Category Archives: Web Design

Gawker’s Kinja

Nick Bilton of the New York Times provides an informative summary and update on Gawker’s Kinja, a platform that intends to change the way comments work on web sites.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Snapchat And An Alternative to The Profile

Nathan Jurgenson, a sociologist and one of the most compelling thinkers on social media is also a researcher for Snapchat. In his latest post on the company’s blog, Jurgenson sketches out what Snapchat might become: an alternative to the identity straight jacket of the Facebook profile and permanent social media. As far as Facebook and Google are concerned, profiles are supposed to represent our “true selves,” the totality of our personality. The two force us to use our real names and everything we do and say on their networks is attributed to our identities as if we each have only one persona. It’s no surprise that this view of permanent identity is incredibly self-serving for Facebook and Google’s business. Since most of their revenue comes from advertising, it makes sense that the two would want all the info we type into their networks to be consistent with a Profile. Profiles are the way advertisers view humans. Single, female, in her 20s, likes denim and science fiction ebooks, travels often to South America. But we know from being alive, and from knowing other people intimately, that a person’s identity could never fully fit into rigid categories. As Jurgenson reminds us, our lives are full of revision, playfulness, ambiguity, contradiction, strangeness and discovery. Profiles and permanent social media stifle the ability to create ourselves. What if, instead, things could be different, perhaps temporary?

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Pay Attention During Company Training!

Venessa Wong reports at Businessweek:

Online training technology company Mindflash on Tuesday announced a new feature called FocusAssist for iPad that uses the tablet’s camera to track a user’s eye movements. When it senses that you’ve been looking away for more than a few seconds (because you were sending e-mails, or just fell asleep), it pauses the course, forcing you to pay attention—or at least look like you are—in order to complete it.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

The Silent Sound

In an opinion piece at WIRED, Clive Thompson discusses the distinct lack of sound in networked technology.

Arguably, we haven’t seen a lot of innovation in audio online. Video, photography, and the written word have been transformed: Oodles of clever tools let us use them for thinking, talking, analyzing, and cogitating. But this hasn’t happened with sound. Sure, we’ve got endless apps for collecting and listening to music, but nothing for the enormous universe of nonmusical sound.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Epistemology Of Lists

Adam Rothstein has a beautiful exploration of lists, stemming from his childhood love with library card catalogs.

The random idiosyncrasy that such an expansive list allows may have no more critical depth than scanning newspaper headlines, looking for secret messages. But this sort of list is precisely like the written content of the internet. The internet is a series of lists, connected by cross-referenced hyperlinks. Whether one is taking a stroll through Wikipedia, or reading the most compelling links from one’s social media timeline, one is browsing a series of lists. Particular line items expand into full essays, and long reads collapse back into tweets. From the most thoughtful syllabus to the most obnoxious listicle to the strangest permutations of weird twitter, we are browsing a vast meta-card catalog—a veritable list of lists. The nodes of the network jump into line, and we follow it until the tracks fade to scratch marks, which fade to natural erosion, dust swept by the twisting path of the wind. And then we pick up another trail, or we create one ourselves.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Slow Media

Hamish McKenzie has a thoughtful piece at PandoDaily on the latent demand for “slow media.” By this he means digital books, long form reporting, and careful analysis, as opposed to the unceasing onslaught of crappy blog posts and zillions of shoddy articles that sites churn out to keep their “content” “fresh.”

Rather than lament the decline of literary culture, McKenzie frames the issue in terms of media economics. It’s not that people dislike reading top caliber, longer writing, it’s that no business model yet exists to fund such publishing endeavors. McKenzie discusses start ups that are attempting to create such a business model and explains how an assortment of existing strategies–affiliate links, sponsored content, pay walls, special events and memberships–are grasping for long term success.

Slow Media, on the other hand, has opportunities beyond display ads. It favors deep engagement rather than brief contact with ad meat. It trades on relationships with the audience rather than fleeting touches. It builds affinity rather than habits. So far, we have seen media owners struggle to monetize those differences, and so many instead rely on the mechanics of the now to generate mass as quickly as possible, even as the ad units upon which such an approach is predicated produce diminishing returns. In these early decades of the Internet, the economic disincentives for longform reporting or analysis have been too great. What may emerge, however, are new ways to unlock the power behind that deep engagement and loyalty.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Twitter’s New Platform

Last year I posted about Twitter’s development from a sparse messaging service to a mixed media circus. John Herrman of BuzzFeed picks up on the company’s evolution (tweet attachments, video, product links) and notes the great shift Twitter has taken:

“The tweet, in other words, is Twitter’s new platform. The old platform was about getting people to use Twitter. The new one is about making money from them.”

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mother’s Day And Actual Vintage Photos

Interesting stuff on Facebook today. Serious nostalgia for our moms when they were younger.

Does anyone else find it interesting that REAL vintage photos of moms are cropping up today? As opposed to faux-vintage of the Instagram variety. What do faux-vintage filters attempt to accomplish/convey?

Nathan Jurgenson says they manufacture nostalgia. They are attempts to reproduce “classic,” memorable moments. A yearning for something important.

What do you think?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Making Comments Smarter: The Verge And The Huffington Post

PandoDaily

PandoDaily

Internet forums and comment sections are the netherworld of the Web. Thankfully, many media companies are revamping the way they do comments. Writing at PandoDaily, Hamish McKenzie outlines the shortcomings of online discussion and presents the commenting innovations of The Verge, The Huffington Post and others.

Two advancements that McKenzie explains are notable.

1) Curated forums that serve as miniature communities for readers and the author. This is currently being implemented at all of Gawker’s sites (Gawker, Jezebel, Gizmodo) as well as ReadWrite and The Verge.

2) Up-voting and internal organization of comments. Similar to Reddit and Quora, The Huffington Post is deploying a platform enabling favorable comments to rise to the top, achieving prominence. This helps readers sort through the hundreds of crap comments and draws their attention to what the crowd or the gods have deemed important.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements