Ahead of Schedule/Thinking of Scheduling

An odd day. Yesterday, I wrote a bunch; today, I wrote a lot of emails to set up things for later writing (A lot of invoicing, too; it is the last day of the month, after all). It’s probably a healthier thing to do, essentially take an admin day to map things out for the future (Interviews have been set up for tomorrow, potentially Thurs or Fri depending, and Monday, and plans made for things beyond that, too).

I’m still trying to settle into a new rhythm with the various things I’m doing now. I’m still writing for publication daily, with Newsarama and Digital Trends, but I’m also writing for future publication a lot more, with Time, Wired and – end of May release, and the first time I’ve said this publicly, I think? – Playboy magazine, and that part, the “I am writing longer things that aren’t immediate and short, but need research and interviews and reflection and everything” makes me nervous, still.

I mean, I’m still working and juggling and all, but there’s definitely a part of me that has a “You mean only two websites have content from me today? That’s lazy!” thing going on in my brain. I’m sick that way, I worry.

Authorship Denial and The Collection Box

In reality, organizations still had some enormous advantages. Organizations are sustainable; they outlive the vagaries of human attention. Some individuals flourished in the newly democratic blogosphere. But over time, people got bored, got new jobs, found new interests, or otherwise reached the limits of what people-driven, individual-driven publishing could accomplish for them. The political blogosphere — the cacophony of individual voices on both left and right circa, say, 2004 — evolved toward institutions, toward Politico and TPM and The Blaze and HuffPo and the like.

Personal publishing is like voting. In theory, it’s the very definition of empowerment. In reality, it’s an excellent way for your personal shout to be cancelled out by someone else’s shout.

From here.

This is actually from a piece about Medium, a new blogging/social site/tool that’s interesting me, even if I’m not sure what I’ll end up doing with it should I get an invite to the beta. Here’s how Medium describes itself:

Medium is designed to allow people to choose the level of contribution they prefer. We know that most people, most of the time, will simply read and view content, which is fine. If they choose, they can click to indicate whether they think something is good, giving feedback to the creator and increasing the likelihood others will see it.

Posting on Medium (not yet open to everyone) is elegant and easy, and you can do so without the burden of becoming a blogger or worrying about developing an audience. All posts are organized into “collections,” which are defined by a theme and a template. (For example, this post is in the About Medium collection with a simple article template.)

As Joshua Benton, author of the quote at the top, says, there’s something weird/fascinating about this idea of curated posting:

What’s most radical about Medium is that it denies authorship.

Okay, maybe not denies authorship — people’s names are right next to their work, after all. But it degrades authorship, renders it secondary, knocks it off its pedestal… Degrading authorship is something the web already does spectacularly well. Work gets chopped and sliced and repurposed. That last animated GIF you saw — do you know who made it? Probably not. That infonugget you saw on Gawker or The Atlantic — did it start there? Probably not. Sites like Buzzfeed are built largely on reshuffling the Internet, rearranging work into streams and slideshows.

It’s been a while since auteur theory made sense as an explanation of the web. And you know what? We’re better for it. In a world of functionally infinite content, relying on authorship doesn’t scale. We need people to mash things up, to point things out, to sample, to remix.

I both agree and disagree with that last part, but that tension is, in large part, what makes Medium so interesting to me. Is this where the idea of group quality as differentiator comes into its own?