A Form of Pamphleteering

I have taken down my old posts, as it seemed a good moment to start afresh with my online presence.

(Though over time I may re-post some of the old posts which seem worth re-publishing.)

One nice thing about blogging independently is that you can take things down as easily as you can put things up.

Independent blogging (as opposed to blogs on commercial or news sites) is, in essence, a form of pamphleteering. It is a flexible and often ephemeral medium.

From here. (Via the always interesting Warren Ellis newsletter.)

“I’ve Come To Think That Overinterpretation of Data is The Curse of The Modern World”

My belief in data has been shaken. In fact, I’ve come to think that overinterpretation of data is the curse of the modern world. In the lead-up to the 2008 financial crisis, the value-at-risk models were internally consistent but lacked all sense of history. They could not account for a black swan — or a Mule.

And anybody running a web publication or a web marketing campaign is equally blinded by data. A publisher maximize pageviews only to realize that they’ve locked themselves into a passionate group of readers that will defect at the slightest provocation. Advertising agencies attempt to bring down the average CPM — and in so doing turn web sites into an obstacle course of ineffective banners. Or they track performance (yes, even now) and reward sites with the least attractive audience.

That’s Gawker boss Nick Denton, from here.

It makes me wonder what, exactly, the new metric for blog success is going to become, if pageviews and chasing advertisers is suddenly being disregarded like that. When I was at Gawker, that was very definitely the way that success was measured, and the idea that the company has changed that makes me interested and just a little apprehensive. After all, as much as everyone who isn’t Gawker would love to pretend otherwise, the company still tends to set the latest trend in blog business logic, for better or worse. If success is suddenly going to be measured in terms of – God forbid! – quality of writing, that’d be the kind of thing that changes the game more than a little bit. But, of course, what are the odds of that happening…?