👓 ‘The goal is to automate us’: welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism | John Naughton | The Guardian

Read 'The goal is to automate us': welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism by John NaughtonJohn Naughton (the Guardian)
Shoshana Zuboff’s new book is a chilling exposé of the business model that underpins the digital world. Observer tech columnist John Naughton explains the importance of Zuboff’s work and asks the author 10 key questions

If you can’t read Zuboff’s new book in full, this article/interview may convince you that you should anyway. It may be one of the most important things you read all year.

📑 ‘The goal is to automate us’: welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism | John Naughton | The Guardian

Annotated 'The goal is to automate us': welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism by John NaughtonJohn Naughton (the Guardian)

We saw the experimental development of this new “means of behavioural modification” in Facebook’s contagion experiments and the Google-incubated augmented reality game Pokémon Go.  

📑 ‘The goal is to automate us’: welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism | John Naughton | The Guardian

Annotated 'The goal is to automate us': welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism by John NaughtonJohn Naughton (the Guardian)

Larry Page grasped that human experience could be Google’s virgin wood, that it could be extracted at no extra cost online and at very low cost out in the real world. For today’s owners of surveillance capital the experiential realities of bodies, thoughts and feelings are as virgin and blameless as nature’s once-plentiful meadows, rivers, oceans and forests before they fell to the market dynamic. We have no formal control over these processes because we are not essential to the new market action. Instead we are exiles from our own behaviour, denied access to or control over knowledge derived from its dispossession by others for others. Knowledge, authority and power rest with surveillance capital, for which we are merely “human natural resources”. We are the native peoples now whose claims to self-determination have vanished from the maps of our own experience.  

👓 How to replace Facebook with “Nicebook” | Mike Elgan

Read How to replace Facebook with "Nicebook" by Mike Elgan (Mike Elgan)
Many people would like to leave Facebook, but fear that leaving Facebook means losing connection with family and friends. But that’s not true. You CAN leave Facebook and still stay in touch with your loved ones. I call my replacement a “Nicebook” because if give...

I know Mike has always been a major fan of Google+, so it’s nice to see that he’s finally got his own website now. It’s not surprising to see him suggest Google Photos as a potential replacement for something like Facebook, especially since a lot of his content is so visually done. For him I suspect that a lot of the functionality of Google+ is baked right into Google Photos.

It’s an interesting idea in general, but wouldn’t work for me because of a lot of pieces I would be missing as a complete solution. However, for small scale social sharing with family and friends with the ability to have some general private communication, it’s probably not a very bad idea.

🎧 Triangulation 380 The Age of Surveillance Capitalism | TWiT.TV

Listened to Triangulation 380 The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Leo Laporte from TWiT.tv

Shoshana Zuboff is the author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power. She talks with Leo Laporte about how social media is being used to influence people.

Links

Even for the people who are steeped in some of the ideas of surveillance capitalism, ad tech, and dark patterns, there’s a lot here to still be surprised about. If you’re on social media, this should be required listening/watching.

I can’t wait to get the copy of her book.

Folks in the IndieWeb movement have begun to fix portions of the problem, but Shoshana Zuboff indicates that there are several additional levels of humane understanding that will need to be bridged to make sure their efforts aren’t just in vain. We’ll likely need to do more than just own our own data, but we’ll need to go a step or two further as well.

The thing I was shocked to not hear in this interview (and which may not be in the book either) is something that I think has been generally left unmentioned with respect to Facebook and elections and election tampering (29:18). Zuboff and Laporte discuss Facebook’s experiments in influencing people to vote in several tests for which they published academic papers. Even with the rumors that Mark Zuckerberg was eyeing a potential presidential run in 2020 with his trip across America and meeting people of all walks of life, no one floated the general idea that as the CEO of Facebook, he might use what they learned in those social experiments to help get himself (or even someone else) elected by sending social signals to certain communities to prevent them from voting while sending other signals to other communities to encourage them to vote. The research indicates that in a very divided political climate that with the right sorts of voting data, it wouldn’t take a whole lot of work for Facebook to help effectuate a landslide victory for particular candidates or even entire political parties!! And of course because of the distributed nature of such an attack on democracy, Facebook’s black box algorithms, and the subtlety of the experiments, it would be incredibly hard to prove that such a thing was even done.

I like her broad concept (around 43:00) where she discusses the idea of how people tend to frame new situations using pre-existing experience and that this may not always be the most useful thing to do for what can be complex ideas that don’t or won’t necessarily play out the same way given the potential massive shifts in paradigms.

Also of great interest is the idea of instrumentarianism as opposed to the older ideas of totalitarianism. (43:49) Totalitarian leaders used to rule by fear and intimidation and now big data stores can potentially create these same types of dynamics, but without the need for the fear and intimidation by more subtly influencing particular groups of people. When combined with the ideas behind “swarming” phenomenon or Mark Granovetter’s ideas of threshold reactions in psychology, only a very small number of people may need to be influenced digitally to create drastic outcomes. I don’t recall the reference specifically, but I recall a paper about the mathematics with respect to creating ethnic neighborhoods that only about 17% of people needed to be racists and move out of a neighborhood to begin to create ethnic homogeneity and drastically less diversity within a community.

Also tangentially touched on here, but not discussed directly, I can’t help but think that all of this data with some useful complexity theory might actually go a long way toward better defining (and being able to actually control) Adam Smith’s economic “invisible hand.”

There’s just so much to consider here that it’s going to take several revisits to the ideas and some additional research to tease this all apart.

🎧 “The Daily”: The Business of Selling Your Location | New York Times

Listened to "The Daily": The Business of Selling Your Location by Michael Barbaro from New York Times

Smartphone apps track a staggering amount of data about our whereabouts every day. That data has become a hot commodity.

Just the national security implications for this alone should require regulations of these tech companies.

🔖 Google+ Exporter

Bookmarked Get Google+ Exporter desktop app (gplus-exporter.friendsplus.me)
Export your Google+ feeds to Wordpress, Blogger and JSON. Simply choose your OS.

I haven’t tried it yet, but this is one of the first Google+ exporters I’ve seen.

hat tip:

👓 Making it easier to discover datasets | Google Blog

Read Making it easier to discover datasets by Natasha Noy (Google)
In today's world, scientists in many disciplines and a growing number of journalists live and breathe data. There are many thousands of data repositories on the web, providing access to millions of datasets; and local and national governments around the world publish their data as well. To enable easy access to this data, we launched Dataset Search, so that scientists, data journalists, data geeks, or anyone else can find the data required for their work and their stories, or simply to satisfy their intellectual curiosity.

👓 IndieWeb Google Custom Search Engine | snarfed.org

Liked IndieWeb Google Custom Search Engine by Ryan BarrettRyan Barrett (snarfed.org)
TL;DR: it exists! Try it below, or here. A search engine for the whole IndieWeb has been a hot conversation topic, on and off, for many years now. Many of us offer search on our own individual sites, and more ambiti...

📅 RSVP for DevFest LA 2018

RSVPed Attending DevFest LA 2018

A tech conference carefully crafted for you by your GDG community! All about Android, Web, and Cloud from the world experts!

Join us for one day of talks, codelabs, and breakout sessions from the GDGLA team, Googlers, and major companies using Google Technologies.

We will be serving morning refreshments and lunch. More importantly we will be giving away over hundreds of dollars worth of prizes throughout the day! All attendees will have a chance to win Gift Cards, Google Home devices, Google Daydream Headsets, and much more.

Come learn about Android, Firebase, Machine Learning, Artificial Reality, Virtual Reality, and more

Sun, December 2, 2018 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM PST
at Cross Campus, 800 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90017

📺 The Future of SEO is on the SERP | Rand Fishkin | BrightonSEO 2018 | YouTube

Watched The Future of SEO is on the SERP | BrightonSEO 2018 by Rand Fishkin from YouTube

The good news is: the number of searches on Google keeps growing. The bad news is: decreasing clickthrough rates on organic results ( especially in mobile), fewer big companies dominating the world’s Google search results and more results answered entirely in Google’s SERPs.

As Google answers a higher and higher percent of queries in the results themselves and refers out less traffic to websites, we’re all gonna have to think about how we influence search audiences through what Google shows rather than just focusing on driving traffic to our own sites.

A big part of SEO’s future will be on the SERP rather than driving traffic to websites.

Rand Fishkin is the founder of SparkToro - https://sparktoro.com/-and was previously co-founder of Moz and Inbound.org. He’s dedicated his professional life to helping people do better marketing through the Whiteboard Friday video series, his blog, and his book, Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World.

About BrightonSEO
BrightonSEO – is a major search marketing event in the UK. One of our favourite events of the year, This is a superb conference for search marketing professionals, novice or expert. BrightonSEO - https://www.brightonseo.com/ - is a chance to learn from some of the best minds in search, and then rub shoulders with them at one of the friendliest, and largest, gatherings of Digital Marketers in Europe.

Some interesting perspective on the future of the internet from an SEO-related perspective.

While a lot of the net is going to mobile first and the rise of the assistants (Google Home and Amazon Alexa) are taking a lot of eyeballs, I’m curious if the move toward immediate answers is more for the “I don’t have time for more in-depth search because I just want a quick answer” versus buyers and people looking for more depth that are going to prefer desktop or sit-back experiences where they’ll spend some time browsing and/or reading. Are the numbers in this presentation specific to this phenomenon or indicative of something much worse as is predicted in the video?

#1. It’s never been harder to earn organic traffic from the web’s major players.  

#2. It’s never been more important to make your website (and email list)–rather than someone else’s property–the center of your campaigns.  

The second slide point is directly from the video with the “rather than someone else’s property” part quoted and inserted from the audio portion. I love that this is a direct incarnation of the IndieWeb philosophy for business use cases. Earlier this morning I actually heard a radio advertisement use the phrase, “or find us on our socials” with word socials being indicative of a generic term for ubiquitous social media platforms which would presumably include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Perhaps the fact that companies aren’t directly differentiating social silos in their advertising anymore means that some better social readers would portend a more IndieWeb-first approach? Eventually companies are going to find that maintaining dozens of presences on multiple sites isn’t as cost-effective as just maintaining their one site and perhaps the market drops back to a more distributed web approach?

👓 Google, the Social Silos and the Web Traffic Future | Brad Enslen

Read a post by Brad EnslenBrad Enslen (Brad Enslen)
The video below is of interest to SEO’s, webmaster’s trying to create their own informational websites, and the Indieweb.  The video, featuring Rand Fishkin, is 32 minutes long but packs a lot of current information.  I agree with Rand through the first 2/3rds of the video where he is making h...

Some interesting things to think about here with respect to the future of the web.

I’ve seen a lot of people freaking out about the Google+ data leak and even more so about it’s pending shut down. In response many are looking at where they’re planning on going next that will give them the functionality they’re looking for. Sadly, however, almost every one of them is contemplating moving to identical types of platforms which are either incredibly similar to or even worse than Google+ given the criterion by which they are considering. They’re simply looking for and prioritizing the wrong types of functionality.

Quit repeating the mistakes of the past, learn from them, and do something different this time around or I guarantee history will be repeating itself.

While there are a handful of reasonable options (and by this I DO NOT mean Mastodon, Diaspora, Pluspora, MeWe, Vero, Twitter, Facebook, or Solid, etc.) I’d recommend looking at some of the ideas and solutions within the IndieWeb movement. For the less technical minded I highly recommend taking a look at a self-hosted WordPress option or micro.blog.

I’m happy to help people out with making the jump when they’re ready or if they need help.