“Pop-culture Houdini”

In the latest issue of Fast Company, there’s a profile of Alex Bogusky, the advertising genius behind some of your favorite viral campaigns of the last campaign. Bogusky, not surprisingly, didn’t like the the profile and annotated the article on his Posterous. This is the one of the better uses of the internet, publicly responding to exactly what you don’t like in an article. On the other hand, I can’t tell if the original article or the response makes me want to throw up more. The profile makes Bogusky come off as something of a douche, and the annotations makes him come off as a defensive douche. Maybe he’s nice in person.

“Pop-culture Houdini”

I Write Like Analysis

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There’s this nifty tool floating around the internet the last couple days called I Write Like. You put a couple paragraphs into a box, click submit, and get the name of a famous author that you write like. I was wondering how good it was, so I spent a couple hours putting in some paragraphs of famous authors to see what I Write Like would come up with.

The results were mixed. A lot of these writers write like David Foster Wallace even if David Foster Wallace writes like Ian Fleming. I found the Project Gutenberg website with the top 100 ebooks and I Write Like did pretty well with the first couple paragraphs with most of those authors. In any case, I Write Like nailed 14 of the 30 classic authors giving it a success rate of 47%. For what it’s worth, Jersey Shore Nickname Generator is accurate 94% of the time. Note: The tool is fun. This isn’t a fair test.

James Joyce – The Dubliners is like James Joyce.
Stephen King – The Gingerbread Girl is like Dan Brown or William Gibson depending how many paragraphs you take.
William Gibson – Neuromancer is like David Foster Wallace.
David Foster Wallace – Consider the Lobster is like Ian Fleming.
Mark Twain – Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is like Mark Twain.
Ambrose Bierce – An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is like Robert Louis Stephenson. This is my favorite short story, by the way.
William Faulkner – A Rose for Emily is like Margaret Mitchell.
Ernest Hemingway – Hills Like White Elephants is like Ian Fleming. I was pretty sure this one would be right.
F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Diamond as Big as the Ritz is like H.P. Lovecraft.
H. P. Lovecraft – At the Mountains of Madness is like Edgar Allan Poe.
Edgar Allan Poe – The Angel of the Odd is like David Foster Wallace.
J.D. Salinger РFor Esm̩ Рwith Love and Squalor is like Arthur Conan Doyle.
Arthur Conan Doyle – The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is like Arthur Conan Doyle.
Franz Kafka – Metamorphosis is like James Joyce.
Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson is like Robert Louis Stevenson.
William Shakespeare – Hamlet is like William Shakespeare.
Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice is like Jane Austen.
Lewis Carroll – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is like Lewis Carroll.
Alexandre Dumas – The Count of Monte Cristo is like Charles Dickens.
Charles Dickens – A Tale of Two Cities is like Charles Dickens.
Bram Stoker – Dracula is like Bram Stoker.
H. G. Wells – The War of the Worlds, by is like H.G. Wells.
Emily Bronte – Wuthering Heights is like Daniel Defoe.
Agata Christie – The Secret Adversary is like Agatha Christie.
Beatrix Potter – Peter Rabbit is like Arthur Conan Doyle.
Herman Melville – Moby Dick; Or the Whale is like Robert Louis Stevenson.
Mary Shelley – Frankenstein is like Mary Shelley.
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy is like Leo Tolstoy.
Homer – The Iliad is like William Shakespeare.
Kurt Vonnegut – Cat’s Cradle is like Kurt Vonnegut.

Then, in the interest of pandering, I thought I’d look up a few contemporary writers/websites I like:
Jason Kottke is like (this surprises no one) David Foster Wallace.
The Daily What is like Stephen King.
John Gruber / Daring Fireball is like Stephen King.
Andy Baio / Waxy.org is like James Joyce.
Michael Lewis is like David Foster Wallace.
Chuck Klosterman is like Kurt Vonegut.
Bill Simmons is like Stephen King.

Now some pop culture folks:
Tracy Jordan is like James Joyce.
Don Draper‘s slide projector monologue is like Margaret Atwood.
The Real Shaq on Twitter is like Dan Brown.
Britney Spears on Twitter is like Dan Brown. (Probably because he uses web addresses in his writing?)
Britney Spears – Oops…I Did it Again is like Stephanie Meyer.
Jawbreaker – Kiss the Bottle is like David Foster Wallace.
Anthony Bourdain is like Dan Brown.

For what it’s worth, when you put this post through the tool, it’s like H.P. Lovecraft. Who did we leave out? Post your finds in the comments.

I Write Like Analysis

A New Use for Twitter

I’m not sure this is what Biz and Ev had in mind. Last week Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff live-blogged the execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner’s with 3 Tweets. Seems like Shurtleff is responding to criticism by digging in further. His latest Tweet? “Astonishing that no retweet whiner express outrage that Gardner shot 2 men in the face, & a cop; nor one word of empathy for their families.”

A New Use for Twitter

Boston Globe Article on Anonymous Posters

The Boston Globe has a story about anonymous online posters posters, and it’s pretty much what you’d expect. Except for the below section where the writer describes an internet experience completely different than any I’ve ever known.

I’ve always loved finding the hidden gems in online comments – the surprising slice of data that makes me question one of my political assumptions, the pithy one-liner that makes me laugh out loud. But those gems seem increasingly rare amid all the yelling and hollow rage and predictable talking points.

Comments on news sites are about 1.5 steps above comments on Youtube. To prove my point, commenter BarackSnoozesOilOozes (whose avatar is a picture of Barack Obama with Joker makeup in the style of Shepard Fairey’s Hope poster) chimes in with:

Another one sided article by the Glob.

They Glob fails to mention that the mods often favor posts by anti-American Democrats who support Obama because that’s how the paper leans.

It took 5 freaking comments, 2 of which are, “First” and “Second” for the comments thread to devolve into name-calling and paranoia. This is my favorite article of the week.

Boston Globe Article on Anonymous Posters

This Week On Unlikely Words

Hope you all enjoyed the Kottke.org guest editing this week. If so, you should subscribe by RSS or email or check out Unlikely Words on Twitter, Tumblr, or on Facebook.
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Hi all. I’ll be guest editing Kottke.org this week, so posting might be a light to non-existent over the next couple days.

For all you new visitors, welcome to Unlikely Words! Take a look around, there’s plenty of internet here. To get you started, here are a few of my favorite posts: Jason already told you about Everything Don Draper Said, Everything John Locke Said, and the Comprehensive Election Round Up, but you might also want to check out Everything Tracy Jordan Said, Marshmallow Peeps On the Internet – A Study, and the Jersey Shore Nickname Generator. I also write @eatBoston about Boston food, and 815 Sentences About Lost, which is self-explanatory. If you want to get in touch, say hi here.

This Week On Unlikely Words

10 Reasons To Delete Your Facebook Account

You name your post 10 Reasons To Delete Your Facebook Account and not am I going to click, I’m probably going to link to it, too! Click through for back up to all the bullet points. #9 is pretty important, and #4 and #1 are funny. Does anyone know what % of internet users AOL had at it’s peak and how that compares to the 400 Million accounts Facebook has right now?

10. Facebook’s Terms Of Service are completely one-sided.
9. Facebook’s CEO has a documented history of unethical behavior.
8. Facebook has flat out declared war on privacy.
7. Facebook is pulling a classic bait-and-switch.
6. Facebook is a bully.
5. Even your private data is shared with applications.
4. Facebook is not technically competent enough to be trusted.
3. Facebook makes it incredibly difficult to truly delete your account.
2. Facebook doesn’t (really) support the Open Web.
1. The Facebook application itself sucks.

10 Reasons To Delete Your Facebook Account

The Future of Facebook

I’ve said it before, but I think in 10 years, it’s even odds that people think of Facebook the way they think of AOL now. Since this column is one of the first I’ve seen to agree, I’m obviously going to link it.

In the world of technology even giants can stumble – or fail. Once upon a time AOL was the reigning online behemoth. At its peak in the 1990s it had 30 million paying subscribers (which at the time was a significant proportion of the online population in the US and Europe) and thought itself big enough to take over Time Warner. There was even a schmaltzy movie – You’ve Got Mail – based around its email service. Now it’s a business-school case study in hubris.

AOL was also a study in corporate strategy from which the Facebook founders learned avidly. Initially they conceived of their service as an AOL-type “walled garden” – which implied trying to keep subscribers inside that controlled space. If one of your Facebook friends sent you a message then you had to be logged in to read it.

The Future of Facebook