“Franzen works in a rented office that he has stripped of all distractions. He uses a heavy, obsolete Dell laptop from which he has scoured any trace of hearts and solitaire, down to the level of the operating system. Because Franzen believes you can’t write serious fiction on a computer that’s connected to the Internet, he not only removed the Dell’s wireless card but also permanently blocked its Ethernet port. ‘What you have to do,’ he explains, ‘is you plug in an Ethernet cable with superglue, and then you saw off the little head of it.’”—File this under things I should probably do. (From the profile of Jonathan Franzen, in Time, by Lev Grossman.) (via cmonstah)
My name is Lyle and I’m a casting producer for Magical Elves, a production company responsible for such shows as Project Runway and Top Chef, among others. We’re currently in the middle of casting our newest show for Bravo, an as-of-yet-untitled reality competition series set in the contemporary arts world. Sarah Jessica Parker’s production company, Pretty Matches, is lending some help and we’re all excited about finding some fantastic talent to be ambassadors for the arts world.
On Wednesday, my co-producer and I met with Helen Allen to pick her brain and she said that we should definitely reach out to you. She had some really great things to say about you as an artist, so I wanted to drop you a line and see if you might have any thoughts or questions.
Ms. Melissa Gira Grant of Glass Houses—get it?—has upped the ante, I think, on the conversation about oversharing (because yes, we’re apparently still having that conversation). From the SXSW panel picker:
“Oversharing is over. Now we’re told opening up online is the most valuable currency there is. What’s the real value in relating the most painful, awkward, potentially humiliating parts of our lives on the internet? Is there a line anymore between authentic self-expression and savvy marketing? If The New Transparency is really what we’re being sold, how transparent are we ready to be? “
if social media and influence is a one-way street, then all this paradigm shifting talk is just a high minded bucket of bullshit. No one really want to change the game, they just want to put on new uniforms.
So, I got an email on my phone from Paddy that said “You are a time traveler” and linked to a YouTube clip. Since I don’t have a phone that plays video well (if at all?) I had to wait to get home to watch and figure out what that was all about. What I clicked through to was a short documentary…
“People just aren’t that empathetic or thoughtful or intentional.”—Choire Sicha on what makes (most) fiction different from real life. Is the main attraction of The Office, the mockumentary, or maybe just of the modern sitcom, the revelation of this dirty secret of fiction? Is that why the genre is starting to feel stale, because it’s no longer bold to say “hey, these characters, even the heroes, will be as petty as actual people”? (via nickdouglas)
But the Sword of Damocles isn’t what’s most toxic to the freelance experience. What’s worst is that, in order to be a freelancer for very long, you have to think of yourself in certain ways. You know what they say about beautiful people? That every pretty girl or gorgeous man is someone’s ex, was too much hassle for someone. That’s definitely true of freelancing. You show up to the party with the Times or Playboy on your arm and people always, always, always think that you are the half of that relationship that is the lucky one. There are a lot of squinty glances. Really? What do they see in you? Are you rich or something? Hung? Family friends? Because it could never be the case that Beauty lucks out by being with the Beast unless the story ends with the Beast becoming beautiful too. It’s like Lena Horne said: “You have to be taught to be second-class.”
“Mr. Coatney estimated that posting links and notes to the Newsweek Twitter feed and Facebook page sent roughly 200,000 to 300,000 readers to Newsweek’s Web site each day. By comparison, Tumblr sent closer to 1,000.”—
Ooph! Tough numbers in an positive write-up in the NYT about old media adopting Tumblr. So how did Coatney segue from his gig manning the Newsweek Tumblr into a gig as Tumblr’s “media evangelist” if his links to Newsweek content only drove 1,000 visitors to Newsweek.com? It’s a good question and one Coatney is going to be spending most of his days answering to the media outlets he evangelizes. I think Coatney will be able to make a good case, actually, about the need to build community, reach out to younger audiences, and expand the brand. (The NYT article is a good start!) But he certainly has a tough road ahead of him. I mean, all he has to do is convince these sites to abandon page views as their only metric for evaluating success or to put it another way, convince them that everything they think is wrong. Easy! (via jaketbrooks)
Ooof. Got our wires crossed in the Times reporting; comparisons are wrong. The Twitter/FB numbers are monthly; the Tumblr numbers are daily; for a straight comparison, should be 30,000 or so/month for Tumblr. That’s important because the level of engagement was much higher—with more than 1.2 million, Newsweek has 100x the numbers of followers on Twitter as it does on Tumblr, but was getting 10x more engagement from those Tumblr followers. That’s a significant number, I think.