Posts Tagged ‘blogging’
Two weeks ago, there was an article at Toronto Life, “Why Momofuku’s David Chang thinks Yelp reviews are dumb”, that caught my attention.
David Chang knows his fast food, so it makes sense that he’s signed on as the official Northeastern U.S. “burrito scout” for ESPN blog FiveThirtyEight, which is currently conducting a rigorous, March Madness–style search for the country’s top burrito (and, in the process, examining the relative reliability of crowdsourced recommendations versus other sources of data). Chang recently spoke with the site about his personal views on user-generated restaurant reviews, particularly those on Yelp. To put it concisely, he’s not a fan. Here’s what he had to say:
I’m just going to come out and say: Most of the Yelp reviews are wrong. They just are. Yelp is great for finding information if you forgot the address of a place. [...] But for the most part, no chef is going to take a Yelper’s review seriously, even though they might read them.
The problem with Yelpers, according to Chang? They take everything way too personally, and usually don’t know what they’re talking about.
The best analogy I can give is fantasy sports or lawn-chair stockbrokers. For the most part, unless you’re really studying the stats and you’re a former football player or baseball player and know the industry inside and out, it’s most likely that your insights aren’t that great.
My reaction, as expressed in the comments, was critical. Chang’s argument leaves no space for well-informed amateur critiques, or for informed readers, and additionally seems to verge on making the fallacious argument that everyone is making one-star reviews based on a single thing that doesn’t work for them.
What say you all?
The title of Charlottetown blogger Peter Rukavina’s blog post “I remember the day the bus exploded right in front of the fire eater and her amazing magical cat…”. He recounts how he just managed to bear witness, not least via his Twitter account, to the background of the incident described in the blog post’s title.
Despite myself I was always a fan of the Road to Avonlea television series. It was hokey, and not even shot on Prince Edward Island, but it was also endearing and provided a useful lens through which to look at life in contemporary Prince Edward Island.
The archetypal episode would involve some interesting character from away arriving in the village of Avonlea, with hijinks ensuing.
A long-lost huckster cousin of Aunt Heddy would show up and talk Jasper out of his inheritance.
Or a rough-looking carnie would arrive on the train from Charlottetown only to run into Olivia and sweep her off her feet.
(When I think of developer Richard Homburg and his arrival in Charlottetown as a billionaire saviour I tend to think about it in Road to Avonlea terms; it’s far more entertaining).
And so it came to pass that yesterday, while popping down the street for a quick lunch before heading to the dentist, I spied an intriguing character walking down Queen Street: an eclectically dressed woman walking a cat on a leash and carrying a well-worn hula hoop on her shoulder.
The whole story is fantastic.
LiveJournal is hanging out the “under new management” banner yet again. Last month, the company announced a new CEO, Katya Akudovich, who previously worked at Google, Box and Microsoft. Akudovich was confirmed in a unanimous vote by the board of directors, who believe her international experience at these major tech companies will help her make LiveJournal a top social media platform yet again.
“My Box experience, where I started the Deal Desk department, gave me unique insights into how a company turbo-charged an amazing product,” she tells us. “At Google, it was about bringing the right content in the right form to brand new Google Play markets. And this is exactly what we’re planning to do at LJ,” Akudovich says.
In addition to the new services Akudovich teases, LiveJournal is also rolling out new iOS and Android applications next month, designed to appeal to both writers and readers. And the company is hopping on the ‘anonymity’ bandwagon, now in vogue thanks to services like Whisper, Yik Yak and Secret, noting that LiveJournal “will remain anonymous and will never ask its users to identify themselves.”
[. . .]LJ’s new strategy for 2014 and beyond is one where it hopes to promote itself as a platform for longer-form content and self-expression in an era when users can’t seem bothered to post status updates, preferring Instagram selfies, looping Vine clips, GIFs and texts over longer articles, lengthy videos, and the like.
But that, thinks LiveJournal, is the opportunity.
“There’s a big market for this that really only we and Medium are filling – and with significantly more personalization, while still being easy to use,” says Akudovich. “Our users generate an amazing amount of deep content – half a million long-form posts a day – these are not tweets, these are real long-form posts where people write some very interesting things. We have amazing communities too,” she says.
This proposal certainly does seem to reflect the way Livejournal is now used. Of the people active on my friends list, most of them are people who write long-form entries. Many of them are, in fact, published authors. Rejigging the non-Cyrillic functions of Livejournal to service this demographic does work.
And yet. Is this an innovative effort to position Livejournal as a platform of choice for long-range writing, perhaps even social journalism, or is this trying to take some advantage of the fact that the users who have remained are too locked to their journals and communities to move? I’ve migrated already: this text is being entered into a window at Dreamwidth, which then automatically posts to Livejournal, and will be cut-and-pasted over to WordPress. Making Livejournal an active hub for me again, as opposed to a second-order backup with a friends page I visit, will take some doing.
There’s also the non-trivial question of whether or not Livejournal can make these changes without alienating its user base. Not a week ago, I was perturbed to find out that Livejournal had switched the user interface entirely. I couldn’t locate my aforementioned friends page. It was only when I found out, via a LJ friend’s post, how to switch the user interface back to a usable format. I fear that Livejournal may yet change it back. I had no idea this particularly was coming, but the idea that Livejournal’s administrators would unilaterally change something critical of the site without letting its users know is sadly not a surprise. The commenters at Techcrunch shared their own stories of how the site has let them down. Navigating a revamp of the site without angering frequently disappointed long-time users is going to be an issue.
I hope Livejournal can survive in some form, but I will need to be convinced. We’ll see what will happen.