Thursday, September 25, 2008
Mann About Internet
I've mentioned Merlin Mann here before. I first bumped into him on Twitter, where everyone seems to follow his feed. He's written some of the funniest stuff imaginable in 140 characters or fewer, ever. He also maintains a creative productivity blog (43 Folders) that claims a vast readership, a much-laughed-at weekly podcast (You Look Nice Today: A Journal of Emotional Hygiene) with two other humorists, a video interview series (The Merlin Show) also on iTunes--AND a hilarious site called 5ives, which is simply lists of five things--some literary, some techie, and some just pop-topical, viz.:
Five ways Angelina Jolie can quickly acquire more children
1. gestate auxiliary sets of twins in climate-controlled Fendi bags
2. make Brad build a big-ass gingerbread house
3. explore viability of controversial “dorsal carriage” (a/k/a “butt fetus”)
4. surreptitiously cruise Gymboree with mallet and a sack
5. lay excess eggs in what’s left of Sean Young
A goofball. But a serious one. His basic premise about doing business on the web is, if people would just try harder to express a passionate point of view about what they're interested in, other people would get interested in it, too. 25,000+ Twitter followers and millions of hits annually on 43 Folders pretty well confirm that idea.
Merlin's personal blog is called Kung Fu Grippe. He posts a lot of video, promotes other sites and stuff he finds, reveals a little of his family life (married, doting on an infant daughter), and ruminates. He recently took a Twitter break, saying people could find him blogging instead. The last time I did, I found an amazing post, entitled "Better" -- a call to a higher quality of content creation. It's partly a renunciation of Twitter, suggesting that he'd become addicted to it and too distracted by it to create work he could be proud of. I miss the laughs, but I really respect the POV, which he's amplified over at 43 Folders as well. A big following of amused daily readers isn't enough. You have to feel that your creative life is truly creative and truly alive.
Update: Merlin's back on Twitter, but only tweeting one or two times a day. Still funny, still inimitable, and still getting archived in more people's Favorites than just about anybody.
There's a cluster of Merlin Mann links in my sidebar. It's hard to keep up with him, but trying has its rewards.