Three weeks ago, I decided to go dark on social media. No convoluted account deletion process; no backups. I just logged out everywhere, and deleted all my apps. It's one of the best things I've ever done. I thought I'd check in with a quick breakdown: what worked, and what didn't. Here we go. Wh...
For a host of reasons, I've decided to go dark on social media for the remainder of 2018. If my experiment is successful beyond that time, I'll just keep it going. Originally, I'd intended to do this just for the month of December, but as I sat around the Thanksgiving dinner table yesteryday, surrou...
I’ve been saying for awhile now in discussions of the commons, OER, and higher education that a “commons doesn’t scale, it scopes”. Before I explain why I think a commons doesn’t scale very well, I probably need to briefly clarify what’s meant by scale and scope. Like many terms in economics, they’re both commonly used terms in both business and everyday life, but in economics they may carry a subtly different, more precise, or richer meaning. Both terms refer to the production of an increasing volume of output of some kind. Enthusiasts of particular good(s), be they an entrepreneur producing the a product they hope will make them rich or an open educator advocating for more open licensed textbooks because it will improve education, generally want to see their ideas scale. And by scale, they generally mean “be produced in larger and larger volumes”. Larger volume of output, of course, brings a larger volume of benefits to more users. More output –> more users –> more benefits. But it’s the behavior of costs that really intrigues us when we think of “scaling” as a way to increase output. More benefits is nice, but if more benefits also means an equal increase in costs, then it’s not so attractive.
I can see a relation to the economies of scope that Jim Luke is talking about here in relation to the IndieWeb principle of plurality. For a long time the IndieWeb community has put economies of scope first and foremost over that of scale. Scale may not necessarily solve some of the problems we’re all looking at. In fact, scale may be directly responsible for many of the problems that social has caused in our lives and society.
I’m also reminded of a post I annotated the other day:
Crowther offered everyone who shared at least a certain volume of data with his forest initiative the chance to be a co-author of a study that he and a colleague led. Published in Science in 2016, the paper used more than 770,000 data points from 44 countries to determine that forests with more tree species are more productive.
I suspect a similar hypothesis holds for shared specs, code, and the broader idea of plurality within the IndieWeb. More interoperable systems makes the IndieWeb more productive.
I also can’t help but think about a reply to a tweet by Chris Messina in relation to the IndieWeb related article in this week’s The New Yorker:
I’ve been tinkering with this again lately. Basically none of it is productized and much of the code is stale and/or only works for single user setups.
So yeah – classic car at best. What does a Model T assembly line look like for IndieWeb?
— Boris Mann (@bmann) May 20, 2019
Boris is asking a problematic question not remembering early issues with the Model T, which Jim Luke reminds us of in his article:
Remember Henry Ford’s famous quote about “the customer can get [the Model T] in any color they want as long as it’s black”?
We’ve already got the Model Ts of social media–it’s called Facebook. It’s Twitter. It’s Instagram. And they’re all standardized–black– but they all require their own custom (toxic and limited) roads to be able to drive them! I can’t drive my Model Twitter in Facebookville. My Instagramobile has long since broken down in Twittertown. Wouldn’t you rather “See The U.S.A. In Your [IndieWeb] Chevrolet“?!
The answer to Boris is that the IndieWeb has been working on the scope problem first knowing that once the interoperable kinks between systems can be worked out to a reasonable level that scale will be the easy part of the problem. Obviously micro.blog has been able to productize IndieWeb principles (with several thousands of users) and still work relatively flawlessly with a huge number of other platforms. There have been tremendous strides towards shoehorning IndieWeb principles into major CMSes like WordPress (~500+ active users currently) and Drupal (~50+ active users) not to mention several dozens of others including Known, Perch, Craft CMS, Hugo, Kirby, etc., etc.
I haven’t heard aggregate numbers recently, but I would guess that the current active IndieWeb user base is somewhere north of 10,000 people and individual websites. Once the UI/UX issues have all been ironed out even a single platform like WordPress, which could easily add the individual pieces into its core product in just a few hours, would create a sea-change overnight by making more than 30% of the web which runs on it IndieWeb friendly or IndieWeb compatible.
Yes, friends, scale is the easy part. Plurality and scope are the the far more difficult problems. Just ask Zuck or Jack. Or their
See David Dalka's post "Dear Facebook, Please Return Our Social Networking Space". Tweet
This is an awesome cartoon.
I’m reminded a bit of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s concept of the Thanksgiving Turkey in The Black Swan.
As you may know I deactivated my half-million follower/bot twitter account last August. I don’t miss it at all except as a newsfeed. Twitter practically killed RSS readers by providing a firehose of instantaneously “curated” news. With all its flaws, that firehose is useful for a variety of re...
Perhaps he’s unaware of it, but this sounds a lot like the design decisions that micro.blog has made in it’s platform which is very similar to DoOO, but for the broader public.
The world is working exactly as designed. The combustion engine which is destroying our planet’s atmosphere and rapidly making it inhospitable is working exactly as we designed it. Guns, which lead to so much death, work exactly as they’re designed to work. And every time we “improve” their design, they get better at killing. Facebook’s privacy settings, which have outed gay teens to their conservative parents, are working exactly as designed. Their “real names” initiative, which makes it easier for stalkers to re-find their victims, is working exactly as designed. Twitter’s toxicity and lack of civil discourse is working exactly as it’s designed to work.The world is working exactly as designed. And it’s not working very well. Which means we need to do a better job of designing it. Design is a craft with an amazing amount of power. The power to choose. The power to influence. As designers, we need to see ourselves as gatekeepers of what we are bringing into the world, and what we choose not to bring into the world. Design is a craft with responsibility. The responsibility to help create a better world for all. Design is also a craft with a lot of blood on its hands. Every cigarette ad is on us. Every gun is on us. Every ballot that a voter cannot understand is on us. Every time social network’s interface allows a stalker to find their victim, that’s on us. The monsters we unleash into the world will carry your name. This book will make you see that design is a political act. What we choose to design is a political act. Who we choose to work for is a political act. Who we choose to work with is a political act. And, most importantly, the people we’ve excluded from these decisions is the biggest (and stupidest) political act we’ve made as a society.If you’re a designer, this book might make you angry. It should make you angry. But it will also give you the tools you need to make better decisions. You will learn how to evaluate the potential benefits and harm of what you’re working on. You’ll learn how to present your concerns. You’ll learn the importance of building and working with diverse teams who can approach problems from multiple points-of-view. You’ll learn how to make a case using data and good storytelling. You’ll learn to say NO in a way that’ll make people listen. But mostly, this book will fill you with the confidence to do the job the way you always wanted to be able to do it. This book will help you understand your responsibilities.
Has anyone read Mike Monteiro’s new book “Ruined by Design”? Sounds very IndieWeb in flavor… (or at least anti-silo/anti-corporate)
I just noticed he’s touring with his book and will be in my backyard later this month: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mike-monteiro-lets-destroy-silicon-valley-tickets-60958127400
I love the line for it: “This isn’t a talk, this is a union meeting.”
Got a .azw version of the book for my Kindle.
The C.E.O. of Twitter no longer seems capable of controlling the system he’s created.
In my session I will be exploring several ways to create a cohesive branding strategy, by delving into posting schedules, content strategies, relevant social media (what you actually need), and more. By the end we will all have (hopefully) learned something about what the current web users consider important, and what actually attracts your targeted audience.
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.
Will you look at this?! Twitter has recreated the WordPress Gutenberg editor interface into their web product. Currently it only has a few blocks for text, photos, gifs, video, embeds, and polls, but it’s not completely horrible and it’s relatively fast and convenient.
The Gutenberg editor in WordPress:
In fact it appears that they’ve pared the editor down substantially. A few more tweaks and it might be as clean as the Medium editor experience.
Want to add a video, just drop a youtube link:
Want to embed a blog post from somewhere else? Add the link in your tweet and get a spiffy Twitter Card (just like oEmbed!)
I can see people getting awfully tired of clicking that “plus” button interminably though. Maybe if the interface could algorithmically choose where to break text the same way it determines what tweets I’m going to see?
Now they just need an edit button and they’ve got a “real” blogging experience, but one that’s editable in tiny 280 character chunks. Who has the attention span for more content than this anyway?
I can already tell that newspapers and magazines are going to love this. Just imagine the ease of doing shareable pull quotes this way?!
I can see journalistic institutions rebuilding their entire platforms on Twitter already!
Old CMS -> Tumblr -> Medium -> Twitter!
What is your favorite editing experience?
- The Tweetstorm-o-matic
- WordPress’ Gutenberg
- WordPress Classic Editor
Uh oh! I’m noticing that they’ve neglected to put a block in for a title area. Maybe we could just do a really short tweet up at the top of the thread instead? If only we could drag and drop tweets to reorder them? At least you can add new tweets into the middle of the stream.
Besides, who’s going to read anything but the headline tweet anyway. No one is ever going to read this far into a tweetstorm. Maybe a blog post where they at least know what they’re getting into, but never a 20+ card tweetstorm.
And would you look at that? They almost jumped ahead of Medium on inline annotations by allowing people to reply to very specific pieces of the text. I’m kind of disappointed that they don’t have the pretty green highlighter colors though.
Now if only I could register a custom domain on their service and have control over the CSS, Twitter could be a first class open web CMS.
*Sigh* I suppose until then I’ll just stick with my humble little website that allows me to own and control my own data on my own domain name and communicate with others using simple web standards.
Instagram has rewired my brain.
It is the first thing I do when I wake up, it is the last thing I do when I go to sleep. I don’t actually enjoy it: my eyes hurt from the glowing screen, my hands cramp from holding my phone up constantly, and my psychological state has declined dramatically.
Moments are no longer experienced. Moments are viewed, captured, posted, promoted, shared, storied. There is a constant sense of anxiety and urgency, resulting in rewards of likes and comments or blows to the ego when a post bombs. Any sense of prediction has been diminished: connection with the audience is no longer determined by a personal preference but by an automated expectation of what you may potentially want to see. It creates fears of scarcity, of comparison, and it is all an illusion.
Make your tweets ephemeral and your Facebook impenetrable.
A family buys a house they can’t afford. They can’t make their monthly mortgage payments, so they borrow money from the Mob. Now they’re in debt to the bank and the Mob, live in fear of losing their home, and must do whatever their creditors tell them to do. Article Continues Below Share this:...