A long trip into the wilderness

tl;dr: This is ShortFormBlog’s last post. I’m going to play with another idea, tentatively called DataSlam, over this way.

On January 1, 2009, I started ShortFormBlog with the hope of building it into a pretty cool place for news, numbers, quotes, blurbs, and a few other things. It was a great thing to work on for a good long time, and it even had some success and a few people loved the dang thing.

But after a couple of abortive efforts to rekindle my personal interest in the site, I think now’s a good time to admit that it’s time to put it to rest. I’m getting older, and I have other things in my life that take precedence (you know, being married and stuff like that), and I admit that it would be nicer to experiment on a smaller scale, just to see what happens next and not force myself to do any one thing creatively.

So this is peace out. But I’ll always remember what became of SFB. You can build something yourself and watch it go somewhere. You can put your heart in things and see it grow. But it’s good to admit when the off switch should probably stay off.

Five sites you should read on Tumblr in SFB’s place:

BrooklynMutt: Peter Wade has been a great friend over the years and a man whose work I greatly respect. He’s always super-modest about his considerable skill. He has no reason to be.

Evan Fleischer: One of Tumblr’s most underrated minds.

PopCultureBrain: Why this guy isn’t writing for Entertainment Weekly, I’ll never know.

Mike Hedrick: A writer whose intelligence and clarity can knock you on your ass. He’s gotten a few bylines in the NYT.

Laughterkey: The best reblogger in the game.

Peace out folks. ShortFormBlog may be gone, but I’m not: I’m going to be playing with a new idea over this way. I’m calling it DataSlam (for now). Consider it my difficult, unformed second album. Old-school SFB will remain up in archive form.

It’s been good. — Ernie @ SFB

You should vote for ImWithKanye for a Shorty Award, just kidding ImWithKanye doesn’t deserve any awards, just kidding. It deserves all the awards. All the awards including the Oscar, just kidding, an Oscar and a Grammy and then, it will go for an EGOT, just kidding. But I’m not kidding. ImWithKanye wants to be like GOOP and pull a Gwyneth, just kidding. Gwyneth Paltrow wants to pull an ImWithKanye, just kidding. I’m ImWithKanye and not even sure what pulling one is, just kidding, it’s like pulling a red wagon down Sesame Street, just kidding, I don’t even know how to get to Sesame Street, no I’m not kidding. I got lost when Big Bird gave me directions – that bitch, just kidding, it was Elmo. He was like hey, giggle, giggle and we laughed and laughed, just kidding. I cried, just kidding. I sobbed, just kidding. The last time I cried was when I watched a Beautiful Mind, just kidding, it was 5 minutes ago when I found out no one nominated me for a Shorty Award, just kidding. I am still crying now – does anyone have a tissue? Just kidding, I don’t use tissues, I use my sleeves, just kidding, I don’t have any sleeves, just kidding, I don’t have any arms. AHHH, I’m a monster!!!!! Just kidding, monsters aren’t real, just kidding, they are real – I slayed one last night, just kidding, it was two nights ago during the full moon. Just kidding, that’s the Brandy album I was listening to, just kidding, no one listens to Brandy, just kidding, I don’t even know who Brandy is. No, I’m not kidding, is she one of the girls from TLC? Just kidding, I know TLC – I am one of the band members, just kidding, I can’t sing, just kidding, I can totally sing. La-la-LA-LA-LA, just kidding, I totally won a Grammy for that performance. Just kidding, it was actually a Shorty Award, just kidding because no one voted for me. Just kidding, I voted for me, just kidding, I didn’t vote for me, I voted for ShortFormBlog, just kidding I voted for -SaturdayNightLive. No, I’m not kidding – just kidding, I kid. But seriously though, vote for ShortFormBlog or I will lock myself in the bathroom, just kidding, I’m already in the bathroom. Just kidding, I don’t poop. I’m kidding, just kidding. Vote for ShortFormBlog and -SaturdayNightLive too. [image]

So, we recently acquired a ton of cheap printing from VistaPrint. We wanted to advertise, just because, y'know, physical advertising feels like a step up from Facebook. :) Rather than totally make it about us, though (we’re hopefully not that arrogant), we decided to make a directory of our favorite news sites on Tumblr — because, hey, we’re all about the nudge, right? We plan to throw these up around coffee shops around DC over the weekend. If you want to mock our hard work, go for it.


ShortFormBlog had this story earlier today about how the Bulgarian suicide bomber was carrying a fake ID saying he was from Baton Rouge Louisiana, Michigan.

Clearly the people at ShortFormBlog don’t understand Michigan geography, so being a native, I took the liberty of drawing a map of this Baton Rouge Louisiana, Michigan. 

Michigan is a moody state, we have a tendency to bicker with other states in the hopes of winning another Peninsula. At any given point Michigan just randomly declares other states to be part of it - just to see what they’ll do. 

OK, so there you go. Because we apparently have no life and want to keep our readers happy, we customized ourselves a mobile theme. We didn’t go too crazy – mostly just reworking the Tumblr iPhone theme to do cool stuff with numbers and blurbs – but since those formats make a lot of sense on a mobile phone, it’s certainly worth your reading time. (Note: We had a mobile theme for the old site that some of our older readers might remember – this is mostly different) We’ve only tried this on the iPhone: Let us know if you find bugs! :D
So here's what I've been working on. Meet Tedium.

Hey all, hope you’re well. It’s been a couple of months since I shut down SFB. I hope you’re well-rested and assuming you’ve been busy posting images of puppies or Peter Pan Live fandom or something like that on your collective Tumblr feeds.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you guys know what I’ve been up to of late. I’m working on a new project. It’s called Tedium, and it’s a newsletter that’s gonna be pretty awesome and stuff. Here’s my plan: I’m going to try to find the most obscure, boring stuff on the internet and throw it in your inboxes. My goal: I want to find the absolute end of the long tail. Who knows if I’ll succeed? Who cares? It’ll be fun to watch.

SOOOOO … If this sounds appealing to you, lend me your email address and sign up for the upcoming newsletter. I promise I won’t spam you, but I will send you weird, mockable stuff once things get moving. Peace out, kids!

- Ernie, the guy who ran ShortFormBlog and now runs Tedium

005 - Get to Know a Tumblr with Ernie Smith
  • 005 - Get to Know a Tumblr with Ernie Smith
  • Future Journalism Project
  • FJP: Get to Know a Tumblr

Get to Know a Tumblr — ShortFormBlog’s Ernie Smith

DC journalist Ernie Smith, a designer for the Washington Post Express, started ShortFormBlog during a bout of unemployment in January 2009. The experimental news site moved to Tumblr full-time earlier this year.

Besides Smith, ShortFormBlog’s two other writers are both based out of the Bay Area. Seth Millstein, who mostly focuses on political stories, has been with the site since August, and also runs a personal WordPress blog. Chris Tognotti, who’s been with SFB since January, also throws long-form posts at The Crater.

Other folks whose byline you might catch on SFB are Matthew Keys, aka ProducerMatthew, who contributes during breaking news stories, and intern Justin Jones. Jones (who runs Justin Reads The News on Tumblr) is a journalism student at the University of Florida, and Keys is that guy who knew that Donald Trump wasn’t running three weeks before everyone else.

We DO have a spending problem.

NOT a revenue problem.

It’s common knowledge that no matter what the taxes are set at, the federal government will only have about 18% revenue. The reason tax revenue is so low today is because of the amount of people unemployed. One way to increase tax revenue is to make sure more people are paying taxes! How do we do this? Lower taxes.