Streamlining Our Lives

“No moment in technology history has ever been more exciting or dangerous than now. The Internet is like a new computer running a flashy, exciting demo. We have been entranced by this demo for fifteen years. But now it is time to get to work, and make the Internet do what we want it to.” – David Gelernter, “Time to Start Taking the Internet Seriously.” The Edge. (2010).

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Out of Quantity comes Quality (or what Publishers can offer Self-Publishers)

As the volume of self-published works continues to grow exponentially, research by book data analysts at Bowker suggest that the number of self-published titles has increased by 422% since 2007, and as the tools to do so increase in popularity and ability, with platforms from Amazon and Smashword providing full self-publishing services, publishers are increasingly being called into question to defend not just their position, but their existence. In a world where the number of books is increasing exponentially, I argue that the traditional publishing house will become an identifier for quality.

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Untangling the Ephemeral Web: The Value of Transient Content

In 2009, the year before I bought my first smartphone, I read 53 books. Today, it feels like I am reading more than ever, but last year’s book list—a fraction of my previous consumption—suggests otherwise. Dozens of tomes have been replaced by thousands of online articles: of-the-moment content from sources like FastCo, The Cut, and the Atlantic Cities. They all hit somewhere between entertaining and informative, and they’re almost always out of date by tomorrow.

The internet is prime breeding ground for ephemeral content. With an infinity of information and a glut of sources, we’ve come to prefer our publications in quickly digestible format. It’s how our favourite online “news” sources keep up with the advertiser demand for thousands and thousands of pageviews: they create more, smaller bites of fast content, and we are happy to take the bait.

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