class when it first ran in The Atlantic in 1997.]
poetry  classideas  theatlantic  poems  alphabet  richardwilbur 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Community and Context: Thoughts on Closing Comments - Alexis Madrigal - Technology - The Atlantic
"I don't want to rule out ever turning off comments again, but I do know that we'd execute very differently. Oddly, I'm heartened that we've developed enough of a reputation as an open and good place to talk about technology that the inability to interact on the site is perceived as an "epic fail," as one reader told me. We are a community now; certain rules have emerged.

And here's the other lesson I learned, which may be more generalizable. I'm an experimenter and so are many of the staffers here at The Atlantic. We've been tremendously lucky that most of the things we've tried have worked. But you don't always experiment for the good times. You need to have things not work sometimes. There's nothing like a (very) public learning experience to focus the mind on the things that matter for your site."
community  commenting  alexismadrigal  theatlantic  online  blogging  transparency  jaronlanier  wikileaks  tinkering  failure  experimentation  learning  trust  interaction  discussion  jayrosen  patricklaforge  internet  web  2010 
december 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
The Atlantic - There’s something surreal about The Atlantic using Tumblr’s “The Atlantic” theme, right?
"You have no idea how meta we can get. This whole Tumblr ecosystem really just exists in the daydream of a distinguished gentlemen musing on machinery in a cabin somewhere."
meta  theatlantic  tumblr  walden  thoreau 
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
The Atlantic :: Magazine :: The End of Men [Waiting for smart people to debunk or confirm.]
"Earlier this year, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in U.S. history. Most managers are now women too. And for every two men who get a college degree this year, three women will do the same. For years, women’s progress has been cast as a struggle for equality. But what if equality isn’t the end point? What if modern, postindustrial society is simply better suited to women? A report on the unprecedented role reversal now under way— and its vast cultural consequences"
2010  education  theatlantic  feminism  gender  history  men  psychology  society  economics  class  business  masculinity  equality  women  hannarosin  japan  korea  matriarchy  patriarchy  boys  leadership 
july 2010 by robertogreco
The Atlantic Online | November 2008 | The Things He Carried | Jeffrey Goldberg
"Airport security in America is a sham—“security theater” designed to make travelers feel better and catch stupid terrorists. Smart ones can get through security with fake boarding passes and all manner of prohibited items—as our correspondent did with ease."
travel  us  politics  humor  bruceschneier  theatlantic  security  terrorism  tsa  airports 
october 2008 by robertogreco
Playing to Type by Virginia Postrel
"A revolution in typeface design has led to everything from more-legible newspapers and cell-phone displays to extra-tacky wedding invitations."
typography  design  fonts  atlantic  virginiapostrel  typeface  typesetting  economics  culture  graphic  formatting  usability  theatlantic  type 
july 2008 by robertogreco
“The Connection Has Been Reset”
"China’s Great Firewall is crude, slapdash, and surprisingly easy to breach. Here’s why it’s so effective anyway."
theatlantic  censorship  china  politics  firewall  technology  humanrights  filtering  information  control  society  internet 
february 2008 by robertogreco
The Next Slum?
"The subprime crisis is just the tip of the iceberg. Fundamental changes in American life may turn today’s McMansions into tomorrow’s tenements."
us  architecture  housingbubble  capitalism  bubble  housing  recession  slums  sociology  subprime  suburban  suburbia  suburbs  sustainability  theatlantic  economics  realestate  urbanism  walking  transportation  urban  mortgages  demographics  future  green  cities  crime  culture  planning  politics  poverty  property  dystopia  neighborhoods  collapse  environment 
february 2008 by robertogreco
The Atlantic Online | January/February 2008 | First, Kill All the School Boards | Matt Miller
"Nationalizing our schools even a little goes against every cultural tradition we have, save the one that matters most: our capacity to renew ourselves to meet new challenges."
education  schools  public  politics  policy  us  theatlantic  government  reform  change 
february 2008 by robertogreco
The Autumn of the Multitaskers
"Neuroscience is confirming what we all suspect: Multitasking is dumbing us down and driving us crazy. One man’s odyssey through the nightmare of infinite connectivity"
multitasking  continuouspartialattention  attention  psychology  neuroscience  behavior  brain  cognition  cognitive  concentration  memory  connectivity  culture  society  stress  productivity  education  learning  lifehacks  slow  mind  organization  theatlantic  technology  recession  trends  bubbles  mobile  phones  distraction  etiquette  economics  freedom  simplicity  digitalnatives 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Editors' Note: The Atlantic Monthly
"Beginning today, TheAtlantic.com is dropping its subscriber registration requirement and making the site free to all visitors."
paywall  media  free  theatlantic  online  internet  web  archives 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Powell's Books - Review-a-Day - Ulysses (Vintage International) by James Joyce, reviewed by The Atlantic Monthly
"This review -- which first ran in the pages of the Atlantic Monthly, December, 1946 -- covers three books, Ulysses; Finnegan's Wake; and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man."
literature  books  jamesjoyce  ulysses  finneganswake  reviews  1946  history  theatlantic 
december 2007 by robertogreco

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