Blogless: Blog of Design Less Better.

Posts tagged Writing.

Remembering David Foster Wallace

If you missed it this weekend, To the Best of My Knowledge featured a tribute to author David Foster Wallace.

David Foster Wallace
Image from Rolling Stone Magazine

Podcast link.

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NickSep 16, 2010
 

Four Ethics Links:
July 5, 2010

Four ethics links is a review of recent stories in applied ethics. This week: Business Ethics for Recent College Grads, Twitter and Corporate Ethics Agreements, The Ethics of Criticism, and Ethics in Chinese Science.

1. Workplace Ethics: The High Cost of Compromise

Kirk O. Hansen recently made some interesting observations about the ethical challenges that will face new college graduates. Facing the current, difficult economy, Hansen claims, will "make ethical decisions even tougher."

Because it has been difficult this year to land any job, new graduates will be less likely to resist, less likely to put their new position at risk in order to do the right thing. And that threatens to undermine the ethical character of this year's graduates at the outset of their careers.

John Constable: Detail from 'Seascape Study with Rain Cloud'
John Constable, Detail from Seascape Study with Rain Cloud (c.1824)
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PaulJul 5, 2010
 

News Flash: Work is no fun for teenagers

Blog writing and commenting is down among teenagers and young adults. Who is surprised about this?

Rough Type alerted us to a new Pew study which indicates that blogging "has declined in popularity among both teens and young adults since 2006."

Here are the highlights of the study:

  • 14% of online teens now say they blog, down from 28% of teen internet users in 2006.
  • This decline is also reflected in the lower incidence of teen commenting on blogs within social networking websites; 52% of teen social network users report commenting on friends’ blogs, down from the 76% who did so in 2006.
  • By comparison, the prevalence of blogging within the overall adult internet population has remained steady in recent years. Pew Internet surveys since 2005 have consistently found that roughly one in ten online adults maintain a personal online journal or blog.

Not to be too glib about this, but, *obviously*. Blogging is a lot of work. You have to construct and type sentences, often simultaneously. You have to think of something to write about. You have to develop that thought across multiple sentences. You have to make inferences, sometimes even explicitly.

In sum, blogging is a royal pain in the ass, especially when compared to now-available social media technologies (i.e. Facebook, Twitter) which have none of the above requirements.

So, should we be surprised that these average young Americans don't choose to do more work? No. Not at all. After all, it doesn't surprise us that MUD-playing and fiction-reading are down significantly among teens, and that MMORPG playing and television-watching are way up.

It takes a special kind of masochist to write a blog, and I think that masochism can only be born of experience. The less people are forced to read and write, the less of them will learn to enjoy it, hence, the less of them will do it. Consider, for example, that instead of this post, I could have just tweeted:

Blogs are over: http://bit.ly/aj1ZfT.

And you could have been on your way five minutes ago.

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PaulFeb 22, 2010
 

Gallery of Signs

The Store at 826 Valencia is San Francisco's only independent pirate supply store. All proceeds from the store go toward the 826 Valencia Writing Center.

I love 826 Valencia. Here are a few samples from their gallery of signs, which marketing idea I also love. Good copy, clean typography. Hallelujah.

How the Sea was Won
Goals for the Voyage
Rules of the Vat
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PaulNov 30, 2009
 

A note on "Squinting hyperlinks"

Usability doesn't end when your blog's design is done. Every time you link a page to another page, you've got to remember the oldest set of usability rules known to humankind: grammar.

Here's the lead sentence from my post Monday:

As of Friday, the Apple iPhone 3G was available in stores. Apparently they received 300,000 pre-orders, which contributed to an estimated 1,000,000 total sales.

When I wrote that blog post, I revised that sentence several times. It occurred to me that there is an insidious problem with the ambiguity of link references, a problem at which I thought it might be instructive to take a look.

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PaulJul 16, 2008