Worthwhile reading for anyone hiring/recruiting and considering or using social media background checks as part of the process.
“it might be worth more — particularly in the long term — to spend the time trying to confirm the reports that emerge through social media (was that tweet really from the niece of Whitney Houston’s hairstylist?) or to push the story beyond the simple report that something has happened and figure out what it means or why it matters. That kind of analysis and context has always been the most long-lasting aspect of journalism, but mainstream media outlets continually get distracted by the need for another scoop or another “exclusive,” something very few non-journalists care about.”
“If someone tweets something newsworthy and no one retweets it, did she make a sound?”
Tumblr founder David Karp is, according to an interview he gave to the Guardian, a lover of Twitter and “lukewarm” on Google+. Nor is he impressed with Facebook “as a product”, whatever that means.
But it is for YouTube that he saves his vitriol (emphasis mine):
“The only real tools for expression these days are YouTube, which turns my stomach,” he says. “They take your creative works – your film that you poured hours and hours of energy into – and they put ads on top of it. They make it as gross an experience to watch your film as possible. I’m sure it will contribute to Google’s bottom line; I’m not sure it will inspire any creators.”
No doubt Google would disagree, arguing that a significant chunk of the 60 hours of video uploaded to the site each minute – an increase of 30% in the last three months – contains or inspires some form of originality.
But Karp is unconvinced. YouTube, he says, “was the opportunity to tell every aspiring filmmaker that if they worked really hard and really went for quality they could create great stuff. The stuff YouTube is incentivising is: build a huge subscriber base, put out a lot of videos, do the math and get as big a cheque as possible.”
Google recently did the math and found that YouTube pulls in about 4bn views a day – and has now boosted promotion of its “Partner” programme in a bid to increase the quality of videos. “YouTube offers the opportunity but they sacrifice the tools in such a major way now,” Karp continues. “YouTube is one of the most amazing creative tools in the world and I think it’s gotten a lot worse for creators.” No doubt the point is that Tumblr can close the gap.
The word-lover in me couldn’t help noticing this, either:
Karp describes technology journalism’s obsession with funding as “turpitudal”…
Excellent, under-rated word, turpitudal. Given that it means “depraved”, though, strikes me as somewhat harsh.
Speaking of words, here’s a snapshot of the literary vibe at Tumblr’s NYC HQ, where books abound:
‘Tumblr is hiring writers and editors to cover the world of Tumblr’ – Galavant Media
Men don’t know how to write likable female characters, and Women can’t write likable male characters.
…let’s start with Breaking Bad…The 2 major female characters that I’ve encountered thus far (Skyler and Marie) are annoying, bitchy, pushy, shallow characters…. Male writer. Perhaps working out some inner issues with the females in his life; who knows, but def not doing his female characters justice.
Moving onto United States of Tara. Amazing show. Awesome subject matter…Great writer, but she lets her female protagonist get away with murder…It becomes more apparent as the show moves forward, that she has no idea how to write a male character who isn’t a receptacle for her drama and emotional scraps…I think its because the writer doesn’t know how to write a strong yet sensitive man, because you have to be one to know how to write one (or at least research a few in real life)
A variation on a theme, this, and an argument I don’t think is as black and white (I know, I know) as presented above.
Responses from the meta-webs (Twitter-sphere) below:
‘Entourage, 2 1/2 Men, prime examples of [men can’t write likable female characters]’ – VeesEye
disagree with the actual piece. It’s bunk. TV series aren’t written by “one person”. Nor, usually, films. – Charles Arthur
An interesting and nuanced piece from Chris Tackett at the Atlantic on how sites like Pinterest and Svpply might be reducing consumption, and which cites a Megan Garber article that prompted my recent post on lifehacking-through-Instapaper:
I don’t disagree some forms of conspicuous consumption are fading, but in the context of how we present ourselves online, I think we’ve entered a new era of hyper-conspicuous digital consumption. While the poor economy may be reducing our urge to buy an expensive car just to show we can, the new additions to our ever-growing arsenal of social-media tools are giving us new ways to show the world what kind of things we like, what clothing or jewelry we would wear (if we could), what kind of cars we would drive (if we could), what kind of homes we’d live in (if we could) and on and on. If there wasn’t a social element to Svpply or Pinterest (or Twitter or Facebook or blogs, for that matter) I think far fewer people would take the time to use these tools for personal organization. It is the overtly conspicuous nature of sharing the pretty things we find that makes these tools fun to use in the first place.
‘with sharing both intentional and “frictionless” — we can define ourselves not just by what we read, but by how we read.’ – Nieman Lab
‘We are seeing the twilight of conspicuous leisure, and of conspicuous waste and conspicuous consumption as well.’ – Rick Bookstaber
As part of my never-ending quest to hack my life to fit more into 24 hours, I’ve been rethinking my Instapaper strategy.
Previously, my Insta-workflow went something like this:
– Favourite a tweet in Twitter + ifttt = add to Instapaper
– Sifting through RSS on mobile or iPad + “ooh, that’s interesting but a bit long and probably about something related to finance” = add to Instapaper
Result: crazy, crazy long Instapaper queue, which I tried to manage by viewing oldest-first, and by binge-reading on planes, trains and weekends.
Result: only a slightly shorter queue, and constant feeling of unease about not being caught up induced by the near-endless scrolling of said.
Could I ever read everything? No. Was I in denial about that? Maybe.
Which is why I found this piece by Megan Garber at the Nieman Journalism Lab (in my Insta-queue since December…) so interesting (emphasis mine):
…if my own use of Read It Later and Instapaper are any indication, a click on a Read Later button is, more than anything, an act of desperate, blind hope. Why, yes, Foreign Affairs, I would love to learn about the evolution of humanitarian intervention! And, certainly, Center for Public Integrity, I’d be really excited to read about the judge who’s been a thorn in the side of Wall Street’s top regulator! I am totally interested, and sincerely fascinated, and brimming with curiosity!
But I am less brimming with time. So, for me, rather than acting like a bookmark for later-on leafing — a straight-up, time-shifted reading experience — a click on a Read Later button is actually, often, a kind of anti-engagement. It provides just enough of a rush of endorphins to give me a little jolt of accomplishment, sans the need for the accomplishment itself. But, then, that click will also, very likely, be the last interaction I will have with these worthy stories of NGOs and jurisprudence.
This strikes me as a modification of the Gollwitzer premise – that there’s a gap between intention and action that is worsened by a (public) declaration of intent. In other words, saying you will substitutes for doing; in this case, bookmarking is a substitute for reading.
To quote Garber again:
The line between the aspirational and the actual is thick
I’ve since changed my bookmarking behaviour. Now, Twitter favourites go to Pinboard (via ifttt) where they are marked as unread. And then, when I have (set aside) the time I very deliberately go to Pinboard, choose some of these unread items, and send them to Instapaper for proper perusal on my iGadgets, or better, my Kindle*.
Result: Pinboard now acts as a digital repository for all things I would-like-to-read (intention) and Instapaper acts as a platform for things-I-will-read (action).
And I find that while I might be skimming much less, I am reading much more.
The lifehacking continues.
[*Re the Kindle – reading on the Kindle is a much more immersive/much less distraction prone environment for me than reading on the iPad. The downside is the Kindle makes it damned hard to then tag/archive those articles in a way that fits into my metadata obsessed intensive workflow. Using the Instapaper app on an iGadget, for instance, I can easily email articles, share them on Twitter or add tags/comments and archive them to Pinboard. If I read an article on the Kindle that I want to share or tag, I have to fire up an iApp or my computer…breaking me out of the immersive reading experience]