Happy New Year! I hope 2014 is off to a great start for you and that many great books are in your future. Here are two highly highly recommended reads for any functioning adult… who is on the internet… and wants to continue to be an effective and functioning adult. I’m serious about these two books. They are great reads.
The first recommended read is Clay Johnson’s The Information Diet (my review). This book is a short one, but it is jam packed with information and case studies about most of the places you interact and inhabit online. The book is eye-opening, but not in a scary “big brother is gonna git chu” kind of way. He just lays it out clearly. It’s all about understanding how algorithms and networks operate online and on sites like Facebook. Plus, he ends up with ideas and tips for turning your media consuming self into a more productive person and savvier consumer.
The second one is Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit. This book is fascinating. He shares data and stories on why you probably tie the same shoe first every morning, strategies to break your bad habits or reinforce your good ones. Not too mention interviews with the people at Target and music sites that are using our habits against us in efforts to market to us and lure in their shops. Amazing stuff.
Both these books are bursting with information that I think will make you a better citizen both on and offline. Plus, it’s just good to know what kind of a world you will be wading through in 2014.
This September 27, nearly 70 authors will swarm the mall in D.C. for the National Book Festival. Organizers are getting the word out about who will be there and already have started posting podcasts with some of the notable names and authors involved. They promise more podcasts soon with authors and famous faces.
I can’t make up my mind just how big of a deal this is. To be honest, I never really dug into Wikipedia, never having enough faith in what the masses would post. But then I discovered the Bhamwiki. It was like a light bulb that suddenly turned on. I got it. Our little local wiki is exactly what the whole Wikimedia is supposed to be about. It’s a great place to look up info on local authors, books,publishers etc.
And now Google is throwing their hat in the same ring. The only difference, that I can find, between Wiki and Google is that:
1. Google will restrict entry editing to a slate of topic experts, to kick things off.
2. Google will allow these topic experts to share in the ad revenue stream generated by their entries.
Are there more differences? I’m certainly not qualified to write anything, but I’ve been a fan of Google for a while and I’m wondering why they keep spreading out into new areas, beyond their core search business. Maybe it is just to stem the people clicking from Google search links to Wikipedia, as this guy’s non-scientific test highlights.
There’s a new site in town, Worthy of Publishing. It sort of mashes the Threadless and MySpace democratic business models, to unpublished authors.
Basically, you sign-up and submit a synopsis, samples, etc. of your book. Then other people in the community go around reading and voting. The idea is that the cream will rise to the top and get the most votes/attention. Once that attention has hit a ‘critical mass’, publishers will step up sign the author and publish the book, banking on that ‘critical mass’ as an indicator of potential sales and interest in the title.
I’ve yet to find a self-published book that I enjoyed. I tend to have to lean on the profesional book folks to weed out the weaker stuff. Which I’m always greatful for them doing.
But this model intrigues me and I’m anxious to see if the “wisdom of crowds” theory applies here. I could see it happening…