IDEA: “No News Today”

Instead of filling up news broadcasts, magazines and blogs with meaningless, repetative, irrelevant “news” items that really aren’t “news” – I think it would be nice if said publications and platforms instead announced: “No News Today! Everything’s pretty much the same…concern yourself with something else!”

People would have less time to spend worried about events that a) don’t affect them, and b) aren’t being accurately reported in the first place.

There wouldn’t be this constant need to “consume” news. Either there is news, or there isn’t. I don’t consider anything related to celebrities news. That’s entertainment. I also don’t know if the Style Section is really “news”. Political scandals should have their own platform dedicated to that form of entertainment, with just a reference in main broadcasts. Deaths of celebrities? It’s not news once its been reported! I don’t need to hear about memorials for someone unless its the current President or Vice President! Otherwise – mention it once, and move on!

Living in Israel changed the way I view the news. For one thing, I didn’t watch it on TV. I relied on Facebook to let me know what was buzzing, from statements made by government officials to rockets firing into Israel’s borders. If I wanted more information on a particular story, I could expand the link or look into it further on other sites. But it wouldn’t be jammed into my face 24 hours straight, making all else seem insignificant.

The question I get asked most when telling people I lived in Israel was “Is it dangerous?” I always tried to answer as truthfully as I could, based on what I know to be true.

I’d explain how Tel Aviv is a sort of bubble. How we know what’s going on but don’t let it color our daily lives and interactions. That no one would get anything done if all they did was sit home all day watching commentary or live footage of the latest border attack or anti-Israel rhetoric spewing from extremists (or the opposite, coming from settlement disputes.)

I think we’d all be a lot happier, if more naive, with a more stringent definition of “news”.

BOOK REVIEW: I Live in The Future and Here’s How it Works

I Live in the Future and Here's How it Works by Nick BiltonI think I should have read more reviews of this book before reading it…as someone who uses the internet, and enjoys reading about it from time to time – this book was boring.

Read Only If You Think Internet = Scary

I had an internal conflict pretty much the entire time as to whether or not I should just quit and move on with my life. I kept thinking of this incredible article about not finishing books just for the sake of finishing them – but it turns out I’m too big of a pushover.

Highly recommended for “technochondriacs”, or anyone who feels like they’re too far behind in today’s digital revolution to understand any of it.

Sorta Like Reading 1984 in 1986

The fact that it was published in 2010 sort of gives it an excuse. The ideas and concepts it discusses have been discussed so much – with colleagues, friends, blogs, etc. – that nothing really felt that “futuristic”.

There were actually several “what if’s” that now exist: we really do receive totally personalized versions of the news through sites like Zite, Flipboard and others. Google really does deliver personalized results based on a person’s social circle, search history and geographic location. It’s pretty neat that Bilton was able to project so accurately these once-revolutionary ideas, but you just can’t read this book anymore if you’ve already had conversations and read articles about this stuff.

Bilton as a Blogger v. Author

Bilton is the lead tech writer for the NYTimes blog, Bits. He definitely knows his stuff – which is why it was frustrating to read sentences like “Look at Apple, the early computer company that has moved into music, music players, cell phones, and new electronic readers.” Ohhhh, that Apple? And this is a line that appears toward the very end of the book. It just felt a little bit too spoon-fed.

That said, it is easier to digest content online when it’s simple, straightforward and with a dash of humor. So maybe the style of the writing is better suited for a blog format, than a 266-page book. In the future (and here’s how it works), I will definitely refer to Bilton when when a new gadget or technology comes out and I want an early adapter’s opinion of it. So…there’s that.

Damn It Feels Good to Be a Content Strategist in NY

According to Indeed.com, a job posting site, content strategists in NY earn 25% higher salaries than worldwide. That’s good news for the home team!

View Larger Salary Graph

Content Strategy is still such a new concept to most CEO’s, so it’s an exciting field to be in at the moment as more and more jobs pop up. And it’s not surprising that NY is where the most competitive salaries are being offered. This is probably where companies are located that are most willing and able to invest in the cutting-edge, highly valuable yet relatively new “service”.

Hiring someone whose role is to survey and improve your website’s content is not considered a priority by many companies, especially those outside the digital media and web world. So those precious few that realize the value of excellent content and its impact on a business, are likely to invest in the matter.

Companies in the higher educational sector are the least likely to invest in Content Strategy, for a few good reasons outlined in this terrific post by blogger .edu Guru:

…when a problem is so big and you can’t even pinpoint where to start, many will choose to do nothing. Since many university sites lack any comprehensive business or marketing strategy when it comes to the creation and maintenance of content, literally every piece of information gets put out there, and it’s put out there by hoards of individuals that are ultimately not qualified to edit web sites.

It’s a pretty understandable scenario.

Now all I have to do is land one of these buggers.

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