Paul Ford

(1974– ) Writer, editor, programmer. Working on a book about web pages for FSG. Contact if you spot a typo.

How to Be Polite

Most people don’t notice I’m polite, which is sort of the point. I don’t look polite. I am big and droopy and need a haircut. No soul would associate me with watercress…

A “No to” Poem

On an unusual literary event

Not long ago the poet Anne Boyer tweeted a link to a poem. I went and read the poem, which was on page 221 of this PDF…

The Media Industry Prefers Penis (SFW!)

A not-totally serious look at how The Verge, BuzzFeed, and the New York Times use words like “penis” and “vagina” (and “cat…

My Quantified Email Self Experiment: A failure

I have an archive of my own email going back 18 years, containing 450,000 messages. One day I decided to make it searchable. Not half…

Publications edited by Paul Ford

A collection of sensations (to see what sticks)

Latest Story


A notebook of observations, for when I am between projects in the day and need to clear my mind.Paragraphs start with “When” or “Sometimes.” Pieces take the form W-SS-WWW-SS-W. All pieces written in 10 or 20 minutes.


I am teaching my class. My wife found this. I hope this doesn’t email to 10,000 people when I save it but it might. This is the cost of…

Revisiting an Old Piece

Plus a Postscript

Sometimes I like to revisit statistics and links. I like to do this months after something is in the world. Like walking through Times Square after New Years Eve and kicking the confetti. And then I think about what could have gone better. So I was going back and looking at how people reacted to a piece I wrote about death and

Notifications & Alerts

I realized that my digital life was getting too complex, so I turned off chat. Then I removed myself from a bunch of Slacks. I filtered a number of mailing lists into…

Busy social settings

Who even knows what I’m writing at this point I’m just throwing stuff at the wall.

“…busy social settings…“

I am going to cut and paste my portion from an email discussion about overcoming party shyness and call that my daily post. But let’s see if I can keep posting every day. I mean this is day three, this counts as…


I’m quoted in an article:

“I was 22 and the Internet was new and everyone was sitting around a table chatting and laughing,” Ford told me. “Who went to parties where no one knew each other?”

The first thing I do when I wake up and get the children dressed—which, my God. Getting the children dressed. We picked out clothes last night so we can avoid the freakout that comes in the morning, the tears and sobbing over the wrong pants (mostly my daughter). But still, you have to pull them out of their beds. While they are halfway out of the bed they cry out for their lovies and their morning milk and…