Thursday, July 18, 2019

Blogs Are Back? “For the Love of God, Please Don’t Start Another Podcast.”

"Yikes, what is the function of this blog anymore?
~ Tavi Gevinson, 2016 

"It would be nice if we could get back to the point where blogging was popular... Preferred social media methods these days leave a lot to be desired."
 ~ Dave Lucas, 2018

The rise of Facebook, twitter, sina-weibo, WeChat and Instagram is generally reagrded as "the beginning of the end of blogs." Not so fast! While indeed it is true that many great blogs have either disapperared*, suspended publishing or lie fallow - hibernating literary giants.

Bloggers played an important role in the early structuring and shaping of what would come to be known as social media. Bloggers were de facto newspaper or magazine editors, chronicling life not to the beat of a daily or monthly deadline, but at whim. The thrill of "instant publishing" everyone is now so familiar with began with the blog.

Have We Hit Peak Podcast?
If you are able to jump the paywall, The New York Times is evaluating the future of podcasts.
Read "Have We Hit Peak Podcast? If past experience (cough, blogs) is any indication, a shakeout is nigh." Here's an excerpt or two:
"...the frequency with which podcasts start (and then end, or “podfade,” as it’s coming to be known in the trade) has produced a degree of cultural exhaustion. We’re not necessarily sick of listening to interesting programs; but we’re definitely tired of hearing from every friend, relative and co-worker who thinks they’re just an iPhone recording away from creating the next 'Serial.'"
Unlike blog metrics, "...whether anybody finds that podcast or listens to it and the bounce rate — who knows?”

Webloggers' humble beginnings can be traced back to 1994 and Swarthmore College student Justin Hall, who for 11 years documented his life online to the tune of 4800+ pages from nearly a decade of constant writing, which he posted on his site, which is still up and active at The term "weblog" was coined by Jorn Barger on 17 December 1997.

Many bloggers of note (including yours truly and Xiaxue) employed Blogger, a free weblog-publishing service which began in 1999 that allows multi-user blogs with time-stamped entries. It was developed by Pyra Labs, which was purchased by Google in 2003. By December 2004, Merriam-Webster declared “blog” its “Word of the Year.” The blogosphere was studied, analyzed, dissected and scrutinized. Much ado was made regarding popular blogs and ethical blogging. Fast-forward to the age of facebook and twitter, and it no longer mattered. Poof! Just like that, the craze factor of blogging ended. Yet there are still a bunch of blogs and bloggers that press on.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

May The 4th Be With You! "Selected Shorts" w/ Major TV Stars, Sat. 5/4 UAlbany

It’s story time… for adults!

Meet Jane Kaczmarek, a "Selected Shorts" performer for the past 16 years, best known for her role as Lois, Malcolm’s temperamental mother, on Malcolm in the Middle;
Anthony Rapp, who currently plays Lt. Commander Paul Stamets, Star Trek’s first openly gay character, on Star Trek: Discovery, and star of the original cast of “Rent” on Broadway;
and Alysia Reiner, who stars as interim warden Natalie “Fig” Figueroa in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black.
Public Radio International’s wildly popular Selected Shorts series and podcast comes to town offering a unique evening of literature in performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 4, in the UAlbany Performing Arts Center on the uptown campus, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany.
The event has a "Readers and Writers" theme with a suite of stories celebrating writers and their readers.
Selected Shorts is produced by Symphony Space in New York City and broadcast on more than 150 stations to about 300,000 listeners around the country. The "Selected Shorts" podcast consistently ranks as one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes, with more than 100,000 downloads each week.
Tickets purchased on the day of the show (pending availability) are $20 for the general public and $15 for students, seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff.
The box office will open at noon on Saturday for sales at the day of show prices.
For reservations and more information, contact the PAC Box Office: (518) 442-3997 or visit
The "Selected Shorts" event is sponsored by the NYS Writers Institute and the UAlbany Performing Arts Center and made possible with support from by the University at Albany Foundation, University Auxiliary Services, and Residence Inn by Marriott.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

5 Instagram Strategy Tips from Bloomberg

Monday, January 14, 2019

Online Memoir Writing Class: A Few Spots Left!

Have YOU ever considered writing a memoir?

If so, there’s an online class coming up that you can’t afford to miss.

“Memoirama” will be taught by Marion Roach Smith, a former New York Times staffer and author of four books, who has coached hundreds of very successful writers. Marion is a friend of The New York State Writers Institute and is offering this class as a fundraiser for us. All proceeds will go to the NYSWI. We are grateful to Marion for offering us this fundraising opportunity.

Marion is currently listed in the number one spot on Google under “memoir coach,” and previously taught a consistently sold-out class in Troy, New York from which she wrote her book, The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing and Life (Grand Central, 2011). Join her –

Friday, December 28, 2018

Consumer Advocate: AT&T promised to fix my bill. Why hasn't it?

AT&T promises Martin Gorfinkel that it will merge three of his bills into one and send him a $25 credit. But it doesn't, even though he has everything in writing. How do you hold AT&T accountable?

Q: I have service from AT&T 
for landline, cell phone, and DSL. 

That generates three phone bills each month. I contacted 
AT&T through their chat in May. 

A representative told me that they could not consolidate my 
cellular service into one bill, but that they could merge my
 DSL and landline charges. A representative said it could take 
up to two months to process the order.
AT&T continued sending me three separate bills for the next 
two months. 

I initiated another chat in August. This time, a representative
 said all three services could be consolidated on one statement 

Also, AT&T promised a $25 credit on my account for the 
Nothing has changed with my billing, and I have not seen a 
$25 credit. 

How can AT&T be held to account for the information
provided on their chat lines?
 -- Martin Gorfinkel, Mountain View, Calif.

A: If AT&T said it would merge your bills -- and send you a $25 credit --

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

How To Navigate Chinese Social Media

Here is a wonderful resource! As of November 2018, this is quite thorough!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Need a local reporter in [state] with [expertise]? This directory wants to blow away parachute journalism!

Shoeleather is a national database of writers from non-media hub cities (NYC, L.A., D.C., SF) who are local, knowledgeable and ready to tell their community stories. The database serves as a resource for publications, assigning editors and beyond to connect with writers in the towns, cities and states they are interested in covering instead of relying on “parachute” journalism.

Working as a journalist today is difficult enough, and trying to do so outside of the cities that serve as a nexus for publications can be daunting—particularly if you’re a writer from a traditionally underrepresented community, just getting started or aren’t part of the (let’s face it, insular) networks where assignments are often doled out.

Why should someone from Brooklyn get to be the authority on the stories from your community? With Shoeleather, editors can never say, “But we just don’t know anyone on the ground!” ever again.

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