How much is brevity worth? If you’re Axios, $525 million.

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Online news provider Axios just accepted Cox Enterprises’ acquisition offer worth $525 million. Where did the value in Axios come from? Brevity. Axios articles are short and pointed Below is a screen capture of a typical Axios article. The word count, including the headline, the byline, and the photo caption, is 247 words. What is … Continued

Nichelle Nichols and the integration of the fans and nerds

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Nichelle Nichols, best known for playing Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek, died yesterday. Most of what you’ll read about her celebrates her rule as a trailblazer for Black actors on network television, and what that did for America’s perception of Black people. I’d like to talk about what her appearance meant for me, a sheltered … Continued

The Putrid Pivot: Why Facebook and Instagram are about to get much worse

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Meta had an earnings call this week. Revenues and profit are down. The metaverse division lost $2.8 billion in a single quarter. And Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, regarding the payroll, that there are “probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here.” Here’s why that’s bad news for people using Facebook … Continued

Hall of shame: Fixing Cooperstown’s disastrous typography

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The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York just added plaques for some new members. And they’re terrible. Here’s the new plaque for David Ortiz, a player I revere. Why this typography is all wrong I’m no designer, but like all real writers, I care enough about type to know what works and what … Continued

What we can learn from 8 New York Times columnists saying they were wrong

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As a person who once made his living making predictions, I’m fascinated by how public figures speak about what they were wrong about. The New York Times created a natural exercise in studying that when it published eight “I was wrong” columns by its regular columnists on Sunday. And we learned that like all humans, … Continued

Are you verbing nouns? When to curb that verb.

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I nearly retched yesterday when a client told me to edit a passage he wrote, even though he and colleague were still “languaging” it. Languaging? Gag me. It’s a trusim that “Any noun can be verbed.” That doesn’t make it a good idea. Where to draw the line on verbing nouns In my first job, … Continued

Anachronicons

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In the continual iconification of our interfaces, there are images that live on only as icons of bygone technology. I propose that we call these anachronicons (from anachronism + icons). What got me thinking about this was the knobs on my new Weber gas grill. They look like this: Are you having difficulty figuring out … Continued