Talking about Donald Trump and Twitter with an idealist from 2007

Josh from 2007: I can’t believe it. I can’t believe I’m talking to you ten years in the future. Josh 2017: Yup. I’m here to tell you that you were right about social media blowing up. Even politicians are using it. But it turns out that connecting a politician’s brain directly to millions of voters … Continued

Everything United Airlines did wrong in the Denver Leggings Incident

When several teenage girls wearing leggings attempted to board a United Airlines flight in Denver, the airline blocked them for “inappropriate dress.” As the airline explained on Twitter, the girls were “pass riders” — dependents of employees using free standby tickets — subject to a more stringent dress code. United’s policy is wrong, and it … Continued

40 years of mob psychology

One day, about 40 years ago, I found myself in a group of people doing something that scared the crap out of me. As I look around me now, I feel the same way I felt then. I went to college at Penn State, a burgeoning mass of 30,000 students sequestered in the heart of the mountains … Continued

A scary future for Twitter users

Salesforce and Disney have given up on acquiring Twitter, citing its troll problems. To succeed in tech you need either profits or growth; Twitter has neither. So somebody’s going to buy it that doesn’t care about the users. As a result, if you’re a user, you can expect a very scary future — scarier than any ghosts … Continued

Blame yourself, not the media, for salacious Trump coverage

Do you think that the news media favor sensation over substance? The evidence shows the opposite. So why does it seem that way? Because sensation is what we, as readers, want, and social algorithms give us what we ask for. The two most newsworthy things that Donald Trump did in the last two days were these: He … Continued

Answers to your questions on social media, empathy, and more (Ask Dr. Wobs)

From southern courtesy to corporate bullshit, you had lots of questions after last week’s webinar for Higher Logic. I’ve answered them here. (Questions edited for length and clarity; some questions are from multiple listeners.) Q. Isn’t this all things that we should have learned from “Elements of Style” by Strunk & White?  How is this different? Strunk … Continued

Here’s what long tweets will do for Twitter: nothing

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey suggested that he might allow long tweets — up to 10,000 characters. That’s fixing a bug, not fixing Twitter. It won’t change much. Twitter has limited Tweets to 140 characters since the start, a limit that arose out of length restrictions on text messages. Short tweets defined the service. Nobody tweets by text message … Continued

How to launch a book

If you want a great book launch, your focus after completing the manuscript should be on promotion and relationships. Great books sell, but they don’t sell themselves. The traditional publishing process has three stages. In the first stage, you create a proposal and pitch the book to publishers. In the second stage, you complete your research and … Continued