I love the tagline on @readTedium’s Twitter profile, “Hunting for the end of the long tail”.
Oh, the long tail. It’s all the things that aren’t super-popular.
The head is all the hits. The long tail is the rest—the obscure stuff. Most people chase after the popular hits, ignoring the long tail.
This tagline is brilliant, because “chasing the end of the long tail” refers not just to the long tail, but the very END of the tail. The stuff at the beginning of the long tail (right by the popular stuff) can’t be TOO bad, right? But that very end of the long tail… look out!
When I googled “long tail” for a quick graphic, this one came up. Check out how the end of the long tail isn’t even defined. It’s simply an arrow pointing to the right. Where is the end of the long tail!? How obscure can you get?
Picture a dog’s tail wagging. That very tip of the dog’s tail would be the part that moves around the most. The end of the long tail actually has the most activity! So maybe, JUST MAYBE, that very end might be the most interesting of all!
Another analogy for the end of the long tail is like doing a search in Spotify for a particular topic.
Let’s say we search for “pancakes” in Spotify.
In the results for pancakes are the initial bulk of decent popular songs at the top (especially anything by Parry Gripp). That is the head—the popular stuff at the top that 95% of everyone listens to.
Drift down into the long tail, where most people don’t listen.
The best songs are found when you scroll way way way down to the bottom of the Spotify results. You arrive at the most unique and interesting songs–at the end of the long tail.
And that is like Tedium’s email newsletter. Every issue takes on one topic and gives a very in-depth interesting look. Give it a try and sign up. Ernie sends an email twice a week. Some of my favorite issues include:
- Pac-Man Pattern Fever
- Star Wars ASCII Remake: A Truly Text-Based Adventure
- Hypergraphia: The Neurological Condition Behind Excessive Writing
This is not any sort of paid endorsement. I just really like Ernie’s work. And today I noticed his tagline on the Twitter profile. Did you sign up yet for his email newsletter?