TechCrunch: RSS is undead.

Another enormous challenge is discovery and curation. How exactly do you find good RSS feeds? Once you have found them, how do you group and prune them over time to maximize signal?

This is the weirdest article on RSS I've ever read. Dead? Hardly. Dead means *gone*. RSS has never been gone. Twitter and other social channels have the significant problem of meta-posts during crises, signal obscured by increasing noise, making it impossible to follow breaking stories. RSS, you can clear the hash fast and drill right down to the info. Has he ever actually USED an aggregator? And dear God, he wants to *brand* RSS feeds. That's the whole beauty. All signal, no noise. I used to curate over 1000 unfocused feeds, which I wisely chivvied down to 370 tightly focused ones (though I'm adding more at the moment, trying to range away from politics). I have no problems curating and culling, either in Newsblur or Reeder. Never had problems in NetNewsWire, either. You can categorize in Newsblur, and most news orgs allow you to use niche-focus RSS feeds, so you don't have to parse their firehoses. I get RSS subscriber stats in *Squarespace*, even. Any inaccuracies in subscriber counts are the fault of cloud services, as I understand it - not RSS itself.

Really, TC. Where did you find this guy? 

Later: Speaking of which, Anil had a bizarre tweet the other day, making it sound like the death of Google Reader threw people over to Facebook - if I understand his tweet properly. Anil is always dead-on, so this confused me. Just before Reader croaked, I asked compadres what I should switch to, and chose Newsblur. Exported my OPML from Google, imported into Newsblur, and didn't miss a beat. If some "media maker" people lost their access to RSS aggregation, I wonder about their ability to perform their jobs creditably. Sure, we had to pony up, but that's the way of the world these days. The cost is a pittance. And no, Facebook is NOT a replacement for RSS. It's not even a replacement for AOL (HAH). Twitter is not a replacement for RSS either, though news orgs are prioritizing their Tweets over RSS update frequencies (waiting for full articles or paragraphs to be written/edited/approved), so for immediacy during crises, it's good to check both Twitter and RSS interchangeably ... at least until the Twitter noise obscures any discernible facts.

Remember my random blogging nights?

Anyone remember I used to do crazy word-association, free-range evenings? Odd links, for about an hour or two? Hits and misses, as usual. I give you:

Ancient Roman Burritos.
Eskimo Buddha.
Surfing Madonna Bricks.
Eyeball Pinball.
Sausage Cats.
Old World Anvils.
Toothpicks are more dangerous than sharks.
You’re on vacation in Bora Bora and you hear a droning ...
Gérard Thibault d’Anvers and the Mysterious Circle.
Reminiscences of a Bengal Civilian.
How to use Zheng Gu Shui (I do).
Headrick Memorial Museum.
Uncle Jumbo was a rapist.
World’s longest dreadlocks.
Hampster Dance! (Someone preserved it on video. Theme song of early Manila blogging.)
Black Lodge Singers: Ask Your Mom For Fifty Cents.
Toys of the ’70’s. (My Vertibird!)

Enough silliness. This particular reflex is a little stiff in the joints. I'll have to do it again. Tonight I found too many interesting tangents and just wanted to read them myself! Enjoy your evening.

Linkblogging.

I see some are doing linkblogs. My goodness, what quaint little attempts. You’re cute. I can bury you without even thinking. Fifteen minutes, timer starting now.

SeattlePI: Couple beat 4 yr old to death over spilled cereal. Proportionality?
Slate: The balanced budget amendment is deeply stupid. Obvious.
Axios: Trump still believes trade wars are easy to win. Speaking of deeply stupid.
CBS: Assault weapons ban doesn’t violate 2nd Amendment, judge says. The militia clause wasn’t a placeholder.
NYT: Markets Tumble Again. @&$^%$@%
History Today: The Lost Classics. To play ancient Greek music, perchance to hear songs of the muses.
Wirecutter: Best nonstick pan. I’ve bought too many, thrown away too many.
Capital & Main: Study: Forced Arbitration Contracts Cover 60 Million Workers. Arbitration sucks. You want a jury.
SLYT: The First Purge - Official Trailer.
New Scientist: Wasps drum with their stomachs to tell each other about food. Beat to eat.
Hyperallergic: How corporations harness – and hijack – the idea of the Museum. “Museum”, going the way of “curation”?
CBS: Sessions orders "zero tolerance" policy on illegal border crossings. There go the raft concessions on the Rio. And the ranchers will lose their wandering cows.
SeattlePI/AP: Yosemite will close on Friday. Expected floods.
New Yorker: The Revolutionary Genius of Cecil Taylor. Try Love For Sale [Spotify].
Facebook: Making Ads and Pages More Transparent. Repairing the chicken coop after the foxes got in, part 25.
CBS: Teens bored with their smartphones. YES! YES! Go out and experience reality.
The Nation: The murder of Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll has exposed 2 toxic racisms in France. “… and no religion, too.”
Chronicle of Higher Ed: Have Academics Finally Found the Perfect Meme? If’n you ain’t got the ‘stache …

Done. And that was just with one update in Newsblur. I'd manage even more volume if I was still using my old workflow with MarsEdit. Don't mess. Do better, if you're going to offer a linkblog. My beat in the '00's, to the tune of 60+/day, no compensation, in my spare time. I learned hoity-toity 'curation' by doing. It is now the way my grey matter sees things.

"Interestingness" + value-add.

You need more than just being first to the info; that's a no-win situation. There'll always be someone there before you, and then all you end up being is a manual RSS poster. If all you have is immediacy, and you can't guarantee it, what do you have? Your followers may respond to it, but you will start bleeding them eventually. 

The value-add must first and foremost be perspicacity, and then textured by character, voice of experience, authenticity and wit. Cultural references where appropriate. The wit should be as satisfying as a great wrist-snap when throwing a Frisbee. The audience should feel your archness, envision that raised eyebrow and inquiring look. Euan used to tease me about my rather 'painful concision'. I prefer to add more context these days - Rafe asked me to, way back, and I broke through my mental barriers to accommodate.

TechCrunch: Facebook plans to let everyone unsend messages, will stop Zuckerberg until then.

Facebook retracted his chats, and is now trying to normalize the behavior.

If you post to the internet outside of the courage of your convictions, then you're better off dead if you haven't yet died. Said before, will probably say again. We 'old schoolers' had an unwritten code, you never ever touched your archives after publishing. Zuck's behavior breaks what I consider a moral imperative. Expanding it to others, is just promoting a terrible precedent. What's next, altering history books? Serious slippery slope here. Electronic publishing makes the alteration of past works idiotically simple.

Kickstarter: Relaunching Pitas.com, a 20-year old blogging community.

There's an effort to revive Pitas, for the 20th anniversary of 'my generation' of bloggers next year. I remember tapping quite a few well-written pieces there over the years. Having been on Manila at the time, Pitas was the second place I'd go look for content after the 'usual suspect' Blogger sites.

Mashable: Millennials have created a form of written English that's as expressive as spoken English.

While we're abandoning capitals for things that typically always required them, we're using them to add emphasis or humour to written sentences.

[Autoplay audio/video] Um, I was doing this here fifteen years ago, copying the '90's experiments of the graphic artists of NYC. To play with emphasis and priority. Bugged the crap out of many readers. I dropped it because the style started bleeding over into my business writing, and the effort to turn the two styles off and on was getting onerous.

And I'm at the tail end of the Boomers.

Just plain mean-spirited.

Ever notice, if you click on a Washington Post article in an RSS aggregator, you can read the title, read the summary ... but if you open the page, WaPo takes you to their home page (washingtonpost.com) for their $1 access fee 'ask', with the page you want barely visible and the actual specific URL obliterated? If you don't pony up, you can't even grab the URL to the article unless you dig back in your RSS feed (time consuming).

Bloggers used to be a value-add, bringing more eyeballs in. Bah. I'm going to drop WaPo from my NEWS list, to my PROBATION list.

Another prime source of good info out of reach. I used to post based on their summaries; now it'll take too much time. Another that I have to observe, then triangulate second-quality sources to try to attract eyeballs with. We still have AP, though the writing's uneven.

I have no problems with news orgs charging for access. They could offer some creative methods for bloggers like myself to access their wares, but I suppose blogs like mine are dodo birds in this day and age. I do not pay for subscriptions because I want to accommodate all my readers, affluent or not. It is getting hard, very hard to find and use quality free sources. I strongly feel that as a voting citizen of the US, a human on this changing globe, a certain 'minimum' amount of news should be free. You shouldn't have to pony up $10/month ... or even $1 for a digital peek ... to find out Kim's launched a missile at your home town, or Vlad's made someone local a big (glowing) green salad.

Thank goodness for the Guardian in Britain. I just contributed. You should, too.

Nice Marmot: Gloom and Doom.

It's viewing negativity bias with negativity bias, and sharing that view as a positive.

I get exhausted from nonstop 'happy-happy, joy-joy', esp. on Instagram. Martin Seligman, in his book Learned Optimism pointed out that while optimists are happier overall, pessimists see the world most accurately.

Much to ponder in that simple conclusion. Authentic and somewhat cynical, or fantasy and happy?

'Course that's an older book. YMMV.

Apollo Magazine: Are undergraduate degrees in curating useful?

Curating is contextual. It is about grasping and interpreting a set of knowledge that needs to be understood before thinking about curating: art practice and history. An undergraduate degree in curating offers plenty of context but little content to contextualise.

You have to do the thing you're curating, before you curate. Apply to weblogging, you'll understand why I lament the sabbaticals and disappearances of the great voices of the past. For instance, during election season, I felt the loss of John, "The Curmudgeon Who Teaches Statistics" blog. How valuable a voice to 'curate' his way through the methane of the time, and help us make sense of all the numbers being thrown at us?