Notes in the Margin

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

Archive for the ‘Content Publishing’ Category

“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discrete and deliberate publishing processes, which result in specific editions (or versions) of content, can be an outdated publishing model.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

Curating Information as Content Strategy

This is a useful article from Valerie Maltoni about the role of content curator. It seems to me that this is a role we all play in one form or another, and our species has always played – filtering, interpreting and transmitting news and information gleaned from other quarters, often adding our own spin or interpretation.

In a networked content model – where we get our information from diverse, multilateral sources – ever less so from narrow broadcast media – content curation is ever more important. In this post, Valerie lists some benefits of content curating:

  • becoming a useful filter makes you a destination
  • commenting and intelligent framing of conversation are still in scarce supply
  • showing trends and patterns from compiling information is powerful
  • providing content in a way that makes it usable gains you a loyal following
  • seeing what’s out there helps you find gaps in demand
  • curating allows you to set the tone for where the focus should be
  • seeing your role as that of ultimate decision maker on what’s in and what’s out

On the flip side, the ecology of content curating also means we have to constantly revise and refine the channels on which we listen – good curators may be everywhere, but there’s a limit to how much input we can receive.

via Conversation Agent: Curating Information as Content Strategy.

Written by tstaley

October 28, 2010 at 5:54 am

TED Talk: Crowd Accelerated Innovation

Interesting concept from one of TED’s own. Focuses on the power of video, which Cisco says will constitute 90% of the web’s content within 4 years.

TED’s Chris Anderson says the rise of web video is driving a worldwide phenomenon he calls Crowd Accelerated Innovation — a self-fueling cycle of learning that could be as significant as the invention of print. But to tap into its power, organizations will need to embrace radical openness.

Chris Anderson: How web video powers global innovation

Written by tstaley

September 16, 2010 at 9:22 am

A Technology World That Revolves Around Me – NYTimes.com

Nice insight into the idea that media is less about content and more about context. And the context is personal – you are the starting point. Content will conform to the individual – place, form factor, time of day, etc. – not the other way around.

When people want to know how the media business will deal with the Internet, the best way to begin to understand the sweeping changes is to recognize that the consumer of entertainment and information is now in the center. That center changes everything. It changes your concept of space, time and location. It changes your sense of community. It changes the way you view the information, news and data coming directly to you.

via A Technology World That Revolves Around Me – NYTimes.com.

Written by tstaley

September 13, 2010 at 11:06 am

What’s the Difference Between a Book and a Web Site?

Today’s post by O’Reilly’s Hugh McGuire is a real head-turner. In it he makes the following observation:

“(W)hat is a book, after all, but a collection of data (text + images), with a defined structure (chapters, headings, captions), meta data (title, author, ISBN), and prettied up with some presentation design? In other words, what is a book, but a website that happens to be written on paper and not connected to the web?”

He goes on to discuss the EPUB standard as a format that is, essentially, a web site container poised to look to consumers and publishers like a self-contained publication. In other words, the platform is already in place as a standard to deploy books as web sites (or portions thereof).

This augurs a convergence that is natural (but terrifying to publishers), in which the content encapsulated in a “book” becomes liberated to be a full participant in the free exchange of information on the web. Clearly Google Books is pushing this convergence, though it always seemed like a lossy integration, with the Google Book content not a full citizen in the life of the web, but some form of  shadow of the actual content. The GBooks’ content can be searched, but not deep linked nor copied and pasted, etc.

This evolution is another inexorable step to the point where content producers – authors, musicians, analysts, software developers – will find their content become part of the public domain, and they will be left in a new business model in which they have to perform for pay, by applying their “intellectual property” to specific times, places and circumstances.

The line between book and Internet will disappear – OReilly Radar.

Written by tstaley

September 10, 2010 at 12:52 pm

The Inevitable Demise of Bureaucratic Content Enterprises

Clay Shirky’s recent post, The Collapse of Complex Business Models, is typically astute and an interesting perspective on complexity and its limits. Building off the 1988 book by Joseph Tainter called The Collapse of Complex Societies, Shirky describes the inevitable demise of Internet business models that involve complex content production.

The issue pivots on bureaucracy. While democracy and a free-market economy have intrinsic self-corrective processes, bureaucracies seem to defy the second law of thermodynamics (in which entropy increases over time until equilibrium):

In a bureaucracy, it’s easier to make a process more complex than to make it simpler, and easier to create a new burden than kill an old one.

His final paragraph is an admonition to remain flexible in the face of the inevitable demise of complex businesses:

When ecosystems change and inflexible institutions collapse, their members disperse, abandoning old beliefs, trying new things, making their living in different ways than they used to. It’s easy to see the ways in which collapse to simplicity wrecks the glories of old. But there is one compensating advantage for the people who escape the old system: when the ecosystem stops rewarding complexity, it is the people who figure out how to work simply in the present, rather than the people who mastered the complexities of the past, who get to say what happens in the future.

Written by tstaley

April 6, 2010 at 9:25 am

Posted in Content Publishing

Living Stories goes Open Source

I’ll confess I hadn’t been paying much attention to Living Stories, though now that I’ve looked into it more the idea seem fascinating and possibly useful if it become broadly adopted. The original concept, as explained by Google in early December, was as follows:

The idea behind Living Stories is to experiment with a different format for presenting news coverage online. News organizations produce a wealth of information that we all value; access to this information should be as great as the online medium allows. A typical newspaper article leads with the most important and interesting news, and follows with additional information of decreasing importance. Information from prior coverage is often repeated with each new online article, and the same article is presented to everyone regardless of whether they already read it. Living Stories try a different approach that plays to certain unique advantages of online publishing. They unify coverage on a single, dynamic page with a consistent URL. They organize information by developments in the story. They call your attention to changes in the story since you last viewed it so you can easily find the new material. Through a succinct summary of the whole story and regular updates, they offer a different online approach to balancing the overview with depth and context.

In other words, at the risk of oversimplification, topic-based and prioritized news, with some personalization.

The stories they tracked in their beta program were limited in number, and some of the topics were interesting to me. Yet, unless I am doing some kind of research on, say, the politics of global warming, the topic-centric approach didn’t fully appeal to me as a way of digesting that news.

An interesting extension to this approach would be to marry Living Stories with social media – say, Google Buzz, to keep it all in the family. It might be really interesting to a) share a link on a story of interest with a group of friends, and then dynamically create a “living story” from that initial kernel, allowing friends to post related links they have found, and also comment on the topic in an associated thread.

Hm… Living Stories is open source… Maybe this is an idea worth exploring…

Google News Blog: Open-sourcing the Living Stories format.

Written by tstaley

February 18, 2010 at 11:37 am