Thursday, June 23, 2011


Just read this great op-ed on Rick Perry and capital punishment by Ta-Nehisi Coates in The New York Times. I read it because I follow TNC on Twitter and he linked it because he wrote it.

I don't read The Times that much as "The Times." I don't load it up the way I load up, like, Gawker or Slate or Altered Zones (LOL) when I want to know what's poppin in the world via the internet. When I read The Times, it's usually because somebody linked something on Twitter or Facebook (or sent me an article etc etc). So good on TNC for linking his op-ed. But, I only saw it because I'm up at the ungodly hour of 8:30 AM (DJ hours = 11-4, just sayin). Because he's only gonna tweet about it once.

When rappers, DJ's, bands, etc. put anything up for their fans to check out, they don't tweet about it once when it drops. They tweet about it for a week+ before it drops. They tweet the moment it drops, then they tweet regularly to remind you it's still there. And then they RT everyone who says anything nice about it. It's kind of annoying, but it's also a fact of modern promo: yelling loud wins and people will deal with it if they like you.

So why don't writers do the same thing?

If you write for The New York Times, it probably seems gauche to swing your dick around so much on the internet. But if you are writing for The New York Times you probably a pretty great writer with something well-considered and interesting to say. I know The Times has feeds for all its articles, chopped up into mini-feeds by topic, and TNC probably figures anyone who wants to read his column is going to see it in their faithful perusing of The Grey Lady. But I'm a young creative with unconventional hours, and I don't faithfully peruse The Grey Lady. So on an average day, I would have missed it (as would a lot of readers far-flung in different time zones).

I'm not saying TNC should be sending out hourly tweets like "NEW HOT SHIT DROPPIN TOMORROW!" but a couple reminders during the day wouldn't hurt and wouldn't annoy anyone too much.

(PS: There is a much longer piece here about why writing gets this kid gloves treatment... every writer I follow, from Farhad Manjoo's nerdy ass to J. Smooth (who, as a thought leader on hip-hop, is familiar with aggressive self-promo), is pretty demure about their own work, even while avidly tweeting the rest of the time.

PPS: There's also something here comparing publications to record labels, in that artists keep pushing their work even after they get signed.

PPPS: But really though, I just want to see Carl Zimmer start tweeting like Riff Raff.)