App for That
Kickstart or Kill
“The purpose of this blog is to provide sourcing for texts quoted by @Horse_ebooks and, whenever possible, provide context,” wrote freelancer Jack Stuef on a freshly-minted Tumblr conceived in the bleary midnight hours early Friday morning. Born out of that insomniac haze is “The Annotated @Horse_ebooks,” a blog devoted to teasing out nuance and substance from the glorious fountain of non-sequitors that is the Internet’s favorite Twitter account, @Horse_ebooks.
“The idea to do a Tumblr just came to me, but I had looked up some of Horse’s tweets before, and sometimes the sources of those can be just as bizarre and hilarious as the tweets themselves. Or they can be incredibly dull. I thought it was interesting,” Mr. Stuef, who frequently writes for The Onion and BuzzFeed, told Betabeat via Gchat.
For every snazzy hardware idea and genuinely inspiring artistic project, there’s also a whole lot of crap clogging up crowdfunding sites. This has not escaped the attention of the acerbic wits at the Onion News Network. And so the site’s latest video turns its knives on Kickstarter, dubbing it “an insidious new Internet scam,” roping people into donating to projects that are “in actuality, just terrible useless garbage.”
During lunch on Mother’s Day, my own mom had some exciting news to announce: “I’m reading the best book!” she declared, taking a sip from her sweating water glass in the building May heat. “It’s called How To Be Black. It’s excellent–hilarious, but also serious,” she insisted.
I had heard of it only in passing–on Twitter, and in scant Facebook posts. It was written by The Onion‘s Director of Digital and Internet Man About Town Baratunde Thurston, and had received almost five stars–a perfect score–from users on Amazon.
“There were like 56 reviews last time I checked,” Mr. Thurston told Betabeat by phone this morning. “And I’m like, ‘Who’s the asshole that didn’t put five stars?’ Clearly it’s a five-star book.”
Ever since news broke last year that satirical news source The Onion was shutting down their New York office and heading to Chicago, The Atlantic reports that the core team of staffers has pursued every avenue to keep the company from heading west. One bizarre but apparently legitimate option was to have startup non-incubator Betaworks buy The Onion.
In college, this reporter once took a “new media” class where the professor let loose a terrifying edict: As homework, we would not be allowed to use any Google products for the entire week. That meant no Google search, no Gmail, no Gcal… nothing.
The experiment was supposed to teach us just how reliant we were upon one company for many of a college student’s basic needs, like learning, communicating and organizing.
It was not the darkest hour of this reporter’s life, but it was a very, very dark one.