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Teju Cole Really Is History's Greatest Monster

UPDATE: But Teju Cole links to me--just not to Chronicling America END UPDATE

[Teju Cole] does not link. And he is proud of it.


on not linking | inkdroid: NPR Morning Edition recently ran an interview with Teju Cole about his most recent project called Small Fates…. Small Fates draws on a tradition of compressed news stories known as fait divers…. At about the 3 minute mark in the interview Cole mentions that he has recently been using content from historic New York newspapers using Chronicling America…. Chronicling America is a software project I work on. Of course we were all really excited to hear Cole mention us on NPR. One thing that we were wondering is whether he could include shortened URLs to the newspaper page in Chronicling America in his tweets…. I got in touch with him to see if he would be willing to include some shortened Chronicling America URLs in his tweets. His response indicated that he had clearly already thought about linking, but had decided not to….

I can’t include links directly in my tweets for three reasons.

The first is aesthetic: I like the way the tweets look as clean sentences. One wouldn’t wish to hyperlink a poem.

The second is artistic: I want people to stay here, not go off somewhere else and crosscheck the story. Why go through all the trouble of compression if they’re just going to go off and read more about it? What’s omitted from a story is, to me, an important part of a writer’s storytelling strategy.

And the third is practical: though I seldom use up all 140 characters, rarely do I have enough room left for a url string, even a shortened one.

I don't think we need people like Teju Cole in our public sphere. No how. No way.