Leanpub is the self-publishing platform I use for my book Space Apps for Android. It provides a toolchain and workflow for publishing works in-progress, something similar to releasing new versions of a software package. Publishing a new version of a book in-progress is a good opportunity for posting...
Hard-to-read screenshots of paywalled book industry websites dominate Literary Twitter.
I agree with Chris’ summation and wish there would have been some more positive “gee wiz” in the piece.
The likely missed subtext here though is that the author is a computer science professor so avowedly anti-social media that he doesn’t have accounts of his own, and he has actually written a book about digital minimalism. From this perspective, this generally positive review of the IndieWeb in The New Yorker reads as positively scintillating!
It also bears pointing out that Cal Newport, the author of the piece, has both his own domain name and his own website which he uses as his primary identity on the web. He also uses it as the cornerstone of all of his web communication, so he’s as solidly in the IndieWeb camp as one could want from the perspective of the most simplistic definition.
I would love to see a journalist (rather than an essayist) who follows social and Internet culture more closely and intelligently (Taylor Lorenz for example?) who wanted to cover something more positive within the interwebz than the scandal-of-the-day at Instagram, Facebook, add silo-of-your-choice-here to direct a more balanced eye on the topic of how the IndieWeb community is looking to reshape the web. I suppose the benefit and the curse of a decentralized, non-corporate web movement is that it’s got to be heavily reliant on slow, steady growth with only the best of earned media. In some sense it’s nice being the under-the-radar internet version of Coachella circa ’99-’06 rather than the 2019 Coachella where everyone only cares about Beyoncé.
We’re obviously on the right track. Thankfully companies like Micro.blog have got a good start on mainstreaming some of our ideas in an ethical way. Keep up the good fight gang!
I’m still waiting for the thousands of app developers who were burned by Twitter to discover the ideas of Micropub or Microsub and rebuild those clients with it. Or the hundreds of second tier social apps (great unitaskers like SoundCloud as an example) that either just aren’t getting as much traction with Facebook, et al. or are worried about being put out of business by them that could be more IndieWeb friendly and benefit greatly from it.
Given all the dogged work that the #IndieWeb community has done to advance the cause, it's gratifying to see them get some "ink" in the @NewYorker, but I'm left feeling like I'm reading about an idiosyncratic classic car show, rather than discovering something new and wonderful. https://t.co/yYlNSZ1ZNq— Chris Messina 🏴☠️ (@chrismessina) May 20, 2019
The C.E.O. of Twitter no longer seems capable of controlling the system he’s created.
It’s been a rough week to be a star, and a rough week to be someone who listens to what stars have to say. At least, that’s what social media tells me. Some of the most famous people making music today—Ariana Grande, Cardi B, and Justin Bieber (as well as Lizzo, a darling of critics and her fans but not quite of superstar status... yet?)—have shared their thoughts online regarding the state of media in 2019. None of it advocates for a free press, much less even contends with that notion. The gist is that journalism should be service journalism that primarily serves the powerful and their images.
A month ago in a tweet related to my post about bringing people back to the open web, I casually proposed a resource that would score tools, services and other websites on their commitment to being a part of the open web. I'm back to flesh that idea out a little more. Crude mockup of a score badge
This is an intriguing idea. Tangential to the badge space, it’s something that sites can do to provide an outward facing signal that they’re attempting to be open. This could potentially be used to help promote the idea, but also create some general competition. Parsers could potentially be created to measure these values as well.
We measure the things we value, right? We all certain value openness, why not measure and promote it?
The worst design of 2016 was also the most effective — Diana Budds, Fast Company
Why Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again hat, was a wildly successful design, despite being reviled by gatekeepers of good-taste design.
The “undesigned” hat represented this everyman sensibility, while Hillary [Clinton]’s high-design branding — which was disciplined, systematic, and well-executed — embodied the establishment narrative that Trump railed against and that Middle America felt had failed them. “The DIY nature of the hat embodies the wares of a ‘self-made man’ and intentionally distances itself from well-established and unassailable high-design brand systems of Hillary and Obama,” Young says. “Tasteful design becomes suspect… The trucker cap is as American as apple pie and baseball.”
This reminds me of the story that the most “tasteful” office spaces are less productive. When given a clean-looking office cubicle, people fill it with garden gnomes.
I don’t agree with the article’s premise that this challenges the idea of design thinking. Surely it means that Hillary Clinton’s designers simply didn’t do a good enough job at it (because nice typefaces ≠ design thinking).
But this does provide a challenge to the received wisdom of what good design is, and whether tasteful design is desirable.
The term Stakhanovite originated in the Soviet Union and referred to workers who modelled themselves after Alexey Stakhanov. These workers took pride in their ability to produce more than was required, by working harder and more efficiently, thus strengthening the Communist state. The Stakhanovite Movement was encouraged due to the idea of socialist emulation. It began in the coal industry but later spread to many other industries in the Soviet Union. The movement eventually encountered resistance as the increased productivity led to increased demands on workers.
Alexsei Grigoryevich Stakhanov (Russian: Алексе́й Григо́рьевич Стаха́нов; 3 January 1906 – 5 November 1977) was a Russian Soviet miner, Hero of Socialist Labor (1970), and a member of the CPSU (1936). He became a celebrity in 1935 as part of what became known as the Stakhanovite movement – a campaign intended to increase worker productivity and to demonstrate the superiority of the socialist economic system.
I’m trying to remember when it was last this crazy at work. Before we spent a month fighting poor planning and terrible execution on the publication of our new book It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work. Was it when we got DDoS’ed over two days and were fighting to keep Basecamp on the internet? Was it when we touched the third rail and spoke about customer data in public? Or do we have to go all the way back to the early days when Basecamp went down whenever I, as the only technical person at the time, would get on an airplane?
A bizarre story of publishing what might have otherwise been a bestseller.
Update to post, added 11th September. As expected, there is another side to the story discussed below. See this statement about the decision by the Mathematical Intelligencer and this one about the…
I agree in large part with his assessment, and do so in part based on Ted Hill’s Quillette article and not having read the actual paper yet.
I will say that far more people have now either heard about or read Hill’s paper than would have ever otherwise been aware of it had it actually gone ahead and actually been published and kept up. This is definitely an academic case of the Barbara Streisand effect, though done somewhat in reverse.
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
A woman gets on a plane. She’s flying from New York to Dallas, where she lives and works as a personal trainer. A couple asks her if she’ll switch seats with one of them so that they can sit together, and she agrees, thinking it’s her good deed for the day. She chats with her new seatmate and ...
This story brings up some interesting questions about private/public as well as control on the internet. Social media is certainly breaking some of our prior social norms.
Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia
To summarize his argument, the media industry wants to broaden our definition of the public so that it will be fair game for discussion and content creation, meaning they can create more articles and videos, meaning they can sell more ads. The tech industry wants everything to be public because coding for privacy is difficult, and because our data, if public, is something they can sell. Our policy makers have failed to define what’s public in this digital age because, well, they don’t understand it and wouldn’t know where to begin. And also, because lobbyists don’t want them to. ❧
We actively create our public selves, every day, one social media post at a time. ❧
Even when the attention is positive, it is overwhelming and frightening. Your mind reels at the possibility of what they could find: your address, if your voting records are logged online; your cellphone number, if you accidentally included it on a form somewhere; your unflattering selfies at the beginning of your Facebook photo archive. There are hundreds of Facebook friend requests, press requests from journalists in your Instagram inbox, even people contacting your employer when they can’t reach you directly. This story you didn’t choose becomes the main story of your life. It replaces who you really are as the narrative someone else has written is tattooed onto your skin. ❧
What Blair did and continues to do as she stokes the flames of this story despite knowing this woman wants no part of it goes beyond intrusive. It is selfish, disrespectful harassment. ❧
Previously this was under the purview of journalists who typically had some ethics as well as editors to prevent this from happening. Now the average citizen has been given these same tools that journalists always had and they just haven’t been trained in their use.
How can we create some feedback mechanism to improve the situation? Should these same things be used against the perpetrators to show them how bad things could be? ❧
A friend of mine asked if I’d thought through the contradiction of criticizing Blair publicly like this, when she’s another not-quite public figure too. ❧
Did this really happen? Or is the author inventing it to diffuse potential criticism as she’s writing about the same story herself and only helping to propagate it?
There’s definitely a need to write about this issue, so kudos for that. Ella also deftly leaves out the name of the mystery woman, I’m sure on purpose. But she does include enough breadcrumbs to make the rest of the story discover-able so that one could jump from here to participate in the piling on. I do appreciate that it doesn’t appear that she’s given Blair any links in the process, which for a story like this is some subtle internet shade.
But Blair is not just posting about her own life; she has taken non-consenting parties along for the ride. ❧
the woman on the plane has deleted her own Instagram account after receiving violent abuse from the army Blair created. ❧
Feature request: the ability to make one’s social media account “disappear” temporarily while a public “attack” like this is happening.
We need a great name for this. Publicity ghosting? Fame cloaking?
IndieWeb has forged keys to a better, more democratic web for everyone. They need to get organized before they can start really effecting change.
I love the enthusiasm and excitement here and still share it to a great extent myself. At the same time, however some of the tools are still growing and aren’t quite ready for prime time, particularly for the masses who don’t have the technical expertise yet. As a result, slow continued growth may still be the best course.
On the other hand, I think the area is incredibly ripe for businesses to come in and offer “IndieWeb as a service”. A few more things like micro.blog will certainly help to tip the balance.
Much like the featured photo on the post, while there’s some gorgeous blue sky, there’s still a few clouds, and some of the waters may be difficult to navigate for some without the correct boats. But at the end of the day, this is exactly the kind of paradise world many of us have wanted to live in for a long time!