robertogreco + marcoarment   15

The end of Big Twitter - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis
"This is exactly right. I have found that my greatest frustrations with Twitter come not from people who are being nasty — though there are far too many of them — but from people who just misunderstand. They reply questioningly or challengingly to a tweet without reading any of the preceding or succeeding tweets that would give it context, or without reading the post that it links to. They take jokes seriously — Oh Lord do they take jokes seriously. And far too often they don’t take the time to formulate their responses with care and so write tweets that I can’t make sense of at all. And I don’t want to have to deal with all this. I just want to sit here on the porch and have a nice chat with my friends and neighbors.

But wait. I’m not on the porch anymore. I’m in the middle of Broadway.

So I’m doing what, it seems to me, many people are doing: I’m getting out of the street. I’ll keep my public account for public uses: it’ll be a place where I can link to posts like this one, or announce any event that’s of general interest. But what I’ve come to call Big Twitter is simply not a place for conversation any more.

I don’t like this change. I made friends — real friends — on Twitter when it was a place for conversation. I reconnected with people I had lost touch with. Whole new realms of knowledge were opened to me. I don’t want to foreclose on the possibility of further discovery, but the signal-to-noise ration is so bad now that I don’t think I could pick out the constructive and interesting voices from all the mean-spiritedness and incomprehension; and so few smart people now dare to use Twitter in the old open way.

Big Twitter was great — for a while. But now it’s over, and it’s time to move on. I’m just hoping that some smart people out there are learning from what went wrong and developing social networks that can strengthen the signal and silence the noise."

[More here:

"1) I had forgotten, but this piece by Robinson Meyer and Adrienne LaFrance got at many of the issues I talk about, and did it some months ago.

2) I keep hearing from people that they like Big Twitter just fine. Awesome! Then they should keep using it. (This is a genre of response that has always puzzled me. You see it when people say that they’re having trouble with a piece of software or a web service, and others reply “It’s working great for me!” How is that relevant, exactly? If I tell you I broke my arm are you going to tell me that your arm is just fine?) As I said, I want to spend more time in my living room and less time on the street. If you prefer being in the street, that’s definitely what you should do.

3) Some folks are worried that they won’t know what’s going on in the world — or in some particular corner of it — if they leave Twitter. But consider this: if it’s knowledge you want, then one of the best services Twitter provides to you is linkage: links that take you to places on the open web where ideas are developed at some length. So instead of relying on Twitter to mediate that, why not use an RSS reader and subscribe to a bunch of worthwhile sites? Cut out the middleman, I say. Plus, by using RSS you liberate yourself to some degree from dependence on proprietary services and get back to the open web. As Brent Simmons recently commented,
My blog’s older than Twitter and Facebook, and it will outlive them. It has seen Flickr explode and then fade. It’s seen Google Wave and Google Reader come and go, and it’ll still be here as Google Plus fades. When Medium and Tumblr are gone, my blog will be here.

The things that will last on the internet are not owned. Plain old websites, blogs, RSS, irc, email.

And when I say “use RSS” I mean “use it in its original, open form”: technically speaking, Twitter is little more than proprietary RSS.

4) The past few months have been for me a season of cutting back and cutting down. In addition to my general-if-not-absolute absence from Big Twitter, I stopped reading the New York Times, and have reworked my RSS feeds to feature less news-of-the-moment and more stuff that could have longer-term value. I’ve been reading more books and longer articles. This has all been good.

5) Finally, one interesting (to me) bit of self-reporting: I have missed Big Twitter at certain moments, and most of them have occurred when I’ve thought of something to say that I think is funny. I want to tweet my witticism and then sit back and wait for retweets and faves. That’s pathetic, of course; but good for me to know."]
alanjacobs  twitter  2014  convresation  frankchimero  marcoarment  news  rss  understanding  misunderstanding  bigtwitter  provatetwitter  robinsonmeyer 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Subcompact Publishing — by Craig Mod
"A Subcompact Manifesto

Subcompact Publishing tools are first and foremost straightforward.

They require few to no instructions.

They are easily understood on first blush.

The editorial and design decisions around them react to digital as a distribution and consumption space.

They are the result of dumping our publishing related technology on a table and asking ourselves — what are the core tools we can build with all this stuff?

They are, as it were, little N360s.

I propose Subcompact Publishing tools and editorial ethos begin (but not end) with the following qualities:

• Small issue sizes (3-7 articles / issue)
• Small file sizes
• Digital-aware subscription prices
• Fluid publishing schedule
• Scroll (don’t paginate)
• Clear navigation
• HTML(ish) based
• Touching the open web

Many of these qualities play off one another. Let’s look at them in detail.

Small issue sizes
I’ve written quite a bit about creating a sense of ‘edge’ in digital space. One of the easiest and most intuitive ways to do so is to limit the amount of data you present to the user.12

It’s much more difficult for someone to intuit the breadth of a digital magazine containing twenty articles than a digital magazine containing, for example, five. By keeping article number low this also helps decrease file size and simplify navigation.

Small file size
Speed is grossly undervalued in much of today’s software — digital magazines inclusive. Speed (and with it a fluid and joyful user experience) should be the thing you absolutely optimize for once you have a minimum viable product.

One way to bake speed into a publishing product is to keep issue file sizes as small as possible. This happens naturally when you limit the number of articles per issue.

Reasonable subscription prices
Ideally, digital subscription prices should reflect the cost of doing business as a digitally indigenous product, not the cost of protecting print subscriptions. This is yet another advantage digital-first publications have — unlike print publications transitioning to digital, there is no legacy infrastructure to subsidize during this transition.

Fluid publishing schedule
With smaller issue sizes comes more fluid publishing schedules. Again, to create a strong sense of edge and understanding, the goal isn’t to publish ten articles a day, but rather to publish just a few high-quality articles with a predictable looseness. Depending on the type of content you’re publishing, days can feel too granular, and months require the payload to be too large. Weeks feel just about right in digital.

Scroll (for now)
When I originally presented these ideas at the Books in Browsers conference in 2012, the dismissal of pagination was by far the most contentious point. I don’t mean to imply all pagination is bad. Remember — we’re outlining the very core of Subcompact Publishing. Anything extraneous or overly complex should be excised.

I’ve spent the last two and half years deconstructing scrolling and pagination on tablets and smartphones. If your content is formless, then you might be able to paginate with minimal effort. Although, probably not.

Certain kinds of pagination increase the complexity of an application by orders of magnitude. The engineering efforts required to produce beautiful, simple, indigenous, consistent — and fast — pagination are simply too high to belong in the subcompact space.

Furthermore, when you remove pagination, you vastly simplify navigation and thereby simplify users’ mental models around content.

No pagination is vastly superior to pagination done poorly.

Clear navigation
Navigation should be consistent and effortless. Subcompact Publishing applications don’t require complex how-to pages or tutorials. You shouldn’t have to hire a famous actor to show readers how to use the app with his nose. Much like a printed magazine or book, the interaction should be intuitive, effortless, and grounding. The user should never feel lost.

By limiting the number of articles per issue, and by removing pagination, many of the routes leading to complex navigation are also removed.

HTML(ish) based
When I say HTML I also mean EPUB or MOBI or any other format with an HTML pedigree. HTML has indisputably emerged as the future format for all text (and perhaps also interactive) content. By constraining Subcompact Publishing systems to HTML we bake portability and future-proofness into the platforms. We also minimize engineering efforts because most all computing devices come with high-quality HTML rendering engines built in.

Open web
Simply: whatever content is published on a tablet should have a corresponding, touchable home on the open web.

Content without a public address is non-existent in the eyes of all the inter-operable sharing mechanisms that together bind the web."
craigmod  publishing  epublishing  magazines  themagazine  writing  digital  design  2012  digitalpublishing  html  html5  matter  joshuabenton  touch  mobilephone  ios  iphone  ipad  skeuomorphs  openweb  scrolling  pagination  navigation  tablets  claytonchristensen  davidskok  jamesallsworth  marcoarment 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Right versus pragmatic –
"They never tried that. They just kept posting more signs, because they were convinced that they were right.

This pattern is common. We often try to fight problems by yelling at them instead of accepting the reality of what people do, from controversial national legislation to passive-aggressive office signs. Such efforts usually fail, often with a lot of collateral damage, much like Prohibition and the ongoing “war” on “drugs”.

And, more recently (and with much less human damage), media piracy.

Big media publishers think they’re right to keep fighting piracy at any cost because they think it’s costing them a lot of potential sales.

It is, but not as many as they think, and not for the reasons they think…

Relying solely on yelling about what’s right isn’t a pragmatic approach for the media industry to take. And it’s not working."
tv  television  embargo  prohibition  rightandwrong  beingright  pragmatism  behavior  2012  marcoarment  oatmeal  gameofthrones  psychology  piracy  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
The next SOPA –
"MPAA studios hate us…w/ region locks…unskippable screens…encryption…criminalization of fair use…see us as stupid eyeballs w/ wallets, & they are entitled to constant stream of our money. They despise us…certainly don’t respect us.

Yet when we watch their movies, we support them.

Even if we don’t watch their movies in a theater or buy their plastic discs of hostility, we’re still supporting them…on Netflix or other flat-rate streaming or rental services, the service effectively pays them on our behalf next time they negotiate rights or buy another disc…if we pirate their movies, we’re contributing to statistics that help them convince Congress these destructive laws are necessary.

They use our support to buy these laws.

…instead of waiting for MPAA’s next law & changing our Twitter avatars for a few days in protest, it would be more productive to significantly reduce or eliminate our support of the MPAA member companies starting today, and start supporting campaign finance reform."
legal  law  us  lobbying  copyright  corruption  campaignfinance  politics  miaa  pipa  sopa  2012  marcoarment 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Celebrity –
"In addition to inspiring me to be a better writer and inadvertently killing my conference-presentation confidence for a year, this famous little 2009 SXSW session leveled my juvenile notion of celebrity. After the talk, since I wasn’t allowed to leave, I was introduced to many more great people famous for their blog, software, humor, or music,3 and it went similarly well with all of them.

Among people who are well-known to subsets of internet geeks, nobody’s walking around with entourages or bodyguards…At the end of the day you still go outside and nobody knows who you are.”

…It turns out that we’re all just regular people who like similar things and are in the same little circle of interest.

So next time you’re at a geeky conference and have an opportunity to meet someone whose work you admire, just go up and introduce yourself, because they’re just a regular person, they never get “recognized” during the other 360 days each year, & they’ll probably really appreciate it."
marcoarment  celebrity  conferences  writing  merlinmann  adamlisagor  johngruber  instapaper  sxsw  daringfireball  2011  2009  presentations  introverts  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco Commented Out –
"Comments have always been a dysfunctional medium. They solve a real problem: authors’ need for validation, criticism, and feedback. But they solve it in a way that discourages civility and following up, and encourages hatred and spam.

To address the same problem that comments solve, I post links to my articles on Twitter, read my responses there, and react if necessary. This has most of the value of ideal comments, but with very few of the drawbacks."
commenting  tumblr  twitter  blogs  blogging  2011  marcoarment  khoivinh  civility  feedback  onetoone  conversation  follow-up  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco - How Democrats Can Become Relevant Again (And Rescue the Nation While They're At It)
"For the first 2 years of Obama administration, I kept waiting, giving them & Congressional Dems benefit ofdoubt they know what they’re doing…we’re destined to start seeing positive change soon, right?<br />
<br />
I’m not holding my breath.<br />
<br />
Assuming the health of our country continues to crumble, as it seems destined to do, I don’t blame Republicans. They’re doing a masterful job of using financial influence & narrative techniques to accomplish long-term goals & never meaningfully lose any power. I don’t see them facing many significant political losses in our lifetimes…I can’t blame them for trying to win and succeeding.<br />
I blame the Democrats. It’s their fault for constantly losing, bickering so much amongst themselves that even when they’re technically in power, they’re really not.<br />
Welcome to the USA. You can choose between the Republicans & the Republicans. One pretends to care about religion, & the other pretends to be a vague alternative to the first."
marcoarment  republicans  democrats  barackobama  policy  us  politics  2011  from delicious
march 2011 by robertogreco - Readability's new service
"new Readability service: you pay a small fee each month, & they give most of the proceeds to the authors of the pages you choose (by using Readability bookmarklet on them, or adding them in other ways). It’s a great way for readers to support web publishers, big & small, directly & automatically…<br />
<br />
Instapaper will soon provide an option to send logs of your reading activity to your Readability account if you have one, so pages you read in Instapaper will give “credit” to the publishers.<br />
<br />
I’ve created a special Readability edition of the Instapaper iPhone & iPad app to serve as Readability’s official mobile app, due out in the near future.<br />
<br />
I’m an advisor to the company.<br />
<br />
Trust me, these guys really know their stuff, & their heads are in the right place: there are no sinister motives or shady practices. It works exactly the way you’d expect, & is one of the most positive, constructive efforts I’ve seen in the online publishing world in a long time."
instapaper  readability  media  publishing  micropayments  longform  marcoarment  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco - For the First Time, the TSA Meets Resistance
"I’m starting to understand some of the Tea Party anger. It’s grossly misdirected, but there are understandable reasons to look around at our country and wonder what the hell has gotten into everyone.<br />
<br />
Personally, I believe in George Carlin’s American Dream: the most intelligent 3 minutes and 14 seconds of political commentary spoken in a generation.<br />
<br />
Two lines from it have stuck with me and helped me mostly stop being scared or disappointed by everything that happens politically. “Be happy with what you got,” and “They’ll get it all from you, sooner or later.”<br />
<br />
I know this sounds hopeless or jaded. But it’s the only way I can cope with American politics. Have you ever known someone who worried constantly and irrationally about all of the dangers that could happen to them (say, on planes) and could barely function in their lives? And you just want to tell them, “Stop worrying about everything! You’ll be fine!”"
us  politics  marcoarment  georgecarlin  teaparty  tsa  travel  rights  control  policy  fear  2010  from delicious
october 2010 by robertogreco
Instapaper Inventor Links Inattentive Reading to Information Obesity | Gadget Lab |
"“People love information,” Arment said. “Right now in our society, we have an obesity epidemic. Because for the first time in history, we have access to food whenever we want, we don’t know how to control ourselves. I think we have the exact same problem with information.”…

Instapaper, like Twitter, also shows the continuing versatility and relevance of text in a multimedia age: “It’s a very flexible and pliable medium. You can skim or search. You can copy and paste. You can read at your own speed. It’s simple and cheap to produce and store and share. That’s what gives it its power. Even when you bring media into a high-computing era, you can still do a lot more and more easily with text than you can with video or audio or software.”
attention  information  instapaper  timcarmody  text  marcoarment  twitter  infooverload  reading  email  dropbox  storage  synchronization  from delicious
october 2010 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero - Your blog sucks. And your work. And probably mine too.
"we “visual” people need to get off of our asses & write. Sounds painful, but I’m not talking about standardized-test/public-school, 5-paragraph-format, “This-leads-me-to-conclude” writing. I’m talking about real writing that communicates. Intended outcomes are labeled, process is documented, & you say why something was made into being. Tell me why.

I want more writing like Liz Danzico’s or Jason Santa Maria’s. I want thoughtful documentation of what it’s like to make stuff. Marco Arment, developer of Tumblr & Instapaper, does that exceedingly well. He lets us into the process, explains decisions & keeps us posted on his thoughts about his work & the things corollary to his development concerns. So, based on that, I ask you this: are we trying to keep design a mysterious black box? Because if that’s what you want, you’re doing a damn good job of it…

To do meaningful curation, it requires knowledge in multiple areas…Great designers are prone to have a wide base of knowledge."
frankchimero  writing  classideas  communication  process  criticism  curation  blogs  blogging  design  glvo  generalists  knowledge  bandwagons  enthusiasm  marcoarment  lizdanzico  jasonsantamaria  realwriting  tcsnmy  toshare  topost  thewhy  thinking  sharing  value  curating  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco - School grades are hopelessly broken
"Grades don’t reflect your aptitude, intelligence, or understanding of subject matter. You don’t need to actually learn much useful material to get good grades. (& many of those who learn exceptionally well don’t get good grades.)...
us  grades  grading  highered  learning  education  gpa  tcsnmy  via:lukeneff  schools  toshare  topost  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  authenticity  writing  classideas  aptitude  intelligence  understanding  memorization  rote  teaching  schooling  schooliness  marcoarment  rotelearning 
july 2010 by robertogreco - Thank you, internet
"After a weekend of vacation-forced brainfreeze & dealing w/ immense family drama, it’s incredibly nice to get back to my life of being surrounded by intelligent people doing great things & always challenging me to become a better person.
culture  geek  identity  internet  cv  people  interactions  relationships  marcoarment  lifeonline  challenge 
july 2010 by robertogreco - Comments
"We already have a widespread many-to-one feedback medium that avoids this: email. So that’s the feedback system that I allow on my site. Anyone can email me, & I will read it.

Those who truly want to start a discussion usually have their own blogs, so they can write their commentary to their audience. If it’s a Tumblr reblog, I’ll see it & read it. If it’s an external link & they email me w/ the link, or they make a corresponding Twitter post mentioning “marcoarment” or “Marco Arment” or a URL containing “” or any short URL resolving to something that contains “”, I’ll see it and read it.

I don’t make it difficult to give me feedback.

What’s not possible is reaching my audience, on my site, without my permission.
Given that this site represents me, and I’ve earned an audience over a very long time of people who generously allow me to take tiny slices of their attention on a regular basis, I don’t think that tightly controlling its content is unfair."
marcoarment  blogging  2010  tumblr  commenting  comments  communication  community  email 
july 2010 by robertogreco - Great since day one
"I never make technology-buying decisions based on future promises, rumors, or potential. I let other people be the bleeding-edge extremely early adopters, and I stick with what I know will work and stay out of my way. I don’t buy things that are “getting better”, because they usually don’t. Whatever caused them to be lacking in their current release will usually prevent them from being great in future releases.
android  apple  iphone  linux  marcoarment  business  refinement  polish  gettingbetter  greatsinedayone  bleedingedge 
july 2010 by robertogreco

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