Because of it’s length, the widget has divided this into 2 pages. At the top of the widget there is the arrow for the second half. You can stream the whole thing uninterrupted or download the entire playlist.
Perhaps I was too excited when the update to version 2.0 was released. Perhaps I saw the potential and too quickly jumped to envisioning a scenario where what could happen was recognized at it’s fullest, and not what was likely to happen.
The new version of Flipboard allows you take articles and curate your own Flipboard magazine in the simplest, and most gorgeous fashion yet to date. Friends and readers of Flipboard are then able to subscribe to these curated magazines, which is an impressive step forward in content aggregation. I wanted to call it “disruptive technology” and “true social media” that was the first time useful in the combination of both elements.
But a day of delay in posting this gave room to realize that of course it’s not the first example of true social+media, one only has to look to slashdot or similar forbearers to sight examples, the modern equivalent being reddit and digg. And actually, all the listed examples are MORE social, because they center around discussion of the piece, whereas, without the ability for the magazine creator to add commentary, or the readers to add comments, it becomes instead like a SIMeditor game, where you play the editor of magazine, without so much as even your own opening column.
Without being able to interact with your readers directly through the application (I’m sure there’s some way they could follow your twitter feed or some equivalent through a third party option) the growth of your readership is just a number that you can choose to feel however you want about. It’s points for the game in which you play editor, without any clear actual translatable value. And thus, there’s little motivation to play this game. While it was pointed out to me that Flipboard is strongly against comments, which I can see the argument for, without the ability of the curator to add commentary, the specific points of interest or why those articles were selected is unable to be voiced and it becomes a Pinterest of sorts. You have a better chance of engagement posting something you find on Facebook.
And thus, I can calm down and sit back down. It’s really neat, and it’s beautiful, and they should be proud of what they built; an outstanding application, but not yet a new format.
In Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell, there’s some statistic to indicate that we 80% know something before we consciously know it. Recognizing genius while reading “Freedom”, by Jonathan Franzen, didn’t quite go like that. It was a conscious suspicion that warily grew as I read on, despite my intangible hesitation to identify this is as a brilliant piece of writing. I had both an urge and reluctance to start recommending it once. It seemed throughout that at the turn of a page, all of what had been accomplished in building rich characters with realistic weaknesses and layered motivations could be undone by tipping the balance too heavily towards it’s opposing force; reoccurring theme.
“Freedom” is something that is said, thought, and situationally alluded to quite heavily in the book, without ever quite addressing what “freedom” is to these characters or what definition of it they value above all. It seems more of a listing of examples of the different types of freedoms and how it exists in different scenarios for the purposes of seeing how many appearances we can count. It’s like the cheesy image puzzle that gets thrown up on Facebook every couple of months. “They say there’s 20 squares in this image. We think there’s much more. How many can you count?” The trick is to count all the squares within squares. Fun.
Not to say that the characters are too much at the mercy of the game, or that the plot is a weak device for the game. On the contrary. The way the story is told, from narrative perspectives that overlap events with fresh insight at every examination; it’s the way that these characters span the years and how their flaws come to shape a well entwined plot that seems to be the bigger distraction. Every character has an exact reversal of their perceived selves, outwardly or inwardly. You thought Walter was a nice a guy? He’s a rage monster. You thought Joey was all confidence? He cluelessly stumbled his way into his marriage. That sort of thing.
Unexpectedly critical, I digress. Perhaps it’s not the insertion of the theme at every turn against richness of the book that makes it such a delicate balancing act, causing one to suck in air with each turn of the page. Perhaps it’s ALL of this against it’s true genius; passages of pure insight. There are passages sprinkled and buried that speak so true to the human condition that one relates to them even if they’ve not gone through the pain of a complicated, grown up infidelity. There are novel recognitions of self that seem to have never been expressed in such a way, or ever before, that add knew knowledge to the self. It makes one say “This is a thing that I also think, and had no idea that I did.” “I have felt this way, but have never been able to shape it into words.”
That genius exists in this book, and is able to win out until the last page as it fights against it’s games and reoccurring themes and repeating formulas, is suspenseful reading for sure.
Closing the book, not disappointed, is a sigh of relief. You were rooting for the book in it’s entirety. It was an enemy of itself, and it’s strengths were it’s flaws.
And then you realize, it was a square within a square. A game within a game.