Spotlight: Tech Columnist Rob Walker

MagMaker / September 15, 2014

My name is Rob Walker and my medium is procrastinating.

My love of art + tech collisions is partly a result of my work for Yahoo! Tech, where I am a columnist. My “beat” is the intersection of technology and culture, and there are just too many great examples of how creative people are using, or misusing, digital tools. So I started the Tech + Arts mag on Flipboard to catalog and share everything in that category that I think is cool, whether my colleagues and I write about it or not.

I use Flipboard to be surprised, add some serendipity to my newsflow, and, of course, to waste time as productively as possible!

I first downloaded the app for my iPad maybe two years ago, and I didn’t use it for a long while. Then a friend mentioned how much he enjoyed Flipboard and I decided to re-investigate. I set up a mix of technology and design sources, and for me the key was that these were sources I wanted to keep an eye on, but didn’t always have time for.

I’ve also now figured out how much fun it is to dip in and out of others’ magazines that are just completely different from my usual media sources (magazines collecting GIFs, for instance). I also find the interface quite nice, so it always feels more like goofing off than working. That’s good.

And THEN it finally occurred to me that I could start my own magazine. That was a total experiment: just to see what would happen if I tried to collect the tech/art mashups that interest me, including stuff I write about, but more to the point all the other stuff that I don’t have time to write about but that deserves attention. I have been amazed at the response.

My biggest influence is really anybody who is doing interesting things that blur or change the lines between traditional categories, and that’s sort of the whole point of the Tech + Arts magazine: Artists playing with technology, hackers intentionally misusing tools to revelatory things—that’s part of my beat as a journalist, but it’s also just something I find inspiring and useful. So this has become another venue for me to highlight the stuff that I find provocative and useful or just flat-out fun. If that helps spread the word about cool stuff, then mission accomplished!

Today technology and art are inseparable. See how their confluence is changing the world in Tech + Arts: