I’m out of Facebook

no facebook

It’s done. I’m out of the biggest social networking service after years of using it. It has come to a point that this service has become too distracting.

Why you may ask? Several things:

1) Facebook has become a “bad” habit that sucks time better spent on doing something more productive.

2) Less is more. I have one social networking service left: Twitter. It’s a better source for news–and it’s not too disruptive.

3) For digital natives like me, the decision is easier. There are alternative social networking services that make more sense. And it protects your privacy.

4) Digital detox: I’m finding more time writing in this blog; reading news on mobile aggregators like Flipboard and Zite. I also purged all mobile messaging services. I’m back to using SMS and e-mail. Better, a phone call.

5) I want get rid of my F.O.M.O. syndrome.

6) One of my colleagues inspired me to do this: She’s on Instagram. That’s it. She shares what she thinks is worth seeing. None of the foodie and scenic shots that make friends envious and angry.

7) There’s life after Facebook. It’s about time that we connect not just digitally, but physically.

My list of reasons will grow, I suppose. But I believe this decision was not made in haste. It was coming. It was inevitable. It was a deliberate move to help me reconnect with my kids, my family, and my friends in very traditional ways.

Now, I can breathe a little more.

Battle for long- vs. short-form journalism on the web

I just finished reading “The Forbes Model for Journalism in the Digital Age.” It’s a good read, but much of what has been written here is happening now.

Take this story about Vox Media, which owns several websites including technology site The Verge. Long before New York Times’ Snow Fall project, Vox has been doing long-form journalism on the web. If you’re a student of digital publishing, short is better. Why? We know attention spans are fleeting. So short, simple, and sweet stories often fly on the web.

Apparently not all the time.

As the Forbes model has proven, we should not be thinking about long or short forms. We shouldn’t even be thinking of the web only. A good story will find its way into the reader’s hands, eventually. Thus, the onus is on journalists to deliver compelling, well-researched stories. But it doesn’t stop there. The methods, the process, and the medium have changed. Even the jobs and the language of journalism have shifted.

The medium is digital. Being digital, content can take many forms, depending on what “screen” you’re viewing it. And it should be interactive. Also, the methods of delivery have evolved. We don’t pull readers anymore. We push stories to them via social networks. That’s the first step for news discovery these days. Once your readers are hooked, you should give them more reasons to stay longer, thus Forbes’ use of “transactional journalism.” This means developing the credibility of individual content creators is important in getting “repeat visits.” People read people they trust. And if you start engaging them, not only as a journalist but a community manager, then you can get a nice conversation going.

Now, the story flow has also evolved. Journalists write, people react and comment. Journalists react, people write, share, and comment. It’s an endless cycle. Forbes called out comments–a system they now use extensively to encourage more intelligent conversations on their website.

As author and chief product officer at Forbes Lewis DVorkin wrote:

In the era of the social Web, journalism can best fulfill its essential mission to inform when the individual who possesses information connects, or transacts, one-on-one with the individual who desires it.

So is there a real debate between long and short-form journalism on the web? Yes and No. Yes, for academic purposes, we can go ahead and talk about the advantages of shorter form. But in the end, the world has changed and the lines dividing the different forms are blurring. You only need to understand the web to gauge how journalists should behave, and adjust for a digital medium.

In the age of digital, some are going analog

Rolling Stone features a story on the revival of vinyl love during the age of MP3.

I guess some purists still enjoy listening to the scratchy sound of songs played on a traditional turntable. I stil have one vinyl record left. It’s a Frank Zappa album Overnight Sensation given by a friend. It’s now collecting dust. I have the whole album in my iPOD.

The issue with vinyl versus MP3 is really a non-issue. For collectors, vinyl is like those minted comic books that have to be kept enclosed to protect it from wear and tear. Digital technology has allowed music to last longer. Vinyl, the article says, gives audiophile the satisfaction of listening to the “missing sonic properties” of a song lost in digitization. I believe people who collect vinyl also own an iPOD. Both will exist for a long time until they find another way of storing and preserving music for a longer, longer time.