Christopher Penn vividly makes clear the varied architecture of political influence

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I’m grateful to Christopher Penn, cofounder of BrainTrust Insights, for his analysis of link and influence on both sides of the political spectrum. Yesterday, he posted some incredible graphical visualizations. Here’s how describes what he did: Using Facebook’s API and its Crowdtangle journalism tool, we extracted 6 months of data from approximately 250 conservative and … Continued

Come at me, bro — what’s fair game on this blog

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This is not a politics blog, but politics is part of my subject matter. So here’s what I hope is a very clear statement of my principles. I write about anything associated with writing quality, analytical thinking, truth, and influence. These are “meta-analyses.” I’m generally writing about how people think and communicate, not whether those … Continued

The outrageous photo of a suffering child

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Have you seen this photo? What an outrage. Trump’s Border Patrol is separating families at the border and putting children in cages. I’ve seen this photo all over my Facebook feed, on posts filled with rage. But there’s a problem. This photo is not what people think it is. According to snopes.com, this photo is … Continued

How the White House suckered liberals by calling MS-13 gang members “animals”

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The White House web site’s announcement about the MS-13 gang called them “animals” ten times in 439 words. This is master-level trolling — it drove the Web crazy, just as planned. Let’s examine what’s really going on here. Calling people, even gang members, “animals” is provocative to say the least. Dehumanizing people can be a … Continued

Tom Wolfe had the right stuff

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Tom Wolfe died this week. His prose was a revelation. He was 88. Back in 1979, at the height of powers, he published The Right Stuff, a novel about the experimental pilots at the center of the space program. When I taught writing to homeschooled teenagers, I used a passage from this book to jolt … Continued

That study about using two spaces after a period? It’s bullshit.

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The Washington Post reported on a study showing that adding two spaces after a period improves readability. Now all the use-two-spaces philistines are using this to justify their depraved practices. But the study proves nothing. Three researchers at Skidmore College, Rebecca L. Johnson, Becky Bui, and Lindsay L. Schmitt, published a paper called “Are two spaces … Continued

Charlene Li: Reflecting on 10 Years of Groundswell — and What Comes Next

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Charlene Li has added her own perspectives on the tenth anniversary of the publication of Groundswell. Read her post on LinkedIn or below: 10 years ago, my co-author Josh Bernoff and I released our first book, “Groundswell: Living in a World Transformed by Social Technologies”. On this anniversary, I wanted to reflect on what our expectations were when … Continued