👓 Does Donald Trump write his own tweets? Sometimes | The Boston Globe

Read Does Donald Trump write his own tweets? Sometimes (The Boston Globe)
It’s not always Trump tapping out a tweet, even when it sounds like his voice.

I wonder how complicated/in-depth the applied information theory is behind the Twitter bot described here?

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👓 The platform patrons: How Facebook and Google became two of the biggest funders of journalism in the world | Columbia Journalism Review

Read The platform patrons: How Facebook and Google became two of the biggest funders of journalism in the world by Mathew Ingram (Columbia Journalism Review)

Taken together, Facebook and Google have now committed more than half a billion dollars to various journalistic programs and media partnerships over the past three years, not including the money spent internally on developing media-focused products like Facebook’s Instant Articles and Google’s competing AMP mobile project. The result: These mega-platforms are now two of the largest funders of journalism in the world.

The irony is hard to miss. The dismantling of the traditional advertising model—largely at the hands of the social networks, which have siphoned away the majority of industry ad revenue—has left many media companies and journalistic institutions in desperate need of a lifeline. Google and Facebook, meanwhile, are happy to oblige, flush with cash from their ongoing dominance of the digital ad market.

The result is a somewhat dysfunctional alliance. People in the media business (including some on the receiving end of the cash) see the tech donations as guilt money, something journalism deserves because Google and Facebook wrecked their business. The tech giants, meanwhile, are desperate for some good PR and maybe even a few friends in a journalistic community that—especially now—can seem openly antagonistic.

A stunning and relatively detailed overview of where we’ve been in the last several years on the journalism front with too many questions about where we may be going.

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👓 A New Facebook Feature Shows Which Pro-Trump Facebook Pages Are Run From Overseas | BuzzFeed

Read A New Facebook Feature Shows Which Pro-Trump Facebook Pages Are Run From Overseas by Jane Lytvynenko, Craig Silverman (BuzzFeed)
The feature is called "Page History" but now it's gone.
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👓 Klout, the Mashable of Social Influence Measurement, Gets Acquired; What I Think This Means for Social Business | Marshall Kirkpatrick

Read Klout, the Mashable of Social Influence Measurement, Gets Acquired; What I Think This Means for Social Business by Marshall Kirkpatrick (marshallk.com)
Disclosure: I am the CEO of Little Bird, which is a more effective, interesting and genuine social business technology than Klout. That said, I use Klout every day, they paved the way for our customers to start thinking about us and I wish them nothing but the best in their new hard-earned home. The...
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👓 Icro 1.0 | Manton Reece

Read Icro 1.0 by Manton Reece (manton.org)

For Micro.blog, I always want to encourage third-party apps. We support existing blogging apps like MarsEdit, and we have an API for more Micro.blog-focused apps to be built. I’m excited to say that a big one just shipped in the App Store: Icro.

Icro is well-designed, fast, and takes a different approach to some features compared to the official Micro.blog app. In a few ways, it’s better than the app I built. This is exactly what I hoped for. We wanted an official app so that there’s a default to get started, but there should be other great options for Micro.blog users to choose from.

I’m wondering if any of the pnut or ADN crowd have migrated over to micro.blog yet? I suspect that many of their apps (and especially mobile apps) could be re-purposed as micropub applications. I’m particularly interested in more Android related apps as a lot of the micro.blog crowd seems to be more directly focused on the Apple ecosystem.

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👓 The Internet is going the wrong way | Scripting News

Read The Internet is going the wrong way by Dave Winer (Scripting News)

Click a link in a web browser, it should open a web page, not try to open an app which you may not have installed. This is what Apple does with podcasts and now news.#

Facebook is taking the place of blogs, but doesn't permit linking, styles. Posts can't have titles or include podcasts. As a result these essential features are falling into disuse. We're returning to AOL. Linking, especially is essential.#

Google is forcing websites to change to support HTTPS. Sounds innocuous until you realize how many millions of historic domains won't make the switch. It's as if a library decided to burn all books written before 2000, say. The web has been used as an archival medium, it isn't up to a company to decide to change that, after the fact. #

Medium, a blogging site, is gradually closing itself off to the world. People used it for years as the place-of-record. I objected when I saw them do this, because it was easy to foresee Medium pivoting, and they will pivot again. The final pivot will be when they go off the air entirely, as commercial blogging systems eventually do.

A frequently raised warning, and one that’s possibly not taken seriously enough.

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🎧 30 and Counting, Episode 5: Leaving Facebook… and replying over email?

Listened to 30 and Counting, Episode 5: Leaving Facebook... and replying over email? by Eddie HinckleEddie Hinckle from 30andcounting.me
In this episode, I talk about my plans to leave Facebook and how I plan to in some ways replace it with a monthly newsletter. Then I brainstorm about how to receive replies and reactions from it.

Eddie shouldn’t have warned so heavily about the technical nature of this microcast. The general ideas are very clear, it’s their implementation which is likely more technical than some would appreciate.

This reminds me that I ought to get back to working on my own newsletter that I’d started to set up ages ago. It’s certainly an interesting way to target friends and family (who are unlikely to use RSS or readers) with updates outside of the traditional silos.

I’m also reminded that David Shanske is using Postmatic as an email newsletter service and it has functionality built in that allows recipients to reply to emailed updates via email which then posts the comments back to the comment section of the particular posts. Might be worth either checking this out or attempting to replicate this type of functionality? The way Postmatic is doing things is on a more post by post basis however, so it might take some additional work to get things to work properly in a newsletter with multiple stories/posts.

Another option is to add “web actions” into posts for replies. Or perhaps even adding other social context UI into newsletters similar to the way I’ve done in prior posts to allow people to respond via Twitter.

Certainly lots of options and ideas to explore.

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👓 Instagram import in Micro.blog | Manton Reece

Read Instagram import in Micro.blog by Manton Reece (manton.org)
Micro.blog for Mac version 1.3 is now available. It features a brand new import feature for uploading an archive of Instagram photos to your blog.

This is an awesome development. I do wish it wasn’t so MacOS-centric, but hopefully its one of many export/import tools that shows up to improve peoples’ ownership and portability of their data.

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Reply to The Indieweb privacy challenge (Webmentions, silo backfeeds, and the GDPR) by Sebastian Greger

Replied to The Indieweb privacy challenge (Webmentions, silo backfeeds, and the GDPR) by Sebastian GregerSebastian Greger (sebastiangreger.net)
Originally intended to showcase a privacy-centred implementation of emerging social web technologies – with the aim to present a solution not initially motivated by legal requirements, but as an example of privacy-aware interaction design – my “social backfeed” design process unveiled intricate challenges for Indieweb sites, both for privacy in general and legal compliance in particular.

Again Sebastian Greger has written up a well-thought-out and nuanced approach to design. Here he discusses privacy and GDPR with a wealth of research and direct personal experience in these areas. He’s definitely written something interesting which I hope sparks the beginning of a broader conversation and evaluation of our ethics.

There’s so much to think about and process here, that I’ll have to re-read and think more specifically about all the details. I hope to come back to this later to mark it up and annotate it further.

I’ve read relatively deeply about a variety of privacy issues as well as the weaponization of data and its improper use by governments and businesses to unduly influence people. For those who are unaware of this movement over the recent past, I would highly recommend Cathy O’Neil’s text Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, which provides an excellent overview with a variety of examples about how the misuse of data can be devastating not just to individuals who are broadly unaware of it, but entire segments of society.

There is a lot of publicly available data we reveal via social media and much of it one might flippantly consider “data exhaust” which has little, if any inherent value by itself. Unfortunately when used in aggregate, it can reveal striking things about us which we may either not be aware of ourselves or which  we wouldn’t want to be openly known.

My brief thought here is that much like the transition from the use of smaller arms and handguns, which can kill people in relatively small numbers, to weapons like machine guns on up to nuclear weapons, which have the ability to quickly murder hundreds to millions at a time, we will have to modify some of our social norms the way we’ve modified our “war” norms over the past century. We’ll need to modify our personal social contracts so that people can still interact with each other on a direct basis without fear of larger corporations, governments, or institutions aggregating our data, processing it, and then using it against us in ways which unduly benefit them and tremendously disadvantage us as individuals, groups, or even at the level of entire societies.

In my mind, we need to protect the social glue that holds society together and improves our lives while not allowing the mass destruction of the fabric of society by large groups based on their ability to aggregate, process, and use our own data against us.

Thank you Sebastian for kicking off a broader conversation!

Disclaimer: I’m aware that in posting this to my own site that it will trigger a tacit webmention which will ping Sebastian Greger’s website. I give him permission to display any and all data he chooses from the originating web page in perpetuity, or until such time as I send a webmention either modifying or deleting the content of the originating page. I say this all with some jest, while I am really relying on the past twenty years of general social norms built up on the internet and in general society as well as the current practices of the IndieWeb movement to govern what he does with this content.

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A pencast overview (with audio and recorded visual diagrams) of IndieWeb technologies

I’ve seen a bunch of new folks coming into the IndieWeb community recently who are a bit overwhelmed with the somewhat steep learning curve of both new jargon as well as new ideas and philosophies of what it means to have one’s own domain and presence on the internet.

While parts of the IndieWeb’s overall idea are quite simple, where the actual rubber meets the road things can be a bit overwhelming, and more so if you’re a non-technical person. This doesn’t have to be the case. Generally I’d recommend to people to begin attending local Homebrew Website Clubs or, even better, to attend an IndieWebCamp in person to get a one day crash course followed by a day of building and help. Sadly, life can intervene making these not as quick and immediate a reality as one might otherwise like.

So toward the end of making the crash course to explain in relatively broad terms some of the basic terminology as well as some of the bigger individual pieces and what’s happening when using an IndieWeb site with most of the major new functionality built in, I’ve made a short pencast of what is going on. Naturally there’s still a tremendous amount to learn and do, and a million things which could always be better or improved, but if you’re setting up a site using WordPress this overview will hopefully get you a lot further a lot faster. (It may also be useful for those setting up Known or even something for micro.blog, though those will have different plugins and other small quirks that aren’t covered here.)

What is a Pencast?

Pencast?! What is that? It’s a technology that has been around for a while courtesy of Livescribe.com digital pens which not only record an audio file of what is being said, but also record penstroke by penstroke what is being written. Even better the audio and the penstrokes are crosslinked, so you can more easily jump around within a lecture or talk.

To do this you should download the version of the notes in Livescribe’s custom Pencast .pdf format. This seems like a standard .pdf file but it’s a bit larger in size because it has an embedded audio file in it that is playable with the free Adobe Reader X (or above) installed. With this version of the notes, you should be able to toggle the settings in the file (see below) to read and listen to the notes almost as if you were sitting with me in person and I was drawing it out in front of you as I spoke. You can also use your mouse to jump around within the pencast by touching/mousing to particular areas or by jumping forward and back by means of the audio bar. If you need to, also feel free to zoom in on the page to have a closer look.

Pencast version

An IndieWeb Crash Course [14.9MB .pdf with embedded audio]

Viewing and Playing a Pencast PDF

Pencast PDF is a new format of notes and audio that can play in Adobe Reader X or above.

You can open a Pencast PDF as you would other PDF files in Adobe Reader X. The main difference is that a Pencast PDF can contain ink that has associated audio—called “active ink”. Click active ink to play its audio. This is just like playing a Pencast from Livescribe Online or in Livescribe Desktop. When you first view a notebook page, active ink appears in green type. When you click active ink, it turns gray and the audio starts playing. As audio playback continues, the gray ink turns green in synchronization with the audio. Non-active ink (ink without audio) is black and does not change appearance.

Audio Control Bar

Pencast PDFs have an audio control bar for playing, pausing, and stopping audio playback. The control bar also has jump controls, bookmarks (stars), and an audio timeline control.

Active Ink View Button

There is also an active ink view button. Click this button to toggle the “unwritten” color of active ink from gray to invisible. In the default (gray) setting, the gray words turn green as the audio plays. In the invisible setting, green words seem to write themselves on blank paper as the audio plays.

 
If you have comments or feedback, I’m thrilled to receive it. Feel free to comment below, or if you’ve already IndieWebified your site, write your comment there and send it to me via webmention, or add your permalink to the box below. Ideally this version of the pencast is a first draft and I’ll put something more polished together at a later date, but I wanted to get this out there to have a few people test-drive it to get some feedback.

Thanks!​​​​​​​​​

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👓 Twitter Pushing More News Links In The Home Timeline | BuzzFeed

Read Twitter Pushing More News Links In The Home Timeline by Alex Kantrowitz (BuzzFeed)
A Twitter spokesperson confirmed the new Twitter feature to BuzzFeed News. Twitter's aggressive move into news continues.
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👓 PopSugar Stole Influencers’ Instagrams — Along With Their Profits | Racked

Read PopSugar Stole Influencers’ Instagrams — Along With Their Profits (Racked)
The lifestyle website stripped bloggers’ affiliate links from their posts and added the site’s own.

h/t Kimberly Hirsch

See also notes at stream.boffosocko.com.

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👓 Real People Are Turning Their Accounts Into Bots On Instagram — And Cashing In | BuzzFeed

Read Real People Are Turning Their Accounts Into Bots On Instagram — And Cashing In by Alex Kantrowitz (BuzzFeed)
Verified accounts turning themselves into bots, millions of fake likes and comments, a dirty world of engagement trading inside Telegram groups. Welcome to the secret underbelly of Instagram.

Eventually there will be so much noise on these platforms that they will cease to have any meaning for the business purposes that people are intending to use them for.

Worse, they’re giving away their login credentials to outsiders to do this.

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Setting up WordPress for IndieWeb use

I spent some time this morning doing a dry run through setting up a suite of IndieWeb plugins on a fresh WordPress installation. Going off of a scant outline I talked for almost two hours describing IndieWeb functionality as I set it all up. Hopefully it will provide a useful guide to newcomers to the space until I can write up a more solid outline and take a more polished approach. Apologies in advance for the roughness of the audio, lack of quality, and even live mistakes. Hopefully folks won’t mind suffering through until we can come up with some better tutorials.

As prerequisites, I assume you’ve already got your own domain and have installed WordPress on a server or other host. I actually finish setting up the WordPress install as I start the video and then sign in for the first time as we begin.

While many of the core plugins are straightforward, there is a huge amount of leeway in how folks can choose (or not) to syndicate to sites like Twitter, Facebook, and others. Here I make the choice to use the Bridgy Publish plugin and only demonstrate it with Twitter. With one example shown, hopefully other silos can be set up with Brid.gy as well. The IndieWeb wiki details other options for those who want other methods.

At the end I walk through creating and syndicating a post to Twitter. Then I demonstrate commenting on that post using another CMS (WithKnown) from a separate domain.

I do my best to provide verbal descriptions and visual examples, but these can certainly be supplemented with further detail on the IndieWeb wiki. I hope to come back and add some diagrams at a later date, but this will have to suffice for now.​​​​​​​​​

For those who would like an audio only version of this talk, you can listen here (.mp3):

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🎧 Episode 3: Freedom from Facebook | Clevercast

Listened to Episode 3: Freedom from Facebook by Jonathan LaCourJonathan LaCour from cleverca.st

This time on clevercast, I discuss my departure from Facebook, including an overview of how I liberated my data from the social giant, and moved it to my own website.

Here are some of the tools that I mention in today’s episode:

Also check out my On This Day page and my Subscribe page, which includes my daily email syndication of my website activity.

There’s a lot going on here and a lot to unpack for such a short episode. This presents an outline at best of what I’m sure was 10 or more hours of work. One day soon, I hope, we’ll have some better automated tools for exporting data from Facebook and doing something actually useful with it.

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