High-Frequency Novelty Production, Stock, Flow, and Truth

I agree with this recent anonymous answerer on Explainthis.org (I'm pretty sure it's Ed Yong): the blogger vs. journalist trope is downright exhausted. Obviously, the term blog does not refer to the journalistic integrity of blog posts, or bloggers. In the context of journalism, blog shouldn't imply anything but high-frequency novelty production. If you are not telling the truth with your novelty, you are not a journalist. The same is true for microblogs. How much novel truth are you telling?

A good reporter-blogger is like a really good museum tour guide--the one whose tour keeps growing as randoms that happen to overhear can't help but join the group. If you are still trying to figure out what I mean, read Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo for a week. Marshall manages to combine his knowledge of the insider games with clear-headed writing style to produce a consistently enlightening flow of truthful, digestible information packets.

Truth is truth, whether it's a marathon New Yorker piece or a 128-character explanation + link. Twitter is not about telling people what you are doing, it's about sharing truth. NYU professor Jay Rosen says he uses Twitter for "mindcasting." I'm not sure that's exactly what I do, but it's something like that. When I was a kid, I would get hyper when I found certain new facts in my picture books about dinosaurs, constellations, and germs, and would immediately feel the urge to run and tell one of my parents, my sister, or whoever I happened to see first. That pattern of behavior has never really gone away, and that's why I love Twitter.

Robin Sloan's stock and flow analogy is apt:
"Flow is the feed. It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind peo­ple that you exist.

Stock is the durable stuff. It’s the con­tent you pro­duce that’s as inter­est­ing in two months (or two years) as it is today. It’s what peo­ple dis­cover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, build­ing fans over time."
The new journalist must not only navigate job-less waters, he or she must also always be balancing stock and flow--a feat that's lot easier said than done. I'm trying to wire my brain so it will think in terms of stock and flow at the same time. Sometimes it works, but often it just leaves me with a headache.

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