New media lesson of the day: A picture is worth 5,000 calories


Sometimes, when I see something like This is Why You’re Fat: Where Dreams Become Heart Attacks (warning: not safe for the queazy), I think about how hard it would be to get such an elegantly simple, yet deep-fat fried idea past all the committees and lawyers and boards of a business or organization devoted to preventing heart disease.

The medium is the extra large.

(Sidenote: The site is being run on , the same platform that some folks at Hammock used for some participatory , but less graphic, story-telling .)

The Tumblr-fication of Google Reader

A new feature that will be recognized as a tumblelog by the tiny fraction of the world’s inhabitants who might know what a tumblelog is, has been added to Google Reader. Wisely recognizing that tumblelog is a far-edge concept, Google chose not use such a term in announcing the feature on the Google Reader weblog.

I would spend a sentence or two describing why I think it is odd that Google is getting into tumblelog hosting through its RSS newsreader platform, however, the explanation would be so esoteric that even my eyes are glazing over at the thought of how geeky my reasoning is. It has to do with having a feature as a part of an RSS reader for sharing items one finds via means other than an RSS reader — but like I said, who cares?

Maybe it will be a great feature for someone. But I’m scratching my head at who might use it other than current Google Reader users who already have a “share” feature. Wouldn’t someone who might actually comprehend what’s going on with the tumblelog aspects of this feature prefer to display such sharing gestures at a URL like than, say,

Or perhaps I’m having difficulty understanding it because I rarely use Google Reader.

Sidenote: If you want to see a tumblelog, is an example. It’s where I share items I run across that are bigger than a bookmark and smaller than a blog post and less fleeting than a tweet on Twitter. And another thing: if something makes it to my tumblelog, chances are it has nothing to do with business or technology or media or anything remotely related to this weblog. And wisely recognizing that few people I know use the term tumblelog, I don’t refer to it as a tumblelog except in blog posts about the topic of tumblelogs.

What is a tumblelog?

This announcement by Union Square Ventures explains why they’ve invested in It also contains a detailed explanation of what a tumblelog is. I use to aggregate all my posts, tweets, photo-sharing into one “lifestream” that I call “River of Rex.” I describe the page as a confluence of all my various online posts (“streams”) right before they flow into the Gulf of Rexico. Recently, I redirected the previous URL, to the URL Tumblr makes such redirects easy-to-do.

I love the tumblelog concept and I find a brilliantly simple platform to use. However, I hate having to explain to non-conversational-media-geeks yet another one of these “things.” My friends in the real world still have problems understanding the whole “blogging thing,” so I’ve given up on trying to explain to them the nuanced similarities and differences among blogging, posting media to Flickr or YouTube, group messaging via Twitter, maintaining an identity on a social networking service and a tumblelog.

Here’s an earlier post related to simplicity of setting up and maintaining the River of Rex.

Speaking of tumblelogs and lifestreams, I just noticed that Plaxo has added something it calls a “lifestream widget” that does precisely what the RSS aggregation part of a tumblelog does. Here’s mine:

Technorati Tags: ,