Table of Contents
- Tim O’Reilly’s Context for the Comment
- Craft: Stealing Off With a Scene
- Craft: Well, Can You Give It 15 Minutes?
- Conference Season Ahead
- Books: Reading on the Ether
- Last Gas: Fabled Flashes in Big Pans
Skinnier, narrower, fainter: 2012 is mercifully starting to blur and go wonky, breaking up into wavy lines and scooting colors. Daily it gets harder to care, even about all those Top 10 lists dumped on us in the past weeks.
— Don Linn (@DonLinn) December 21, 2012
@DonLinn I love it.
— ljndawson (@ljndawson) December 21, 2012
— Sheila Bounford (@SheilaB01) December 21, 2012
And now, even better, we’re declaring the Prediction Period to be closed.
You know this time of year in publishing. It’s as if the Holy See in Rome had issued Predictions for Publishing Urbi et Orbi — the cardinals are everywhere. ‘Tis the season when publishing people are seized, red-faced, with great spasms of prognostication nobody asked for. Everybody’s a psychic.
Stark reality of modern bookselling in UK -Bookshop numbers halved in seven years, http://t.co/VHQYNHiQ
— Jonny Geller (@JonnyGeller) December 27, 2012
Listen to Jonny Geller. UK bookshops have been halved in seven years. There’s our present tense and tension. More than enough without what-if-ing about the future that lies before us. Let’s try understanding what’s already happened first.
I must say, the O’Reilly “I don’t give a shit” line has been the perfect distraction from all the soothsaying.
It’s the diss heard ’round the Predict-o-Rama, one of our best leaders in the business, the visionary Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media, in a fine interview with Steven Levy for Wired — so many good things to say — and suddenly, boom, emphasis mine:
I don’t really give a shit if literary novels go away. They’re an elitist pursuit. And they’re relatively recent. The most popular author in the 1850s in the US wasn’t Herman Melville writing Moby-Dick, you know, or Nathaniel Hawthorne writing The House of the Seven Gables. It was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow writing long narrative poems that were meant to be read aloud. So the novel as we know it today is only a 200-year-old construct. And now we’re getting new forms of entertainment, new forms of popular culture.
Careful, you could be trampled by English teachers running screaming into the night.
Tim O’Reilly’s Key to Creating the Next Big Thing is a fine interview.
For example, on Apple, O’Reilly tells Levy:
They’re clearly on the wrong path. They file patent suits that claim that nobody else can make a device with multitouch. But they didn’t invent multitouch. They just pushed the ball forward and applied it to the phone. Now they want to say, “OK, we got value from someone else, but it stops now.” That attitude creates lockup in the industry. And I think Apple is going to lose its mojo precisely because they try to own too much.
Amazon is clearly trying to own the entire stack. They ate most of the retail part of the stack, and now they’re trying to eat the publisher part of the stack. On the other hand, Amazon is doing so many good things—their cloud-computing initiatives have been earthshaking, and I give Jeff Bezos great kudos for getting the publishing industry to move seriously toward ebooks. I am so impressed with them. I just wish they were a little less ruthless.
And about the Web, itself:
I had no idea it would be as big as it became. I still remember in 1993 my partner Dale Dougherty originally wanted to do Global Network Navigator as a quarterly online magazine. And I remember saying to him, “Dale, I think people will have the web browser open on the desk every day. We have to think about them accessing it every day.” I had no idea that it would be every minute.
Now, O’Reilly jumps onto Google+ to announce:
And to top it off, I’m wearing OATV portfolio company Betabrand’s “Executive Hoodie” in the photo
Pinstripes, no less. And this is the same Tim O’Reilly, remember, who in a personal bio on the O’Reilly.com site wrote:
I read a lot (I recently counted more than 5000 books in my house) — science-fiction, historical fiction, classics, and books about big ideas. I buy business books but rarely read past the first chapter. I read enough technical material at work that I try to avoid it at home. One of my favorite kinds of book to discover is the bestseller of a bygone era, the books that didn’t quite make it to classic status but still reached millions of people. They can often tell us more about the unique sensibility of an era than the timeless classics.
So what gives with his apparent denunciation of literary fiction?
Sure enough, O’Reilly addressed it in a private industry email exchange. He has given me permission to use what he wrote there about the comment. (Journalists who follow this list agree to request permission of list members to use their comments in public settings.) One reason I’m glad O’Reilly spoke to the remark is that, in doing so, he pointed to a strong Charlie Rose Show, a conversation aired in November. O’Reilly wrote:
If anyone saw the session I did on Charlie Rose, you will have some context for this remark (which was part of a larger discussion, excerpted for maximum impact, as I should have expected…). Ken Auletta and Jonathan Safran were hand-wringing to the tune of “who will pay for the kind of things we do if the big publishers go away.” Jane Friedman and I were responding: “If people want what you do, you’ll find a way to get paid. But no one owes you continuation of the current players and business model.” And I was pointing out that popular art forms come and go – classical music was once pop (Franz Liszt elicited reactions akin to those to the Beatles), and that the literary forms of today might one day be less important.
Here is the Rose show in question, and if you have 33 minutes, it’s a good one to watch. It’s no secret I’m a fan of Rose’s work, and O’Reilly here is part of the kind of show that demonstrates why.
The conversation unfolds on levels that are excellent for laypeople outside publishing to hear but fully viable for us bookish folks who follow the predictions and pratfalls of the digital dynamic with excruciating, incremental care.
(For all of us who hate our colleagues’ endless social-media entreaties to “Buy my book!” there’s a nice moment in the show’s setup at 4:36 with Yale’s David Kastan, in which we read the producers of the 1623 Shakespeare folio insisting that the reader purchase it: “What ever you do, buy.”)
In the wide-ranging discussion on the show, O’Reilly says to Rose and the other guests at 28:28 in the tape:
There’s this cultural significance of the quote-unquote “literary author.” It really matters to a relatively small number of people. It’s an elitist thing. There’s popular fiction, there is serious nonfiction which is in the same category as serious reporting of all kinds.
What I mean is the notion by some group that their favorite activity is so important that it needs to be protected.
What if it were defined differently, as a group that says, ‘This is part of…preserving the culture?'”
Take classical music. What we call classical music today used to be popular music. Franz Lizst was like the Beatles. And now classical music is in this ghetto of this very small number of people who are playing for each other and saying, ‘We should be subsidized because we’re this important cultural phenomenon.” And the fact is that the music that will be remembered from our era and will be the, quote, “classical music,” is the popular music of today….Look at classic authors. Dickens. Literally there were riots when the new edition of a book came out, people trying to get it in faraway places, (when) the new fascicle came out from Bleak House.
One of the things they do ["they" being PBS and NPR] is basically subsidize, in part, the culture with some government support.
The amount of government support for PBS is relatively small. A huge part of the support comes from people who care about it. It’s not actually a subsidized activity so much as it’s subject to market forces and there’s a set of people who say, “I want that, I like it, I want to pay for it.” And you see this with new technology platforms like Kickstarter where people are saying, “Hey, would you like this? Would you pay for this?” It’s this incredible new direct mechanism for authors and other creators to say, “Would you care about what I want to produce?”
Friedman picks up the conversation and goes back to the use of the term “elitist.” She says to Auletta:
Ken, I think the elitist element was that books were selected, and it was the editor who selected it, and then it was put into certain bookstores, and the independent bookstore, which I am a fan of, was a little intimidating for people who didn’t know how to find the book that they wanted. Then the superstores tried to make that better…True literature and fine nonfiction have always been thought of as a very small universe. And what e- has done now — and [to O'Reilly] I’m so glad you mentioned Kickstarter, which I think is brilliant, because why shouldn’t people pay for a book that they want to be written? It’s a theory that anyone who’s grown up in publishing thinks is absolutely cuckoo, but it’s not. Because you’re now having the consumer say, “That’s a very good idea, and if a publisher won’t give you that $10,000 advance, we will put up $100 and reach that $10,000.”
Auletta points out, “You can have both.”
Friedman agrees with him, saying that yes, we’ll have both:
There will be for the foreseeable future be printed books. But I think that the move to electronic distribution of information and education and entertainment is going to come from the e-space.
Auletta ties it by saying, “You’re always going to have an economic issue. And the economic issue is how do you support things that are important?”
This, unfortunately, is where the edit of the show had to end the conversation.
Auletta is voicing a genuinely valid point that serious observers of culture do worry about — and that doesn’t mean they can’t agree with O’Reilly, as well. I’m comfortable with the perspectives both men raise here, and neither should be dismissed.
The idea of what Friedman terms “true literature and fine nonfiction” having to fight for itself in a market-driven setting is not necessarily wrong.
Wondering how folks feel about blogs "re-purposing" your Twitter posts w/o your okay? Who's zooming whom?
— Peter Turner (@PeterTurner) December 27, 2012
Many times in my work in theater criticism, for example, I’ve wished that the U.S. “legitimate stage” had been required to survive from the outset on box office sales rather than staggering along on a nonprofit model combining ticket sales and often heavy contributions and subsidies of various sorts. If this had happened, the most important theater might have found its commercial legs, of necessity, instead of suffering for so many decades as “the fabulous invalid” of American entertainment.
While I’ve never come to a point of saying I “don’t give a shit if serious theatrical production goes away,” to paraphrase O’Reilly, I do understand how he comes to a thought like this about literary work.
In his remarks on the email exchange about the Wired interview, in fact, O’Reilly adds:
I do regret the turn of phrase that Steven captured in the Wired interview. Especially since I do love literary novels and other forms of “high culture.” But I do get irked by the sense of entitlement of some of the practitioners.
And maybe this is one reason I’m put out with the Parade of Publishing Predictors each year at this time. You can hear in so many of these folks that same air of entitlement in how they weigh in, unbidden, to announce to us “My Big Predictions for Publishing in 2013,” etc. This looks like the attitude O’Reilly is getting at, the smug pomposity of fading control, old gatekeepers and their busy defenders showing off what they think is their still-expert analysis of what’s ahead.
Yesterday was so cool! It was like a whole day where no one talked about emerging trends in publishing.
— Dan Krokos (@DanKrokos) December 26, 2012
Although each day may seem about three weeks long to us in the business, the undermining of the kingmakers has occurred quickly. These prophets are crying in a wilderness none of us can read in advance.
And what we can take away from O’Reilly’s excerpted comment may actually be the best de-facto prediction of all. Maybe it’s the only one worth carrying with us as we make our fateful crossing into a new, looming year: The kinds of literature we may have deemed most valuable so far? –finally must be made to stand up on their own in the marketplace.
We can’t shove aside the old guard but still beg for their tweedy fiats when we need a meaningful book positioned for the public.
Seriously, somebody needs to analyse all the things John Lewis is doing as a model for retail.Surely a few good ideas to steal, I mean adapt
— Sam Missingham (@samatlounge) December 27, 2012
A profound work of literary fiction today could lose its readers to a Christmas present of soft pornography, a three-book set originally concocted as vampire fan fiction.
Sacred cows may find scant footing on the slippery slopes of 2013.
So write your stuff well: the new year will arrive quickly enough.
— Virginia Postrel (@vpostrel) December 22, 2012
The story as a whole and every scene within it begins with a goal. Your character wants something—something he will have difficulty accomplishing. What he wants frames the plot on both the macro and micro levels. What he wants defines him as a person, and, by extension, the theme of the book as a whole.
K.M. Weiland is in the third installment in her ongoing series of posts on the scene as a unit of specific attention in fiction writing.
Call me an old actor, but I’m frequently surprised how little some very strong writers seem to know about how to button a scene so it holds its own in a cadence; how to float a scene like a dandelion’s fur right over the fray in your plot below; how to pace a book with scenes that fall around a reader like mortar shells; or lull a reader into a false sense of mystery-solving with legato, flattering scene-spiel.
The most important factor to keep in mind as you identify each scene goal is its pertinence to the plot. Subplots may provide opportunities for goals that aren’t directly related to your primary goal of marrying the neighbor girl, but they, too, must eventually tie into the overall plot in an impactful or thematically resonant way.
That’s from Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 3: Options for Goals in a Scene. And I believe the inciting incident in this example was the girl next door caught chewing up the main character’s petunias. Or maybe that was her dog.
What makes Weiland’s grasp of this problem so cunning is that she knows, as she writes, that “scene goals will manifest in wildly different ways.” I think this can be a reason some writers don’t work easily with scene-by-scene schematics as opposed to more traditional chapter outlining.
Scenography normally refers to stage-set painting that creates the illusion of perspective. In literature, it can mean getting some higher-view perspective on your overall work through the strokes and lines of your scenography.
That thing when you unsubscribe to an email sender at least three times and you still receive emails from them.
— Brett Sandusky (@bsandusky) December 26, 2012
Weiland manages to catalog five formulations of a character’s desire and five methods of working within scenes on those formulations.
As usual, she then turns to concrete examples from books and films, a group she has used in serial lessons before. Here are scene notes from Pride and Prejudice; It’s a Wonderful Life; Ender’s Game; and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.
And she comes through with five good questions to ask yourself about a given scene’s goals:
- Does the goal make sense within the overall plot?
- Is the goal inherent to the overall plot?
- Will the goal’s complication/resolution lead to a new goal/conflict/disaster?
- If the goal is mental or emotional (e.g., be happy today), does it have a physical manifestation (e.g, smile at everyone)?
- Does the success or failure of the goal directly affect the scene narrator?
There’s a key reason she’s asking that fifth question, in particular, I’ll let you get to that, yourself, in going over this third installment in her series.
If the accomplishment or thwarting of any given scene goal won’t affect the overall outcome of the story, it’s probably not pertinent enough.
This is the kind of test-able advice that can be so helpful in revisions of a major work because it orchestrates your vision of the work in wide theme and close-up granularity.
Once you have a proper goal in place, the rest of your scene will likely flow easily and organically.
Oh lawwwwd LeBron
— Chris Joseph (@byChrisJoseph) December 27, 2012
Let’s say you have a novel to write, but you’ve been finding it impossible to free up a big chunk of writing time. The solution: Stop waiting for a big chunk of time. Instead, commit yourself to writing that novel in bite-sized chunks of 15 minutes a day. Make a commitment to “Grab 15″ minutes of writing time every day.
The exclamation point is all his. And so is a very eclectic oeuvre on Amazon that includes the just-published Invasion of the Time Troopers and How To Be Like Jesus: Lessons for Following in His Footsteps, written with Pat Williams.
Those 15-minute snippets of time add up. If you Grab 15 every day, you will magically add at least 91.25 hours to your year. That’s the equivalent of more than two 40-hour work weeks that have been added to your life with hardly an ounce of inconvenience.
Of course, the real secret is found in his third point about how his “Grab 15″ approach should work:
Once you get started on a Grab 15 session, it’s hard to stop at 15 minutes. When you’re on a roll, you want to keep going—and that bonus writing time will move you even faster toward your goals.
But don’t tell that to your ADD self who can’t think about one thing for more than a quarter of an hour. This really is what it has come to. Fifteen minutes. Not of fame, but of effort.
And we laughed at Tim Ferriss’ four-hour stuff.
I don't want to point fingers, but wombats came up A LOT yesterday.
— Ginger Clark (@Ginger_Clark) December 26, 2012
If you have a publishing conference event coming, please notify me through the contact page at porteranderson.com, and I’ll be happy to consider listing it.
Registration continues for Digital Book World (#DBW13) (January 15-17) — and the associated Children’s Publishing Goes Digital (January 15) and Authors Launch (January 18, see below). Substantial savings are available, and you’re welcome to use my affiliate link to trigger them as you register. You can also use code PORTER at registration.
Newly announced, Teddy Goff, the Obama for America re-election digital director, is to speak at the conference, first in a keynote address, “What Publishers Can Learn from Obama’s 2012 Campaign,” then in a session, “Digital Marketing and the Obama Campaign.”
Also at Digital Book World, the Publishing Innovation Awards Luncheon, January 16. The awards are sponsored by Sony and AllZone Digital, and they honor the most innovative ebooks, enhanced ebooks, and book apps in 14 categories. Registration here.
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A 25-percent discount is available on registration — use code AL375 — for the all-new January 18 Authors Launch one-day conference.
It’s being produced by the Publishers Launch team of Mike Shatzkin and Michael Cader.
This is the daylong series of specialized presentations from a roster including Peter McCarthy, Dan Blank, MJ Rose, Randy Susan Meyers, Jason Ashlock, Meryl Moss, Ether host Jane Friedman, David Wilk and more.
My own session at Authors Launch is In the Public Eye: Media training for authors.
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The 14th Annual Winter Conference of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators is set for February 1-3 in New York.
“This year’s conference features two jam-packed days of inspiration and the latest on what’s happening in the field of children’s literature from top editors, agents, art directors, authors, and illustrators. Make sure you look at the detailed description of each workshop on the Schedule before you select your breakouts.”
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You’re welcome to use my code AFFILIATEPA for a discount of $350 on your registration.
Among other featured presenters:
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O’Reilly Media’s Tools of Change (#TOCcon) Conference (February 12-14) in New York City.
Use my code AFFILIATEPA for an immediate discount of $350 on any registration package.
#TOCcon 2013 includes a major brace of workshops for industry professionals during Author (R)evolution Day (your pass must include Tuesday), plus two days of keynotes, events and multi-tracked offerings running up to five sessions simultaneously.
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For an updated list of planned confabs, please see the Publishing Conferences page at porteranderson.com.
Re: bogus book reviews… Maybe Amazon could start by only allowing posts from customers who actually *bought* the book from them. #TOCcon
— Joe Wikert (@jwikert) December 23, 2012
I’m bringing them together in one spot each week, to help you recall and locate them, not as an endorsement. And, needless to say, we lead our list weekly with our Writing on the Ether Sponsors, in gratitude for their support.
Writing on the Ether Sponsors
I was raised by a working mother and stay-at-home grandmother, the latter having been the high priestess of a metaphysical church during the spiritualism of the 1930s. I thought I’d heard it all and there wasn’t anything new to be added to the occult. Wrong. The imagination of Roz Morris has taken spiritualism into new territory. Even my grandmother would have been mesmerized.
The main themes that came across to me in this book were threefold: how much a life can be impacted by devotion to a single pastime or occupation; the draw of mysticism and the subtle line between belief and cynicism; and the trust that we place in others through relationships…Morris presents the whole like a crossroads where each and any direction can make sense. My Memories of a Future Life is a wondrous book.
And from Jon P. Bloch, The Kindle Book Review:
I suppose on some level it must be said that her story deals with reincarnation–both past and future lives–and for that matter begins in a yoga studio. But if you’re not into this type of thing, don’t let it scare you away. Because what Morris is really writing about is the difficult challenge of life itself. You do not have to believe in reincarnation to enjoy or be enriched by this book…The point is not whether reincarnation happens, but that life happens.
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- The Indie Author Revolution: An Insider’s Guide to Self-Publishing by Dara Beevas
- Grow Your Audience: The Author Platform Starter Kit by Dan Blank
- The Stars Fell Sideways by Cassandra Marshall
- Handmade Memories: Poems and Essays, 1997-2011 by Guy LeCharles Gonzalez
- Seasons in Love by Dave Malone
- My Call to the Ring: A Memoir of a Girl Who Yearns to Box by Deirdre Gogarty with Darrelyn Saloom (Glasnevin)
- My Memories of a Future Life by Roz Morris (Red Season)
- Prophecy, An ARKANE Thriller by J.F. Penn (The Creative Penn)
- The Prodigal Hour by Will Entrekin (Exciting Press)
- Perfect Skin by Nick Earls (Exciting Press)
- Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity & Writing by L.L. Barkat (T.S. Poetry Press)
- APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur by Guy Kawasaki andShawn Welch
- Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
- Come to the Edge by Christina Haag
- Dreaming of a Noir Christmas, an anthology from The Rogue Reader
- Dreamlander by K.M. Weiland
- Drinking Diaries: Women Serve Their Stories Straight Up by Caren Osten Gerszberg & Leah Odze Epstein
- Duty, Honor, Country, a Novel of West Point to the Civil War by Bob Mayer
- Knot What It Seams by Elizabeth Craig
- The Last Will of Moira Leahy by Therese Walsh
- Merchants of Culture by John Thompson
- Nail Your Novel by Roz Morris
- The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
- Pentecost by J.F. Penn
- Quit Your Day Job by Jim Denney
- The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen
- Sell Your Book Like Wildfire by Rob Eagar
- Sistine by Michael Hogan
- Wool by Hugh Howey
Moral of tortoise and hare is not "slow and steady wins the race" it is "fast and cocky loses the race." Hare could have won if not a jerk
— Nick Ruffilo (@NickRuffilo) December 21, 2012
The project took six months for John Branch to report. The credits (like I said, it’s more like a textual documentary than a news story) include a graphics and design team of 11, a photographer, three video people, and a researcher. As Andrew Kueneman, deputy director of digital design at the Times, told the Atlantic Wire‘s Rebecca Greenfield, “This story was not produced in our normal CMS … We don’t have the luxury of doing this type of design typically on the web. Now we just have more options and more tools.”
No one wants to take anything away from The Times for its masterful interactive piece, Snow Fall, including me. As The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson writes, it’s a “miraculous mega-multi-media feature…a triumph of reporting, design, and creativity.”
In journalistic terms, it’s pretty much that rocket pack we’re all supposed to be flying around with these days, right? And just as rare. Thompson:
It was immediately hailed by much of the Internet as the “future of journalism.” It’s not. And that’s okay.
I like the way Thompson takes that dumb praise (“the future of journalism”) apart here precisely because he does it without stealing one snowflake of glory from the Times team that make the snow fall.
There is no feasible way to make six-month sixteen-person multimedia projects the day-to-day future of journalism, nor is there a need to. Think about this morning. The top national news story is John Boehner’s failure to corral votes in the House for a plan to avoid the fiscal cliff…why waste the time?…To borrow a construction from venture capital: Text isn’t broken.
At GigaOM, Mathew Ingram was picking up on the same icy shudder that Thompson felt, in The good — and the bad — about the NYT’s Snow Fall feature:
The authors of the recent Columbia University report on the future of journalism made a similar point: namely, that the New York Times has done a number of things (including a paywall) that don’t really have any bearing on the woes of the rest of the industry, because it has resources (and a brand) that others can’t match.
And he raises the ante:
Snow Fall is also a great microcosm of the issues confronting the journalism business for another reason: it probably cost a substantial amount of money to produce, and yet there is no clear path towards recouping that investment. The series is being made available as an e-book through a partnership with Byliner, and some will undoubtedly buy it even though they could read it for free online, but $2.99 per copy isn’t going to go very far. And what about advertising? At first the web version had none, but now it does, and it is terrible — ugly, not very useful, poorly integrated.
Mes 13 prédictions pour 2013, par Frédéric CAVAZZA http://t.co/nJILxkea
— Jose Afonso Furtado (@jafurtado) December 28, 2012
If all this reminds you of something, maybe it’s another part of the digital forest in which we’ve seen the same trend play out. Remember Amanda Hocking fever? When every girl was going to sell a million vampire romances?
And most recently, our hats are off to Hugh Howey, whose Wool ebook series is being produced in print by Simon and Schuster — not only a coup for Howey, but an interesting case in which a major publisher decided it needed to forgo its usual grab for digital rights and take what it could get.
So shall we all rush out and rev up our ebook series, then face down the ivory towers when they want more than print rights? Not likely.
Do you think they'd let me score just ONE episode of Downton Abbey, or not even a whole episode, like just a SCENE.
— Nico Muhly (@nicomuhly) December 28, 2012
— Corey Dargel (@dargel) December 28, 2012
@dargel Yeah it's all kind of "THE PIANO" redux
— Nico Muhly (@nicomuhly) December 28, 2012
The digital dynamic seems to lit by gaudy flashes of lovely light that’s never for everyone. Its main engines — access to potential audience, ability to create product oneself, global distribution for the diligent — are open to all and hailed as democratizing. But both in the corporate side of things and in the authorial/creative camp, we see what’s being described here so well by Thompson and Ingram.
Not even one-shot wonders, no need to be quite so bleak. But certainly rare spark-throwers. Hens’ teeth after the snow slide.
Maybe the light thrown off by these hope-burning flares teaches us valuable things, if nothing else, about what we can’t expect all quarters to achieve. But they also mislead the gullible, confuse the their celebrants, and make moving forward as a community even harder, in an odd way. A hare buzzes through and leaves the tortoises in a traffic jam.
And lest you think it’s just the faithful turtles who get turned around while searching for a more generous promised land, even the sleekest bunnies get messed up. Check out Mac Slocum’s writeup at O’Reilly’s Tools of Change about the Times’ effort to have Quartz take down its complimentary imagery about Snow Fall:
Quartz posted a static screenshot of an interactive and it linked to the interactive and praised the interactive. Quartz was actively encouraging people to go check out the full thing on the New York Times’ website. The offending Quartz article is titled “Our favorite charts of 2012.” …And yet, the Times wanted Quartz to take the whole thing down.
Well, to make that longer story shorter, the Times backed down. Figleaf: We just wanted better attribution. Side issue of interest: Look how easy it is for a smaller medium to embarrass a big one in the world of digital immediacy.
Slocum’s piece on it is rightly headlined A screenshot, a link, and a heap of praise are met with a takedown notice.
Even the winner in the Snow took a Fall when that digital sizzle came fizzing its way.
Yes, the NYT avalanche thing is nice.. But they overstepped by texting it to me like breaking news
— Jeff Roberts (@jeffjohnroberts) December 20, 2012
A happy interpretation of what flashes in the digital pan mean might suggest that eventually we see more and more such flashes, bigger and bigger and brighter and brighter and Kumbaya, my Lord, Kumbaya…nah.
I don’t think we know enough about the publishing world as a digital sphere yet to do that warm-and-fuzzy dance at this point. We just don’t know enough yet. No matter what the predictors among us want you to think they’ve figured out.
All of the examples in that post are entirely hypothetical and any resemblance to existing tech, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
— Baldur Bjarnason (@fakebaldur) December 21, 2012
If I were a predicting man…never mind. Let’s give it to Thompson.
Give “Snow Fall” the respect it deserves. It doesn’t need to bear the augury of “journalism of the future.” It’s just a rare and sensational gift for readers in the present. That’s quite enough.
And I’ll see you on the other side, in 2013. Mind the gap.
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You have never been truly drunk until you've had to use a barstool as a walker to get home.
— Dean Anthony Gratton (@grattonboy) December 23, 2012
I'm looking forward to 2013, mostly, so I don't have to read any more highlights of 2012.
— Jonny Geller (@JonnyGeller) December 29, 2012
Main image / iStockphoto: Bim