Categories
Thinking

Overlooked Culture

Maybe I’m fol­low­ing the wrong peo­ple on social media, but has the word “over­looked” lost all mean­ing as it per­tains to cul­ture? It seems to me that when we’re still print­ing spoil­er alerts for ten-year-old TV shows that “over­looked” has lost all explana­to­ry pow­er. Now when I see that word in a review, I roll my eyes. Chances are the reviews are just as over­looked as the cul­ture they describe, if not more­so.

Sure, with­in your niche the new records from Vam­pire Week­end or the Nation­al may be on every­one’s lips, but it’s a safe bet that the word of mouth out­paces actu­al con­sump­tion of that par­tic­u­lar cul­tur­al arti­fact. You may per­ceive that those records have gone main­stream, but the real­i­ty is your neigh­bor has nev­er heard either band.

There’s def­i­nite­ly a bright side to this; with this shift, it appears to me at least that snob­bery los­es in the bar­gain. The on demand nature of cul­ture now enables any­one curi­ous enough to book­mark those things men­tal­ly and nar­rows the gap between the expert and the novice. More­over, we’ve done away with the cul­tur­al mono­liths that once dom­i­nat­ed the pop cul­tur­al land­scape that allow us to gath­er around real and imag­ined water cool­ers for dis­cus­sion and debate.

But how do crit­ics describe this shift as the pace of cul­tur­al cre­ation plows under what came before? Blink and you could miss the next cul­tur­al epicy­cle. Has cul­ture been mar­gin­al­ized or per­son­al­ized? Can any­thing be described as ephemer­al, or were we just always talk­ing to our­selves, the myth of mono­cul­ture just anoth­er imag­ined com­mu­ni­ty peo­pled exclu­sive­ly by elites?

Categories
Thinking

Saying Goodbye to Port Fishington

When Helen and I first set­tled in Port Fish­ing­ton six years ago, we thought we’d made a bad deci­sion. We’d moved from a vibrant, bustling street in Pennsport to a des­o­late block above York Street. We found lots of vacant hous­es and even less to eat. It was­n’t scary; the neigh­bors were friend­ly and wel­com­ing. They plant­ed the tree in front of our house for a few bucks and a case of beer! But we still felt like we’d left the place we loved for a place we could afford. That feel­ing of buy­er’s remorse was hard to ignore.

Now that we’re get­ting ready to say good­bye to Philadel­phia, we know we made the right choice mov­ing here. This neigh­bor­hood flour­ished since we moved here, with fan­tas­tic new restau­rants to go along with the music scene. We’ve been spoiled by hav­ing Greens­grow Farm around the cor­ner. If you’d told me then that Stephen Starr would have not one, but two restau­rants here, I would’ve laughed in your face. And then it hap­pened. Heck, I intro­duced the #toomany­gas­trop­ubs hash­tag as a tongue-in-cheek com­plaint about our restau­rant boun­ty.

We loved it so much, we start­ed a fam­i­ly here. Char­lie loves it, too! We’ve played count­less games on the side­walk in front of our house, say­ing hel­lo to every­one who smiles at him as they pass. We made Mem­phis Tap­room our liv­ing room away from home. We con­vinced our friends to move here, too! We’ve made great mem­o­ries here. Port Fish­ing­ton’s been good to us. We’re going to miss this place when we go.

Categories
Thinking

Renewing My iPhone Vows

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve had an iPhone for near­ly 5 years. I’ve late­ly noticed more of my friends are switch­ing to Android, and I’ve read a num­ber of arti­cles about blog­gers cut­ting ties with Apple. Would I join them in 2013? Could I break free from famil­iar iOS apps and move to Android?

Turns out I won’t be mak­ing the switch. I’d dialed in on the Droid DNA. I’ve been research­ing it for weeks, watch­ing YouTube videos, read­ing reviews and talk­ing to friends who’ve been try­ing to get me to move to Android for a while. I was con­vinced this was the phone for me. More­over, I’ve recom­mit­ted to Google on iOS in a big way. Throw in Google Now and I was sure I’d switch.

And yet I won’t. Why?

I had no idea how much I’d grown to love the iPhone form fac­tor. I’ve seen the “feels good in the hand” meme, but there’s some­thing to it. I just could­n’t switch to some­thing that felt like a less­er prod­uct, know­ing full well the specs are off the chart.

Instead I’m choos­ing to stick with the iPhone when I upgrade and switch to Ver­i­zon. With that in mind, what are the apps you can’t live with­out? I’m com­mit­ting to Ever­note, blog­ging with Poster (it’s great!), lov­ing YouTube and I can’t say enough good things about Zee­box, a great app Com­cast invest­ed in last year. Rec­om­mend your favorites and sug­gest good blogs, Twit­ter accounts, YouTube chan­nels and pod­casts that you fol­low to stay up with the lat­est and great­est.

Categories
Thinking

The Realtime Gratification Gap

I wrote my last post about a per­son­al con­tent strat­e­gy months ago. I don’t even know how many times I’ve tweet­ed over that time. Giz­mo­do asked its read­ers if they still main­tain per­son­al blogs, acknowl­edg­ing all the ways oth­er ser­vices have filled the space blogs once monop­o­lized. It’s a ques­tion that fills me with dread.

I mourn the loss of a vibrant per­son­al blog­ging com­mu­ni­ty, but then again, every­one I used to fol­low got jobs blog­ging. And while I find real­time com­mu­ni­ca­tion fun, there’s a grat­i­fi­ca­tion gap between tweet­ing and long­form per­son­al writ­ing for me. I find writ­ing to be a cathar­tic expe­ri­ence and I used to draw inspi­ra­tion from my favorite blog­gers that drove me to write in a way that was dif­fer­ent than read­ing the news­pa­per or a mag­a­zine. I bet I’m not alone in that, but most of my peers quit their per­son­al blogs, too.

When I say grat­i­fi­ca­tion gap, I’m talk­ing about how blog com­ments showed more appre­ci­a­tion for the work than a fave or retweet. Grant­ed, reach has explod­ed with those real­time social expe­ri­ences, but it’s also divorced the work from painstak­ing­ly build­ing an audi­ence that looks for­ward to a piece of writ­ing. I used to be so encour­aged by those expe­ri­ences. In fact, I still find myself thank­ing friends who take the time to write. I miss root­ing for my writ­ing friends as much as I miss them root­ing for me.

Do you still write your per­son­al blog? Where do you draw inspi­ra­tion? If not, do you miss blog­ging, or is this just nos­tal­gia for, um, 2003?

Categories
Thinking

Why You Need a Personal Content Strategy

Scoble’s post on scal­able liv­ing offers some inter­est­ing insight into how peo­ple use social plat­forms to com­mu­ni­cate with audi­ences. What I find most inter­est­ing are his views on the role of Face­book in how he shares con­tent. Here’s a key pas­sage from what he wrote:

So, what role does a blog have in this new world. It cer­tain­ly is NOT cen­tral­iz­ing my life. Face­book is — by far — the best place to do that. This morn­ing alone I lis­tened to sev­er­al songs in the car. Do you real­ly want me to post every time that hap­pens here? No way. But on Face­book that’s eas­i­ly dealt with. Even bet­ter Face­book usu­al­ly fil­ters that stuff out and Face­book gets bet­ter over time at fig­ur­ing out what you want to engage with and what you don’t. If you saw every­thing I did on my pro­file come through on your home feed you would unfol­low with­in an hour. Instead 330,000 new peo­ple in the past year alone have sub­scribed to me on Face­book. Why? It’s scal­able liv­ing and hav­ing great inbound makes life more inter­est­ing.

Now, Scoble is an edge case, to put it mild­ly. Few of us com­mu­ni­cate on social plat­forms with even a frac­tion of the peo­ple who fol­low him. But how many of us would even con­sid­er using Face­book to share con­tent that’s relat­ed to our work as social media pro­fes­sion­als? Would your friends be inter­est­ed in your views on Google+? I doubt it. I know mine would­n’t.

Most of what Scoble dis­cuss­es is how we share and con­sume infor­ma­tion. He notes that Face­book’s algo­rithm helps you make choic­es about what you see and what you don’t. That’s not true of oth­er plat­forms and if you’re like me, you don’t mind infor­ma­tion over­load. But have you giv­en much thought to how you share con­tent?