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Culture News Tech

A medium and its message

The medium is the format in which something works. The selection of media predetermines how content gets disseminated and shared.

The Internet is a mass medium. Newspapers are a medium. TV, radio, podcasts, and books are also mediums.

A medium is any messaging mechanism that connects people together to help facilitate communication. The medium is the fulcrum for storytelling including all its characteristics. Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase, “The medium is the message.”

But some platforms are more powerful than others. Audio, argues Alex Danco in his piece “The Audio Revolution.”

Meanwhile, the physical properties of the medium you choose will also influence the temperature of what’s being communicated. A photograph is hotter than a pencil: they both make pictures, but one makes low-resolution sketches and the other high-definition images.

What’s hottest? You might think that the highest-resolution format of all could be visual, typographic or video. But it’s not. It’s audio.

As much as we think visual-first platforms like Instagram and terse Tweets are the most compelling storytellers, it is the distribution of audio and speech that cut straight to the point.

Listening to George W. Bush galvanize firefighters on top the rubble of 9/11 through his bullhorn with these words is practically a pierce in every Americans’ brain.

“I can hear you!” Bush declared. “The rest of the world hears you! And the people – and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” The crowd firefighters and crew responded with prolonged chants of “USA! USA!”

One doesn’t need to see the footage to feel the aura of the speech.

Writes Danco:

Audio is how you communicate what you really mean, straight into ears, headphones and car radios, intimately and directly. Music is good at this, but speech is even better.

Whatever it is that’s being communicated, audio will heat it up.

Your ears understand what’s really being said, and they seek hot content.

There is no content without a medium. If content is king, then the medium is its own eponymous and gargantuan device.

Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy Social Media

What matters isn’t always popular

What Matters Isn't Always Popular

If you’ve ever published anything on the web you know what it’s like when all you hear are crickets. No likes, no comments, no reshares.

You think your content sucks because no one’s acknowledging you. But it’s a misconception to sell your work short, especially if it’s your labor of love.

There are 2.1 billion+ people on the Internet. If you’re writing, acting, or sharing your music someone’s going to connect with you. They may be a fan, a teacher, or someone you admire within your scenius. But you’re never going to appeal to everyone.

“The less reassurance we can give you the more important the work is.”

Seth Godin

All social media is based on reassurance. That’s why most Instagram content looks the same. If you want to guarantee success, you’ll share photos of beaches, dogs, selfies, and food.

“We were raised to do things that work.”

Seth Godin

But why not challenge sameness by trying something new? Go for some tension. Err on the side of being vulnerable if it means you get to make the stuff that makes you happy.

Unlike politics, creativity asks that you own up to being edgy, different. People that make change stand up and take responsibility for causing a ruckus.

“The internet could save your life because it’ll keep you from a lifetime of being told what to do.”

Seth Godin

Choose yourself. The rest follows.

All quotes above are from Seth Godin’s most recent presentation. Watch it below.

Categories
News Tech

Automattic (aka WordPress) acquires Tumblr

I used to blog on Tumblr exclusively. But then the community got stale — other users stopped posting cool art and gifs as they gravitated to Instagram.

Even worse, Yahoo acquired the Tumblr platform for $1.1 billion in 2013 and never made any major upgrades to the micro-blogging site other than inserting in invasive and irrelevant ads.

Like Flickr, another great product that went bust under Yahoo’s control, Tumblr dissolved into irrelevancy. The site took a further blow when it banned porn, including artsy content like this.

Don’t get me wrong. I still use Tumblr today but for mere syndication for this blog.

But Automatic, the company that owns WordPress.com, just bought Tumblr from Yahoo for $3 million.

No one’s expecting a revival of Tumblr’s once-creative community but it could signal an effort to get back to the service’s micro-blogging core that made it unique from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and every other social network.

Wrote Automatic CEO and founder Matt Mullenweg on his Tumblr blog:

The Tumblr team also has some exciting functionality they’re eager to unlock once we close the acquisition officially in a few weeks…

Matt Mullenweg

So let’s see what exciting things WordPress has in store for Tumblr. I, for one, might be rediscovering/reblogging content on there in the meantime.

Categories
Culture Tech

Faulty attention

tumblr_o6pux79Fhn1tpqvqfo1_500

We cultivate boredom the same way we incubate attention, that is, we latch on to things until we no longer see them. They camouflage into our awareness.

The internet user runs into the cornucopia of visuals on Instagram. Liking becomes desultory, numb to the perpetual sting of dopamine. Are we not entertained?

We are sloppy internet users

But we are also creatures of habit, where behaviors online and off are one of the same. In reality, we visit the same people, talk to the same friends, and share similar viewpoints. Yet, simplicity is often in the sophistication of an opposing view.

Challenges make us reconsider our everyday perceptions. We don’t need to keep refreshing into a ludic loop of variable results. Instead, we need to expect completely different answers. Such novelty is how we stay curious, albeit sane.

gif via Katy Wang


Categories
Social Media Tech

Adding to the pile

Another tweet, yet another Instagram — we keep on adding to the digital morass. Can we archive it all?

Of course, we can.

Google and Facebook are hoarding every little iota of data we create. They own our words, even the ones we put in drafts.

The ephemeral qualities of a pixel are a treasure trove for the attention merchants looking to retarget us with their product offerings.

Data churns into advertising like oil does through a pump. Nobody understands the details but can comprehend the general idea of the scene.

Store and retrieve, so much production, from numb thumbs to naive. We persist in feeding the algorithms with more input it can easily handle.

The pile is infinite.

Categories
Culture Tech

Nothing is random

So here we are, next up surrounded by the internet of things. Look around — we're forever stuck in Times Square. #internet #tech #gif

Serendipity on the internet will forever be twisted in the maw of algorithms. Nothing is ever truly random. We are data’s significant other with a bullseye on our back.

Facebook has been triangulating our data for years, matching our likes with the highest bidder. Internet ads are designed to strangle our attention into a click-hole.

So here we are, next up surrounded by the internet of things. Look around — we’re forever stuck in Times Square.