This website was archived on July 21, 2019. It is frozen in time on that date.

Sonya Mann's active website is Sonya, Supposedly.

Pros & Cons Of Collecting Worthy Links To Share

Martin Weigert of Meshed Society recently made a good point about curation as the future of blogging. He writes that many bloggers have stopped making new stuff, instead “selecting and repackaging existing content.” Weigert continues, “Curation itself is nothing new and has been happening on Twitter and other platforms for many years. But I see signs that more creators have shifted their attention from writing content to curating content lately. Considering the huge quantities of great reading stuff that are published every day somewhere on the web, I think this is a good development.”

I have mixed feelings. Curation is certainly useful, and I appreciate being pointed in the direction of articles worth reading. I click so many links out of Twitter and add them to Instapaper. However, an exclusive focus on curation strikes me as… boring. I feel suspicious of anyone who would want to curate as their main “creative” activity. I’ve never loved Daring Fireball for that reason, and also because Apple fanboys are annoying. Same problem with Tumblr: the vast majority of users are tricking themselves into thinking that collecting images is making something. It’s not. I’m reminded of that horrible saying, “People who can’t do, teach.” My stance is, “People who can’t create, curate.” Creating is a lot of work, but ultimately it is more fruitful and rewarding that curating. In my experience.

I view responding—what I’m doing right now—as different from just saying, “Here, read this.” But, y’know, that said, here are eight of the good articles I read recently:

^^^ “Hunger games” by Will Wiles, an essay on survival-based video games, in which the drama comes from scarcity, from scrabbling to get by. I don’t play games and this was still fascinating.

^^^ “How Junk Science Sent Claude Garrett To Prison For Life” by Liliana Segura, on the typical failure of the “justice” system. As a bonus, fire science!

^^^ Mat Yarrow warns, “This is the publishing industry’s iTunes moment—and we’re blowing it.” Yikes.

^^^ Simon Owens explains why news aggregation degrades the value of ads.

^^^ David Ulevitch of OpenDNS explains why “Superfish had to happen”: “Internet security and online advertising are fundamentally incompatible. Full stop.”

^^^ Also about advertising: “The Weather Channel’s Secret: Less Weather, More Clickbait” by Claire Suddath.

^^^ Romance author Courtney Milan shows that self-publishing is definitely more lucrative.

^^^ A short story about an ornery old lady who smokes: “The Ashtray” by Rolli.

Schedule Changeups & Five Recommended Essays

Sleepy vs. Bedtime Bear (265/365)
Photo by JD Hancock.

Geez, I’m tired. Working is hard! Every time my schedule gets more rigorous, I’m newly astounded that people manage to work full-time—or longer. There are industries where sixty-hour workweeks are common. Ugh, no thanks. (Not that anyone is begging me to join their tech startup, lol.)

Anyway, getting a gig with Bustle has put me in the weird position of having a weekend. Well, it’s weird for me. I haven’t had periodic two-day breaks since… high school. I am accustomed to working roughly three hours daily, instead of concentrating my efforts during a certain chunk of the week. Now my days off are Friday and Saturday. Accordingly, today I am lazing instead of furiously typing. Gotta take a break, right? I still feel absurdly guilty, like I always do when I don’t measure up to my own arbitrary standards of PRODUCTIVITY.

Even when creating is too energy-intensive, curating is pretty easy. Inspired by a combination of my love affair with Instapaper and Meshed Society’s recurring link lists, here are five essays to serve as food for reflection (pun intended):

* “The outsider” by caustic British novelist Rachel Cusk, on joining a book club and finding it beneath her. Notable quote: “we learn to surrender the sense of our own importance, but the writer does not. He continues to pit his private world against everything, to fend it off.”

* “Scorched Earth, 2200AD” by Linda Marsa, a dystopic take on what will happen during the next couple of centuries as climate change continues unchecked.

* “I Made $570K Last Year, But I Don’t Feel Rich”, interview by Logan Sachon with a wealthy man who doesn’t appreciate his luck because of lifestyle creep. Attitudes to guard against!

* “J-School Confidential” by Michael Lewis, about how Columbia’s much-touted journalism program is an overblown mess. Good schadenfreude read, especially if you’re in media but lack the credentials.

* “The incredible story of the Dirty Dozen Rowing Club” by Erik Malinowski: ten amateur athletes from the Bay Area decide to become Olympic rowers; they are more successful than you’d expect.

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