New Sincerity is the answer to snarky post-modern web culture

A version of this essay was published as part of my twice-monthly newsletter several weeks ago. Find other archives and join here to get updates like this first.

I’ve been struggling a lot over the last couple years, and of course particularly in the last six months, with how mean the social web can be. How mean we are to each other. And how naive I sound to others when I think we can be something else.

This has gotten me into reading about the New Sincerity movement of the 1980s that then got a major boost of attention in the 1990s by beloved and troubled writer David Foster Wallace. It’s what I’ve been searching for.

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I use these 8 web tools more than any others at work

One good way to better understand your own process is to evaluate what tools you most often use.

In my function as something like a small publisher, my roles span business development and account, program and project management to strategy development and, still, limited tactical efforts on editorial, events and product creation and maintenance. That means my workflow roughly resembles what our digital media company looks like across the board.

Take a peek into my workflow below.

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Technically Media moved into new headquarters: here are some lessons

We at Technically Media moved into our new headquarters in May.

It was a triumphant moment — after months of construction and negotiation and planning. Depending on how you count it, this was either the third or fourth office our company ever had in Philadelphia. More importantly it’s our first proper private offices, a true headquarters for a growing digital media company.

Here are some lessons I learned about getting here.

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Reporters, here’s a strategy for handling your email

It’s a common boast of proudly-overwhelmed reporters: how many emails do you have in your inbox? The answer, of course, is supposed to be as big as possible, at least numbering in the thousands.

For me, that’s always essentially sounded like malpractice, like a surgeon boasting she hasn’t calibrated some critical tool. Journalists are in the business of information gathering and disseminating, so one must control her primary tool of the modern trade, and that is surely still email.

Your inbox is your temple. That temple is your work station, so you must keep it clean — put things away in your filing cabinet.

So though I’ve taken email seriously for years from the earliest corners of my professional career, preaching Inbox Zero and obsessing over contact tracking (even back as an undergraduate), I’ve recently been sharing a leaner process to on-board reporters to this way o thinking and wanted to share here.

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What I learned from publishing a local news newsletter for 18 months

Since I’ve launched a new personal curated newsletter project and an old related URL shortener project was finally archived, I’ve been thinking about my first experiment with email audience.

In April 2012, we at Technically Media announced Ph.ly, a URL shortener that had a companion content strategy — a curated weekly newsletter sharing the three biggest pieces of local journalism or civic information. Over the next 18 months, I published the weekly newsletter as a side project and experiment. Here are a few things I learned before sidelining the project by 2014.

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I’m going to try publishing a curated monthly newsletter: join it

I’ve been writing here since 2007, and even earlier including a previous version of this site. For most of that time, anyone who preferred to check in here via email used an old Feedburner hack I made and received each post here sent to their inbox as an email.

Now I’m going to experiment with what has become a very popular move among lots of people I admire on the internet — a personally curated monthly newsletter on Tinyletter that I’m calling right now “Texts I didn’t send you.” (For now I’m going to keep the Feedburner in place but I will be transitioning the hundred or so of you there over to this replacement)

Subscribe to mine here.

I’ll be sending a newsletter monthly filled with links to interesting things I’ve been reading, my own writing and other fun thoughts, mostly around media, entrepreneurship and cities.

Like many internet-fans, I was devastated when Google Reader was sun-setted. I’m interested in whether old school email is back to being its replacement.

What happens to old customers when your prices go up

Raising prices for a product or service is challenging. One strategy is to keep the headline price but simply offer a cheaper product — fewer chips in the bag, fewer deliverables in the sponsorship package.

But what happens when you so misfired from the get go that you can’t sneak in a change? Or, what if your product or service has simply gotten far better and more competitive?

I’ve heard lots of advice on how founders and early stage companies often start off by charging too little and need to try to maximize their ask early on. Too bad I didn’t know that starting Technical.ly — because our business team still struggles with the legacy of our pricing strategy from our founding, some six years ago.

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