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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Redefining the Publisher: Why We Need Our Gatekeepers

What is a publisher? There are many definitions, both online and off, specific to music, books, other media, and more generally speaking. In the Oxford English Dictionary a publisher is defined as, “a person who makes something generally known; a person who declares or proclaims something publicly”, a definition with usage from 1453 through 1995. This is also a definition that is particularly pertinent to this discussion. More on that shortly, for there are also more nuanced definitions. Definitions that exist in a more ephemeral sense and that understand the term “publisher” in broader terms, connected to a reputation, whether like Harlequin or Del Rey as publishers of certain types of work, or like Penguin & Random House as big presses that publish and republish countless texts, or like small presses whose publics define them in a much more immediate way. In each case, the sense of “publisher” is one that involves an awareness of what to expect as a reader and has, therefore, an awareness of some kind of quality control. The OED definition of publisher above is one that does a wonderful job reflecting the commonly held notion of the digital age, that “everyone’s a publisher” in today’s networked landscape. However, it is lacking in the nuances and connotations that, I think make the need for a publisher even more important to the publics of the current landscape than ever before, a landscape that not only inhibits but seems to reject the very idea of the publisher. Take for example, Clay Shirky, who argues that, “Publishing is not evolving” and that, “Publishing is going away….[that] There’s a button that says ‘publish,’ and when you press it, it’s done.”
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Undead Print Publishing: Layar and the Future of Augmented Reality

Zombies eat brains, so I am sure you, dear publisher, will be A-Okay during this time of the apocalypse. In this life of print after the declaration of its death, it is much too easy to get nostalgic and believe we are beginning another Renaissance in publishing. wow. much potential. very scared. It is my opinion that we, the publishers of tomorrow, should stop looking for (or God forbid, try to invent) “the next printing press.” Let us discard notions of square pegs trying to fit in round holes (does no one see anything Freudian about this phrase?) and instead, let’s take a stab at anticipating what our readers want from their future reading experiences, and just give it to them. Continue reading “Undead Print Publishing: Layar and the Future of Augmented Reality”

for the love of bot, end already!

My initial plan was to actually write the whole remix/adaptation/whatever you want to call it implied by the title of James Bridle’s “We Fell in Love in a Coded Space” presentation, with links going out from lyrics to other articles dealing with things like code in semiotics and expanding on the theory of code/space and other like things.

But I didn’t understand it well enough to actually do that, so I decided to just awkwardly reference a bunch of stuff at the beginning of my post and let you wade through them, or not, as you were inclined.

Job done.

Except for the point-making part, I mean. Continue reading “for the love of bot, end already!”

The Social Life of Links: Network Influence and the New Economy of Discourse

The Hyperlink, Contained

There was a time when “hypertext” was a thing that people talked about. It was a novel discursive adventure to create and explore documents with multiple access points. The form bred another term we rarely hear today: “hyperlink.” The word “link” no longer requires a qualifier. It is a fundamental part of our daily digital lives that has been imbued with cultural significance. Through a gradual evolution it has become an essential component of discourse on the web, taking on its own rhetorical function. In the social world of blogs and tumblogs (Kottke) a link signifies any number of things beyond a single author’s original intent.

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The Meaning of ‘Quality’

The imagined communities of FanFiction.Net don’t care what you think is good writing—they have their own stipulations for ‘quality’

Tori Elliott

Quality writing—it’s what all writers strive to produce and all editors hope to acquire.  It helps authors get published, compels readers to comment, and persuades juries to hand out awards. But what is ‘quality’? As a writer, I can tell you that there is no concrete answer to that question. Quality can be determined based on personal preference, popular opinion, or prescribed conditions. It is an elusive concept and, as John Maxwell has stated, it is entirely relative.

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Governing the Internet: Why Publishers Need Net Neutrality

Open access to the Internet presents a sense of online freedom for both users and content providers, but a recent legal ruling could mean the end of that. Since 2011, the FCC has adopted a set of Open Internet regulations to ensure fair access to all web content. However, in January 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the DC circuit ruled against the regulations set forth by the FCC, creating a potential future where net neutrality will cease to exist (Roberts, 2014). Aside from the threat against net neutrality, one takeaway from this case is that the parameters for net neutrality need to be clearly and carefully expressed in order to ensure that the Internet remains a public democratic space. Though the ramifications of the 2014 ruling will not be immediate, an Internet without net neutrality means a damaging influence on how users and content providers, including publishers, engage with the online world. Continue reading “Governing the Internet: Why Publishers Need Net Neutrality”

Grumpy Cat: The Modern Achilles


How Memes are Actually Classical Tradition and How Publishers Are Killing Them Regardless


N.B. In the context of this essay, ‘meme’ refers specifically to internet memes and oral tradition refers specifically to that of the Ancient Greeks.

How could an unhappy looking cat be comparable to the greatest Greek hero? Achilles and Grumpy Cat are much more similar than they first appear. They come from traditions, Ancient Greek oral tradition and internet memes respectively, that are mirror images of each other.  Continue reading “Grumpy Cat: The Modern Achilles”

Transmedia Is the Wonderland of Opportunity: Exploring Transmedia Story Stream as a viable model in transmedia publishing

Transmedia storytelling is a term used to describe an interactive story that exists on multiple platforms. The narrative is complemented by a photo gallery, a game, a movie, or all of the above. Often transmedia storytelling includes community building and gamification. (As described by Technology Advice,  is the process of adding game mechanics to an activity to influence user behaviour.) The purpose of video, audio, and gaming elements is bring a story world to life. No longer are our imaginations the sole place we can explore these story worlds.

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What in the Word?: Why WordPress is Considered ‘the’ Content Management System

Everyone is expected to be an expert in the job market. If you’re an editor, you’re expected to have design skills. A finance aficionado? You’ll probably have to have some marketing skills. One skill that has become even more integral to every field is the ability to create, manipulate, and develop web content.

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