Built on passion: How Vox Media grew from its roots as an Oakland A’s blog into one of the Internet’s biggest publishers » Nieman Journalism Lab

01/06/2016 Leave a comment

According to Tyler Blezinski, the site’s founder, what makes the site work:

…is the fiercely passionate people who cover whatever the topic happens to be.  Ezra Klein is as fiercely passionate about the news as I am about the Oakland Athletics. Nilay Patel, who runs The Verge, is just as passionate about consumer tech and everything that The Verge covers and the digital lifestyle that he embraces. No matter who it is, they all have that similar common passion and also the commitment to quality that I founded the company with.

Source: Built on passion: How Vox Media grew from its roots as an Oakland A’s blog into one of the Internet’s biggest publishers » Nieman Journalism Lab

The article will go on to argue about how the authors conceptualized their work.



20 Quick Tips on Writing Great Blog Posts – @ProBlogger

11/03/2015 Comments off

I am not a great fan of tips, since I think that they tend to be a short cut for more serious thought, but these are not bad.

In preparation for an interview on


In  writing great blog content, I jotted down some ‘quick tips’. While they are all short I hope that they might spark some ideas – enjoy! Tell your story – it is what makes your content unique Share how you feel – it will take your readers to a deeper […]

Source: 20 Quick Tips on Writing Great Blog Posts – @ProBlogger

Should You Boycott Traditional Journals?

04/22/2015 Leave a comment

A good summary of the range of issues. Reputation vs access…

Social Media Collective

(Or, Should I Stay or Should I Go?)

Is it time to boycott “traditional” scholarly publishing? Perhaps you are an academic researcher, just like me. Perhaps, just like me, you think that there are a lot of exciting developments in scholarly publishing thanks to the Internet. And you want to support them. And you also want people to read your research. But you also still need to be sure that your publication venues are held in high regard.

Or maybe you just receive research funding that is subject to new open access requirements.

Ask me about OPEN ACCESS

Academia is a funny place. We are supposedly self-governing. So if we don’t like how our scholarly communications are organized we should be able to fix this ourselves. If we are dissatisfied with the journal system, we’re going to have to do something about it. The question of whether or not it is now time…

View original post 353 more words

We’re Walkin’ Here! – NYTimes.com

10/14/2014 Leave a comment

Chicago tries to imitate the Dutch by trusting their drivers

Next year, Chicago is to start a radical experiment in safety — a “shared street.” Argyle Street in the Uptown neighborhood will have no curb cuts and a speed limit of 15 miles per hour for everyone; cars, bikes and pedestrians will be expected to figure it out.

via We’re Walkin’ Here! – NYTimes.com.

Networked individualism: What in the world is that? | Networked

09/05/2014 Leave a comment

In 2001,  I co-authored a Ford-foundation project called “Networking the Networks” that looked at how pro-immigrant advocacy groups used the internet.  That was about the time that Barry Wellman was publishing his work on “networked individualism”.  What brings these two projects together in my mind is the question of whether one is talking about computer networks or human networks.  In our work, there was a clear sense that how networked you were depended on what you were trying to do–advocacy required greater connectivity, and hence a greater dependence on computer networks than did service networks.  At that time,  the networking that took place was clearly not all that driven by the computer systems (and cell phones) that were being used–it was clear who was the user and what was being used.

Wellman’s work was a provocation in that he was arguing that technology was redefining how society was being constituted.  It was not that new forms of social media were changing the direction of society, but that they were accelerating existing trends towards moves that were disconnecting people from their neighborhoods, families and traditions.  His essays, which were written before cell phones became such a dominant mode of communication, read very well in terms of what the subsequent decade has produced.

His most recent writing, a co-authored book with Lee Ranie entitled Networked:  The New Social Operating System,  tends to blur the human and computer components.  The use of a computer metaphor to describe society seems problematic in that it suggests a determinism that leaves me a bit unsettled.  As they write on the site dedicated to the book

We call networked individualism an “operating system” because it describes the ways in which people connect, communicate, and exchange information. Like most computer operating systems and all mobile systems, the social network operating system is:personal — the individual is at the autonomous center just as she is reaching out from her computer;for multiple users — people are interacting with numerous diverse others;for multithreaded multitasking — people are doing several things and they are doing them more or less simultaneously.

via Networked individualism: What in the world is that? | Networked.

My intellectual preference is to keep the two discourses separate and to look to the points of tension between the two. However, I do wonder if I went back and did the same study of pro-immigrant groups today whether I would see as dramatic a difference in the way that advocacy groups and service providers used the internet–or whether the increasing ease of using tech in other parts of actors’ lives had contributed to making everyone increasingly “networked”.

Falser Words Were Never Spoken – NYTimes.com The artifice of misquotation

12/16/2013 Leave a comment

This article reminds me of the old Simon and Garfunkel line “the words of the prophets are written on the subway wall, tenament halls…”.  But, that was an ode to authenticity, and the mis-quotes that are being disparaged here are ones that reduce the complexity (and the audacity) of the originals.  And they are then often verified by being quoted all over the internet.

Thoreau, Gandhi, Mandela — it’s easy to see why their words and ideas have been massaged into gauzy slogans. They were inspirational figures, dreamers of beautiful dreams. But what goes missing in the slogans is that they were also sober, steely men. Each of them knew that thoroughgoing change, whether personal or social, involves humility and sacrifice, and that the effort to change oneself or the world always exacts a price.

But ours is an era in which it’s believed that we can reinvent ourselves whenever we choose. So we recast the wisdom of the great thinkers in the shape of our illusions. Shorn of their complexities, their politics, their grasp of the sheer arduousness of change, they stand before us now. They are shiny from their makeovers, they are fabulous and gorgeous, and they want us to know that we can have it all.

via Falser Words Were Never Spoken – NYTimes.com.

The Documented Life – NYTimes.com (Shelly Turkle on Selfies and the like)

12/16/2013 Leave a comment

Shelly Turkle, who is one of the keenest observers of how tech affects our social lives, notes that

Until recently, it was the sharing that seemed most important. People didn’t seem to feel like themselves unless they shared a thought or feeling, even before it was clear in their mind. The new sensibility played on the Cartesian with a twist: “I share, therefore I am.”

These days, we still want to share, but now our first focus is to have, to possess, a photograph of our experience.

I interview people about their selfies. It’s how they keep track of their lives. Mr. Ansari offered a conversation, but people wanted documentation. We interrupt conversations for documentation all the time.

via The Documented Life – NYTimes.com.

Making Tools for Researchers

Applying Data Science at a Large Scale


nothing's more hypocritical than a thin-skinned journalist

Dart-Throwing Chimp

Thoughtful analysis or bloviation? Your call.