Monkey mind and the zen web editor

I’m not a Buddhist, but I try to engage Buddhist principles in my life for the same reason a lot of diets work: It shakes up my viewpoint enough that I have to work hard to decide which choices to make. Then I can see which junk is taking up shelf space.

This post over at the source of all wisdom, The Huffington Post, defines monkey mind for us:

Buddha described the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, carrying on endlessly. We all have monkey minds, Buddha said, with dozens of monkeys all clamoring for attention. Fear is an especially loud monkey, sounding the alarm incessantly, pointing out all the things we should be wary of and everything that could go wrong.

The Internet, and particular social media, is basically built on monkey mind. Yes, there are luminous pieces and epic moments to be found out here on the web, but if you are in the business of regular, daily content, I would argue that part of your success is almost bound to be wrapped up in how well you appeal to monkey mind.

If your readers were having a calm, centred moment, they probably would not be hovering their finger or cursor over your link.

Every brand, site and web editor has to come to terms with this contradiction. How to deliver quality that also appeals to the monkey mind. Sometimes it’s about an “engaging” (read: distracting) headline. Sometimes it’s a graphic. Sometimes it’s timing. Usually it’s all three and then some.

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Byte sized #5: The Traffic Factories and more

If you’re fascinated by how journalists/sites/brands get content online and measure its success, Caitlin Petre’s report The Traffic Factories: Metrics at Chartbeat, Gawker Media, and The New York Times at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism is totally worth a read. A tip of the hat to Jim Romenesko’s blog for that one, lo these months ago.

Navel-gazing but still fun: J. Freedom du Lac reports on ‘LOVE SUPREME’: How newspapers played the landmark gay-marriage decision at The Washington Post. It’s a lovely roundup but I found the Facebook rainbow tool and even the WordPress Pride header I’m looking at equally fascinating. It was definitely time.

We have a coyote in our neighbourhood; do you? Drew Nelles looks at the issue over at The Walrus. Also spotted at the Walrus: A username “TooManyCrayons.” Love the name but spent way too many seconds figuring out whether you really can have too many.

I saw Inside Out and it was really great. After Up I guess we all know Pixar can tell a life story in a short montage. Here’s the little memories clip.