I grew up on a (content) farm.

Image source, thanks!

Ugh. So you remember all those style guides you’ve poured over, and grammar checks, and fact checks, and carefully crafted sentences . . . all pithy, witty, snappy, alluring? Turns out the computers are going to take this one away from us, too. Have you heard of content farms? Not so many cute animals running around these places. No, instead these farms are distinctly early 21st century and are responsible for “SEO driven churnalism” (thanks, The Atlantic for that bit of wry).

Another way of putting it is that content farms are pushing journalism away from “good” and toward “relevance”. What’s so bad about that? Who wouldn’t want to be relevant? Well unfortunately for purveyors of good thoughts and sentences, Google relevancy just has to do with moving up in the ranks, not actually being connected in any meaningful way to quality or the real world. You’re relevant if you’re number one. So the Perez Hiltons, the Wikipedias and About.com’s of the world are eating the craft of journalism alive. Google has promised and apparently tried to crack down on content farms in their secret algorithms, but who knows if it’s really working? I doubt it.

In an SEO driven world, where relevant doesn’t really mean relevant, how do you balance quality work with the need to been seen and get paid?

Look! A kitteh!

This kitteh is just to distract you from the 10+ days of no blog love over here. It works, right? Lookit that cute face. Don’t worry. I’ll be equal opportunity. If I have another lapse in the near future I’ll throw down some puppies, sloths, and starfish or something.

Seriously though. I’m in a learning mood. And my good pal and colleague signed me up for what looks to be a very helpful and interesting day of Adobeing. So how about we all take a look at the training section of the Poynter Institute website and see if there’s anything we might want to learn about today, tomorrow, or before the world ends.

I killed my Facebook account.

Yes. It’s true. I did it. I got to the breaking point with Facebook. I couldn’t take it any more. All the friend requests from people I don’t know, don’t really like, or don’t care to keep in touch with . . . all the inane stuff that I was caring about, feeling like my Facebook profile was a pet Tamagotchi or something that I had to curate or nurture.

I think I’d rather have fewer friendships and get less information, less often. This means that I now am without a LinkedIn, G+, Facebook, or Twitter account. I am still proprietor of three blogs though, a Flickr, and an Etsy shop (which remains sad and neglected because I’d rather knit than play with beads these days).

Who knows? Maybe I’ll be back in a month, but for now I’m going to go outside and work on my tan.  Anyone else feeling over dosed on social media?

peace,
Erin

SOPA North

Yeah, it’s happening here (or there, depending on what passport you’re holding these days). Canada is seeing legislation much like the SOPA snaffu. Didn’t think it could get less sexy than SOPA or PIPA? Well Canadians are staring down the barrel of legislation called Bill C-11 and a trade agreement called ACTA that could severely limit the openness and freedom of the internet. According to an alert sent around by our good friends at OpenMedia.ca SOPA North is not pretty. They say, “Internet law expert Michael Geist recently revealed that behind-the-scenes Big Media lobbyists are pushing for powers such as website blocking, Internet termination for people that threaten their business interests, and huge threats for sites that host user-generated content (like YouTube), in addition to the “most restrictive digital lock provisions in the world,” which are already in Bill C-11.”

If this has caught your attention, consider reading more of the good material on the OpenMedia website or signing their petition right here.

 

Internet law expert Michael Geist recently revealed that behind-the-scenes Big Media lobbyists are pushing for powers such as website blocking4, Internet termination for people that threaten their business interests5, and huge threats for sites that host user-generated content (like YouTube)6, in addition to the “most restrictive digital lock provisions in the world,”7 which are already in Bill C-11.

 

Waging Peace Documentary Tour

Hi, Upper Canadians! There’s a bit of a very cool roadshow coming through your neck of the woods. Viewings and discussion of Waging Peace are coming to a town near you. Check out this website to see when you can catch this most excellent documentary on Christian-Muslim relations. You won’t want to miss it!