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Archive for February, 2009

It was inevitable really: I am now on Twitter. As an ID “AboutThisLater” is just the most salient expressions of frustration at twitter’s systemic brevity, to which I have yet to adapt my mode of thinking. But it just about sums things up: the Twitter feed is part of my balooning interest in the way people talk and how they will remember it.

Credit goes to @castophrenia, and to Gonzo wine vlogger @garyvee for his unshakeable, old-school swagger in comparing modern Social Media professionals who are developing the instinct for personal branding with mid-eighties breakout rap and hip-hop acts like the Beasties.

In his honour, and in celebration of getting yesterday’s raise paid in I went round Daimyo and bought coats, and also finally got around to picking up some Japanese maltbase blend whiskey. About to livetweet the tasting, hopefully with a minimum of pretension.

My first ever tweet, for posterity’s sake:

Man knows so little of his fellows.In his eyes all men act upon what he believes would motivate him if he were mad enough to do what they do.      –Faulkner, from Light in August.

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Also, in honour of the British Press’s current hysteria over social networking robbing young people of personal contact, I reproduce a pitch/short fiction I wrote a while ago. Essentially it’s part of my budding argument that on top of brute-force codebreaking, ARGs which want to remain relevant or just do something new should start crafting experiences based around roleplaying, communication.

It won’t appeal to everyone, just as code puzzle-solving won’t. But the guy who has to write an email and sound like an insider, or take a phone call and convince as a member of an anarchist terror cell in order to avert a tragedy… that’s a Unique Experience theat money will never buy. It really doesn’t matter how competent a role-player they are, just that it’s a nerve-wracking experience.

Thus:

Re: one last favour.

Player 1 watches the man in the ball cap. No-one else has approached
him in the five minutes the player has spent skirting the scene,
eyeing the crowds. There’s still more than twenty minutes on the
clock. The man in the ball cap glances frequently at his watch, but he
doesn’t fidget, stares flatly at the tour groups taking pictures
about him. A pro.
All the same, his stillness would mark him out amongst the tourists
even if the description in the email hadn’t been so specific. Dark
clothes and hat even in the heavy sunshine. Bulky backpack. Alone at
Boudiccea’s southwest corner, Thursday, from noon to half past. The
last contingency plan.
Player one will approach, purposefully from the front, hands free at
his sides, heart pounding. Unthreatening. Nothing sudden. The contact
will acknowledge him, will wordlessly offer him a cigarette from a
packet. The player will refuse, speaking only the keywords. Again, the
email is very specific.
“It’s a little early, don’t you think?”
Ball cap stares stonily at him for lengthening seconds. The player’s
palms sting, his lips darken, his face calm. Ball cap speaks.
“You’re certain?”
This part wasn’t in the email. The player jerks a nod, snatches at a
phrase remembered from the last week.
“Uh huh. You’re compromised at every level.”
Ball cap‘s eyes widen.
“It’s all off. You’d better go to ground. It’s all gone helter-skelter
out there.” Another alien phrase, like something overheard in another
language.
Ball cap nods decisively, glances almost wistfully around at the
square, the choiring of families, the percussions of children losing
themselves. Finally he sticks out a hand. The player takes it, toes
prickling with relief, when ball cap pulls him in for a sudden
embrace, wooden and jarring.
“I’ve been in deep for years,” he says fiercely into the player’s ear.

“It’s been so long since I’ve seen an initiate. Someone who can be trusted, who knows.” The player clamps his teeth, fighting down the urge to stiffen, suppressing repulsion. Ball cap releases, visibly embarrassed.

“Wish it was under better circumstances. It’s just… nice to know there are true believers out there after all.” He finishes in a rush. The player nods, lips tight. The contact adjusts his bag.

“You’d better split. I’ll give it a few to divide pursuit, then disappear. Again.”. He fixes the player.

“Make sure you’re not followed.”

The player nods stiffly a last time, turns and marches away, claves bounding with tension. He hears ball cap shout after him, “good luck!”. He ignores it. It’s time to get back to the office. There are still other bombs around the city, but nothing to be done. Not his responsibility. He has stopped all that could be stopped. The job is over.

Tomorrow the fact that there will be no news in London will be his
nod. His silent heroism, unrecorded and unavowed. Non-event will have
become event. The alternate reality will last for as long as the
player does, long after the game is over. And for the next few days,
without willing it, he will find himself glancing over his shoulder.

Player 2 has been watching the strange exchange. Another contact,
maybe? As the new face walks away, the man in the ball cap takes out
his phone and types a text. That’s the signal. Player 2 takes a deep
breath, adjusts his bag.
Going to an unknown number somewhere in the city, the text is just one
digit long.
‘1’
Send.

All credit to @castophrenia, my love.

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—————————————————

Transcribing my interview with stony, mottled Union leader Chris for the Community Action feature I’m working on. He reminded me powerfully of my friend Pat. I miss him.

“… you know the JET program?”

“Yeah. they make quite a lot of money.”

“well, quite a lot…”

“Well, they make more money than me!”

“Oh, I know. I’ve known everyone who’s worked for this magazine. You’re worked hard and not given all that much, right?”

“Well, I’m reasonably happy. I’ve just had a raise… Maybe I’m just misinformed… but I’m happy.”

“Well that’s the important thing.”

JETs make about 30 man/month (1 man=10,000 Yen. =around £50 when I left Britain in Sept ’08. God knows now). Non-JET ALTS make around 22 man. With my raise I now make 9.2 man. It’s an arbeito, a part-time job. But then I am still up working, and it’s just gone midnight. But then, I don’t have to pay rent. And I am happy.

are we nearly retro yet?

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PS My wage doubled today, retroactive for this month, and I got to talk about the internet for an hour. Score.

nobody scores facelessbook beer celebration

we’ll talk about this later

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Ad Hock

Had an interview with a London Social Media firm, think it went okay. I decided to come clean about not using RSS much, in part because of habit/usability, in part because my current machine is an increasingly fragile, benzine-smelling, juice-stained paving slab-in-waiting. I probably should have talked a little less, and probably should have been a little less concerned with IP rights. Ah well.

Reading around for it took me to some interesting places; returning to Rageboy for the first time in months led me to Twitter critiquer the certifiable Marcus Brown:

(Blacked out in deference to Stephen Fry: the normal format is Brown talking to camera while sitting on the toilet in his tiny Munich bathroom.)

One of the most interesting things about the process of making a Twitter feed for the publication I work for is that I have to document and codify the grammar, conventions, courtesies and allusions of Twitter. Brown may sound mad as a stoat but his manic-laconic approach is enlightening and wonderfully well read. “I beg you. I plead. Follow him.”

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I’ve had the recent Kanye West singles on YouTube loop, thinking about how his singles and Flight of the Conchords got me through my final exams. It got me to thinking about the sort of role model Kanye so well represents: Sensitive and unabashedly talented; relishing his position in an economy where women benefit briefly and peripherally from his attention; yet like Jay-Z overridingly obsessed with his fulfilment of the Provider role. Tribal; caught schizotically between bandit chief and aging chieftan.

I don’t see why I need a stylist

When I shop so much I can speak Italian

What kind of person does he sell to?

Me, apparently. Sometimes his schtick is too much, sometimes his indulgences are truly charming, like the glossy but hardly focus-grouped video for Champion.

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Also, started writing notes for a project, currently called Hock, for a simple lock-screensaver which allows limited access for self-naming users to cue up elements like songs, videos or photo albums selected with a limited browser; an integrated MC program essentially, designed for passive-display participatory entertainment at parties/events of all size. Skin your party, and allow users to show off their stuff and post publicly. Needs to be written as a pitch.

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Also, this:

Now there’s a sex symbol for you. Compare Blogosphere and Radio 4 sex symbol Gail Trimble, the one-woman “intellectual blitzkrieg” who brought in more than two thirds of the total points for Corpus Christi, Oxford’s victorious University Challenge team in the final last night:

gail-trimble-with-two-of-001

Trimble, who has already turned down an offer to appear in a “tasteful shoot for NUTS magazine“, rightly observes that people wouldn’t make so much fuss about her appearance if she was male. All the same, my Starter for Ten.

Concomitant to my post about Professionals having to step carefully when engaging with non-pros using Social Networking (Or in fact any brand for whom ‘we’re creepy so you don’t have to be’ isn’t a core motive).

“Would you believe it, my brother received a Facebook message from Nuts yesterday morning saying ‘can we have your sister’s email address, we want her to do a tasteful shoot’,” the 26-year-old told BBC Breakfast.

“So of course he sent them an answer saying: ‘Seriously mate, would you give your sister’s contact details to Nuts?'”          -Guardian

how could you be so Doctor Evil

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chroniclogo21From Paul Isakson. Found this at the top of Google returns for “future marketing”. It’s almost exactly a year old. Maybe I’m lazy for clicking on the first return; maybe I’m going undercover as a consumer. Who can tell? It advises against social networking marketing by “trying to be everyone’s friend”. It advocates an approach where the consumer doesn’t distinguish the marketing experience from the product experience. It quotes .. on the belief that brand and product have converged, and it advises all those who don’t have an interesting product in the first place to abandon hope.

Now, fairly shallow searching hasn’t yet yielded any particularly strong refutations of this argument, nor much that goes further on a theoretical basis. Paul Isakson had a post just the other day which asserted much the same thing:

“How should we leverage social media?”

paul isakson future marketing

Makes me think people haven’t been listening to him for nearly a year, or more.

The mutual backrub approach to marketing: if you give people something cool, they’ll talk about it. Reading about it made me think back to the quite parochial problem-solving I do with marketing in my blog. We wanted to get attention and an honest-endorsement from the administrator of a local-concern Facebook group. I went round and round in circles with myself trying to work out how to use our resources -free tickets to the event- to get the guy to mention it without seeming crass or setting off his antiflags.

Eventually we filled in with content expansion, something to make it worth a personal email, and I settled on cutting the tangible resources out of the equation, which allowed for a much simpler and more honest solution. An email bringing it to his attention and -crucially- asking for his advice on something (anything), and he mentioned the event with a simple endorsement on the group wall. Because he likes to feel like a broker in the community he started, and likes having something to talk about to endorse. This is the second magic spell that’s peculiar to community marketing: if you make people feel cool, they’ll talk about it.

That’s the magic behind “secret sellers” of the Pattern Recognition nightclub ilk, who drop brands into their otherwise rather extreme conversation. That’s the logic behind unique experience ARGs: cakes and honey. If ad eyeballs are the bread, then Unique Experiences are the circus.

They go beyond pattern recognition by persuading the experiencee to ignore the extent to which his experience is part of a pattern: instead, he is part of something special. The user may understand that he is a tesselating part of the pattern. “Groupmind” problem solving is a big part of current ARG design: the thinking is that people like to feel part of a group working towards a whole. But a large part of the power comes from the belief the user is if not indispensable, then at least special.

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Of course, specialisation costs money, crafting specialised experiences moreso. That was easy enough in the event promotion example: we had access to a guy with some level of clout within a small community, and it was all conducted more or less at the “amateur” level. We find it useful to walk a line between having name-recognition and being ourselves a “local concern”, which is the balancing act of brand fandom.

Professional engagement with amateur-level talkers or mavens or group participants either has to be dishonest or very, very carefully handled.

penny arcade marketing shelly yu missfit forums boards secret preteen

It’s an extreme example, but my mind always goes back to those journalists (from all levels of the citizen-professional spectrum) who invited themselves onto the boards of Facebook groups formed in the aftermath of the VT Shootings. I did a bit of study on that while working as a freelance researcher, but at their height the comments were going up faster than I could read them. Still, journalists going on and asking for input were largely met with vitriolic backlash, no matter how carefully they phrased. They were Not Welcome on those public spaces.

Kids my age described feeling “violated” when our University authorities knew that they’d been at a banned party: they didn’t say so, but the Uni had clearly been “snooping” into publicly-posted photos.

Fooling some of the people

This has all been talked about before. “Make people’s lives better” says Isakson, and quotes a CEO on how “brand and product have converged”. You can’t sell it unless it’s cool, and if it’s cool enough it largely sells itself. And there is a balancing act for cool: you have to put yourself out there, but not so much that it irritates people. Marketing is the obsessive-compulsive running for class President.

Another quote from the shareslides above is about a consumer who “doesn’t seperate the marketing experience from the product experience”. That would be the dream of a product which literally sells itself, but it’s frankly meaningless when you’re dealing with the basic synaesthetia of advertising. That is to say, describing one sensation with analogy to another: scent with erotic image, for example, or excitement with beverage.

[I can’t find a link anywhere for the Sprite “great snowboarders” ad, which is stupid because it’s the only one of theirs I can remember. It went something like this: [Exciting downhill, exciting downhill] “What do all great snowboarders drink?” [Dude spills straight into sprite machine] “The same as all the not so great ones”.

Instead try this out:

nicely done, but to be honest why even bother with the titlecard at the end? Make it a series of four :30 spots instead, with the guy getting angrier and angrier, the bottle more prominent, forever uncertain whether the clip is corporate-made or not.

That uncertainty is what’s fun about the Trader Joe’s Song (Via Brand Autopsy). Maybe this time, you think watching it, someone earnestly, honestly loves something for its own sake. Life really can break out in perfect song and dance, this once. So you want to believe.

Image ads like these are one long excercise in making image and product inseperable. But image can only do so by obscuring the product completely, hoping no-one ever actually tastes the product but instead internalises the advert (like, say, Relentless). Or by building a consensus about the relationship between the brand and the product. And it’s marketers’ ability to influence that consensus that’s dissolving, as a tradeoff for their new tools.

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Tim-Tam Slammers

Once again, these things have been talked about before. In an attempt to contribute to the worldwide brute-force attempt to solve these puzzles, I want to consider one small segment, from which we take today’s title: “The funny thing about my back is…”. It’s indulgence marketing, which I talked about a few days ago in connection with the Bourneville ad.  What would Utility Marketing look like when applied to the age-old technique of indulgence marketing?

Utility marketing is about providing a service that “gives people time back”, which is then associated in some way with the brand: it’s not about brand information as “pollution” or, in Anthony Lilley’s parlance, taxation. It’s part of the wider logic of making things easier to sell before you start selling them. Again from Brand Autopsy:

“Ask a Mighty Fine employee behind the counter how they’re doing and you’ll likely hear, “Mighty Fine.” They smile. They laugh. They look like they are having fun. Which all benefits the customer experience. Mighty Fine prides itself on hiring only “A Players” who are positive, supportive, and cooperative. To attract “A Players,” they pay above-average wages and offer much better than expected benefits. Mighty Fine knows by astonishing employees, they in turn, will astonish customers.

This is about a burger joint. But what would an A-player for the indulgence technique look like? Who is an expert in making you feel like you deserve that product, this once? Because whoever they are, they have an opportunity to provide a valuable national service by encouraging spending. More on Japan’s money-mattress crisis further down.

jell-o vintage ad racist hilarious jello mammy

Via Found in Mom’s Basement.

“Mammy sent dis ovah”

Jell-O is known to all sections as “America’s Most Famous Dessert.” In the South, for instance, it is inexpensive enough to be found in the cabins of old plantations. It is delicious enough to meet the standards of good living at the “Big House.” It is dainty enough for milady’s afternoon tea. It is appealing enough to turn the sinful, of any color, away from his neighbor’s melon patch.

It’s surprisingly racy, open-minded copy, after the manner of Spike Milligan: it challenges you with your stereotypes, offers up a bare-faced taste of the forbidden. And for getting past your effrontery, you’re invited to congratulate yourself, to indulge yourself. It’s a chauffeur-driven soup-kitchen dinner.

So how to think about this, in a modern connection? Advertisers no doubt already think about which poster will be placed next to which, or how ads are sequenced: they should start thinking about putting Organic Indulgence ads after car ads: Sustainable Furniture after overpriced cologne. They should identify through mutual rejection of excess, like the Obama-SUV ad.

It’s pointless to claim you’re thinking ahead of Google: I expect to soon see Gmail intelligent advertising responding negatively to keywords: charity donations or carbon offsets ads generated alongside emails with text references to “Vacation”, “Yacht”, “Promotion” or “Dubai”.

We know what an A-Player for a charity looks like: the magnificent Don’t Vote ads, or John Cleese on Comic Relief a few years ago staring in silence at the screen for upwards of four minutes while he’s “waiting for you to donate some money”, before shrieking “Oh get on with it, you cheap B*******!”

More than zero-footprint chocolate, I’m talking cocoa-bean picking vacations. I’m talking survival for indulgence: making your indulgence stores your personal Vegas.

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Money-Mattress

Note that it’s official, according to the Economist: Japan’s economy is nosing.

japan economy spending nosedive crash slump

Combine that with the announcementa few hours ago of the resignation of Finance Minister Soichii Nakagawa, who the other day appeared to be drunk at a G7 crisis talks press conference. How Hilarity Ensued.

Maybe it’s the right time for this, via AsiaJin: Virtual Meat for Hard Times.

air yakiniku virtual meat

Air Yakiniku is a video sensory-supplement for cheap dining: beyond simple fake-sensation ads, it’s free indulgence. You set the table with rice and sauce and laptop, click to run the video of a hand sizzling and then picking up the meat, and then you chow down on a mouthful of rice, eyes fixed on the screen, senses hopefully totally fooled. Personally, I just bring a book to our canteen, and try not to look at what I’m eating. I’m currently reading the superb Eileen Chang. I figure I’ll try and get ahead of the Nobel Literature curve this once.

Lastly, today’s thumbnail comes from the Chronic Catnip Company, which has one of the most entertaining, well characterised pitches I’ve ever seen on an utterly useless expenditure.

I’m going to bed, then school, then work, then make-up, then to research how Nudges could influence the Wealth Effect.

hearts@minds

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Hang fire

chronic catnip company logo thumbnailRecovering from a hangover by reading Nobody Scores! and giggling like a simpleton.

internets apocalypse nobody scoresI wrote a while ago about Indian TV advertising: “most advanced in the world, in terms of biological imperative”, was the phrase. It’s right up there in terms of brand cheekiness, too. This campaign has probably stopped, since it was running when I was there over New Year, but I was still thinking about it the other day, which is a good sign (though I couldn’t remember the brand for the life of me).

It’s about “emphasising what women want – men, as opposed to wannabes“, apparently. Maybe its memorability for me is partly because of its remarkably succinct use of a gora (Western) backpacker dipshit as a signifier for the “wannabe”, although in that sense its visual semantics are also slightly confusing to my eyes, because like most B-list Indian Ad models or “Item girls”, the ad’s Girls look as Western as possible.

“Axe is a strong leader in this category …the guy to look up to, and we know that,” says Shah [Marketing manager, Paras]. “We’re close behind, and this gives us the freedom and cheeky irreverence to take on the giant and be compared to the topmost brand in this space. There is a thin red line between fun and offence and we haven’t crossed it.”

It’s a pretty limp parody, all told, but well executed.

PS Japanman has a good post about queueing in Japan, which made me think of Get in Line Games, a company producing queue-centric group game software which queuers use via mobile phone.

Lastly this: Salvador Dali on US fifties game show “What’s my Line”, which is a joy to watch as found art and as vintage entertainment

Actually in the general context of the questioning we would have to accept that all the affirmitive replies except perhaps the last one are not misleading in any major degree however I think the last answer is misleading and we could not accurately describe our guest as a leading man.

He’s a misleading man?”

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the greater the work the easier the parody

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Image post up at If it Has a Name, from the Nagasaki Lantern Festival.

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nagasaki manga-ka portrait sketch

There I was, peacefully pondering the remarkable level of Oedipal tension subcontext in Back to the Future 2, when we found a manga-ka doing portraits for a measly grand. Mine, as I mention on If it Has a Name, is similar to a picture of me done by some Chinese students of mine a few years ago: it seems to deeply begrudge the beard attached as an afterthought to an otherwise blank expanse of emasculate bishi features.

manga mangaka sketch bishi bishonen

manga mangaka sketch bishi bishonen

manga mangaka sketch bishi bishonen

Cho-chan (male, 22) posing for a sketch.

I’d love to write about the cultural significance of Japan’s love affair with the bishonen, the gender-ambiguous razor-jawed boy-woman. Bishi protagonists are generally the sign of weak or indulgent plotting, while as a sidekick/secondary character they generally serve to highlight the relative normalcy of the protagonist with extreme martial ability, sports, queerness or flamboyant humour, similar to the figure of the “perverted best friend”.

"What childish, infantile, immature and entirely uncreative mind could have come up with Buttlord GT is entirely out of my comprehension"

"What childish, infantile, immature and entirely uncreative mind could have come up with Buttlord GT is entirely out of my comprehension"

Compare the non-protagonist at the centre of The 10k Commotion, whose mystic bishi-abilities (especially at Dance Dance Revolution) drive the story while never allowing him much of a personality.

dynamite 10k tenkay commotion

Also compare the absent Mary-Sue poetess protagonist at the centre of Priya Sarukkai Chabria’s generation 14. The actual protagonist is both a clone and a reincarnation of her ‘Original’, whose work was so revolutionary that it threatened her post-dystopian world, causing her to be killed midsentence.

generation 14 priya sarukkai chabria

Can’t find a single better cover image, and it’s nowhere on Amazon. Best get it from Penguin India here. Extracts here.

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The clone narrator has a mutation which enables her to remember her Original and her other past lives, and her cognitive development is a combination of fan-fiction and a Bloom-style Oedipal urge towards her ineffable, genetically perfect poète fatale ancestral donor. She is urged to to become her, to recall her work perfectly, but she also wishes to slay her with her own Work, establish her own identity. It has its problems but it’s excellent psy-fi. Recommended.

manga mangaka sketch bishi bishonen

Nat with her alternate-universe femme fatale persona.

Finally, the best thing about Generation 14 so far, appropriately enough, is the epigraph. Like The God of Small Things, which Emiko kindly lent me, it’s obsessed with the multiplicity of life and hence of Work: Roy’s epigraph is John Berger, “Never again will a single story be told/ as though it’s the only one”. Chabria’s, which I will re-rob without shame for Iland, is a Leonard Cohen extract which I somehow hadn’t come across before.

Ring all the bells that still can ring.

Forget your perfect offering.

There’s a crack in everything.

That’s how the light gets in.

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Is plagiarism a problem on the internet? Well, yes. The waka I wrote at If it Has a Name is, I said, a simple sentiment in a consciously finite format, and so I find it hard to believe it has not been written before, even if it is formally incorrect: I line-break a subject particle, for instance. I don’t have the heart to google it.

Is plagiarism inevitable on the internet? Well, logically it is becoming exponentially more difficult to identify except in oneself, and so it may be approaching a stage where it exists suspended between being inevitable and being indeterminable.

As a concept, is plagiarism being subjectivised out of existence? Well, that depends on what you believe about reading the internet. Whether you believe that online people are automatically exposed to a proportionally, ideologically and stylistically broader field of reading material. Or whether you believe that online reading allows people to constrict their reading, to micro-manage their language and its signifiers. Which is the old argument about the Daily Me all over again.

Extract from a covering letter, sent with CV to a very interesting company who wanted to know applicants’ opinion about the success of one internet institution. I haven’t heard back. Oh well.

Feel free to skip.

I took every opportunity for personal research during my course to study online communications, including a course essay on the language of bias in supposedly non-ideological “News Watchdog” sites, and my thesis, entitled “The Information Sphere: Ideology and Langauge in News on the Internet”.

Inevitably, some of the ideas I formed in this thesis have been modified by the online news revolution in the late stages of the American election, and the current status of The Huffington Post is an interesting study.

In the thesis I argued that the internet does not have an inherently ‘radicalising’ influence on newsreading, as in Sunstein’s ‘Daily Me’ argument, nor does the proliferation of ‘citizen journalism’ necessarily herald the deprofessionalisation of journalism as many have argued, notably CNN’s Christiane Amanour.

This said, I did argue that because of the experience of choice in newsreading, and the increasing experience of participation, users would tend to develop ‘personal news cycles’: first referring to a small group of professional newsroom services, which are increasingly pressured to present “unbiased” newswire copy, the users then research and participate in news communities grouped by affiliation.

At the time of writing I cited Drudge, but his power as a maven ended with the election and his embarrassing himself (in my opinion) in the final weeks. The current era belongs to the more openly slanted magazine/conversation-styled Huff, and its web and talk-radio counterparts on the right wing, of which a web leader has yet to emerge.

I think Huff’s popularity is partly a result of its nurturing a returned sense of community in politics, which Drudge’s ‘insider’ aggregation approach rejects, and partly a result of its responding to a demand for personality in news content.

For the future: successful attempts to create a single ‘news homepage’ have rarely worked and will probably get rarer, and so I think Huff’s investment in for example sports and even entertainment reporting is probably wide of their core business, when specialised alternatives like Gawker are proliferating.

teenaged in the pace age

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Update: Instead of “are proliferating” I should have said “are proliferate”, though CVs in general make poor canvases for experimental adjectivism. I need to find myself a word that’s between proliferate and profligate, to describe the status of sites with a high, cultivated visibility but an uncertain readership, like Gawker or American Apparel ads.

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Blogart!

Images from a badly lagging video chat with my brother, in a dressing gown. He may or may not be giving me the finger in the last one.

Personal update post up on If it has a name know it: Calligraphy this morning, then paper-mache in the afternoon teaching art, so I got covered in black and white….

Later will post an image of my progress from zero to competent in Kanji calligraphy.

charms for alms

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