Notes in the Margin

On the intersection of web apps, digital content and social media

“Open-ended publishing” or half-baked slop?

The post from Mac Slocum on Open-ended publishing poses a useful reminder that in a world of digital content, discrete and deliberate publishing processes, which result in specific editions (or versions) of content, can be an outdated publishing model. As Slocum says, “Digital content is fluid.”

But digital content doesn’t really exist in an edition-based world. It moves, it flows. It gets chunked up, mashed up, and recombined. It can be copied and pasted at will whether you like it or not. It can be added to. It can be deleted from. It hibernates and reappears unexpectedly months or years later.

He has an interesting idea, though it seems more like a tactic oriented to personality: pushing half-baked content into the public view somehow forces him to continue the editorial / authoring process, during which time he might get feedback. Here’s how he rationalizes it:

Public content holds the content creator accountable. This is why I dump all sorts of quotes and excerpts and half-baked ideas into my Tumblr. That’s my big bucket of slop: all the stuff that informs the posts I write and the interview questions I ask. I put it out there not because I think it has value to all (it doesn’t), but because public content makes me want to follow through.

The challenge is that, depending on your self-discipline, things may not actually get done. Further, it makes the public have to slog through that much more “slop” in their search for useful content. It may suit this generation’s apparently transient attention, quickly flitting from one bucket of slop to the next, but it will require unique new age skill to discern the pearls within that slop.

via Open-ended publishing – O’Reilly Radar.


Written by tstaley

November 22, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Posted in Content Publishing

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