Publishing is a Communal Act

Today marked the happy arrival of Contents Magazine, billing itself as “a new magazine at the intersection of content strategy, online publishing, and new-school editorial work.” A quick look at who’s behind it reveals that this is going to be good.

They came roaring out of the gate with Mandy Brown’s Babies and the Bathwater, which looks at how the shifts in technology have left the practice of publishing playing serious catch-up. Thinking about the interplay between technology, writing, and publishing has been a consistent topic for me lately, so I appreciated an insight like this:

[W]e can no longer think of publishing as a broadcast medium. It isn’t, not anymore. The web requires that we listen and converse as much as (if not more than) we ship. In fact, we cannot assume that publishing of any kind is a distinct activity from belonging to a community. Part of the job of a publisher today is to facilitate discussion—and that means being a part of it. It means that we publish for people, not to them.

Go read the rest for more like that.

Pearls Before Breakfast

Article: Pearls Before Breakfast – washingtonpost.com

A journalist at the Washington Post had a great idea: have Joshua Bell, one of the world’s premier violinists (and his $3.5 million Stradivarius violin) play in a busy, downtown subway station during morning rush hour and see if anyone notices. If you want to find out from the article, stop reading this now and go read the article. Otherwise, here’s the answer: hardly anyone stopped to listen, sadly. This article uses this for some pretty in-depth ruminations on the current human condition. This quote was particularly poignant:

If we can’t take the time out of our lives to stay a moment and listen to one of the best musicians on Earth play some of the best music ever written; if the surge of modern life so overpowers us that we are deaf and blind to something like that — then what else are we missing?

Go and read the article. (The link’s up top.) Good, thought-provoking stuff. There’s some video too.