September 16, 2013
Am I unusual in not noticing ads online?

This article about Twitter’s going public says:

Like Facebook, Twitter makes its money primarily by selling ads, which gain a lot of their value from the advertiser’s ability to target specific groups of users.

I’m so used to ads on social media that I don’t even notice them anymore. I must somehow register their presence, but I seem to automatically ignore them. This is true of Facebook and Twitter - I’ve looked at both this morning (I found the article I quoted linked to on Facebook), but I can’t tell you about even a single ad I saw. This was also the case when I used Gmail.

Come to think of it, it’s the same with advertising on posters or billboards. I walk around the city a lot, and, though I could tell you the location of some billboards, I couldn’t tell you what’s on them.

I wonder if I’m unusual in this - and, if I’m not, how ineffective online ads must be.

February 26, 2013
Michael Kiefer on Tweeting as Journalism


In yesterday’s post, I wrote that I think some of the best narrative journalism is being done on Twitter, and as an example I cited Michael Kiefer's coverage of the Jodi Arias murder trial in Phoenix, AZ.

After reading what I wrote, Kiefer responded with some comments that I thought interesting:

I think it works if you approach each Tweet like haiku. I use the Tweets as notes also. So I get to tell the story more than one way, and you can use it like a comedian builds a routine, watching to see which lines get the biggest reaction. Many follow Tweets so they can ask questions. so there is a real-time interactive side of it you don’t get in other media.

And we are conducting this conversation about it via Twitter.

If you want to read Kiefer in a longer format, I recommend his nonfiction book, Chasing the Panda, and his novels Speaking English and The Lion Hunter.

February 25, 2013
Twitter Encourages Good Writing

I’ve heard and read much commentary about the impending demise of good writing (which has been predicted for as long as words have been written down), now supposedly because of Twitter and text messaging. The poet Gary Snyder has said that texting is “abhorrent.”

I not only disagree, I think the opposite is true. I think writing in a limited space is a perfect practice for anyone who wants to write clearly, essentially, and without flab or self-indulgence. Some of the best-written, most powerful narrative journalism is being Tweeted rather than published in old media. For a fine example, see the live-Tweeting from a murder trial by Michael Kiefer, novelist and crime reporter for The Arizona Republic.

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