📗 Started reading It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by danah boyd

Read It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by danah boyddanah boyd (Yale University Press)
What is new about how teenagers communicate through services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Do social media affect the quality of teens’ lives? In this eye-opening book, youth culture and technology expert danah boyd uncovers some of the major myths regarding teens' use of social media. She explores tropes about identity, privacy, safety, danger, and bullying. Ultimately, boyd argues that society fails young people when paternalism and protectionism hinder teenagers’ ability to become informed, thoughtful, and engaged citizens through their online interactions. Yet despite an environment of rampant fear-mongering, boyd finds that teens often find ways to engage and to develop a sense of identity. Boyd’s conclusions are essential reading not only for parents, teachers, and others who work with teens but also for anyone interested in the impact of emerging technologies on society, culture, and commerce in years to come. Offering insights gleaned from more than a decade of original fieldwork interviewing teenagers across the United States, boyd concludes reassuringly that the kids are all right. At the same time, she acknowledges that coming to terms with life in a networked era is not easy or obvious. In a technologically mediated world, life is bound to be complicated.

Read introduction through page 20 of 296

6.8%

Ultimately I think I was bored after reading the table of contents. Not seeing any indication there that I might encounter any interesting new ground given my experience I may have to give up.

A short distance in seemed to confirm my initial bias, so I’ve ultimately decided to press on to something else which seems a bit more fruitful.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

1 identity why do teens seem strange online? 29
2 privacy why do youth share so publicly? 54
3 addiction what makes teens obsessed with social media? 77
4 danger are sexual predators lurking everywhere? 100
5 bullying is social media amplifying meanness and cruelty? 128
6 inequality can social media resolve social divisions? 153
7 literacy are today’s youth digital natives? 176
8 searching for a public of their own 199 

Just reading this table of contents reminds me that this “analysis of teens” seems a lot like the perennial contemplations of adults who think that the generations of teenagers coming behind them is different, weird, or even deviant.

A typical case in point is that of the greatest generation looking at the long-haired 60’s hippy teens who came after them. “Why do they like rock and roll? They do too many drugs. There’s no hope for the future.” “Damn kids. Get off of my lawn!”

Is the way that current teens and millennials react to social just another incarnation of this general idea?

As I began to get a feel for the passions and frustrations of teens and to speak to broader audiences, I recognized that teens’ voices rarely shaped the public discourse surrounding their networked lives.  

Again, putting this into historical context, is this sentence different for any prior period if we remove the word “networked”?

It’s been a while, but the old saw “A child should be seen and not heard” comes quickly to mind for me.

the kids are all right  

Given danah’s age, I would suspect that with a copyright date of 2014, she’s likely referencing the 2010 feature film The Kids are Alright.

However that film’s title is a cultural reference to a prior generation’s anthem in an eponymous song by The Who which appeared on the album My Generation. Interestingly the lyrics of the song of the same name on that album is one of their best known and is applicable to the ideas behind this piece as well.

given that I was in Nashville to talk with teens about how technology had changed their lives.  

I have to wonder who the sociologists were from the 60’s that interviewed teens about how the telephone changed their lives. Or perhaps the 70’s sociologist who interviewed kids about how cars changed their lives? Certainly it wasn’t George Lucas’ American Graffiti that informed everyone of the issues?

the internet?  

What if we replaced the words “the internet” in this piece with “the telephone” in the 1960-1970’s? I wonder how much of the following analysis would ring true to that time period? Are we just rehashing old ideas in new settings?

the more things had changed, the more they seemed the same.  

When they did look at their phones, they were often sharing the screen with the person sitting next to them, reading or viewing something together.  

Over history, most “teen technology” is about being able to communicate with their peers. From the handwritten letter via post, to the telephone, to the car, to the pager, and now the cell phone.

But many adults were staring into their devices intently, barely looking up  

Socially adults have created their longer term bonds and aren’t as socially attached, so while their teens are paying attention to others, they’re often doing something else: books, newspapers, and now cell phones.

few of my friends in the early 1990s were interested in computers at all.  

I would suspect for the time period they were all sending text messages via pager.

Unlike me and the other early adopters who avoided our local community by hanging out in chat-rooms and bulletin boards, most teenagers now go online to connect to the people in their community. Their online participation is not eccentric; it is entirely normal, even expected.  

There’s a broad disconnect between her personal experiences and those of the teens she’s studying. Based on my understanding, she was a teen on the fringes of her local community and eschewed the cultural norms–thus her perspective is somewhat skewed here. She sounds like she was at the bleeding edge of the internet while most of her more average peers were likely relying on old standbys like telephones, cars, and pagers. Thus not much has changed. I suspect that most teens have always been more interested in their local communities and peers. It’s danah boyd who was three standard deviations away from the norm who sought out ways to communicate with others like herself that felt marginalized. The internet made doing that far easier for her and future generations compared to those prior who had little, if any outlet to social interactions outside of the pale of their communities.

“If you’re not on MySpace, you don’t exist.”  

In prior generations, if you couldn’t borrow dad’s car, you didn’t exist…

Cross reference the 1955 cultural touchstone film Rebel Without a Cause. While the common perception is that James Dean, portraying Jim Stark, was the rebel (as seen in the IMDB.com description of the film “A rebellious young man with a troubled past comes to a new town, finding friends and enemies.”), it is in fact Plato, portrayed by Sal Mineo, who is the true rebel. Plato is the one who is the disruptive and rebellious youth who is always disrupting the lives of those around him. (As an aside, should we note Plato’s namesake was also a rebel philosopher in his time?!?)

Plato’s first disruption in the film is the firing of the cannon at school. While unstated directly, due to the cultural mores of Hollywood at the time, Plato is a closeted homosexual who’s looking to befriend someone, anyone. His best shot is the new kid before the new kid manages to find his place in the pecking order. Again Jim Stark does nothing in the film but attempt to fit into the social fabric around him, his only problem is that he’s the new guy. Most telling here about their social structures is that Jim has ready access to an automobile (a literal rolling social club–notice multiple scenes in the film with cars full of teenagers) while Plato is relegated to an old scooter (a mode of transport focused on the singleton–the transport of the outcast, the rebel).

The Rebel Plato, with his scooter--and a gun, no less!
Plato as portrayed by Sal Mineo in Rebel Without a Cause (1955). Notice that as the rebel, he’s pictured in the middleground with a gun while his scooter protects him in the foreground. In the background is the automobile, the teens’ coveted source of freedom at the time.

The spaces may change, but the organizing principles aren’t different.  

👓 Learning to Love the Stable Link | Uncommon Sense

Replied to Learning to Love the Stable Link by Karen WulfKaren Wulf (Uncommon Sense — The Blog | Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture)
When you’re striving to make your students’ lives just a click easier by embedding an article in your syllabus or posting it to Blackboard (or another online learning environment), however, it’s important to embed the link to the article rather than the PDF of the article itself. It’s easy to do; you simply paste the link from JSTOR or MUSE into the same field you would paste a document or PDF. It’s no more difficult for the students, and it makes a big difference to the journals whose articles you’re teaching.

I can’t help but read this and think that there’s a good use case for the Webmention spec here. Similar to my thinking in IndieWeb and Academic Research and Publishing, it seems relatively obvious that professors could be referencing the DOIs or other permalink URLs for journals and articles they’re assigning and sending webmentions so that the journal itself could receive webmentions of those facts. This in turn would help those journals have a better understanding of the number of incoming links as well as referrer traffic and potential readers they’ve got.

I’ve outlined a bit of how read posts on the web can send notifications to journal articles to allow them to better track traffic. Similar to use cases I’ve outlined for podcasts which have some large aggregate download data, but absolutely no actual “I listened to this particular episode” data, explicit read webmentions for journal articles could be a boon to these journals as well as to the greater research enterprise.

Separately but similarly, it would be nice if journals could take advantage of annotation platforms like Hypothes.is (especially if they sent webmentions to the canonical links or DOIs for .pdfs) to get a better idea of how closely, or not, academics are reading and annotating their works.

👓 The New York Times Fired My Doppelgänger | Quinn Norton | The Atlantic

Read The New York Times Fired My Doppelgänger by Quinn Norton (The Atlantic)
I saw the internet create and destroy a bizarro version of myself.

I’ve been reading some pieces from my archive on context collapse and people losing jobs/opportunities as the result of online bullies digging up old social media posts which has become a bigger issue as of late. Many people have been wanting to leave social media platforms for their toxic cultures, and this seems to be a subset of that in that it has people going back and deleting old social posts for fear of implications in the present.

Quinn Norton has some relatively sage advice about the internet in this piece. Of course it’s no coincidence that The New York Times editorial board wanted to hire her.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

History doesn’t ask you if you want to be born in a time of upheaval, it just tells you when you are.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:00AM

I have a teenage daughter, and I have told her all her life that all the grown-ups are making it up as they go along. I have also waggled my eyebrows suggestively while saying it, to make it clear to her that I mean me, too.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:00AM

This taught me that not everyone worthy of love is worthy of emulation. It also taught me that being given terrible ideas is not a destiny, and that intervention can change lives.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:02AM

Not everyone believes loving engagement is the best way to fight evil beliefs, but it has a good track record. Not everyone is in a position to engage safely with racists, sexists, anti-Semites, and homophobes, but for those who are, it’s a powerful tool. Engagement is not the one true answer to the societal problems destabilizing America today, but there is no one true answer. The way forward is as multifarious and diverse as America is, and a method of nonviolent confrontation and accountability, arising from my pacifism, is what I can bring to helping my society.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:03AM

I am not immune from these mistakes, for mistaking a limited snapshot of something for what it is in its entirety. I have been on the other side.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:04AM

I had been a victim of something the sociologists Alice Marwick and danah boyd call context collapse, where people create online culture meant for one in-group, but exposed to any number of out-groups without its original context by social-media platforms, where it can be recontextualized easily and accidentally.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:05AM

I had even written about context collapse myself, but that hadn’t saved me from falling into it, and then hurting other people I didn’t mean to hurt.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:06AM

It helped me learn a lesson: Be damn sure when you make angry statements.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:07AM

Don’t internet angry. If you’re angry, internet later.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:07AM

Context collapse is our constant companion online.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:07AM

I used to think that showing someone how wrong they were on the internet could fix the world. I said a lot of stupid things when I believed that.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:08AM

I am not, and will never be, a simple writer. I have sought to convict, accuse, comfort, and plead with my readers. I’m leaving the majority of my flaws online: Go for it, you can find them if you want. It’s a choice I made long ago.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:09AM

If you look long enough you can find my early terrible writing. You can find blog posts in which I am an idiot. I’ve had a lot of uninformed and passionate opinions on geopolitical issues from Ireland to Israel. You can find tweets I thought were witty, but think are stupid now. You can find opinions I still hold that you disagree with. I’m going to leave most of that stuff up. In doing so, I’m telling you that you have to look for context if you are seeking to understand me. You don’t have to try, I’m not particularly important, but I am complicated. When I die, I’m going to instruct my executors to burn nothing. Leave the crap there, because it’s part of my journey, and that journey has a value. People who came from where I did, and who were given the thoughts I was given, should know that the future can be different from the past.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:13AM

👓 Digital Literacy, Identity and a Domain of One’s Own | Connected Learning Alliance

Read Digital Literacy, Identity and a Domain of One’s Own by Doug BelshawDoug Belshaw (Connected Learning Alliance)
Ten years ago, if I knew someone primarily through online means, you could guarantee they had their own domain name. It was just before the big explosion in social media use which meant that if you wanted a space online, you had to create it. This provided a barrier to entry in terms of the digital literacy skills required to register a domain, set up the necessary software and, of course, design, build and upload a website. The upside was that your digital identity was yours. That domain name could be your gamer tag, it could be your real name, it could be a heteronym — it was up to you!

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

Ten years ago, if I knew someone primarily through online means, you could guarantee they had their own domain name. It was just before the big explosion in social media use which meant that if you wanted a space online, you had to create it. This provided a barrier to entry in terms of the digital literacy skills required to register a domain, set up the necessary software and, of course, design, build and upload a website. The upside was that your digital identity was yours.  

Why have we gotten away from this? In short, I think it’s because it was easier for big companies with massive resources to do the initial heavy lifting.

If we look at history, Gutenberg created the first printing press and guarded it heavily for years. Eventually others figured out how to do it and printing presses spread like wildfire. Now, with some modest means and some time, almost anyone can publish.

With simple standards and accessible hosting people can now broadly own their own domain name and create their own websites using a variety of content management systems. In a few years, this will be even more ubiquitous. Facebook is going to be just like Gutenberg attempting to hold onto his monopoly, but failing miserably.

The best part, I think, is that the speed of digital technology means that the Facebook edifice is going to crumble faster than Gutenberg’s.

Twitter and Facebook are publicly-traded companies and beholden to shareholders looking to make a profit. Google, which owns YouTube and processes over 70% of the world’s search traffic, is likewise legally obliged to return a profit.  

legally obligated? they’re definitely supposed to try or shareholders may move their money elsewhere, but why can’t they create things for the common good as well?

A world where one’s primary identity is found through the social people-farms of existing social networks is a problematic one. Educators and parents are in the privileged position of being able to help create a better future, but we need to start modeling to future generations what that might look like.  

This is exactly what I’ve been attempting to do with my own website. Naturally I use it selfishly for my own purposes, but I’m also using it to model potential behaviours for friends, family and colleagues.

I’m sometimes tempted to change the tagline on my website to “A digital canary in the coalmine”.

📑 Launching #EDU 522 Week Zero | INTERTEXTrEVOLUTION

Highlighted Launching #EDU 522 Week Zero by Greg McVerryGreg McVerry (jgregorymcverry.com)
I also think as educators we should own what we make, or at least have it released to the Commons. Copyright on teacher created materials in the public school makes little sense. Nobody wants to steal your stuff and no municipality will ever profit on sales. Give it an open license.

👓 Connections | Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Replied to Connections by Kathleen Fitzpatrick (kfitz.info)

There are still some wrinkles to be ironed out in getting the various platforms we use today to play well with Webmentions, but it’s a real step toward the goal of that decentralized, distributed, interconnected future for scholarly communication.  

...the upshot is that this relatively new web standard allows for round-tripped connections among discrete domains, enabling the conversation about an individual post to be represented on that post, wherever it might actually take place.  

The fun, secret part is that Kathleen hasn’t (yet?) discovered IndieAuth so that she can authenticate/authorize micropub clients like Quill to publish content to her own site from various clients by means of a potential micropub endpoint. ​

I’ll suspect she’ll be even more impressed when she realizes that there’s a forthcoming wave of feed readers1,2 that will allow her to read others’ content in a reader which has an integrated micropub client in it so that she can reply to posts directly in her feed reader, then the responses get posted directly to her own website which then, in turn, send webmentions to the sites she’s responding to so that the conversational loop can be completely closed.

She and Lee will also be glad to know that work has already started on private posts and conversations and posting to limited audiences as well. Eventually there will be no functionality that a social web site/silo can do that a distributed set of independent sites can’t. There’s certainly work to be done to round off the edges, but we’re getting closer and closer every day.

I know how it all works, but even I’m (still) impressed at the apparent magic that allows round-trip conversations between her website and Twitter and Micro.blog. And she hasn’t really delved into website to website conversations yet. I suppose we’ll have to help IndieWebify some of her colleague’s web presences to make that portion easier. Suddenly “academic Twitter” will be the “academic blogosphere” she misses from not too many years ago.  🙂

If there are academics out thee who are interested in what Kathleen has done, but may need a little technical help, I’m happy to set up some tools for them to get them started. (We’re also hosing occasional Homebrew Website Clubs, including a virtual one this coming week, which people are welcome to join.)

References

1.
Aldrich C. Feed reader revolution: it’s time to embrace open & disrupt social media. BoffoSocko. https://boffosocko.com/2017/06/09/how-feed-readers-can-grow-market-share-and-take-over-social-media/. Published June 9, 2017. Accessed July 20, 2018.
2.
Parecki A. Building an IndieWeb Reader. Aaron Parecki. https://aaronparecki.com/2018/03/12/17/building-an-indieweb-reader. Published March 21, 2018. Accessed July 20, 2018.

👓 The Billionaire’s Typewriter | Butterick’s Practical Typography

Read The billionaire’s typewriter by Matthew But­t­er­ick (Butterick’s Practical Typography)
A friend pointed me to a story on Medium called “Death to Type­writ­ers,” by Medium de­signer Marcin Wichary. The story is about the in­flu­ence of the type­writer on dig­i­tal type­set­ting. It ref­er­ences my “ex­cel­lent list” of type­writer habits.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

Min­i­mal­ism doesn’t fore­close ei­ther ex­pres­sive breadth or con­cep­tual depth. On the con­trary, the min­i­mal­ist pro­gram—as it ini­tially emerged in fine art of the 20th cen­tury—has been about di­vert­ing the viewer’s at­ten­tion from overt signs of au­thor­ship to the deeper pu­rity of the ingredients.  

This also sounds like a great way to cook!

Like all non­sense, it’s in­tended to be easy to swal­low.  

You’re giv­ing up far more than de­sign choice. Mr. Williams de­scribes Medium’s key ben­e­fit as res­cu­ing writ­ers from the “ter­ri­ble dis­trac­tion” of for­mat­ting chores. But con­sider the cost. Though he’s bait­ing the hook with de­sign, he’s also ask­ing you, the writer, to let him con­trol how you of­fer your work to read­ers. Mean­ing, to get the full ben­e­fit of Medium’s de­sign, you have to let your story live on Medium, send all your read­ers to Medium, have your work per­ma­nently en­tan­gled with other sto­ries on Medium, and so on—a sig­nif­i­cant concession.  

You’re definitely not owning your own data.

Boiled down, Medium is sim­ply mar­ket­ing in the ser­vice of more mar­ket­ing. It is not a “place for ideas.” It is a place for ad­ver­tis­ers. It is, there­fore, ut­terly superfluous.  

📑 Unfollowing Everybody | Anil Dash

Highlighted Unfollowing Everybody by Anil Dash (Anil Dash)
It turns out, I don't mind knowing about current events, but it hurts to see lots of people I care about going through anguish or pain when bad news happens. I want to optimize for being aware, but not emotionally overwhelmed.

👓 Wrapping Up | Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Read Wrapping Up by Kathleen Fitzpatrick (Kathleen Fitzpatrick)
Yesterday, I wrapped up the revisions on Generous Thinking, and I’m finding myself of very mixed minds about where I am today. On the one hand, I am super excited about getting the manuscript into …

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

And probably letting myself do a bit more thinking-out-loud here.  

👓 Reading, Anxiety, Possibility | Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Read Reading, Anxiety, Possibility by Kathleen FitzpatrickKathleen Fitzpatrick (Kathleen Fitzpatrick)
Every so often you come across That Book, the exact thing you need to read, and a lot of the time it’s something that you might not have run into before and that you certainly had no idea you neede…

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

dismissing pleasure in reading (whether as illicit, or unserious, or whathaveyou) opens space for anxiety to become one’s dominant reading affect, and particularly “anxiety about whether we’re reading the right stuff, or reading for the right reasons, or reading in the right way.”  

📑 Community, Privatization, Efficiency | Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Highlighted Community, Privatization, Efficiency by Kathleen FitzpatrickKathleen Fitzpatrick (Kathleen Fitzpatrick)
This displacement is of course operative in the de-funding of public universities, effectively transforming them into non-profits rather than state institutions. The effects of this program of neoliberal1 reform run deep, not least that the dominant motivator behind these privatized institutions becomes sustainability rather than service, leaving universities, like non-profits, in an endless cycle of fundraising and budget cuts.

📑 Community, Privatization, Efficiency | Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Highlighted Community, Privatization, Efficiency by Kathleen FitzpatrickKathleen Fitzpatrick (Kathleen Fitzpatrick)
Throughout Generous Thinking, one of my interests lies in the effects of, and the need to reverse, the shift in our cultural understanding of education (and especially higher education); where in the mid-twentieth century, the value of education was largely understood to be social, it has in recent decades come to be described as providing primarily private, individual benefits. And this, inevitably, has accompanied a shift from education being treated as a public service to being treated as a private responsibility.

👓 Why Not Blog? | Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Read Why Not Blog? by Kathleen FitzpatrickKathleen Fitzpatrick (Kathleen Fitzpatrick)
My friend Alan Jacobs, a key inspiration in my return (such as it is, so far) to blogging and RSS and a generally pre-Twitter/Facebook outlook on the scholarly internet, is pondering the relationship between blogging and other forms of academic writing in thinking about his next project. Perhaps needless to say, this is something I’m considering as well, and I’m right there with him in most regards.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

The blog was not just the venue in which I started putting together the ideas that became my second book, the one that made promotion and various subsequent jobs possible, but it was also the way that I was able to demonstrate that there might be a readership for that second book, without which it’s much less likely that a press would have been interested.  

This sounds like she’s used her blog as both a commonplace book as well as an author platform.

In fact blog posts are not the kind of thing one can detail on one’s annual review form, and even a blog in the aggregate doesn’t have a place in which it’s easy to be claimed as a site of ongoing scholarly productivity.  

Mine have gone more like (1) having some vague annoying idea with a small i; (b) writing multiple blog posts thinking about things related to that idea; (iii) giving a talk somewhere fulminating about some other thing entirely; (4) wondering if maybe there are connections among those things; (e) holy carp, if I lay the things I’ve been noodling about over the last year and a half out in this fashion, it could be argued that I am in the middle of writing a book!  

Here’s another person talking about blogs as “thought spaces” the same way that old school bloggers like Dave Winer and Om Malik amongst many others have in the past. While I’m thinking about it I believe that Colin Walker and Colin Devroe have used this sort of idea as well.

👓 How regulators can prevent excessive concentration online – A new school in Chicago | The Economist

Read How regulators can prevent excessive concentration online (The Economist)
Conventional antitrust thinking is being disrupted from within

It is not the data that are valuable, he says, but the services powered by them. Some firms are just better at developing new offerings than others.  

So big piles of data can become a barrier to competitors entering the market, says Maurice Stucke of the University of Tennessee.  

“When feedback data from large players is available to smaller competitors, then innovation…is not concentrated at the top,” he argues in “Reinventing Capitalism in the Age of Big Data”, a new book co-written with Thomas Ramge, a journalist.  

This sounds like something which could be worth reading.

👓 Microsub and the new reader evolution | skippy.net

Read Microsub and the new reader evolution by Scott MerrillScott Merrill (skippy.net)
I was an avid Google Reader user.  When it shut down, I started hosting my own RSS reader: first tt-rss, and later miniflux. I very much liked being able to subscribe to sites and read them at my leisure. I also appreciated not having my reading habits tracked or quantified. I had maybe two dozen f...

What I was really after was the confluence of RSS feeds and Twitter and the ability to post to my own site.