Meinershagen: Pullquote is ‘like Delicious with more granularity’

Todd Meinershagen uses Pullquote to collect and share quotes. “I like to keep quotes about leadership, problem solving, relationships, etc. that keep me and my team motivated and inspired,” he says.

“Pullquote is sort of like Delicious as a way to store and tag quotes, but it is more granular for a given page, and it allows me to share if I want to,” says Meinershagen, who is Senior Software Architect at MedAssets, a developer of software for hospitals and clinics.

Websites will soon be dinosaurs

John Hermman, formerly a Tech editor at Buzzfeed and (for now) writing for The Awl, thinks we’re living in the twilight of a web site as a publication’s embodiment and lifeblood. (Here’s the full article.)

In short, “websites are unnecessary vestiges of a time before there were better ways to find things to look at on your computer or your phone.”

The only thing that keeps people coming back to apps in great enough numbers over time to make real money is the presence of other people. So the only apps that people use in the way publications want their readers to behave—with growing loyalty that can be turned into money—are communications services. The near-future internet puts the publishing and communications industries in competition with each other for the same confused advertising dollars, and it’s not even close.

Hermman points to Fusion, a joint venture of entertainment companies Disney and Univision, as an example of a new breed that isn’t site-centric.

For Fusion to talk about “promiscuous media” and “build[ing] our brand in the places [the audience] is spending time”—as opposed to publishing everything on a single website and hoping it spreads from there—is not strange in the context of television companies. They’re used to filling channels that they don’t totally control.

What’s a publisher, you ask?

[Publishers will] begin to see their websites as Just One More App, and realize that fewer people are using them, proportionally, than before. Eventually they might even symbolically close their websites, finishing the job they started when they all stopped paying attention to what their front pages looked like. Then, they will do a whole lot of what they already do, according to the demands of their new venues. They will report news and tell stories and post garbage and make mistakes. They will be given new metrics that are both more shallow and more urgent than ever before; they will adapt to them, all the while avoiding, as is tradition, honest discussions about the relationship between success and quality and self-respect. They will learn to cater to the structures within which they are working and come up with some new forms.

So, publishers, if you believe Hermman, get ready to retool your tools, metrics and lingo. Goodbye HTML, hello Facebook. Goodbye articles, hello cards. Goodbye clicks, hello shares and comments.

Links are dead, long live the card?

Fighting clutter and distraction, a Dutch website called De Correspondent now bans links inside articles.

Our publications don’t contain any traditional in-text links. This prevents a lot of the possible clutter and reasons to leave, usually found in many articles. When we want to tell a story, we’d like you to take it in from start to end. There is a flow we would like you to follow. We introduce you into a topic, investigate our findings and come to some kind of conclusion. If we gave our readers too many options to leave the article before finishing it, we wouldn’t get to convey whatever it is we want to convey.

The editors offer writers three tools in lieu of links within articles, an info card, a side note and a featured link.

The info card:

This piece of additional content is only presented when you have a need for it by clicking on the indicator behind the name or term mentioned in the story. Because, by default, it is in a closed state, you are able to easily skip over it when you do have the required background knowledge. Opening it however adds the additional information inline in the text so you don’t have to wander your eyes to another part of the page. Your eyes will never have to leave the main story and you can keep continue reading the story as if this addition was part of it in the first place.

The side note:

It functions as a regular link, but is placed next to the related paragraph and has a label that describes the content that was linked to. Next to this, every side note has an icon indicating the type of content you are about to see, like a video, audio fragment or report. The added benefit, of presenting our links in the bar next to the article, besides clearing the text of links, is that it functions as sort of a checklist. No need to remember the exact location of an interesting link for later consumption. Just quickly scroll past the article to get an overview of all the relevant additional information that might interest you.

And the featured link:

On our platform such important links, which we refer to as ‘featured links’, are placed underneath the article. Placing them down there ensures enough attention and focus on the reader’s side for the story covering it and as an added bonus, it consistently places important links in a manner everybody knows where to find them.

All are noble experiments. Personally I don’t find links to be distracting: when I’m enjoying an article and see a link, I right click and open it in a new tab to read later… or shove it over into Pocket to read much later. But De Correspondent has 30,000 paying subscribers, so they may be on to something.