Being marketed to on a social networking site can feel a little like receiving a post on your Facebook wall from your aunt asking if you’re finally coming to visit for Christmas.
Your job, as a business owner, is to be the coolest aunt the world has ever seen.
Students at UCSF can soon get course credit for editing medical Wikipedia articles, joining a group of medical professionals and others dedicated to improving available health information online.
This is fantastic.
If a thousand lines of letters in UNIX qualifies as a technology (the computer code for a web page), then a thousand lines of letters in English (Hamlet) must qualify as well. They both can change our behavior, alter the course of events, or enable future inventions.
This is a photograph of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, taken 150 years ago today.
I love this picture. I love it because Lincoln looks so anonymous in it. He’s just another person in the crowd. Certainly, when he gave the Gettysburg Address, he wasn’t just another person in the crowd. He was set apart. He stood on a podium and everyone gathered to hear him speak. But the point remains: he was just a person. What made him remarkable was that he understood the power of language.
He understood that words can change people’s minds, and that they could therefore change a country. With just 271 words, he reminded his audience of why America was so remarkable, why it was worth fighting for, and that the best way to honor the dead was to get to work creating a government worthy of their sacrifice.
There’s some irony that Lincoln believed that the world would forget his speech:
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
It’s true that no words, not even his, could adequately honor the dead. But he misunderstood that his words would be immortal. His words are precisely what remind us of those soldiers and what they were fighting for. I hope we never forget them.
The Gettysburg Address:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that this nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
I do think this is one of the blessings and curses of social media: To fit in, you have to sound like a person, not an institution. And people can be so much more annoying than institutions. And also so much more interesting. I think that’s the trade-off.
And more honest insights on making “important civic issues” go viral, via Upworthy Co-Founder Eli Pariser Explains What Upworthy’s Doing And Why It Annoys Me So Much - On The Media
Newspapers are really mostly terrible and they deserve to die. And network news is really terrible and it deserves to go down. […] The tone seems horrible. They’re like news robots talking to other news robots in their specialized news language and that is what we must destroy.
Ira Glass, discussing why voice and tone is so essential to This American Life and why traditional media organizations are failing because they refuse to talk like normal people. Watch his entire (wonderful) rant on YouTube.