I was amused by the story of “Knickers” — I saw it online, but decided the “giant cow” story wasn’t really worthy of True …and then saw it again and again and again and again! (see photo below).
In This Episode: Feel-good stories can go viral online. I’m going to tell you one of those stories using the Uncommon Sense filter to see what we can take away for the longer term, after the viral story is forgotten.
Sometimes I Smile, Sometimes I Roll My Eyes: About the news business, that is. As a news commentary column, news is, of course, the road this publication drives on. Here’s what I mean.
Last weekend, I saw someone post that Eric Ward was dead. The name rang a bell for me — someone from my past in online circles — but I couldn’t quite connect it, and asked an online friend from the 90s if he knew him. The name didn’t connect for him. Still, it was really familiar, but I couldn’t quite figure it out.
I Get Google Alerts for my name. One recurring one had me baffled for a bit, and another more recent one made me laugh. First, I was baffled that several times per week, I get alerts saying you can get (“FREE!”) a bootleg ebook copy of my True Stella Awards book.
In my recent post about watching the Internet “grow up,” I noted True was a driving force in setting the “best practices” around email publishing — I pushed the first true Email Service Provider to add features I wanted, and one of those features was “double opt-in.”
A Note from Darryl in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, suggests, “I know you have been around since the beginning of the internet as one of the longest (and also I would say one of the best) running e-newletters. I ran across this story in Time magazine and thought it would be an interesting article to add into your weekly post.”
I Wanted to Cover a Story, but I knew there was no way I could put it in the newsletter: it would cause the issue to be trapped by about 90 percent of readers’ spam filters.
It’s a Matter of Control.
This is True went online in the first half of 1994, so True has been in business longer than many big names in the Internet biz, including Google (1998). As a classic feature column, I received (and turned down) syndication offers from two different newspaper syndicates, including one of the biggest in the business, because I wanted full control of True’s publication rights — including its online presence. And as of today, I’ve turned off Google’s “Adsense” service on this site for the same reason: to assert my control.
I Really Hate to Keep sending traffic to Facebook, since they’re eating the Internet already, but man, have I been having fun there lately. Baiting the political partisans is like shooting fish in a barrel: easy and hella fun.
The threat from criminals online continues to grow. It’s not just “hackers” but actual criminal activity, backed by organized crime, and perhaps even some governments. They want your passwords, especially for bank and other financial accounts, so they can drain them for you, and they use some pretty tricky and often sophisticated means to get them, either from you, or from sites they break into.
What Would You Include as significant milestones in the “history” of weird news?
While Looking for Something Else, I came across this letter from a reader dated May 30 …2005:
In June, This is True celebrates 21 years online — a pioneer in online publishing that predates Facebook, Google, Amazon, and the vast majority of other web sites you can find online today.
To answer the very important question of the title, you need a little background, which is illustrated by a question from reader Steve in Texas:
Some time ago, I “Liked” the This is True Facebook page, but almost never see any posts. I figured you weren’t active until I went back to the page, and saw a ton of stuff I thought was great! How come I’m not seeing it regularly? I see most posts from my friends.
OK: Call Me a Contrarian. Sure the lip-synching cop was entertaining! The song is fun, and who can’t like the earnest and drop-dead gorgeous (and cute! — see below) Taylor Swift?
But really: we are in a cycle of big distrust of cops in this country, so their solution is to lie about just happening to find this video of the cop in their random review of dashcam footage?
An Interesting Article on the site Artist Empathy (yeah, I hadn’t heard of it before either) discusses “The Pomplamoose Problem”…
As a life-long NASA geek (and former employee of a NASA center), I pay reasonably close attention to the goings on at NASA. I spotted something in my Facebook feed, though, that made me roll my eyes about how not to inform the public about something that should be of great interest.
This Week Marks a Huge Milestone for This is True: the end of its 20th year. It started as a bulletin board item outside my office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The first one, dated 26 June 1994, was written to go into my business plan — I hadn’t actually gotten distribution set up. As I was working on the tech, I kept writing a new column each week and, when it went online in July 1994, it was an instant hit, quickly ramping up in circulation.
Facebook is about to get worse — a lot worse — and I think my days there are numbered. I can’t be the only publisher getting ready to give up.