Lurking, although the word seems to imply a negative connotation, has usefull aspects nonetheless. It is a way of determining rules of behaviour for new comers to a group.
The most obvious characteristic of a lurker is that he’s at the fringe of a group, listening and observing. Being at the fringe may seem like a bad place from the core, but in fact is a good position to build bridges to other groups, and be aware of other groups in the vicinity. In a face to face setting like a pub or a meeting of some kind, a lurker is visible, often shortly introduced after which the focus of attention shifts to the established group members again.
In on-line settings things are different. In some fora lurkers are encouraged to introduce themselves and then adviced to lurk, i.e. observe and learn for a while. But at all times there is no way of knowing how many lurkers are there that you are unaware of.
As lurkers are possible bridges to other groups, I as a blogger, would like to know:
- How many lurkers I have, who read my blog but don’t comment or post.
- Who they are
Serverlogs can give some clues, and I keep a close watch on them. Dave Winer’s RSS-tool also brings new info to light.
I’ve been to a number of WordCamps over the past year, and invariably, in the registration process I’m asked for my Twitter handle and the majority of the time that Twitter handle is printed on my name tag.
Why are we doing this?! It’s not TwitterCamp. It’s a W-O-R-D-C-A-M-P!! Why can’t we ask for and put our own domain names (running WordPress, natch…) in our registration and on our name tags?! Let’s get with the program people… Twitter is nice, but obviously WordPress on a domain name we own and control is far better.
Social-media platforms once promised to connect the world. Today’s digital communities, though, often feel like forces for disunity. Anger and discord in 2018 seemed only amplified by the social-media institutions that now dictate our conversations. Executive Editor Matt Thompson sits down with the staff writer Alexis Madrigal to find out how we got to this state, and whether we can do anything to change it.
Discussion topics include: why our online problems are really offline ones, what these platforms have lost in pursuit of scale, and how Matt’s and Alexis’s experiments with solutions have fared.
Last year, Alexis removed retweets from his Twitter account (and was pessimistic about new changes bringing back the old Twitter). Matt just began an experiment turning his Twitter account into a place for conversation rather than performance by reclaiming “the ratio.” The effort reminds Alexis of another noble attempt at making your own rules online. Has it Made the Internet Great Again? Listen to find out.
Definitely a fascinating episode; potentially worth a second listen.
Of primary interest here, Matt Thompson discusses his concept of “Breaking the Ratio” (🎧 00:23:16-00:27:28) a take on the idea of being ratioed on Twitter.
His concept immediately brings to mind a few broad ideas:
Micro.blog is, to some extent, a Twitter clone–loathe as I am to use the phrase as it is so much more than that–which acts in almost exactly the way that Matt and likely Alexis wish Twitter would. Manton Reece specifically designed Micro.blog to not have the idea of retweets or likes, which forces people to have more direct conversations and discussions. Instead of liking or retweeting a post, one must reply directly. Even if one just sends a heart or thumbs up emoji, it has to be an explicit reply. Generally replies are not so sparse however, and the interactions are much more like Matt describes in his personal community.
(I’ll be clear that micro.blog does have a “favorite” functionality, but it is private to the user and doesn’t send any notifications to the post on which it is given. As a result, the favorite functionality on micro.blog is really more semantically akin to a private bookmark, it just has a different name.)
The second thing, albeit tangential to the idea of breaking the ratio, is Ben Werdmüller‘s idea of people taking back agency and using their own voices to communicate.
The single change social networks could make that would have the most positive impact is to remove all kinds of resharing. Force people to speak in their own voices or not at all. Using other peoples’ language to express yourself forces you to evaluate the world on their terms.
— Ben Werdmuller (@benwerd) October 29, 2018
While the retweet is a quick and useful shorthand, it decimates the personal voices and agency of the people who use it. He’s suggested that they might be better off restating the retweet in their own voice before sending it on, if they’re going to pass the information along. I wonder if he’s ultimately ended up somewhere interesting with his original thesis and research I know he has been doing.[ ]
If one thinks about it for a moment the old blogosphere was completely about breaking the ratio as most writers wanted to communicate back and forth with others in a more direct and real manner. The fact that the blogosphere didn’t have likes, favorites, or retweets was a feature not an issue. The closest one usually got to a retweet was a blockquote of text which was usually highlighted, featured, and then either argued with or expounded upon.
I’ll note that I most typically use Twitter in a read-only mode almost exactly like Alexis indicates (🎧 00:29:56) that he uses it: plugged into Nuzzel to surface some of the best articles and ideas along with the ability to see the public commentary from the Tweets of the people I’m following and care about. To me this method filters out a lot of the crap and noise and tends to surface a lot more interesting content for me. I’ve created several dozen Twitter lists of various people and plugged them into Nuzzel, so invariably almost everything I come across while using it is useful and interesting to me.
Finally, I’d invite both Matt and Alexis, as fans of the old-school blogosphere, to take a look at what is happening within the IndieWeb community and the newer functionalities that have been built into it to extend what the old blogosphere is now capable of doing. My experience in having gone into it “whole hog” over the past several years has given me a lot of the experiences that Matt describes and which Alexis wishes he had (without all the additional work). I’m happy to chat with either of them or others who are looking for alternate solutions for community and conversation without a lot of the problems that come along as part and parcel with social media services.
Foreign companies will no longer be allowed to sell products from their own affiliated companies in India
NEW DELHI—India is tightening restrictions on foreign e-commerce companies operating in the country, a new challenge to Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc. as they bet billions on the nascent market.
Current rules forbid non-Indian online sellers from holding their own inventory and shipping it out to consumers, as is typically done in other countries. Instead, they have found a work-around by operating as online marketplaces and selling what are effectively their own products held by their affiliated local companies.
They will no longer be allowed to sell such goods, a division of India’s Commerce and Industry Ministry said in a statement Wednesday, an apparent attempt to close that loophole.
The new rules, which take effect Feb. 1, also bar foreign companies from entering into exclusive agreements with sellers. Amazon, for example, has in the past been the exclusive third-party online retailer to sell smartphones from the popular Chinese smartphone brand OnePlus.
Abneesh Roy, an analyst at Edelweiss Securities, noted that ahead of elections set for early next year, the government could be moving to appease owners of smaller shops that have been hit as customers buy more goods online.
“Shopkeepers have been unhappy,” he said. “In an election year, the government will definitely listen more to voters.” ❧
It’s nice to see foreign countries looking at what has happened to coutries like America with the rise of things like e-commerce, actually thinking about them and the longer term implications, and making rules to effect the potential outcomes.
Now the bigger follow up question is: is this a good thing? Perhaps there won’t be the community interruption we’ve seen in the US, but what do the overall effects look like decades hence? From a community perspective, from a competitive perspective?
December 27, 2018 at 12:26PM
Flickr, like all successful social software, is different things to different people. When something is done well, we internalize the communities that we interact with on it as part of the character of the place. Just two average guys, minding their own business, walking down the street in SF. The u...
Today, we’re announcing updates to our Free and Pro accounts that mark a new step forward for Flickr. To be candid, we’re driving toward the future of Flickr with one eye on the rearview mirror; we…
Nice to see that they’ve looked at the data to come up with what will hopefully be a reasonable dividing line.
Having a worthwhile community there would be the only thing to make me want to syndicate my photos to it, particularly with backfeed coming from Brid.gy. I haven’t gotten much, if any, interaction from Flickr in quite a long time.
I suspect that having a curated community there will actually dovetail with helping out the IndieWeb in the long run. What they’d like to have sounds a lot more like what micro.blog has become for me in the past year. It also sounds a lot more like how SoundCloud works to some extent.
The course is titled 'E-Learning 3.0' and could be subtitled 'Distributed Learning Technology'. This is a course about the next generation of learning technology. It's a broad and challenging domain that I've broken down into the following topics: data, cloud, graph, community, identity, resources, recognition, experience, agency.
I'm designing the course so that each week is one of these self-contained topics. This topic can then be approached from different directions, at different levels. The content is a starting point. I will provide a series of reflections. But I will be learning about each of these topics along with everyone else.
An online course I should take part in…
This is my reality. I am not an emotionally empathetic kind of person and that probably doesn't come as a big surprise to anybody. Least of all me. The fact that I then misread people and don't realize (for years) how badly I've judged a situation and contributed to an unprofessional environment is not good.
I deleted my account on the Mastodon instance social.coop yesterday. I still don't fully understand what went down, but here's some details from [...]
Just goes to show you that a social media silo doesn’t need to be a big platform run by a corporation.
Reminds me of Kevin Marks’ tweet the other day:
Pearl-clutching twitter users: but what if the hobbyist sysadmin gives up on my mastodon instance?
Me: have you met venture funded social sites? https://t.co/RK483sl1yX
— Kevin Marks (@kevinmarks) August 19, 2018
The rise of the massive corporate-run social networks—silos, where everything was stored inside and nothing left—changed distributed online social relationships. The silos replaced distributed with centralized; all of your social connections were now in one place, making it faster and “easier” to keep up with everyone. Easier in some ways, yes, but now everyone could see every aspect of you, even if you didn’t want them to. Worse, your constant software talk annoyed your bowling-league friends, and your one uncle could not stand the fact you supported the Democratic Party. All of that didn’t happen at once; it took time for these corporate social networks to consume all of your communities, to seize ownership of all of your connections and relationships, transforming something very human into mere pieces of computer data, eventually hollowing out your communities and your humanness in the process. But once it had happened, and once you realized those downsides (and others, such as abuse, Nazis, and anti-democratic propaganda), how could you escape? Was there even anywhere to escape to?
To a large extent, some of the questions and observations in this article are the things that drive me to have my own domain and have my own website. I and many others in the IndieWeb are still working on the infrastructure to support the web we’d like to have instead of the web we’re given. We’re still not there yet, and it may never be the utopia we’re hoping for, but we’ll never get there if we don’t try.
Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia
Just like in real life, where your bar trivia team doesn’t really overlap with your work softball team or your church bowling league, all of your online communities gathered in their own places, ones best suited to them, and you didn’t have to act as all facets of yourself simultaneously when trying to only interact with one. ❧
August 21, 2018 at 01:19PM
our brains have been trained to believe that we want, that we need, a single place where all of “our people” can gather, where it is “easy” to keep up with all of them: a massive network service, just without all the “bad stuff” of the existing ones. ❧
August 21, 2018 at 01:21PM
You find them in a place that you curate yourself, not one “curated” for you by a massive corporate social network intent on forcing you to be every part of yourself to everyone, all at once. You should control how, when, and where to interact with your people. ❧
August 21, 2018 at 01:23PM
web we lost ❧
August 21, 2018 at 01:24PM
we can’t just recreate the same thing we’re trying to escape, and we can’t expect the solution to be precisely as easy on us as the problem was. ❧
August 21, 2018 at 01:25PM
A reconsideration of the last great blogging platform.
As I noted in my last post, I recently read Miranda Joseph’s Against the Romance of Community as a means of thinking a bit more deeply about the ways that Generous Thinking deploys the notion of community.
Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia
Calls to work on behalf of the community or to the community’s values wind up not only, as I noted in my last post, ignoring community’s supplementary role with respect to capital but also essentializing a highly complex and intersectional set of social relations. ❧
This reminds me of some studies in psychology about why people vote and for whom they vote. It’s not always who they would vote for individually, but who would a group of people like them vote? This makes the “community” portion far more complex than it would appear.
I should track down the original references, but I think I remember reading about them via either George Lakoff or possibly Malcolm Gladwell.
Under late capital, the non-profit has been asked to take over the space of providing for community needs or supporting community interests that had formerly been occupied by the state as the entity responsible for the public welfare. ❧
I know the book American Amnesia talks about the value built up by a strong government working in conjunction with a capitalist machine over the past century or so. I wonder if the later half of the book gets into how to shift things back in this manner?
Thanks to a recommendation from Danica Savonick, I’ve been reading Miranda Joseph’s Against the Romance of Community. Danica pointed me toward it as a corrective for some of the ways my gestures toward community flirted with the romanticized notions Joseph seeks to question, and hard as it is for me (an optimist, for better or for worse) to open some of the ideals I hold to harder questioning, that questioning is proving fruitful.
Much of the internet feels terrible. But using the web to learn an offline hobby can give you a glimpse of a healthier relationship with your digital devices.
I see a lot of what I love about the IndieWeb community being discussed tangentially in this article. Interestingly, with respect to this article’s headline there’s a double-entendre with regard to who they are and what they actually happen to be doing as an online community.