Manufacturing guy-at-large.

The Clothesline Paradox

Added on by Spencer Wright.


From a long essay on the depth and power of the internet:

Some of the disconnect between what institutions could do online and what they do do online can be attributed to the clothesline paradox, a term environmental pioneer Steve Baer coined to describe the phenomenon in which activity that can be measured easily (e.g., running a clothes dryer) is valued over equally important activity that eludes measurement (e.g., drying clothes outside.) The same can be said for the way in which institutions habitually value activity such as visits to museums or journal articles published by their scholars over equally meaningful but more difficult to measure activity such as the sharing of museum-related materials on social media sites or the creation of wikipedia pages.

I'd apply this to the high value so many people attribute to reading (or writing) a book, relative to the low value attributed to shorter and more fleeting - but no less powerful or important - forms of communication.