A famous writer (Borges) once said that he imagined the afterlife (or more precisely Paradise) to be a kind of library. However, what occurs to me now (in at once a banal and deeply moving way) is that not only the afterlife, but Life is a kind of Library. I mean this both as metaphor and allegory, but also as a framework which helps clarify certain things, such as information management, complexity theory, search engines, marketing, and other such avocations and vocational pursuits (including how to think about people's behavior). > I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library. -Jorge Luis Borges Continue reading Life is a kind of Library
Yes, screen promiscuous, a term I did not know before reading the piece on Snowpiercer in the LA Times.
Short and Longform Trends
As John Borthwick reports there are two trends in media consumption seemingly at odds, lots of micro/immediate shortform content being consumed and reflected, as well as longform, quality content that has significant time needs to interact with (and getting that time share). It is important to understand that shortform can be understand as the mere headlines of medium or longform content (and that there are some serious problems with the fact that much sharing on social media is not even consumed or digested by the sharer previous to sharing/re-sharing).
And so, to jump ahead (if you missed the point, go back and read what I cited) what we see is indeed across-the board screen promiscuity (yes, old print books still exist and are also seeing at least stable consumption as well). We are in the great age of content (be it poor or great, short or long, and no, the two are not diametric poles). Indeed, there is much longform which is atrocious.
Death of Middle Content
Like Middle Earth, a place of creeping doom, the middle place of content -- middling in length, middling in focus, middling in quality -- is a place of death. Better just go for a ...and you will never guess what happened next, top 11 slide-formatted listicles, click-clickety-click-click mindlessness, or really sit down to create that evergreen, canonical content with a laser target and fantastic asides.
Distribution, Distribution, Distribution
Now back to this screen promiscuity, which really means distribution, and a need (because of the impressive increase in engagement, or at least presence on these screens) to be available whenever and wherever someone wishes to engage. Longform on a mobile device? Believe it. Shortform on 23 inch monitors, every day in every way.
Feature Film is the new POD
We should call it DOD -- Distribute on Demand -- instead of POD -- Print on Demand, for it is really the ebook revolution in some senses. Sure, we've already had much of this with iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, not to mention dozens of other on-demand or small-device platforms for video-on-demand. VOD by itself just means streaming asynchronously from a library rather than broadcast. However DOD is more than that, as what is disrupted is not only the mechanism/timeshifting for consumption (again, screen promiscuity) but the fact that distribution networks are being disrupted and there are other options beyond traditional gatekeepers and ticketpunchers. Here are some distribution points of interest: - Snowpiercer and the future of distribution (cited above) - Offer your movie everywhere - VHX blog - The Act of Killing - Bittorrent Bundle reaches 3.5 million downloads So the point is to leverage screen promiscuity. It is working for The Atlantic, Medium, The New York Times, Guardian and Slate, to a significant degree. Be everywhere, in social media with a (come on, at least reasonable) headline, and in other distribution channels for free and for sale.
Scribus is a maturing publishing tool which has much to like. The upcoming (when? who knows?) release of 1.6 should put it squarely in direct competition with Adobe Indesign, it's proprietary competitor. Scribus is free and open source software, developed with love. However, there is one bad part which is the development lead who believes that new versions (e.g., 1.6) should be released over several years, rather than several months. Too slow for my tastes, though they are doing incremental releases at a faster rate, and frankly it is a nice piece of 'ware. > Note, my own use of Scribus fell down with several issues, including this bug that may not be around anymore, and I've gone back to an older approach using Inkscape for vector graphics and Markdown, Pandoc, and XeLaTeX (XeTeX + LaTeX, which handles unicode fonts and is the only real solution for non-latin script support) to generate epub and pdf programmatically. Scribus is basically damned awesome and should be tried out. It is the future (and possibly current) replacement to Adobe Indesign. Along with GIMP, Inkscape and Blender, Adobe can be retired (and I personally have not used any of their software since 2010 (and any Microsoft software since 2007). Continue reading Scribus – Open Source Adobe Indesign