A Parallel Blog is Still Better than Social Media

So here's the thing. I want to encourage advanced students of the media arts to develop a few new habits. First is to read deeply and widely in regular subjects that pertain to their development as artists. Second is to cultivate that curiosity as an independent pursuit.

The problem with me setting up every possible course reading on Blackboard is that it perpetuates a habit of weakness—professor gives me things and I read those things when I am told to read those things. This leads to all kinds of problems. A professor shouldn't be the sole lens through which information is bent. And there's also this sense a lot of times among students that if a reading doesn't have an obvious 1:1 correspondence to a LEARNING OUTCOME then it can't possibly be relevant or important.

Social media conglomerates are trying to be the one-stop way for people to get all their information—personal correspondence, news, everything—but they are only sort of ok for this. The algorithms that determine what you see and don't see are opaque and suspect, and every bit of it is designed to be montetized using clickthroughs as the measurement of quality. So things that grab your attention and generate comments are weighted far more heavily, because those companies are ad-selling companies.

RSS used to be a much more popular way to read serialized and syndicated writing, but the number one way this was done was through Google Reader. Google killed Google Reader when they decided they needed to funnel all their traffic through Google+ to combat what they saw as a threat from Facebook and Twitter (because again, first and foremost, Google is in the ad selling business). Internet intellectuals freaked out because there was no good replacement for Google Reader. Now there are a few. Newsblur is the best. Feedly is OK and very nice looking. They both have free versions, but are wisely supported by subscriptions instead of ad sales.

Which bring me to this, my second blog. I have a blog already, which I use for my normal writing and such. But I have started Quark Shoebox as a place to put current and relevant things for students of the media arts. Art. Think pieces. How-tos.

Follow quarknova.com/shoebox in your RSS reader, and as you see things I post that you like, follow those authors and add them to your reader as well. Then when you are in the mindset to read (which is not the same mindset as poking around on social media), read widely and deeply.