Each Tuesday this year, I’m going to share some of the things I’ve been reading which I have been inspired by or learnt from.

What Blogging Was – fantastic insight into blogging then and now. The comments too are worth reading.

“When blogs came along, they became the way we could have a Web presence that enabled us to react, respond, and provoke. At the turn of the millennium there was no MySpace (2003) and no Facebook (2004). But there was a blogging. If blogging enabled us to create a Web presence for ourselves, blogging was also self-consciously about connecting those presences into a community. Blogrolls were an early social network.

We were aware that the practice of blogging upset many assumptions about who gets to speak, how we speak, and who is an authority. Although blogging is now taken for granted at best and can seem quaint at worst, we thought we were participating in a revolution. And we were somewhat right.”

The Art of Presence – useful advice for helping those who are suffering. I particularly liked:

“Do be there. Some people think that those who experience trauma need space to sort things through. Assume the opposite. Most people need presence. The Woodiwisses say they were awed after each tragedy by the number of people, many of whom had been mere acquaintances, who showed up and offered love, from across the nation and the continents. They were also disoriented by a number of close friends who simply weren’t there, who were afraid or too busy.

I’d say that what these experiences call for is a sort of passive activism. We have a tendency, especially in an achievement-oriented culture, to want to solve problems and repair brokenness — to propose, plan, fix, interpret, explain and solve. But what seems to be needed here is the art of presence — to perform tasks without trying to control or alter the elemental situation. Allow nature to take its course. Grant the sufferers the dignity of their own process. Let them define meaning. Sit simply through moments of pain and uncomfortable darkness. Be practical, mundane, simple and direct.”

We recently worked on Megan Devine’s website Refuge in Grief which speaks to those who are “carrying an unexpected grief”. She has written some wonderful posts which are along the lines of the one in the NY Times.

I’m intrigued by the ideas in Here come the mediata startups from Skift’s founder:

“What would a startup built from the ground up to take advantage of the organic fusion of media and data look like? What if media and data weren’t separate, and weren’t even built as separate entities? If software is eating the world, and the world is driven by APIs, what does media look like? If every information morsel flows in a stream — as increasingly every media form is — does it matter what format it is in? If the newsfeed + follow model enabled the Facebookification of media on the open web, what does it do to data services in similar environments? If all updates are pushed in a newsfeed, could data updates be pushed in it too?

What if data *is* media, especially if the goal is to create meaningful experiences out of it? What kind of user experiences can you build out of this hybrid reality?

What would it mean to scaling of media startups, a group historically seen by the investor class as a low-margin, human-heavy, and purely ad-supported businesses not meant to scale beyond a certain point?”

Reading Books is Fundamental:

““The Pew Research Center reported last week that nearly a quarter of American adults had not read a single book in the past year. As in, they hadn’t cracked a paperback, fired up a Kindle, or even hit play on an audiobook while in the car. The number of non-book-readers has nearly tripled since 1978.”

There is no intellectual equivalent to allowing oneself the time and space to get lost in another person’s mind, because in so doing we find ourselves.”

And, to finish, some web design links – I am going to refer back to these in the future:

Scrolling is easier than clicking – fantastic post:

“Scrolling is a continuation; clicking is a decision. Scrolling is simply continuing to do what you’re currently doing, which is typically reading. Clicking, however, is asking the user to consider something new…is this new thing the same as what I’m already doing, or something new? Obviously this is a small interaction…but think about it in scale. Hundreds or thousands of decisions taken together add up to real friction.

And for some reason there is a myth about users not scrolling. It’s a very old myth…and it must have come about around the same time as the “above the fold” myth. This is bunk. If you need evidence just look around. The evidence is everywhere. Simply watch any human being using a mobile or tablet device. People scroll so much you could almost say that they scroll more than they don’t.”

Why “Simple” websites are scientifically superior – makes sense.

Don’t use automatic image sliders or carousels – ignore the fad – easier said than done when clients love them, but will keep trying!

The Decay and Fall of Guest Blogging – about time I say!

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