Cnet's Elinor Mills has a great article on the demise of "pithy, witty and provocative headlines" -- the bread-and-butter of print publishing. You can win awards with a headline like "BASTARDS!" over a shot of the Twin Towers in flames, but in a search-engine results-page, that headline is invisible. Instead, you want a clean, informative headline that alphabetizes well (no punctuation, numbers or articles at the start), along with a totally straight, totally informative lede graf.
I first encountered this idea in Jakob Nielsen's "Microcontent: How to Write Headlines, Page Titles, and Subject Lines", and we're great fans of it here at Boing Boing (though we sometimes let a great joke come ahead of an informative headline...). I actually think that this is part of the secret of our success -- we write headlines like wire-service stringers, headlines that are meant to be easy to grok from a cluster of RSS links, search-results, and so on.
The Boston Globe is a recent convert to this philosophy, and it's working well for them: though they're ranked 15th in print circulation nationwide, they're number four on the Web, all down to attending to the ways that search engines consume and regurgitate information.
On January 2, The Wall Street Journal Online posted a story with the headline: "Green Beans Comes Marching Home."
It happened to be an article about the Green Beans Coffee Co., which serves overseas U.S. military bases, opening its first cafe in the United States.
Let's say you were interested in the subject but didn't know the Journal had written an article on it. You might type into a search engine some combination of keywords like "Green Beans," "coffee," "U.S. military," "bases" and "soldiers." Various combinations failed to return a link to the article in the first page of results on Google. Using all of the keywords and terms separated like that did find the article, but not on The Wall Street Journal site. Instead, it was on a blog site that had reposted the article word for word.
David Robinson used the data from the 28,657 people who self-selected to take the Stack Overflow survey to investigate the relationship between programmer pay and the conventions of using either tabs or spaces to mark indents, and found a persistent, significant correlation between using spaces and bringing home higher pay.
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]