aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, January 21, 2007
I’m not fond of the term “user-generated content.” I like “peer-produced/production” but I don’t see it catching on. John Batelle proposes ”Conversational Media.” I like that.
I like, too, his harrumphing at the Times today:
The approach the NYT takes, editorially, to describing “user generated content” (what I prefer to call Conversational Media) is so dismissive, so backhanded, it makes me want to scream. Here’s how Richard Siklos defines it in today’s paper (the piece is entitled “Big Media’s Crush on Social Networking").
User-generated content is basically anything someone puts on the Web that is not created for overtly commercial purposes; it is often in response to something professionally created, or is derivative of it. So, it could be a blog, a message board, a homemade video on YouTube, or a customer’s book review on Amazon.com.
Richard and his editors so deeply want to believe that conversational media is dependent on “professionally created” media. But it’s not, any more than it’s “not created for overtly commercial purposes.”
The Guy Who Danced Around the Globe. Twice.
More than you ever wanted to know about Matt: FAQ from his site, Where The Hell is Matt. Wikipedia entry (” lacks information on the notability” of Matt, help out if you can). Payscale ("a leader in online compensation data") Blogs Salary Stories video interview from a couple weeks ago.
What’s so special about it?
The flavor lasts a really long time.
Come on. How long?
Are they paying you to say this?
Did they make you chew gum on your trip?
They didn’t make me do much of anything. They are very good people.
Did they tell you where to go?
Nope. They said, and I’m quoting here:
“We like what you’re doing. We want to help you. We don’t want to mess with you.”
These words charmed me, and they stayed true to them.
Is there a post abortion syndrome?
Emily Bazelon has a piece in the Times Magazine today asking, Is There a Post-Abortion Syndrome? Research tells us there’s not, though anti-abortion activists - like Intelligent Design and Ex-Gay advocates - use their own to satisfy their predisposition to believe. Among the consequences:
Eighteen states include in their materials a description of abortion’s psychological effects. According to a 2006 analysis by the Guttmacher Institute, seven of these states describe only harmful effects. South Dakota’s informed-consent law requires physicians to give patients written state-approved information that supplies a link between abortion and an increased risk of suicide, though no causal connection has been found. Both the patient and the doctor must certify that the patient has read and understood the materials; failure to do so is a misdemeanor offense.
Does such a law violate a doctor’s constitutional right to free speech? Robert Post, a Yale law professor, argues that the state should not be able to force doctors to convey inaccurate or misleading information. South Dakota’s law “endangers the integrity of physician-patient communications, because it threatens to transform physicians into mouthpieces for political majorities,Ã¢â‚¬Â� he writes in a coming law-review article. [...]
Reva Siegel of Yale compares South Dakota’s use of criminal law to enforce a vision of pregnant women as weak and confused to the 19th-century diagnosis of female hysteria. These ideas can make and change laws. The claim that women lacked reliable judgment was used to deny women the vote and the right to own property. Repressed-memory stories led states to extend their statutes of limitations. Women who devote themselves to abortion recovery make up for the wrong they feel they’ve done by trying to stop other women from doing it too - by preventing them from having the same choices.
It’s an important piece. READ IT.
500 copies & the enemy is obscurity
Chris Anderson informed an audience of several hundred publishers that the average book sells 500 copies per year, “a depressing statistic” that places over a third of books squarely in the long tail.
“If [authors] are writing books to be read, how can we maximize that?,” he asked. “De-stigmatize the mid-list, de-stigmatize the long tail—999 readers is success! If you can turn that into 2,000, that’s doubling your success. Those tools typically do not require big marketing budgets from publishers. Yet if you’re expecting publishers to do it, you’ll probably be disappointed. The solution is for you [the author] to do it.” [...]
Cory Doctorow and Seth Godin have been giving their books away online for free for several years now, in some cases before the title appears in print. Doctorow, a vocal opponent of restrictive copyright protection, goaded the audience. Alluding to the file sharing endemic in music, film, and video, he asked, “Why don’t people care enough about literature to steal it? I think that’s genuinely alarming. It’s because books are Web-invisible. The Web is all about serendipity. When you’re on the Web searching for food, you should find books about food. Book search should work like Web searchÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Free e-books make commercial sense.”
“The enemy is not piracy. The enemy is obscurity. If books are invisible, that’s a really good recipe for not getting stolen from—but not for selling. The Web is the greatest distributor for the frictionless sale of books in history,” chimed in Godin.