Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #207

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Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete Web Monitoring, Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks and Lean Analytics), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person "must see".

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another:

  • Chasing the Cicada: Exploring the Darkest Corridors of the Internet – Mental Floss. "Since the dawn of the Internet, people have been making treasure hunts. Alternate reality Games like, I Love Bees, took it to a whole new level. What happens when a treasure hunt is a test, or a recruiting tool? How do you know if it’s just a game? With shades of The Magus, we can’t know if it’s a game or reality. Jeff Kinkle started following the threads of an online puzzle and… well, it’s not clear where he wound up. But the chase is half the fun." (Alistair for Hugh).
  • The United States of Metrics – The New York Times. "I spend a lot of time at the intersection of data collection and analysis. As this New York Times piece points out, America is now a data-driven nation, furiously instrumenting itself, with stats overwhelming rhetoric. Challenging your opponent’s data is the new stump speech. Or as they put it, ‘The nerds have won. Time to replace those arrows in the talons of the American eagle with pencils and slide rules.’ This is a worrying trend — machines are good at optimizing within the current rules, but lousy at reinventing the game. It’s probably going to take us a long time to realize that." (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Africa Continues Going Mobile – Gallup World. "I think the growth of mobile, and in particular, smartphones, in (what is the term we’re supposed to use these days?) the Third  World is going to do all sorts of unpredictable and amazing things. Or maybe that is just my hopeful techno streak pushing itself past my jaded techno streak." (Hugh for Alistair).
  • You’re probably using the wrong dictionary – The Blog. "A wonderful essay for anyone who writes for a living, about words and their meanings, and how to bring them both alive." (Hugh for Mitch).
  • How to Rank Well in Amazon, the US’s Largest Product Search Engine – Moz. "Our friend, Christopher S. Penn sent this link my way. I’m one of those Hachette Book Group authors that is dealing with the impact of their current battle with Amazon. That aside, I was recently discussing Amazon with a bestselling business book author, because I get frustrated when I go to the bestsellers lists and see all kinds of self-published books and ebooks that have gamed the system with Amazon-like SEO and dynamic pricing to get attention. It works. You see people writing ebooks on Evernote have a better sales ranking than something from Malcolm Gladwell. While it’s great how it levels the playing field, it’s the quality gap that frustrates me. So, it appears that getting your product ranked is as much of an art as getting something to rank on Google… and this is a great primer." (Mitch for Alistair).
  • What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades – The New York Times. "What happens if the art of handwriting goes away? It’s nothing new. Many have been thinking about this since the advent of the typewriter. Now, with tablets and the sudden disappearance of physical keyboards, we may well find out. This piece looks at the value, merits and potential uselessness of handwriting. I, for one, have experienced the massive difference that occurs when you type your thoughts out versus when you write with a pen versus when you speak your words into OCR software. The difference in output is staggering. In the end, it may not be just the art of handwriting that we lose, but the thinking behind it." (Mitch for Hugh).

Feel free to share these links and add your picks on Twitter, Facebook, in the comments below or wherever you play.