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The virtual postman never stops ringing

In the latest issue of New Philosopher, I have an essay, “Speaking Through Computers,” that looks at how the form and content of our speech have been shaped by communications networks, from the postal system to social media. It begins: Much modern technology has its origins in war, or the anticipation of war, and that’s […]

The soft tyranny of the rating system

3 weeks agoMedia / New Media : Rough Type

In his darkly comic 2010 novel Super Sad True Love Story, Gary Shteyngart imagines a Yelpified America in which people are judged not by the content of their character but by their streamed credit scores and crowdsourced “hotness” points. Social relations of even the most intimate variety are governed by online rating systems. A sanitized […]

On Robert Pollard: “Chicken Blows”

3 weeks agoMedia / New Media : Rough Type

[No. 04 in a Series] Take one of those short Beatles songs from the medley that closes Abbey Road, turn it inside out, fill it with nitrous oxide, and let a kindergarten class use it as a ball during recess. That’s “Chicken Blows.” A seeming throwaway that arrives near the end of the nearly endless […]

My Recent Depressing Realization about All This Crappy ‘Content Marketing’

4 weeks agoMedia / New Media : Screenwerk

One of the things I do every day is blog. I haven’t been blogging here as much because I have too much work these days. I’m blogging on LSA Insider, Search Engine Land and its sister sites Marketing Land and MarTech Today. As a person who has been writing or editing in some capacity for more […]

Facebook’s Support for Subscriptions Is a Double-Edged Sword

Campbell Brown, the former NBC and CNN broadcaster who is now Facebook’s head of news partnerships, confirmed in a speech at a digital publishing conference that the social network plans to roll out support for subscriptions as part of its mobile Instant Articles platform. There have been multiple reports that the company was working on […]

Smarter living through neurosis

last monthMedia / New Media : Rough Type

Found on the front page of today’s New York Times website: Coming next week: “Smiling May Harm Your Jaw” and “Did You Take Too Many Steps Today?”

Newspaper Group’s Hope for Antitrust Exemption Is a Hail Mary Pass

The news came by way of a softball pitch of a story from the New York Times: The News Media Alliance — a group formerly known as the Newspaper Association of America — says it plans to ask Congress for a special exemption from antitrust regulations. Why? So that its members can work together to […]

Pictures Can and Do Lie, and GIFs Lie Twice as Loudly

If there’s one thing the coverage of Donald Trump has shown time and again, it’s that the mainstream media is more than happy to construct elaborate stories about him, based on nothing more than a tweet or a short GIF — even if the impression they give of events is distorted as a result. The […]

CNN Made Itself the Story Instead of the Reddit User Who Created that Trump GIF

It was a pretty big scoop, at least as far as Twitter and Reddit were concerned: CNN’s “K-File” investigative unit, run by former BuzzFeed reporter Andrew Kaczynski, found the guy who created the GIF that Donald Trump used for a recent anti-CNN tweet. And then a single poorly-worded line in the story shifted the focus […]

Twitter Was Right Not to Remove Trump’s CNN-Bashing Tweet

A large number of people, many of them in the mainstream media, spent a large part of Sunday up in arms about a tweet from Donald Trump in which he bashed CNN as “fraud news” (he’s apparently trying to get away from the term “fake news,” probably because it has been debased by him and […]

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