The New Yorker’s take on the Obama gay marriage issue


http://apple.copydesk.org
By Charles Apple
Here’s the cover of next week’s issue of the New Yorker:

Artist Bob Staake writes about the cover:

It’s a celebratory moment for our country, and that’s what I tried to capture. (I don’t especially like those rainbow colors, but they are what they are—I had to use them.)

I wanted to celebrate the bravery of the President’s statement—a statementlong overdue—
but all the more appreciated in this political year.

A few samples of other cover illustrations Bob has done for the New Yorker: Leer más “The New Yorker’s take on the Obama gay marriage issue”

William Zinsser’s 5 tips for becoming a better writer

William Zinsser has spent a lifetime teaching people how to become better writers. Now at 88, the author of “On Writing Well” is just as much a student of the craft as he is a teacher.

He’s finding ways to remain relevant as a writer in a digital world because, as he says, he “doesn’t want to get stuck in the 20th century.” About a year ago, he decided to set up a personal website and start a weekly blog for the American Scholar. He still teaches at The New School and Columbia University‘s graduate school of journalism and spends much of his free time reading and writing in his New York City apartment.

In a recent phone interview, Zinsser talked with me about the craft and shared these five tips for journalists who want to grow as writers. [Más…]

Learn to take readers on a journey

Some of Zinsser’s favorite journalists are The New Yorker’s Mark Singer, Lawrence Wright and Jane Mayer, who he taught years ago at Yale University. He’s drawn to their work, he said, because they approach writing as an act of discovery.

“All writing to me is a journey. It’s saying to the reader, ‘Come along with me; I’ll take you on a voyage,’ ” Zinsser said. “These writers do that by never losing sight of the fact that they are telling a story.”

Too often, Zinsser said, people become so preoccupied with writing well that they clutter their stories with unnecessary words that lead readers astray. Good writers make every word count, and they avoid abstractions.

“Nobody wants abstractions,” Zinsser said. “They want specific details that help them discover something new.”


Mallary Jean Tenore by Mallary Jean Tenore
http://www.poynter.org/how-tos/newsgathering-storytelling/112132/william-zinssers-5-tips-for-becoming-a-better-writer/

William Zinsser has spent a lifetime teaching people how to become better writers. Now at 88, the author of “On Writing Well” is just as much a student of the craft as he is a teacher.

He’s finding ways to remain relevant as a writer in a digital world because, as he says, he “doesn’t want to get stuck in the 20th century.” About a year ago, he decided to set up a personal website and start a weekly blog for the American Scholar. He still teaches at The New School and Columbia University‘s graduate school of journalism and spends much of his free time reading and writing in his New York City apartment.

In a recent phone interview, Zinsser talked with me about the craft and shared these five tips for journalists who want to grow as writers. Leer más “William Zinsser’s 5 tips for becoming a better writer”

10 Social Media Marketing Ideas That The Experts Are Talking About

Social media is empowering startup brands and forcing established brands to create new measures of success for their campaigns. The day and a half I spent at the Social Media Strategies conference was a buffet of problems, solutions and more than a few predictions of what lies ahead for the advertising industry in the rapid evolving social media landscape.

My takeaways include restatement of social media marketing basics worthy of repetition and some fresh ideas for you to consider as you move your campaigns forward.

#1 — Social media is motivating brands to provide more responsive customer service

Several speakers expressed that it is essential that brands monitor social media conversations for complaints about their brands and suggesting the right “formula” of on-platform and behind-the-scenes resolution. It’s great that a consumer can voice his or her grievance on Twitter and get a rapid response. It stinks that so many brands have been failing for years to provide this respect for its customers via its support channels. If brands provide better service in response to a tweet than to a phone call, are we going to inadvertently create a culture of public “whining”?



Social media is empowering startup brands and forcing established brands to create new measures of success for their campaigns. The day and a half I spent at the Social Media Strategies conference was a buffet of problems, solutions and more than a few predictions of what lies ahead for the advertising industry in the rapid evolving social media landscape.

My takeaways include restatement of social media marketing basics worthy of repetition and some fresh ideas for you to consider as you move your campaigns forward.

#1 — Social media is motivating brands to provide more responsive customer service

Several speakers expressed that it is essential that brands monitor social media conversations for complaints about their brands and suggesting the right “formula” of on-platform and behind-the-scenes resolution. It’s great that a consumer can voice his or her grievance on Twitter and get a rapid response. It stinks that so many brands have been failing for years to provide this respect for its customers via its support channels. If brands provide better service in response to a tweet than to a phone call, are we going to inadvertently create a culture of public “whining”? Leer más “10 Social Media Marketing Ideas That The Experts Are Talking About”

Why the Internet Isn’t Making Us Stupid | V.I.A read! ;)

Nick Bilton lives in the future. But he knows the rest of us aren’t there yet, so he offers up I Live in the Future & Here’s How It Works — a book from his world on what we all might be in store for down the road. It’s a world The New York Times reporter and lead Bits blogger inhabits so fully it has gotten him in trouble at work (when he admitted publicly in 2009 that he doesn’t read the print edition of the newspaper) and into public spats, defending Twitter’s honor against New Yorker writer, George Packer. Bilton talks to TIME about what the media industry can learn from the porn industry, why you should let your kids play video games and why the Internet isn’t making us dumb.

Your book is called I Live in the Future…, so why print a paper book?
These analog models — they still work, for the most part. The perfect example of that is the fact that The New York Times sells a million copies of the print paper every day. So when I thought about what the best way was to get my message across a book format was the best way to do that. But I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just a book — that it was a fully interactive experience — on nickbilton.com you can watch videos that I’ve created, you can comment on chapters, things like that.

You provide a lot of counter-arguments to those things people always say about the Internet and technology. For one, why should you let your kids play video games?
They are incredibly good for our brains. They increase hand-eye coordination, they increase working memory, kids that play video games in a balanced way perform better on certain test scores. And to tell kids that they cannot have access to these technologies is essentially like telling a kid that they couldn’t read a book when the printing press came out. Not giving kids access to this stuff is going to hurt them in the long run.

That was quite a kerfuffle between you and George Packer [of the New Yorker] over Twitter. What are the takeaways?
This happened at the time when everyone was still defending Twitter or lambasting it. When I first started engaging with Packer I was a bit abrasive. I was fed up with the ‘Twitter is a waste of time’ line because it’s the complete opposite for many of us who use it. What happened after, as we started to discuss online, I came to understand completely where he was coming from. He was coming from a place where he is comfortable with his newspaper, the quiet car on the train, all of these things, and the idea of those things being taken away just didn’t make him feel good. What I really tried to do with that chapter in my book was to try and explain that, if you use it in the right way, Twitter can actually be extremely beneficial to the way you navigate content on the web. It’s understandable that people are afraid of it because it’s new, it’s different and it looks like this uncontrolled anarchy is taking place, but in reality it’s actually extremely useful.

You say you use Twitter as your own personal newspaper?


Nick Bilton lives in the future. But he knows the rest of us aren’t there yet, so he offers up I Live in the Future & Here’s How It Works — a book from his world on what we all might be in store for down the road. It’s a world The New York Times reporter and lead Bits blogger inhabits so fully it has gotten him in trouble at work (when he admitted publicly in 2009 that he doesn’t read the print edition of the newspaper) and into public spats, defending Twitter‘s honor against New Yorker writer, George Packer. Bilton talks to TIME about what the media industry can learn from the porn industry, why you should let your kids play video games and why the Internet isn’t making us dumb.

Your book is called I Live in the Future…, so why print a paper book?
These analog models — they still work, for the most part. The perfect example of that is the fact that The New York Times sells a million copies of the print paper every day. So when I thought about what the best way was to get my message across a book format was the best way to do that. But I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just a book — that it was a fully interactive experience — on nickbilton.com you can watch videos that I’ve created, you can comment on chapters, things like that.

You provide a lot of counter-arguments to those things people always say about the Internet and technology. For one, why should you let your kids play video games?
They are incredibly good for our brains. They increase hand-eye coordination, they increase working memory, kids that play video games in a balanced way perform better on certain test scores. And to tell kids that they cannot have access to these technologies is essentially like telling a kid that they couldn’t read a book when the printing press came out. Not giving kids access to this stuff is going to hurt them in the long run.

That was quite a kerfuffle between you and George Packer [of the New Yorker] over Twitter. What are the takeaways?
This happened at the time when everyone was still defending Twitter or lambasting it. When I first started engaging with Packer I was a bit abrasive. I was fed up with the ‘Twitter is a waste of time’ line because it’s the complete opposite for many of us who use it. What happened after, as we started to discuss online, I came to understand completely where he was coming from. He was coming from a place where he is comfortable with his newspaper, the quiet car on the train, all of these things, and the idea of those things being taken away just didn’t make him feel good. What I really tried to do with that chapter in my book was to try and explain that, if you use it in the right way, Twitter can actually be extremely beneficial to the way you navigate content on the web. It’s understandable that people are afraid of it because it’s new, it’s different and it looks like this uncontrolled anarchy is taking place, but in reality it’s actually extremely useful.

You say you use Twitter as your own personal newspaper? Leer más “Why the Internet Isn’t Making Us Stupid | V.I.A read! ;)”

Recognition: How the revolution IS being tweeted | [Abstract]

A little recognition goes a long way

That tiny sliver of recognition gave me the impetus to start looking into something I suspected at first was absurd, and it ended up changing my life. Without it, I might have gone on pursuing my career as a rational manager, continuing to do what everyone else was doing. I might have gone on thinking that storytelling was an interesting and clever trick, but nothing serious.

Einstein said, insightfully, “If at first an idea isn’t absurd, there is no hope for it.” Any really good, big new idea at first is going to seem absurd to the person who has stumbled on it. It takes courage to set aside conventional wisdom, to abandon what everyone knows to be true, and start pursuing a path that you and everyone else think is absurd. And yet a little recognition—even a sliver—can be the nudge that does the trick. Recognition can be the element that makes the difference between major innovation and passively going along with the flow.

What’s interesting is to note how slight the nudge of recognition was. It wasn’t a big fanfare or a public accolade. It was a quiet, private one-minute conversation with someone I had never met. True, it came from someone in an organization I viewed with respect. The conversation was merely a hint that I had stumbled on something that other people thought interesting, something worth looking into. And yet that slight nudge propelled me into action and changed my life, and ultimately, in a modest way, the entire world: unlike ten years ago, leadership storytelling is now a generally accepted part of the essential skills of a leader.

Why Malcolm Gladwell Got It Wrong

I am the biggest fan of Malcolm Gladwell’s writing. But his recent article in the New Yorker, “Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted” seriously underestimates the impact of even weak recognition. It was great news that he highlighted a wonderful book like The Dragonfly Effect by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith, but sad that he got it all so wrong.

First mistake: His argument is that the platforms of social media are built around weak ties. Twitter and Facebook connect people who may have never met.

The Internet lets us exploit the power of these kinds of distant connections with marvellous efficiency. It’s terrific at the diffusion of innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, seamlessly matching up buyers and sellers, and the logistical functions of the dating world. But weak ties seldom lead to high-risk activism.

This is where Gladwell makes his first mistake: “Weak ties seldom lead to high-risk activism.”

What he misses is that the difference between acting and not-acting is very slim.

Often people have ideas, have passion. All they may need is a little nudge to push them into action.

Second mistake: Gladwell correctly recognizes the weaknesses of networks:

Because networks don’t have a centralized leadership structure and clear lines of authority, they have real difficulty reaching consensus and setting goals. They can’t think strategically; they are chronically prone to conflict and error. How do you make difficult choices about tactics or strategy or philosophical direction when everyone has an equal say?

But what Gladwell misses is that networks can give individual leaders the confidence that comes from knowing that they are not alone. Their ideas may sound absurd, at first glance, but they are not crazy. They may give the innovative person the little nudge that they need to move into action.

Third mistake: Gladwell imputes views to “the evangelists of social media” that no sensible person ever held:

The evangelists of social media don’t understand this distinction; they seem to believe that a Facebook friend is the same as a real friend and that signing up for a donor registry in Silicon Valley today is activism in the same sense as sitting at a segregated lunch counter in Greensboro in 1960.

No sensible person ever equated friends on Facebook with real friends in person. This is straw man argumentation at its worst.

Fourth mistake: These poor enthusiasts of social media, he writes, just don’t understand:

Some of this grandiosity is to be expected. Innovators tend to be solipsists. They often want to cram every stray fact and experience into their new model.

The same objection has been made to every human invention since the wheel. “Everything is now different!” Well, yes. A certain amount of grandiosity is to be expected. And warranted. In fact, it’s the very grandiosity that we find in Gladwell’s own writing about innovation in The Tipping Point and all his other articles and books. Innovation does warrant some grandiosity.


(…)
Full article:
http://stevedenning.typepad.com/steve_denning/2010/10/recognition-how-the-revolution-is-being-tweeted.html

A little recognition goes a long way

That tiny sliver of recognition gave me the impetus to start looking into something I suspected at first was absurd, and it ended up changing my life. Without it, I might have gone on pursuing my career as a rational manager, continuing to do what everyone else was doing. I might have gone on thinking that storytelling was an interesting and clever trick, but nothing serious.

Einstein said, insightfully, “If at first an idea isn’t absurd, there is no hope for it.” Any really good, big new idea at first is going to seem absurd to the person who has stumbled on it. It takes courage to set aside conventional wisdom, to abandon what everyone knows to be true, and start pursuing a path that you and everyone else think is absurd. And yet a little recognition—even a sliver—can be the nudge that does the trick. Recognition can be the element that makes the difference between major innovation and passively going along with the flow.

What’s interesting is to note how slight the nudge of recognition was. It wasn’t a big fanfare or a public accolade. It was a quiet, private one-minute conversation with someone I had never met. True, it came from someone in an organization I viewed with respect. The conversation was merely a hint that I had stumbled on something that other people thought interesting, something worth looking into. And yet that slight nudge propelled me into action and changed my life, and ultimately, in a modest way, the entire world: unlike ten years ago, leadership storytelling is now a generally accepted part of the essential skills of a leader. Leer más “Recognition: How the revolution IS being tweeted | [Abstract]”