I’ve been noticing the rise of small batch media recently. The NYTimes Now app have editors curating stories from their main org, breaking articles down into photos, videos and quotes and linking them back to the full articles. Just like Tumblr’s dashboard.

It’s a good thing for users. It’s engaging.

But mobile design is in this weird state where everything starts to look the same - designers are basically shuffling a media object (photo, quote, link, etc.), attribution and timestamp around. And if they’re not using a grid, they’re futzing with pixels in a feed/list format.  There are only so many ways to perfect the schema. And pretty soon, every service will converge on full bleed photos, flat little sharing icons, dark text for content and light text for everything else. I’m surprised that Tumblr didn’t have full bleed photos until iOS8.

Convergence makes differentiation a lot harder. The mobile interface is basically a rectangular piece of glass. I wonder if we’re at the tail end of something - have we all reached the finish line of how to display content on a mobile screen? If so, I’m excited to see if we’re at the beginning of another revolution.

I have started to browse the NYTimes comments more and more. It’s a small but thriving community, and I have learned lots that add to my understanding of the articles. The socialness within the NYTimes is basic, there is no cross referencing or engagement outside of the articles, but there is depth of conversation. I do think the NYTimes is undervalued if they can unlock more of their nascent and invisible community, perhaps as a counterweight to the superficial communities on lesser quality media platforms. It may go away from their core knowledge of news reporting, but an interesting thought exercise nonetheless.
Update: Looks like I need to do more research (thanks jasonsmithtx) as the NYTimes is actively developing their comments platform:

The Times, which will commit up to six employees to the project, said that it had considered buying available software but concluded along with The Post that it would be easier to customize a platform built in-house. Such a platform would also allow the publisher to retain valuable user data instead of handing it to a third party.
Through the new platform, the news organizations said in a release, “Readers will be able to submit pictures, links and other media; track discussions; and manage their contributions and online identities.” The news outlets can then collect and use the reader content “for other forms of storytelling and to spark ongoing discussions.”

Admirable work!

I have started to browse the NYTimes comments more and more. It’s a small but thriving community, and I have learned lots that add to my understanding of the articles. The socialness within the NYTimes is basic, there is no cross referencing or engagement outside of the articles, but there is depth of conversation. I do think the NYTimes is undervalued if they can unlock more of their nascent and invisible community, perhaps as a counterweight to the superficial communities on lesser quality media platforms. It may go away from their core knowledge of news reporting, but an interesting thought exercise nonetheless.

Update: Looks like I need to do more research (thanks jasonsmithtx) as the NYTimes is actively developing their comments platform:

The Times, which will commit up to six employees to the project, said that it had considered buying available software but concluded along with The Post that it would be easier to customize a platform built in-house. Such a platform would also allow the publisher to retain valuable user data instead of handing it to a third party.

Through the new platform, the news organizations said in a release, “Readers will be able to submit pictures, links and other media; track discussions; and manage their contributions and online identities.” The news outlets can then collect and use the reader content “for other forms of storytelling and to spark ongoing discussions.”

Admirable work!

This is a problem much bigger than Facebook. It reminded me of what can go wrong in society, and why we now often talk at each other instead of to each other.

I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me.

The heart of why I’m still working in tech: to change this.  Mat’s piece is great not only for the content, but his writer’s voice is a more benign version of what goes on in my head as I scroll through stream after stream of content each day (a much more benign version)

Also - masterful SEO troll for the title of the piece. Mat’s been rolling for his last two articles.

Hoffman thought about it for a second, and then talked about how Capote was 35 when he started reporting the story that became In Cold Blood, and how there comes a time in every man’s life, around your mid-thirties, when you start to ask yourself, Have I done the great thing I was supposed to do? Am I ever going to do it?

Philip Seymour Hoffman: 1967-2014 «

This is me every Monday morning, as I turn 35 in a few months.

sendpop
selfieim:

OMG - is this the article to end all articles about selfies? We thought we were on top of what selfies meant, but NY Mag sure did their research. It’s LONG, and it traverses history, art, psychology, futurism, tech, and more:

Everyone has their own idea of what makes a good selfie. I like the ones that metamorphose into what might be called selfies-plus—pictures that begin to speak in unintended tongues, that carry surpluses of meaning that the maker may not have known were there. Barthes wrote that such images produce what he called “a third meaning,” which passes “from language to significance.”
Art at Arms Length: A History of the Selfie (NY Mag)

selfieim:

OMG - is this the article to end all articles about selfies? We thought we were on top of what selfies meant, but NY Mag sure did their research. It’s LONG, and it traverses history, art, psychology, futurism, tech, and more:

Everyone has their own idea of what makes a good selfie. I like the ones that metamorphose into what might be called selfies-plus—pictures that begin to speak in unintended tongues, that carry surpluses of meaning that the maker may not have known were there. Barthes wrote that such images produce what he called “a third meaning,” which passes “from language to significance.”

Art at Arms Length: A History of the Selfie (NY Mag)

In Turkey as elsewhere in the Middle East, the explosion of Internet-based media outlets has surpassed the ability of the government to control information completely. When Nazli Ilicak, a longtime journalist here, lost her job recently at the pro-government newspaper Sabah after emerging as a strong voice against the government’s handling of the corruption inquiry, she said she would simply keep up her criticism on Twitter and on independent websites. “I have 500,000 followers,” she said in a recent television appearance. “That’s more than Sabah’s circulation.”
imagistlabs
imagistapp:

Announcing: Selfie 1.0
San Francisco - Today Imagist Labs, Inc. announced the release of what is the culmination of hours of research and development: The Selfie Network, a front-facing only camera app.
For full details, the press release is in our permanent collection.

THIS IS THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER BUILT GAIS.

imagistapp:

Announcing: Selfie 1.0

San Francisco - Today Imagist Labs, Inc. announced the release of what is the culmination of hours of research and development: The Selfie Network, a front-facing only camera app.

For full details, the press release is in our permanent collection.

THIS IS THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER BUILT GAIS.