Writer makes e-book free online with ad support

Ron at GalleyCat mentions Kevin Kelly is offering a third edition of his True Films book about the history of documentaries as a free e-book with optional ad support. That means those who download the book will have the option of whether to view the ads, which appear next to the book’s content.

It’s an interesting experiment to see whether or not free, ad-supported content can make the leap from being solely online to something that is more substantive and corporeal like a book download.

Del Toro on torture porn

In case you were looking for more reasons to admire directory Guillermo Del Toro, here’s his opinion of the “torture porn” genre:

“…it’s dehumanizing, and nothing works if there’s no human empathy. All the suspense is completely empty if the characters are not human.”

Comes via a longer interview/feature on The Orphanage, which he produced.

Should I watch the new season of Lost?

I never watched Lost after I missed the first dozen or so episodes and then got intimidated because I wouldn’t know the back-story. I caught the occasional episode while in various hotel rooms and such, but only recently rented Season 1 on DVD. I watched the three-season recap that ABC put on their website, but I’m wondering if I should just go ahead and tune into the new season that starts on Jan. 31st. Probably will, but will definitely be anxious to rent seasons two and three to fill in the information gaps.

The house that Obama dined in

My buddy Rick Klau recently made the move to California from Naperville, IL as part of Feedburner’s acquisition by Google. At the time I don’t think the full impact of the housing crunch was being felt, but it kicked in about a day and a half after he put his Naperville house up for sale.

Seven-plus months later and it’s still on the market. If you’re looking to make the move into Chicago’s western suburbs and would like to own a house that has not only been visited by Barack Obama but also myself (the only house to my knowledge that has that dual distinction) take a look at what Rick has to say about it.

Music of the Day: Eric Clapton – Bad Love

Eric Clapton’s 24 Nights concert album fueled much of the writing and such that I did over the holidays. It’s really Clapton at the height of his powers – Young enough that the energy was still powerful and yet old enough that he knew how to channel it.

“Bad Love” is one of my favorite songs from his Journeyman record, with that version featuring pal Phil Collins on drums. But this live cut is really good and features just some fantastic musicianship from everyone in his band.

Brandweek taps the blogosphere for opinions and perspective

A few months ago I got an email from an editor at Brandweek asking if I would be interested in contributing an occasional op-ed to the magazine’s Website. Always being interested in finding new and interesting outlets for my thoughts and seeing Brandweek as the opportunity to reach a large new audience, I jumped at the offer and have since contributed nine or so columns.

But I was not alone in getting this offer. Brandweek was, unbeknownst to me at the time, building up its roster of blogger contributors. If you hit the site, you’ll see a number of items headlined “Blogger X talks about…” and such.

Here’s the list of contributors to date, with more said to be coming soon:

In addition to being bloggers, it should be noted that these people are also doers. They’re agency practitioners, they’re industry analysts. In short, these people are out there on the front lines of the social media marketing world, a perspective that greatly increases what they’re contributing.

But just the fact that Brandweek has decided to open up the gates to people who are knowledgeable and passionate about topics, passion they normally express on their personal sites, is a story in and of itself. By tapping bloggers who are also industry professionals as contributors, Brandweek has in its own way embraced the power of social media. Opinions and industry insights are not the sole domain of mainstream publications. And by offering some fresh voices to Brandweek readers, the magazine has made itself more valuable to those readers and garnered some goodwill in new media circles at the same time.

1/15 Update: I fixed the link to Maria Popova’s blog. Maria also pinged me with the following thoughts that she apparently tried to leave as a comment. I agree with what she has to say for the most part, there is room for improvement. But any start is a good one and I’m hopeful Brandweek – and anyone who engages in such outreach – will evolve their approach as time goes by and lessons are learned. Anyway, here are Maria’s comments:

First of all, right on about Brandweek’s effort to finally embrace social media and move away from old-school “suits” marketing. Secondly, there’s a “but”: if they’re going to tap social media, they have to adhere to the implicit rules of the game. There’s nothing “social” about their blogger posts, they’re so user-unfriendly you have to go out of your way to see, say, what else this blogger wrote. Even the basics, like “love-links” and such, are either messed up or entirely missing.