Kicking off this new Recurring Series with a headline from our local daily newspaper, here in Bellingham, Washington:
Listen, either I’m the biggest pervert in the world, or many, many minds should be blown by the fact that the following graph actually made it past the editors of Forbes.com and onto the interwebs, accompanying an article titled How Successful People Squash Stress.
How does this happen?!
How can anyone look at that graph and not see what I see, and I’m not even on the staff of a fairly prestigious publication, where people get paid good money to know stuff about the power of imagery, symbolism, and suggestiveness?
I mean, even with my rudimentary Photoshop skills, it was obvious to me that all I had to do was remove the erect penis in order for this to be a perfectly respectable visual aide for the article!
The most unfortunate thing, of course, is that what Travis Bradberry writes in this piece is actually quite good and contains very helpful information that could increase the wellbeing of a lot of people.
Hopefully, it still will, once we’ve all stopped laughing.
So, there’s this article out in The New Republic, by Mark Tracy, titled Eulogy for the Blog.
And, I have to tell ya, it REALLY bugs me, and it bugs me on several levels.
First, unless it’s a thing to call a bit of writing a eulogy even though the subject of said writing isn’t actually dead, Marc Tracy utterly fails to make a credible argument for his declaration of death. (And, you know what? Even if it IS a thing, it sucks, it’s a shallow attention grabber.)
A telling comment (my emphasis added in bold):
This is the context in which the New York Times‘ decision, revealed this week, to review all of its blogs and shutter at least some of them (including the popular, at least among the sort of media wonks who are still reading this article, Media Decoder), ought to be understood.
You see, Tracy is clearly, himself, a media wonk, and so he bases his assertion that blogs are dead on observations of a handful of high-profile bloggers in elite publications like The New York Times. This reeks of ivory tower classism, it’s lazy journalism, and it’s an insult to the millions upon millions of bloggers all around the world who are alive and well and blogging away. (For instance, as of this writing, WordPress, the blogging platform that I use, claims nearly 65 million users. Declaring them dead…doesn’t that make Marc Tracy a mass murderer? Hahaha.)
More proof that his headline is nothing more than sensationalism, Tracy admits:
We will still have blogs, of course, if only because the word is flexible enough to encompass a very wide range of publishing platforms: Basically, anything that contains a scrollable stream of posts is a “blog.”
But, he follows this up with the most inane attempt to justify his conclusion anyway:
What we are losing is the personal blog and the themed blog.
WTF?! This guy has obviously spent ZERO time browsing even a small sample of the blogs out there, millions of which, actually, from my observation, mostly fall into those very two categories. The vast majority of blogs that I come across are either personal journals, musings on daily life events, or they are blogs that specialize in a single theme, from food to politics, arts to sports, celebrities to hobbies, and on and on and on. (Fish & Bicyles would be in a third category, fewer in numbers, but we’re out there: the general topics blog, about, as I like to say, whatever strikes a fancy at any given moment, on any given day.)
I initially thought I’d go with a zombie theme for this post, but you actually have to be dead first in order to become the undead.
And so, just to be sure, I checked the pulse of Fish & Bicycles, and I am happy to report that it is, absolutely, alive and kicking.
As I mentioned last time, I regularly, literally, laugh out loud when I read the Internet Tendency‘s daily offerings, and one of today’s pieces really grabbed me because I was, am, and always will be and English major, even though I graduated back in 1988.
As a writer, I’ve always wrestled with punctuation, alternately loving and hating it, at times grateful for it, at other times desperate to break all its rules in the name of freedom.
Well, now I owe my deep thanks to Peter K. (I tried to find out who he is but came up with nothing) for his A Field Guide To Common Punctuation, published today at McSweeney’s, for though it doesn’t help me with my relationship to punctuation, it at least helps me laugh about it.
Here’s an excerpt, and I highly recommend reading the whole thing:
Rarely at ease in its true habitat, the Yellow-Winged Apostrophe (YWA) is known to “peace out” of its obligation to indicate possession or contraction. Many, weakened by stress, fall to the bottom of pages, assuming the vague shape of Bullshit Footnotes (BF). Completely harmless, the YWA is among the least hardy of punctuation and commonly dies before the full life cycle of a single draft.
The Western Colon (WC), not to be confused with Two Bouncing Periods (TBP), attaches itself with rows of small, sharp teeth to lists. Originally from Western Canada, the WC has now established thriving colonies in all countries, having been inadvertently transported by way of cargo in large ships. Draws blood and gives headaches when overused. Known to flock alongside Overwrought Prose (OP).
Well, it’s pretty clear by now that this Tumblr thing isn’t going away anytime soon, so I’ve bitten the bullet and I’ve set up a mirror blog there.
WordPress.com makes it super easy, with their Publicize tool, which I’ve already been using, such that every time I post something here it’s automagically posted on Facebook and Twitter as well. Now, everything will also be posted to the new Tumblr account I created.
The only bummer about the process, I discovered that there was already a Tumblr blog called Fish & Bicycles, and so I had to name my tumblr fishandbicycles-bellingham.com. I don’t know which of us came first, because, maddeningly, I can’t seem to find any way to determine when fishandbicycles.tumblr.com was started. Oh well.
Honestly, I have no idea how to use Tumblr otherwise, and I don’t see myself doing much with it other than having it act as an additional venue for the blogging I do here.
One cool thing, though, this is what my archive page looks after having retroactively published some of my more recent posts there (be sure to click to enlarge!):
Examples of the buzz…headlines like this:
In case you haven’t heard of Vine yet, it’s an app that lets users create 6-second long video clips on infinite loop and then share them on Vine, Twitter, and Facebook.
So, basically, the buzz is all about stuff like this:
I know. Thrilling.
But seriously, I had the same reaction to Facebook status updates and Tweets when I first learned about them, so I shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss.
And besides, along with the mundane (MY NEW THERMOS!!!), there are cool “vines” to be found, like this one:
(By the way, you can pause a vine by clicking on it.)
One seriously HUGE feature missing from Vine is the ability to share videos posted by others. I can’t fathom why they didn’t roll the app out with functionality that allows you to select someone else’s vine from the app and then reblog it, share it to Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc. As of now, the only way I was able to include them here, in this post, was to search for vines in Twitter tweets and the post the tweets. It limits browsing vines in the app to simply viewing them, liking them, and commenting on them.
While some vines have already gone viral, these 6-second clips won’t realize their full viral potential until sharing is enhanced.
In the meantime, consider me intrigued.
I don’t see myself creating vines. Video is not my thing. But browsing and sharing my favorites here already shows signs of being a potentially fun new form of entertainment.