My best unpublished drafts of 2011

The way things go with kids and life and work and all that these days, I’m not having any sort of big “this year I’m going to get back to blogging” feeling right about now.

Too busy. Find me on Twitter. Maybe I’ll use Tumblr more. Maybe not.

Which brings us to a list, not of my most popular blog posts of last year (and really, who has the ego for that in 2012?) — but rather, of my best unpublished drafts.

Be inspired.

1. My ultimate journalism hacker masters program (April)

Looks like this was a response to a Dave Stanton survey of some sort. I might have responded in his form. Maybe. Here’s a key quote from the unpublished draft: “Media Theory for Online Journalism: Diffusion and adoption theory, organizational psychology, and the…” That’s really it. It trails off right there. Nothing after the “the.”

2. The thing about the redesigns nobody asks for (July)

Remember that unsolicited redesign of a few pages on nytimes.com that one guy posted with a lot of negative attitude tied to it? Yeah, people like me really loved that. (Pretend I wrote loved in that fancy new sarcasm reverse italic treatment, naturally.) If I could somehow find what I tweeted about back in July, I would embed it here. Somehow.

3. ONA11 takeaways and unpublished tweets (September)

ONA in, uh, wherever it was, was great this year. (Was that Boston? Seriously.) I took some great pen-and-paper notes while trying really hard to be physically and mentally present in sessions, and not burying my face in my laptop or phone until the Google News team announced something sort of interesting while standing right in front of me. (Standout.)

But really, I was having a great time, writing things down, and got the idea to write down some things I might want to tweet later. Never published. One fun bit involved sitting behind @nytjim and watching his workflow in Tweetdeck while a big news story of some sort was breaking during a keynote talk, or something.

4. The new cameras (October)

#stuffscoblesays

5. In which you help me prioritize some unnecessary home electronics purchases that likely won’t happen anytime soon (December)

In which I think better of publishing a plea for advice on our first high definition television, blu-ray thingie player enabled with some Internets so we can watch old TV on Netflix, and maybe some sort of Airplay speaker, but do we need that if the blu-ray thingie player with Internets gets Pandora? This stuff is hard, guys.

6. My best unpublished dra

Oh.

 

 

The blog post about that time I spent the week in the hospital and they took out part of my intestines

If we’re friends on Facebook, you’ve likely already pieced most of this together. If not…

Last Friday night, I was slammed with stomach problems like I’d never experienced before, and by the time the #snowtober storm started on Saturday morning, I was on my way to the emergency room. First ever ambulance ride.

A day later, a colonoscopy turned up, well, some weird stuff in my large intestine, and a day after that I was in surgery.

I’m happy to say that the report on the chunk of intestines they cut out of me (and hey, go ahead and take my appendix while you’re there) showed no sign of cancer, or Crohn’s disease, or another easily identifiable chronic illness.

So they’re sending my guts up to Johns Hopkins to get a second opinion from a specialist, and we’ll see if I just had a fluke infection of some sort, or if I’ve gone off and reinvigorated research on some rare disease.

Either way, I’ll be healed up from the surgery and back in action shortly.

As far as how you can help, there’s no clear “gastrointestinal mysteries foundation” to throw money at, but if you’d think about donating blood sometime soon, I’d appreciate it, since I’m three units deep into IOUs at the moment.

Oh, and bros? Get that colonoscopy.

35

I accidentally filled out a marketing survey this morning and realized I had slipped into a new demographic.

Ouch.

Older.

Is Dan Sinker’s book making me angry?

20111011-072632.jpg

Well, no, of course not.

In fact, the Epic Quest makes me happy every time I pick it up. I’ve caught myself pages deep, on the couch with my four-year-old who is impatiently reminding me that she has a book of her own in mind, and hey, why is there a duck on your book, and then I snap out of it and Quaxelrod heads back to the end table, where he sits perched atop an unfinished Clay Shirky tome that is infinitely more relevant to my day job.

Anyway, the funny thing is, I don’t curse on Twitter. Or if I used to, I don’t now. I keep it clean. Maybe an “effing” from time to time, which is a word I never speak away from a keyboard. Ever.

But reading in my imagination’s flavor of @mayoremanuel‘s voice has led me into the habit of narrating mundane things like my honestly-not-bad-lately commute in a similar, profane fashion.

And now I’m trying to decide if it’s therapeutic or sociopathic.

But I’m not trying that hard.

Revised branding

The deed is done. This blog, which has carried my name in its domain for more than six years, no longer has a title other than my name.

For now.

Until I change my mind.

Or freak out about branding.

The snark of working in public

The art of working in public: In which Robin Sloan writes a great blog post about other people writing great blog posts.

“I have two exemplary pieces of 21st-century writing that I want to share with you. Neither is hot off the CMSes; they’ve both aged just a little in their tabbed casks. They have something deeply in common—though it might not be obvious at first.”

From my point of view, “writing great blog posts” feels like a thing of the past, except for a faithful few inspiring souls who still strive to build connections and point to common threads on the Web, not just curating the work of others, but adding something much more valuable than a pithy comment in the process.

It’s certainly a stock/flow issue these days, but I think so much of what I see passed around these days qualifies as flow: Short snippets, curated clips, a video, an animated gif, the trafficking of cleverness in the form of tweets or stars or likes or plusses or some other sharing system that helps us superglue badges to our vests like so many Indian Guides.

Finding time for stock is tricky. Often I feel like the writing I do here that gets the most attention (as measured by aforementioned counts and scores and RTs and stars and comments, etc.) is quick, throwaway, blast writing (not entirely unlike what you’re reading at the moment, eh?), spun up without a great deal of deep research or forethought.

But I do so admire the Dashes and Sloans and Carmodys et al, who do find the time, and provide us with more than fodder for the sharing circuit.

Branding

I’m strongly leaning toward dropping the “Invisible Inkling” brand from this blog entirely, in an effort to appear moderately less pretentious.

I am fully aware that using three adverbs in the previous sentence — and writing it at all, not to mention this one, makes it difficult to make the “less pretentious” argument with any level of confidence, so let’s just pretend you didn’t read that part.

Reaching back into the archives of this here blog, it looks like the switch from “Ryan Sholin’s J-School Blog” to “Invisible Inkling” happened in September 2006 when I was done with most of my graduate school classes and had started looking for a full-time job. I suppose I wanted this thing to appear to be a bit *more* professional, and thus, dropped the j-school reference so I wouldn’t look like an undergraduate of some sort. (No offense.)

From the bit I wrote about “so what’s an inkling, anyway?” that day:

“The newspaper business is changing, and so is journalism education, and so are the technological paradigms that supposedly mark the boundaries of both. So, as the nineteenth-century rapid/mass communication method of ink-on-paper dries up, it’s time to go stand under the waterfall of clues, open your mouth and your ears, and see how the information flows.”

Writing! Yay. OK, so I think we’re all in agreement that I can drop the double-I brand, and put something succinct and to the point like, say, my name in the top-left corner of my blog.

Plus, I’m sure children’s book author Emily Jenkins and Harper Collins will be pleased.

Taking Egypt personally

Although it’s quickly getting pushed out of the news cycle by the Super Bowl and its commercial trappings, plus a big digital media acquisition immediately in the wake of the weekend, the story in Egypt has captured my attention for the last two weeks or so.

Why?

It’s not really the politics. At this point, I’m far enough past my teenage years to understand with some comprehensiveness the scope of “revolutions” like this one, where one dictator is replaced with another (worst case scenario playing out, at least temporarily, at the moment) or with democracy (best case scenario) and all its factions, party politics, and pendulumatic swing of power from one sect of the upper class to another, indefinitely, until another coup brings another dictator to power.

In other words, I’ve seen this movie before.

But naturally, I’m drawn to the digital nature of this movement, to the Facebook pages serving as vital organizing tools, to the missing Google executive, to the protestors executing the time-honored urban hack of charging their mobile devices using the wiring in a streetlight’s base, to Andy Carvin’s retweet curation of reliable sources on the ground in and around Tahrir Square.

All of this appeals to me. No matter how it turns out, this period has been a coming of age for a Web-native generation in Egypt.

It’s a generation a bit like my own.