I’m able to read a thousand pieces of journalism a day, which I think makes me the most read person in the world.
Pieces with lasting value do three things:
share really interesting ideas,
deploy strong arguments, and
have particularly fine writing —
typically in first person.
The first thing I do when I get out of bed is read the New York Times — really for my own personal satisfaction.
The morning is when I'm feeling fresh and the most receptive. That's when I feel good.
I do this on my iPad. The iPad is my workhorse.
Currently, I’ve got about 700 RSS feeds in my Feedly — meaning it’s aggregating about 700 publications for me every day.
Once I’ve gone through my main Feedly feed, I’ll switch to another one that strips articles from MetaFilter and Pinboard.
I follow quite a lot of people on Pinboard,
and so between MetaFilter and Pinboard that adds about another 360 posts a day to the feed.
These are slightly more random — they’re other people’s choices of articles — and so psychologically I like to keep them separate from my main feed.
I use Pinboard to help me keep from getting stale.
Hacker News, Reddit, and Substack are also sources I use quite a lot.
If a publication doesn’t have an RSS feed then
I’ll subscribe to their newsletter.
And if they don’t have a newsletter than I’ll bookmark them in Chrome.
I have about 100 Chrome bookmarks, and I try to visit at least 2 or 3 of them a day to make sure I’m not missing something.
But even as I do that, I do it with a private irritation that they don’t have an RSS feed.
As I’m going through my feed, I’m reading in almost a negative way.
I’m skipping over stuff that I can see is breaking news or is yet another take on some existing controversy.
I figure that headlines are written by loyal allies of the writers who are paid to find and express what is best in the piece.
So if the headline writer cannot produce a compelling headline
then that is a very strong indicator that there’s not much good in the piece.
the whole message of the publishing industry is that the publication is the guarantee of quality.
If I want to read Susan Orlean, I want to read her whether she’s publishing in the New Yorker or Harpers or the Financial Times or whatever.
If a piece does not start well then the chances are vanishingly small that it’s going to improve.
By the end of the day I’ll have read to the end, bookmarked, or saved, about 100 articles.
Once I’ve done that, I’ll go back and read all of those articles again and
grade them to find the ones that I really feel strongly about.
The articles that I feel strongly about, I put into Bear.
Once I’ve narrowed it down to the five articles, I’ll switch to Substack to start composing the newsletter.
I’ll put in the titles, the links, and the lengths.
Then I’ll reread the pieces again and write the summaries and the captions.
We’ve decided that five pieces is the number we can reliably fill each day,
with pieces that really excite us.
If we were doing more than that we would risk getting a quota mentality.
Basically, what we’ve done is trained the algorithm on all of my past issues of The Browser.
And we can set it to read thousands of posts that I don’t have time to read, and judge them.
This ML is essentially learning to be me. It’s basically an output from the virtual Robert Cottrell.
There are quite a few regional variations in the way Americans refer to the act of unfairly getting in front of people who are standing in line.
The most common of the expressions is “cutting in line,”
but Americans also speak of “butting,” “budding,” “budging,” “skipping,” “ditching,” and “dishing” in line
In Britain, this boorish behavior is usually referred to as “jumping (or barging) the queue,”
the “cutting” version “is by far the most widely used and recognized.
The upper Midwest is an exception to this rule: budging in line is the most common
Butting in line is even more common than budging across much of this area
“butting” is sometimes spelled “budding”
to reflect the flick-of-the-tongue pronunciation of “t” when it follows a vowel and precedes an unstressed syllable—a sound
that linguists refer to as a “flap.”
Skipping in line is the dominant variant in the Milwaukee metropolitan area and the immediately surrounding counties
The geographic distribution of ditching in line is sharply delimited to central Ohio
apparently showed up in the mid-20th century.
Facebook will start hosting and monetizing podcasts
Facebook got into podcasts this past year by allowing hosts to distribute their RSS feeds on Pages, and
next year, I believe the company will start hosting and monetizing shows — no RSS feed required.
More headline-making podcast appearances
While podcasts are increasingly a stop on celebrities’ press circuits, they remain the intimate medium they’ve always been:
guards are lowered and conversations get real.
Given this intersection, we’re likely to hear more and more high-profile people saying some pretty jarring things on tape.
There will be fewer exclusive show deals and more windowing
If ad revenue is the primary goal for most of the big platforms,
minimizing shows’ audiences by housing them in one place doesn’t make much sense.
Instead, I expect to see more deals like
the one between Amazon Music and SmartLess with one week of exclusivity, or
Amazon Music and 9/12, which offered the entire, bingeable show on the app with only one episode per week released elsewhere.
Salaries become standardized (through solidarity)
I predict current salaried workers will soon act on that, and that at least part of it will be bold, public, and online,
even if demystifying money by just talking about it has mostly been the domain of freelancers.
A more built-out Spotify Wrapped for podcasts
Podcasts become a way to sell products, especially by influencers
I suspect this is why Amazon is taking an interest in the space — podcasts move product, and Amazon has a lot of product to move.
Plus, it runs a huge affiliate revenue business.
More pro gamers launch podcasts and reach huge numbers
Luminary gets bought or shuts down
Live social audio goes on-demand and becomes a hot zone for moderation discussions
live audio’s reputation will tarnish as conversations run amok with misinformation, racism, threats of violence, and whatever else the internet is good at drumming up.
XML Sitemaps are a structured data format
that contains a list of a website’s primary pages.
Websites can proactively ping search engines when they publish changes
to request that the search engine come and index their new pages.
Sometime between December 14th and 22nd, Bing stopped accepting new ping submissions to its XML Sitemap Ping service.
Bing’s XML Sitemap documentation for webmasters still suggests pinging Bing using the removed API endpoint.
Baidu removed their XML Sitemap Ping API in 2017.
The same year, Yandex also removed any mention of their API from their webmaster documentation.
Yandex’s API endpoint at webmaster.yandex.com/ping still works, though.
Google’s XML Sitemap API at google.com/ping is documented and also continues to work.
XML Sitemap submissions require websites to produce up-to-date and fully qualified sitemaps.
The format is well-documented,
but it can pose a technical challenge to implement well.
The creation of a sitemap and the inclusion of the last modification dates can be automated
Cloudflare research suggests that sitemap files can improve search engine indexing efficiency and lower the carbon footprint of websites.
The IndexNow initiative is a new API from Bing and Yandex that launched in November 2021.
IndexNow lets any website submit one or more new or changed URLs to all participating search engines with one API call.
Google said to Search Engine Land that they’re evaluating IndexNow, but hasn’t committed to supporting it.