Snippets of Knowledge
He was referring to Federer, the 17-time Grand Slam singles champion, who prevailed, 7-5, 6-1, to advance to the semifinals. Federer, who was seeded seventh here, reclaimed his spot in the top five. He cautioned against reading too much into last week’s results. “One tournament doesn’t do it all for me yet,” he said. “I mean, it’s nice they believe more in it, and it’s nice that they take Stan as an inspiration. That’s great. That’s what it’s supposed to be. I think they should believe more in beating the top guys than just one-offs once in a while.” The second-seeded Djokovic, who also reached the semifinals, dispatching Julien Benneteau, says he is aware that other players might be closing the gap. “That’s another reason for you to train hard and try to get yourself better and compete with these guys,” Djokovic said. “It’s double hard, I think, in this moment for any top player to stay up there. I’m aware of what’s going on. On a positive note, it’s good for the sport in a way, you know, to have the different faces winning major tournaments.”

Evidence Mounts That Men’s Top Four Tennis Players Are No Longer on Pedestal -

I think these contrasting replies show beautifully how differently Djokovic and Federer talk. Federer, with his characteristic defensiveness and Djokovic with his own characteristic optimism.


Scott Howe of Acxiom spoke at Harvard last week as part of the Topics in Privacy series. I’ve been really interested to follow the steps Acxiom is taking to set an example in the advertising industry to engage more directly with consumers through Howe talked at length…

Twitter is for news—ish. Search is for news—full stop. But Facebook?

Of the 20 most viral stories on BuzzFeed’s network, only seven deal with recent events. Only three deal with what you might call national news stories: the Miss America Pageant, Netflix technology, and the Video Music Awards (not quite A1 fare, but news, nonetheless). But the vast majority of these stories aren’t really news, at all. They’re quizzes about your accent, lists of foods and photographs, funny reminders of what life feels like as you age. For lack of a better term: They’re entertainment.

(via Typing indicator in chat: I built it, and I’m not sorry.)
The deeper lesson is that just about any conceivable metric will carry not only virtues and limitations, but also a certain seduction for digital media companies to corrupt it. Let’s quickly review some… Uniques: Unique visitors is a good metric, because it measures monthly readers, not just meaningless clicks. It’s bad because it measures people rather than meaningful engagement. For example, Facebook viral hits now account for a large share of traffic at many sites. There are one-and-done nibblers on the Web and there are loyal readers. Monthly unique visitors can’t tell you the difference. Page Views: They’re good because they measure clicks, which is an indication of engagement that unique visitors doesn’t capture (e.g.: a blog with loyal readers will have a higher ratio of page views-to-visitors, since the same people keep coming back). They’re bad for the same reason that they can be corrupted. A 25-page slideshow of the best cities for college graduates will have up to 25X more views than a one-page article with all the same information. The PV metric says the slideshow is 25X more valuable if ads are reloaded on each page of the slideshow. But that’s ludicrous. Time Spent/Attention Minutes: Page views and uniques tell you an important but incomplete fact: The article page loaded. It doesn’t tell you what happens after the page loads. Did the reader click away? Did he stay for 20 minutes? Did he open the browser tab and never read the story? These would be nice things to know. And measures like attention minutes can begin to tell us. But, as Salmon points out, they still don’t paint a complete picture. Watching a 5 minute video and deciding it was stupid seems less valuable than watching a one minute video that you share with friends and praise. Page views matter, and time spent matters, but reaction matters, too. This suggests two more metrics … Shares and Mentions: “Shares” (on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google ) ostensibly tell you something that neither PVs, nor uniques, nor attention minutes can tell you: They tell you that visitors aren’t just visiting. They’re taking action. But what sort of action? A bad column will get passed around on Twitter for a round of mockery. An embarrassing article can go viral on Facebook. Shares and mentions can communicate the magnitude of an article’s attention, but they can’t always tell you the direction of the share vector: Did people share it because they loved it, or because they loved hating it?
The concern in the Wikipedia movement and among people who study it is that smartphones and tablets are designed for “consumer behavior” rather than “creative behavior.” In other words, mobile users are much more likely to read a Wikipedia article than improve it. As a result, the shift to mobile away from desktops could pose long-term problems for Wikipedia, the 13-year-old project to create what the site calls a “free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.” “It’s a big issue for everyone; the mobile phone is not a great input device — especially a smaller phone,” said Judith Donath, author of the coming book “The Social Machine: Designs for Living Online.” Ms. Donath said that while mobile was well-suited to a service like Twitter, with its 140-character entries, “it is not the interface for someone writing a long article with footnotes.” She notes that as the screens used to read news or social media have become smaller, the screens of the so-called creative class have gotten bigger — often two screens together — for writing or designing or coding. The smaller screens of smartphones and tablets do not lend themselves to research and taking notes, or writing long encyclopedia entries.
Kind of stumped as to what to do next? Write from the contrary position. You are bound to discover something.