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The soft tyranny of the rating system

2 days 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 days 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’

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

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 […]

DexYP: What Should the Brand and Strategy Be Going Forward?

3 weeks agoMedia / New Media : Screenwerk

Months of rumors were answered yesterday when it was announced that Dex Media and YP would become DexYP. It’s not a merger; Dex bought YP for $600 million. YP had been owned by private equity firm Cerberus Capital, with a minority stake retained by AT&T, the original owner of YP (formerly the AT&T yellow pages). […]

German Hate-Speech Law Forces Facebook to Engage in Censorship

Under the terms of a new German law, social networks like Facebook face fines of up to $57 million if they don’t delete illegal, racist or slanderous content within 24 hours. But free-speech advocates, including the Commission for Human Rights, say the law gives too much power to Facebook and other platforms to decide what […]

The Troubling Implications of the Supreme Court of Canada’s Google Ruling

This is a disturbing decision by the Supreme Court of Canada, as explained by my former colleague (and fellow Canadian) Jeff Roberts at Fortune. It follows some equally troubling decisions in Europe that have ordered Google to delete results worldwide because of the so-called “right to be forgotten.” In a 7-2 decision, the court agreed […]

The Age of Distributed Truth

Smart post from Eugene Wei about how information gets distributed now, and things that were commonly known in specific circles (like a certain VC’s reputation for sexual harassment) become more widely known. We live in the age of distributed truth, and it’s an environment in which fake news can spread like mold when in viral […]

The master and the machine: on AI and chess

4 weeks agoMedia / New Media : Rough Type

“A Brutal Intelligence: AI, Chess, and the Human Mind,” my review of Garry Kasparov’s new book Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins, appears today in the Los Angeles Review of Books. Here’s a bit: The contingency of human intelligence, the way it shifts with health, mood, and circumstance, is at the center […]

New York Times Copy Editors Tell the Ocean to Stop Advancing

Copy editors at the New York Times have written an open letter to executive editor Dean Baquet and managing editor Joe Kahn, protesting the downsizing of editing functions at the paper. The Times is planning to get rid of its central copy desk, and aims to reduce the number of editors by about 50%. “Dear […]

Group Wants to use the Blockchain to Reinvent Journalism

This seems like an interesting — and also ambitious — project aimed at developing a kind of crowdsourced journalism infrastructure based on the crypto-currency Ethereum. Instead of a traditional advertising-based model, the group is proposing to monetize the project (known as Civil) using Ethereum “tokens” or virtual currency that could be exchanged in a variety […]

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