Links for 10 March 2012

If you skip everything else, at least watch this video of Ira Glass talking about getting good at something. I definitely identified with that.

A little while back, John Coburn (who I was pleased to meet at Bits to Blogs a few weeks back) wrote a very interesting post called Understanding Compelling Collections. It was a write-up of a series of small-scale experiments looking to answer two questions:

Which of our collections best lends themselves to impulse sharing online?
Which of our collections are people most willing to talk about online?

I was reminded of this when Mia Ridge picked up on it recently. Like I say, it’s a good post. It also gives me the opportunity to quote another good post by Schmutzie:

What we do and create most often ends up being about meeting the perceived needs related to what we think people want and not what their needs actually are or what our own needs might be within that experience, so we are often left creating toothless pap that can be easily digested by the broadest community we can imagine and no one in particular. We try to appeal to the things a community of hundreds or thousands might all agree on like we’re all Martha Stewarts selling boring sheet sets.

There are distinctions to be drawn between the two viewpoints (not least between the institutional and the personal) but the question remains – should an instituion be concerned more with reach or effect (or both, or neither, or that magical sweet spot between the two)?

Ed Vaizey’s was up on his technological soapbox again during his keynote speech at the State of the Arts Conference:

I’m also, as many of you will know, excited about what technology can do for the arts. I think it provides an unprecedented opportunity to reach out to new audiences. I don’t regard technology in binary terms – that the future will be totally different, or that technology will fundamentally change the way we live. We will all still want to go to see live theatre, music, dance, or visit galleries and museums. But I passionately believe that technology can enhance that experience, by deepening and enriching what you experience, or by simply letting you know that something is happening nearby.

As much as I wonder about some of the digital stuff the arts funders are pushing, as very-top-level views go, this seems pretty sensible.

Arts/Digital links

The Young Vic have an alternative Twitter account. I really hope someone’s doing the smart thing and comparing/contrasting the effect of this and their main account.

The Arts Council announced the successful applicants for The Space. John Wyver at Illuminations has blogged about their unsuccessful application and said that he’d like to use the Illuminations blog to continue discussions about The Space.

Bruce Sterling looks at four possible futures where combinations of high/low tech and high/low art are played out. I don’t know why the audience look so bemused, I thought this was good.

A few other bits and pieces:

Other links

Pete Ashton wrote Flaneurism shouldn’t be easy and included this line:

Meanwhile the tech bloggers, who were supposed to be the scribes of this cultural revolution, are held rapt by the warring of their corporate gods, cheering like children as one multinational throws a patent lawsuit thunderbolt at another – like Homer, only without the poetry.

I liked that. I also bought a copy of Pete’s This Much I Knew (which I hesitate to call a book). It’s effectively the collected works (2008-2009) of someone who, for me, represents the gold standard in using a blog as a tool for thinking out loud. In a similar-ish vein Lean back media: the shock of the old is a very good (and good looking) presentation from The Economist, who are doing a decent job of presenting their thinking and progress around the shift to digital.

What’s the waiter doing with the computer screen? is a nice illustration of what people will do to get around the limitations of software that’s not up to scratch.

I remember watching Lynda La Plante’s Killer Net back in 1998 but had completely forgotten what it was called until recently. If anyone knows where I might get hold of a copy, that’d be great. Here’s the synopsis:

Students get involved in a violent Internet-based game, around the same time as a series of murders – is there a connection?

Awesome. Here’s some other stuff:

My favourite bit of the BBC English Regions Social Media Strategy (PDF) was the instruction for “All defunct/dormant accounts to be closed elegantly”. More elegance, please.

Also, I really like the simplicity of The Two Things, which I found via Oliver Burkeman who neatly summarised every self-help book that crossed his desk:

first, if you can tolerate a little discomfort, you can achieve almost any goal; and second, it’s amazing the lengths we’ll go to to avoid discomfort.

Some apps and services


I like the first line of this:

We’re in a very exciting place where absolutely anyone can be a publisher. But I think a more interesting question is how to be a successful publisher

From a video of Faber & Faber, Random House, ustwo & Hachette discussing the future of digital publishing.

Published by Chris Unitt

I work at One Further, doing digital projects with cultural organisations. Follow @ChrisUnitt or find me on LinkedIn.

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