Sverker Johansson could be the most prolific author you’ve never heard of.
Volunteering his time over the past seven years publishing to Wikipedia, the 53-year-old Swede can take credit for 2.7 million articles, or 8.5% of the entire collection, according to Wikimedia analytics, which measures the site’s traffic. His stats far outpace any other user, the group says.
He has been particularly prolific cataloging obscure animal species, including butterflies and beetles, and is proud of his work highlighting towns in the Philippines. About one-third of his entries are uploaded to the Swedish language version of Wikipedia, and the rest are composed in two versions of Filipino, one of which is his wife’s native tongue.
An administrator holding degrees in linguistics, civil engineering, economics and particle physics, he says he has long been interested in “the origin of things, oh, everything.”
It isn’t uncommon, however, for Wikipedia purists to complain about his method. That is because the bulk of his entries have been created by a computer software program—known as a bot. Critics say bots crowd out the creativity only humans can generate.
Mr. Johansson’s program scrubs databases and other digital sources for information, and then packages it into an article. On a good day, he says his “Lsjbot” creates up to 10,000 new entries.
“Books are like the heavily curated thoughts of good writers.”—Entrepreneur James Altucher offers a beautiful definition in discussing the difference between books and blog posts in this altogether stimulating and wide-ranging conversation with Tim Ferriss. (via explore-blog)
I reject this idea that Twitter as a product hasn’t innovated over the years.
Think back to the early version of Twitter that got me hooked and there are countless ways that Twitter has improved: mobile apps, search, conversations, photographs, analytics, native advertising, recommendations,Discover, retweets, hashtags, location/geotagging, Amplify, Twitter cards, as well as countless ways the product has been made easier to use. Plus Twitter has also made important acquisitions like Vine and others.
But here is the important thing about all of that product goodness — it didn’t come at a cost that breaks the magic of Twitter.
Contrast it to other products that continue to get bloated and heavy with clunky features. The posterchild is Microsoft Office but they are hardly the only ones. Actually most mature products (and early stage ones too) fall into this time honored trap.
One of things I admire most about Twitter, the product is their discipline to add new things while keeping things remarkably simple. Simple & magical enough to inform, entertain, connect and delight hundreds of millions of people.
The LeBron James news dominated sports media for the past several days. Everyone — even people who don’t much care about basketball — was interested in it at least on some level. Even if it was only to joke, snark and/or join in some fun collective happening.
Google News has created an experimental newsroom in San Francisco to monitor the World Cup and turn popular search results into viral content, NPR reports.
But interestingly, Google is choosing to steer clear of negative headlines.
"We’re also quite keen not to rub salt into the wounds," producer Sam Clohesy says, "and a negative story about Brazil won’t necessarily get a lot of traction in social."
Mobile marketing expert Rakesh Agrawal, CEO of reDesign mobile, says that’s just generally true. “People on social networks like Twitter and Facebook — they generally tend to share happy thoughts. If my son had an A in math today, I’m going to share that. But if my son got an F in math, that’s generally not something you’re going to see on social media.”
In old-school newsrooms, the saying goes: if it bleeds, it leads. Because this new newsroom is focused on getting content onto everyone’s smartphone, Agrawal says, editors may have another bias: to comb through the big data in search of happy thoughts.
An algorithm developed by three Cornell University computer scientists claims to outperform the average person in telling which of two similar tweets will be retweeted more. Think you can do better than the algorithm? Put your social media skills to the test here.
“One U.S. Supreme Court justice referred to Netflix as “Netflick.” Another seemed not to know that HBO is a cable channel. A third appeared to think most software coding could be tossed off in a mere weekend.”—The people ultimately responsible for making legal rulings in the modern world are often dangerously out-of-touch with it. [via Lawrence Hurley @ Business Insider] (via huffpostpolitics)
Jay Mohr On How Sports Journalism Compares To Comedy
Alex Weprin:How does doing a daily three-hour radio show compare to doing stand-up, SNL, TV and movies, and what has surprised you most so far?
Jay Mohr:What surprised me most is how huge a company Fox Sports Radio is and the [interview] access that comes with that, when you can interview a member of the Knicks, a member of the Lakers, a member of the Utah Jazz, Don Mattingly, manager of the Dodgers, and so on. I come in to work every morning and the guests we have lined up are consistently top caliber. As far as how it compares to other mediums, I’ve always really loved structure. I wake up at the same time every day, come home relatively at the same time each day, and it’s perfect for me. It’s sort of like a shotgun structure: you go like crazy when you first wake up; you just sort of go nuts for five hours, then go home and refuel. And there’s no waiting around, which is the absolute worst and only bad part about acting. You spend 95 percent of your time in a trailer, eating candy and doing push-ups, wondering when they’re going to use you.
JAY MOHR IS PLAYING COBB'S THIS WEEKEND MAY 16-19. Tickets available at cobbscomedy.com.
Here’s the basic outline: “(1) ingest data, (2) compute newsworthy aspects of the data, (3) identify relevant angles and prioritize them, (4) link angles to story points, and (5) generate the output text.”
If you’re a human reporter quaking in your boots this week over news of a Los Angeles Times algorithm that wrote the newspaper’s initial story about an earthquake, you might want to cover your ears for this fact:
"If the media industry had a Song of Itself, it’d be all weeping violins, minor keys and martial drumbeats. It would remind us every day of the dark forces out there that should make the content business an unsustainable, even deathly pursuit: over-aggregation. Content farms. Penny-pinching…