Simon Owens

Simon Owens is a tech and media journalist living in Washington, DC. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Email him at simonowens@gmail.com

by Simon Owens

As I spoke to Susan Orlean about the role the social web plays with her long feature articles and books, I couldn’t help but compare her to another famous writer for the New Yorker: E.B. White. Like Orlean, White had decided to leave the frantic mania of New York City life for a much quieter […] more »

by Simon Owens

Vincent Racaniello, a professor of microbiology at Columbia University Medical Center, remembers the last flu pandemic, which occurred in 1968. “It’s a great contrast [with today], because back then you had to wait weeks for information, and the only way you got it was through newspapers and scientific journals, and now of course we have […] more »

by Simon Owens

Over the years, many authors have tried versions of the online donation model, with mixed results. But one specific genre of writers, speculative fiction, seems to be experiencing a moderate level of success. Back in 2000, Stephen King became one of the first major authors to offer a book online using an “honor system” to […] more »

by Simon Owens

Earlier this month, Randall Munroe, creator of the hugely popular web comic xkcd, announced on his blog that he would be publishing a book collection of the strip. Given the number of six-figure book deals that major book publishers have thrust upon popular bloggers, there’s little doubt that Munroe’s millions of monthly readers could have […] more »

by Simon Owens

Paul Testa recently checked his voicemail and listened to a message from a hospice worker who lives in a conservative district of Ohio. He’d never met or spoken to this person before, but the worker reached out because Testa seemed like the right person to receive some important, inside information about the health care system. […] more »

by Simon Owens

If only every blogger could link to stories the way Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit does. The libertarian blogger, with his hundreds of thousands of readers, offers up dozens of daily snippets that typically consist of a single sentence and a link. Sometimes it’s a headline or even a single word — “Heh.” As a result, […] more »

by Simon Owens

If there’s any doubt that an online titan can be easily overthrown, look no further than the URL shortener Tinyurl.com. For years, it was the most popular of its kind and the dominant (and default) URL shortener for Twitter. Then a few months ago I began to notice that it had all but disappeared from […] more »

by Simon Owens

Many PR agencies are hesitant to issue any guarantees on whether a particular piece of content or advertisement will “go viral,” leading millions of users to toss it around through their various social media platforms. One way that they try to achieve this is by approaching the people often most responsible for the viral spread […] more »

by Simon Owens

When it was reported in 2006 that the FTC would begin forcing word-of-mouth companies — which paid people to hype products to their peers — to disclose their marketing campaigns, Brian Clark predicted at the time that these rules would apply to bloggers as well. Now it looks like his prediction is coming true — […] more »

by Simon Owens

Recently, those who visited the front page of the Miami Herald’s website began seeing a sidebar item labeled simply “Your Blogs.” If you clicked on the link it would take you to a page containing a series of headlines and little snippets of opening paragraphs in a news feed format. If you clicked on one […] more »