paper trail

Social-media network Ello is growing at a rate of 40,000 users per hour

Paul Budnitz

The New York Observer profiles the social-media network Ello, known as Facebook’s new competitor. Ello insists that it is not trying to take over Facebook, but rather offer "a small alternative." “Success to us just means that Ello works and that people use it," says Paul Budnitz, a co-founder of the website. "There’s no way we’re not going to survive.” Right now, people are joining at a rate of 40,000 per hour. 

A member of the Nobel Prize committee, Horace Engdahl, has suggested that writers’ increasing “professionalization” has been detrimental to their art. “Previously, writers would work as taxi drivers, clerks, secretaries and waiters to make a living. Samuel Beckett and many others lived like this. It was hard—but they fed themselves, from a literary perspective.” It’s been pointed out that Engdahl—an editor, critic, and professor—does not feel so strongly about his view that he drives a taxi himself. Meanwhile, French writer Patrick Modiano, who was just awarded the Nobel, was reportedly “happy” about it but found the whole thing “weird.” The committee was unable to contact Modiano before the public announcement, so he found out along with everybody else.

Vivian Schiller has stepped down from her position as head of news at Twitter. Schiller, who has been CEO of NPR and the chief digital officer at NBC, joined the company last October.

A cache of previously unpublished stories by Truman Capote has been found by a Swiss publisher. Four of the stories, which are believed to have been written between 1935 and 1943 (when Capote was between the ages of eleven and nineteen), appear this week in a German magazine. Random House will publish the full collection next year.

A recent CNN segment on Ebola ran a headline calling Ebola “the ISIS of Biological Agents.” At the New Yorker blog, Teju Cole asks if that quite captures the situation. “Is Ebola the Boko Haram of AIDS? Is Ebola the al-Shabaab of dengue fever? Some say Ebola is the Milosevic of West Nile virus. Others say Ebola is the Ku Klux Klan of paper cuts. It’s obvious that Ebola is the MH370 of MH17. But at some point the question must be asked whether Ebola isn’t also the Narendra Modi of sleeping sickness.”

Jon-Jon Goulian on his friend Wade, why New York is “a hundred times better than anywhere else” (mainly all the free stuff:”free movies, free concerts, free hors d’oeuvres at Fairway and Zabar’s, so much stuff here is free!”) and the one thing that Los Angeles has over New York, which we won’t spoil by telling you about. The piece is excerpted from Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakable Love for New York.