Essay Velocity

Much longer than usual quote from the source, but this is dynamic reporting by Alexis Madrigal of The Atlantic on the velocity of one essay and the people who accelerated it forward, c. 2010.

Bady’s kept the Zunguzungu blog since March of 2007 when he traveled to Tanzania. He’s averaged 15 or 20 posts a month since, mostly just links and blockquoted excerpts. In May of 2010, he had a big day when he posted about “The Soul of Mark Zuckerberg,” deconstructing one Zuckerberg quote with the help of W.E.B. DuBois. That post ended up linked by Jillian York, who works at Harvard’s Berkman Center for the Internet and Society. Bady thinks it’s that post that brought his blog to the attention of several in that sphere, including Cambridge resident and ethnomusicologist Wayne Marshall, who just so happens to be giving a talk at Berkman tomorrow. Marshall, in turn, appears to have been the key link between Bady and the world at large. He retweeted Bady’s announcement of his post on November 29. (UPDATE, 8:04 pm: Marshall pointed out to me on Twitter he’s known about Bady since December of 2008, and he’s got a blog post to prove it.)

The next day, the Berkman Center’s Ethan Zuckerman tweeted the post, calling it a useful close reading of Assange’s 2006 essay (which it is). Zuckerman is one of the most respected thinkers and writers on the geopolitical implications of technology and his tweet went far. It was retweeted by 30 people — and more importantly brought the post to the attention of BoingBoing’s Xeni Jardin, which sent traffic pouring to the post. The same day, WikiLeaks Twitter feed also linked to the post, saying “Good essay on one of the key ideas behind WikiLeaks.” 90 more people retweeted the post. According to BackType, almost 2,500 people have tweeted the story.

By 12:45 p.m. on the 30th, the post had made Nieman Journalism Lab’s Popular on Twitter list for the day. By 6:39 p.m., the New York Times’ Lede breaking-news blog had linked to Bady’s post. According to traffic logs Bady shared with me, almost 50,000 people visited the post that day, including — no doubt — many of the most influential journalists and opinion leaders. Tens of thousands have visited in the days since. Bady regularly engages in Twitter conversations now with the academics and journalists covering the story. Volunteers translated his story into Spanish, Dutch, and German.

Alexis Madrigal, “The Unknown Blogger Who Changed WikiLeaks Coverage”

WordPress.com and Windows Live Partnership

“As we looked at customers’ blogging needs and what different companies were providing, we were particularly interested in what WordPress.com is doing. They have a host of impressive capabilities – from a scalable platform and leading spam protection, to great personalization and customization. WordPress powers over 8.5% of the web, is used on over 26 million sites, and WordPress.com is seen by over 250 million people every month. Not only that, Automattic is a company filled with great people focused on improving blogging experiences. So rather than having Windows Live invest in a competing blogging service, we decided the best thing we could do for our customers was to give them a great blogging solution through WordPress.com.”
Dharmesh Mehta, Microsoft, on today’s partnership announcement with us at Automattic. Our post is here.

The Son of Gutenberg: How WordPress changed the way we publish

“Technology and social media are redrawing the roadmap to authorial success. And for every Justin Halpern, there are 10,000 professional writers wondering how to turn blogs, microblogs, and Twitterfeeds into media empires, especially now that their magazines, newspapers, and media organizations are contracting at an alarming rate. Blogs, of course, are the first refuge for professional writers fleeing the withering establishment media, and for hordes of would-be scribes finding their own voice. For these multitudes, WordPress.com has become the 21st-century equivalent of Gutenberg’s printing press.”

Marion Maneker profiles Automattic for The Big Money in “The Son of Gutenberg: How WordPress changed the way we publish”

Go Mobile with WordPress 2 for iPhone

wp-iphoneLast week we released WordPress 2 for the iPhone. You can read the announcement by Matt Thomas here.

I’m excited about this release because I’ve become a fan of the iPhone after some initial skepticism, centered around the physical interface (I do still miss the keyboard of my Blackberry 8703e). Over time I’ve come to appreciate the iPhone’s integration, polish and utility. Maybe too much, if you ask my wife.

With WordPress 2, the development team has created a high quality blogging app, one that I think many iPhone users will enjoy putting through its paces.

Continue reading Go Mobile with WordPress 2 for iPhone