We know. Social media feels frivolous. You’d prefer to leave the blogging to the soccer moms and the tweeting to, er, Anthony Weiner or Miley Cyrus. With the media frenzy that the young and fabulous often garner, it’s hard to see a place for substantive issues like childhood poverty in the blogosphere. How can you possibly convey complex ideas like regional transit policy in a 500-word blog post, or worse, a 140-character tweet? And moreover, why would you want to?
Well, first, because it’s where the exchange of ideas is happening. There is already a conversation taking place on social media about early childhood education, for example, and economic policy, and smart growth. Niche communities of researchers, policymakers, and the media have embraced these tools as ways to share ideas among like-minded colleagues. [More]
I think it was John Rother, the former policy chief and public face of AARP, who told me the secret of a good policy brief. A good brief, he said, must first and foremost answer those two classic taunts we heard on the playground: “oh yeah?” and “so what?”
This fascinating analysis of news reporting between 1955 and 2003 made me think of John’s wisdom. Apparently, news reporting has taken up the call. As the Joan Shorenstein Center’s “Journalist Resource” reports, scholars Katherine Fink and Michael Schudso at Columbia University find that journalists more often today explain the “so what?” and “why?” along with the who, what, when, and where of old-school journalism. [More]
Last week I had dinner with my neighbors who are in market research. They told me they are paying a blogging outfit to write multiple very short posts for them each week. The posts are inexpensive and mostly shameless plugs for their services. The writing, the friends said, was, shall we say, not of the highest quality and they often have to spend additional time re-writing what is submitted. But the posts still have value for their business — they create content for their web presence and attract new customers.
I feel like everywhere I look these days I see more evidence of the pressure to create more content faster. Between articles, blog posts, tweets, books – even New Yorker writers are collapsing under the pressure of the sheer quantity of output we’re expecting. [More]