Replied to 7 steps I take to get value from what I read: Notes on note taking & review by Marshall Kirkpatrick (marshallk.com)
A friend asked me recently what some of the core principles are in my note taking and review system. I get a whole lot of value out of my note system and I love talking to notes nerds. But not notes for notes’ sake! For making an impact on the world, for the better.
Marshall, in looking at your cards, I’m curious how easy/hard you feel it is to remember longer portions of full quotes like your H.L. Menken example using only spaced repetition? I usually find it far more taxing and not as long lasting as using other more classical mnemonic methods (method of loci/songlines).

Piotr Wozniak has some material on creating/designing more concrete cards for spaced repetition that I’ve found generally helpful. I know that Andy Matuschak and Soren Bjornstad have some ideas, experience, and research in the space but I’ve yet to see more deep research on the effectiveness of these more specific practices at scale or beyond the anecdotal.

Economic Models in Social Media and a Better Way Forward

Matt Ridley indicates in The Rational Optimist that markets for goods and services “work so well that it is hard to design them so they fail to deliver efficiency and innovation” while assets markets are nearly doomed to failure and require close and careful regulation.

If we view the social media landscape from this perspective, an IndieWeb world in which people are purchasing services like the ability to move their domain name and URL permalinks from one web host to another; easy import/export of their data; and CMS (content management system) services/platforms/functionalities, represents the successful market mode for our personal data and online identities. Here competition for these sorts of services will not only improve the landscape, but generally increased competition will tend to drive the costs to consumers down. The internet landscape is developed and sophisticated enough and broadly based on shared standards that this mode of service market should easily be able to not only thrive, but innovate.

At the other end of the spectrum, if our data are viewed as assets in an asset market between Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, et al., it is easy to see that the market has already failed so miserably that one cannot even easily move ones’ assets from one silo to another or really protect them in any meaningful way. Social media services don’t compete to export or import data because the goal is to trap you and your data and attention there, otherwise they lose. The market corporate social media is really operating in is one for eyeballs and attention to sell advertising, so one will notice a very health, thriving, and innovating market for advertisers. Social media users will easily notice that there is absolutely no regulation in the service portion of the space at all. This only allows the system to continue failing to provide improved or even innovative service to people on their “service”. The only real competition in the corporate silo social media space is for eyeballs and participation because the people and their attention are the real product.

As a result, new players whose goal is to improve the health of the social media space, like the recent entrant Cohost, are far better off creating a standards based service that allows users to register their own domain names and provide a content management service that has easy import and export of their data. This will play into the services market mode which improves outcomes for people. Aligning in any other competition mode that silos off these functions will force them into competition with the existing corporate social services and we already know where those roads lead.

Those looking for ethical and healthy models of this sort of social media service might look at Manton Reece‘s Micro.blog platform which provides a wide variety of these sorts of data services including data export and taking your domain name with you. If you’re unhappy with his service, then it’s relatively easy to export your data and move it to another host using WordPress or some other CMS. On the flip side, if you’re unhappy with your host and CMS, then it’s also easy to move over to Micro.blog and continue along just as you had before. Best of all, Micro.blog is offering lots of the newest and most innovative web standards including webmention notifications which enable website-to-website conversations, micropub, and even portions of microsub not to mention some great customer service.

I like to analogize the internet and social media to competition in the telecom/cellular phone space In America, you have a phone number (domain name) and can then have your choice of service provider (hosting), and a choice of telephone (CMS) for interacting with the network. Somehow instead of adopting a social media common carrier model, we have trapped ourselves inside of a model that doesn’t provide the users any sort of real service or options. It’s easy to imagine what it would be like to need your own AT&T account to talk to family on AT&T and a separate T-Mobile account to talk to your friends on T-Mobile because that’s exactly what you’re doing with social media despite the fact that you’re all still using the same internet. Part of the draw was that services like Facebook appeared to be “free”. It’s only years later that we’re seeing the all too real costs emerge.

This sort of competition and service provision also goes down to subsidiary layers of the ecosystem. New service providers don’t necessarily need to take the soup to nuts approach that Micro.Blog does. Take for example the idea of writing interface and text editing. There are (paid) services like iA Writer, Ulysses, and Typora which people use to compose their writing. Many people use these specifically for writing blog posts. Companies can charge for these products because of their beauty, simplicity, and excellent user interfaces. Some of them either already do or ostensibly could support the micropub and IndieAuth web standards which allow their users the ability to log into their websites and directly post their saved content from these editors directly to their website. Sure there are also a dozen or so other free micropub clients that also allow this, but why not have and allow competition for beauty and ease of use? Let’s say you like WordPress enough, but aren’t a fan of the Gutenberg editor. Should you need to change to Drupal or some unfamiliar static site generator to exchange a better composing experience for a dramatically different and unfamiliar back end experience? No, you could simply change your editor client and continue on without missing a beat. Of course the opposite also applies—WordPress could split out Gutenberg as a standalone (possibly paid) micropub client and users could then easily use it to post to Drupal, Micro.blog, or other CMSs that support the micropub spec, and many already do.

Social media should be a service to and for people all the way down to its core. The more companies there are that provide these sorts of services means more competition which will also tend to lure people away from silos where they’re trapped for lack of options. Further, if your friends are on services that interoperate and can cross communicate with standards like Webmention from site to site, you no longer need to be on Facebook because “that’s where your friends and family all are.” The more competition there is for cleaner, nicer user interfaces and simple solutions, the less lock in effects will be felt from existing and predatory social services.

I have no doubt that we can all get to a healthier place online, but it’s going to take companies and startups like Cohost to make better choices in how they frame their business models. Co-ops and non-profits can help here too. I can easily see a co-op adding webmention to their Mastodon site to allow users to see and moderate their own interactions instead of forcing local or global timelines on their constituencies. Perhaps Garon didn’t think Webmention was a fit for Mastodon, but this doesn’t mean that others couldn’t support it. I personally think that Darius Kazemi‘s Hometown fork of Mastodon which allows “local only” posting a fabulous little innovation while still allowing interaction with a wider readership, including me who reads his content from there in a microsub enabled social reader. Perhaps someone forks Mastodon to use as a social feed reader, but builds in micropub so that instead of posting the reply to a Mastodon account, it’s posted to one’s IndieWeb capable website which sends a webmention notification to the original post? Opening up competition this way makes lots of new avenues for every day social tools. One might posit that it was this lack of diverse solutions and common standards in the early 2000s  that allowed corporations like Facebook, Twitter, et al. to entirely consume the market and fragment our online identities this way.

Continuing the same old siloing of our data and online connections is not the way forward. We’ll see who stands by their ethics and morals by serving people’s interests and not the advertising industry.

Primarily composed on July 03, 2022 at 02:36PM in support of and partially in response to A Silo Can Never Provide Digital Autonomy to its Users by Ariadne Conill.

Replied to a post by Kimberly HirshKimberly Hirsh (kimberlyhirsh.com)
It’s the first day of my birthday month! I often extend the celebration beyond the day itself (July 14) and this year I’ve decided to do it all month long. I’ll let you know what that means once I figure it out. Until then, happy Kimbertide!
Happy Kimbertide! I think I ought to do the same thing. Since my birthday is on July 8th, I’m celebrating Chrismas in July! Merry Chrismas everyone. 🎅🏼🌞🎉

Thoughts about Robin Sloan’s Spring ’83 Experiment

I’ve been thinking about Robin Sloan‘s Spring ’83 Experiment on and off for a bit.

I too almost immediately thought of Fraidyc.at and its nudge at shifting the importance of content based on time and recency. I’d love to have a social reader with additional affordances for both this time shifting and Ton’s idea of reading based on social distance.

I’m struck by the seemingly related idea of Peter Hagen’s LindyLearn platform and annotations which focuses on taking some of the longer term interesting ideas as the basis for browsing and chewing on. Though even here, one needs some of the odd, the cutting edge, and the avant garde in their balanced internet diet. Would Spring ’83 provide some of this?

I’m also struck by some similarities this has with the idea of Derek Siver’s /now page movement. I see some updating regularly while others have let it slip by the wayside. Still the “board” of users exists, though one must click through a sea of mostly smiling and welcoming faces to get to it the individual pieces of content. (The smiling faces are more inviting and personal than the cacophony of yelling and chaos I see in models for Spring ’83.) This reminds me of Stanley Meyers’ frequent assertion that he attempted to design a certain “sense of quiet” into the early television show Dragnet to balance the seeming loudness of the everyday as well as the noise of other contemporaneous television programming.

The form reminds me a bit of the signature pages of one’s high school year book. But here, instead of the goal being timeless scribbles, one has the opportunity to change the message over time. Does the potential commercialization of the form (you know it will happen in a VC world crazed with surveillance capitalism) follow the same trajectory of the old college paper facebook? Next up, Yearbook.com!

Beyond the thing as a standard, I wondered what the actual form of Spring ’83 adds to a broader conversation? What does it add to the diversity of voices that we don’t already see in other spaces. How might it be abused? Would people come back to it regularly? What might be its emergent properties? This last is hard to know without experimenting at larger scales.

It definitely seems quirky and fun in and old school web sort of way, but it also stresses me out looking at the zany busyness of some of the examples of magazine stands. The general form reminds me of the bargain bins at book stores which have the promise of finding valuable hidden gems and at an excellent price, but often the ideas and quality of what I find usually isn’t worth the discounted price and the return on investment is rarely worth the effort. How might this get beyond these forms?

It also brings up the idea of what other online forms we may have had with this same sort of raw experimentation? How might the internet have looked if there had been a bigger rise of the wiki before that of the blog? What would the world be like if Webmention had existed before social media rose to prominence? Did we somehow miss some interesting digital animals because the web rose so quickly to prominence without more early experimentation before its “Cambrian explosion”?

I’ve been thinking about distilled note taking forms recently and what a network of atomic ideas on index cards look like and what emerges from them. What if the standard were digital index cards that linked and cross linked to each other, particularly in a world without adherence to time based orders and streams? What does a new story look like if I can pull out a card either at random or based on a single topic and only see it or perhaps some short linked chain of ideas (mine or others) which come along with it? Does the choice of a random “Markov monkey” change my thinking or perspective? What comes out of this jar of Pandora? Is it just a new form of cadavre exquis?

This standard has been out for a bit and presumably folks are experimenting with it. What do the early results look like? How are they using it? Do they like it? Does it need more scale? What do small changes make to the overall form?


For more on these related ideas and the experiment, see some of these threads of conversation I’m aware of:

Know of others? I’m happy to aggregate them here.

Featured image: Collection of 1990s 88×31 buttons by https://anlucas.neocities.org/88x31Buttons.html

Watched "The Great American Recipe" If I Were a Recipe S1.E1 from PBS
If I Were a Recipe: With Alejandra Ramos, Tiffany Derry, Leah Cohen, Graham Elliot. The ten home cooks from across the US arrive in the communal kitchen in Ruther Glen, VA knowing that one will only have this one opportunity to impress the judges in being sent home at the end of the first two competitions. With only an hour for the cook, they are asked to put themselves forward in the first round called "If I Were a Recipe", namely to cook anything they want that demonstrates who they are as a cook and a person. With the judges' comments provided to them from round one, the cooks go into round two with ninety minutes to prepare not only a dish that represents them, but their home community, they who probably had to adapt whatever family recipes, many not native to the US, to use ingredients they could source where they live.
A total rip off in both style and substance of the Great British Bake Off, but for general cooking in America rather than baking. Interesting, but perhaps a bit too chipper. I like that there’s some broad representation going on here both culturally and regionally.
Annotated a tweet by Matty Illustration (@MN_illustration) (Twitter)

Y’all, imagine Spielberg’s Sailor Moon pic.twitter.com/xZ1DEsbLTy

— Matty Illustration (@MN_illustration) June 30, 2022
The trending topics on Twitter can be used as a form of juxtaposition of random ideas which could be brought together to make new and interesting things.

Here’s but one example of someone practicing just this:

Editor’s note: The now missing image attached to the tweet was of the Twitter trending topics sidebar that showed Sailor Moon trending just above Steven Spielberg

cc: @marshallk

I want a more medieval decorated web experience and aesthetic

Thinking about rubrication and manuscripts. I feel like I ought to build a Tampermonkey or Greasemonkey script that takes initial capitals online and makes them large, red, even historiated /illuminated.

Or perhaps something that converts the CSS of @hypothes_is highlights and makes the letters red instead of having a yellow background? #EdTech
A bit reminiscent, but of a different historical period than the index card idea.

What if we had a collection of illuminated initials and some code that would allow for replacing capitals at the start of paragraphs we were reading?

Maybe a repository like @GIPHY or some of the meme and photo collections for reuse? Maybe this could be something done in the vein of the bookmarklet on the “Taft Test”?
tafttest.com

Maybe it could pull images from #MarginalMonday or #ManuscriptMonday to randomly decorate web pages and make them look more like #medieval manuscripts? (While also stripping/replacing advertising? 😁) #medievaltwitter
I wonder at changing fonts as well… So many choices…

I want a more #medieval decorated web experience and aesthetic. How about you?
(Implementations of these or related ideas highly encouraged. What can you make?)

Read CAA Closes $750M Deal for ICM Partners, Consolidating Major Agency Landscape by Alex Weprin (The Hollywood Reporter)
Some 425 ICM employees will join CAA, with 105 expected to be laid off as the Department of Justice allows the acquisition after an antitrust review.
Annotated Mrs. Custer’s Tennyson by William Logan (newcriterion.com)
Those who read with pen in hand form a species nearly extinct. Those who read the marginal notes of readers past form a group even smaller. Yet when we write in antiphonal chorus to what we’re reading, we engage in that conversation time and distance otherwise make impossible. 

Lois Weber’s film Where are My Children? (1916) and the history of Abortion in America

When we discuss the topic of the history of abortion and birth control in the United States, where are the mentions of Where are My Children? (Universal Studios, 1916)? 

The movie was Universal’s top grossing film of 1916. It’s estimated to have grossed over $3 million at a time when ticket prices were less than 50¢ each.

Where are My Children? was written, produced, and directed by Lois Weber. The film was ultimately added to the National Film Registry in 1993.

Weber came from a devout middle class Christian family of Pennsylvania German ancestry. She left home & lived in poverty while working as a street-corner evangelist for two years with the evangelical Church Army Workers.

Her work with the Church Army Workers included preaching and singing hymns on street corners and singing and playing the organ in rescue missions in red-light districts in Pittsburgh and New York.

Meyer made the film at the height of her career when she was Universal’s top director. Her work and career was at (or perhaps above) the level of Cecil B. DeMille and D.W. Griffith, though it has largely been minimized subsequently because she was a woman.

Lois Weber was
– 1st woman accepted to Motion Picture Director’s Association, precursor of Director’s Guild
– on 1st directors committee of @TheAcademy
– Mayor of Universal City

Lois Weber was also one of highest paid and most influential directors of her time. She was also amongst the first directors to form her own production company.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lois_Weber

The Lost L.A. episode of Dream Factory (@KCET, 2017) covers portions of Weber’s career and provides clips from Where are My Children?
(@nathanmasters‘ entire series here is the real “California’s Gold”)
kcet.org/shows/lost-la/…

In addition to the site above, one can watch the @KCET episode of Lost LA: Dream Factory on YouTube:

I can’t wait to delve further in to the history and work of Weber by reading @StampShelley‘s book Lois Weber in Early Hollywood. University of California Press, May 2015. ISBN 9780520284463
amzn.to/3u7qzrO