👓 The Problem With Feedback | The Atlantic

Read The Problem With Feedback (The Atlantic)
Companies and apps constantly ask for ratings, but all that data may just be noise in the system.

A great framing of a lot of crazy digital exhaust that online services and apps are collecting that don’t do much. I’ve also thought for a while about the idea of signal to noise ratio of these types of data as well as their quantization levels which often don’t make much sense to me. I don’t think that there are any IndieWeb realizations of these sorts of (mostly business) systems in the wild yet, but this is an important area to begin to consider when they do.

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👓 Yelp craters as much as 32% as advertisers abandon the site | CNBC

Read Yelp craters as much as 32% as advertisers abandon the site by Sara Salinas (CNBC)
Friday's plunge sends Yelp to a 52-week low and makes for the stock's worst day of trading since going public in 2012.
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Reply to It’s time for a new branch of public media by Ben Werdmüller

Replied to It's time for a new branch of public media by Ben WerdmüllerBen Werdmüller (Ben Werdmüller)
President Lyndon B Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act in 1967, which established the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Previously, an independent public broadcaster had been established through grants by the Ford Foundation, but Ford began to withdraw its support. Here's what he said: "It...

I’ve been thinking very similarly along these lines for six months or more, but with a particular slant at journalistic enterprises. I’ve specifically been considering what would happen if small local newspapers and other journalistic outlets were running IndieWeb-esque platforms for their local communities. This would potentially help to moderate and encourage local conversations and consumption of local grown content and journalism and potentially improve the toxicity of general social media or massive issues like those that Facebook is facing with genocidal effects of their platform in Myanmar where they didn’t have any local presence or moderation much less people in-house who had language capabilities to even begin to deal with these issues. This type of mission could better empower entities to improve both local journalism by binding it to a different substrate as a financial model  and fix many of the issues we see with social media simultaneously.

This general idea also isn’t too dissimilar from Greg McVerry’s idea of having local libraries allow patrons to “check out” (aka set up) their own domains and social presences/identities using their library cards.

The difficulty I see is that as the world moves toward increased specialization, that looking for newspapers or even municipalities to oversee and maintain such infrastructure may be difficult. I already see issues with smaller outlets building and maintaining their own publishing platforms with simple out-of-the-box CMS solutions that are relatively easy-to-use and modify with simple plugins. (In a recent inventory of my local news sources, I’ll note here that nearly 100% of the local online news sources for my community are running on WordPress, but not all of them have a huge amount of technical knowledge about what and how they’re doing it in those spaces). The growth of content management systems like Ghost, which has a journalistic bent, also indicates that there isn’t a “perfect solution” to the CMS problem, much less the issues of running IndieWeb-like platforms/clusters based on simpler platforms like WordPress or even Known. There’s certainly a lot of space out there for third party companies to help grow and expand in both of these areas (community-based social platforms as well as journalism platforms and admixtures thereof.)

If local institutions or even governments did move in this direction, then their users are at the potential mercy of third-party businesses which may not necessarily be aligned with local values.  An example of something akin to this was covered recently in The Daily on their episode Taking Over Local News. I’m also reminded about of my poor experiences  with un-moderated third party platforms like Nextdoor.com can be.

Another microcosm to look at is how hundreds of thousands of public libraries are interfacing with the four or more media suppliers of e-books and what that financial model looks like as, if taken, I would suspect a similar trajectory for local social public media. Similarly looking at how municipalities interface with cable franchising can reveal some pitfalls to avoid moving forward with respect to monopolies and competition.

Certainly some additional thought about how to solve these issues at the smaller local and personal levels is welcome. Thanks for dipping into and expanding my surface area of thinking Ben.

👓 Meeting subscribers where they’re at | Ben Werdmüller

Read Meeting subscribers where they're at by Ben WerdmüllerBen Werdmüller (Ben Werdmüller)
Yesterday I upgraded my laptop to OSX Mojave. Among the improvements: a desktop version of the iOS news app, which is slick. I checked into it a few times yesterday, and I expect I will again today. Under the hood, it's a highly-curated feed reader. There's a proprietary API, but a lot of content is...
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👓 The way out | Manton Reece

Read The way out by Manton ReeceManton Reece (manton.org)
There have been many articles written in the last month about the role of social networks. Some even reach the obvious conclusion: that the top social networks are too big. This interview on Slate was fairly representative, covering monopolies and centralized power. But these articles always stop sh...
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👓 State of the Social Reader | Interdependent Thoughts

Read State of the Social Reader by Ton ZijlstraTon Zijlstra (zylstra.org)
Last weekend during the Berlin IndieWeb Camp, Aaron Parecki gave a brief overview of where he/we is/are concerning the ‘social reader’. This is of interest to me because since ever I have been reading RSS, I’m doing by hand what he described doing more automatically. These are some notes I mad...
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👓 (Mind you, since you can self-host Mastodon, you … | Aral’s Mastodon | Aral Balkan

Read a post by Aral BalkanAral Balkan (Aral’s Mastodon)
(Mind you, since you can self-host Mastodon, you should really verify links yourself instead of relying on a cosmetic feature as I could have just faked that via a bit of CSS.) ;)
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📑 Three things about Readers during IndieWebCamp Nürnberg | Seblog

Highlighted Three things about Readers during IndieWebCamp Nürnberg by Sebastiaan AndewegSebastiaan Andeweg (seblog.nl)
I have a problem with algorithms that sort my posts by parameters I don’t know about, made by people who want to sell my attention to others.  
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👓 Election Update | Facebook Newsroom

Read Election Update (Facebook Newsroom)
US law enforcement contacted us about online activity that they recently discovered and believe may be linked to foreign entities.

This seems like a lot of lip service to me. I can’t imagine they’re doing much more than scratching the surface of what they should be doing.

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📺 The Facebook Dilemma (Part 2) | Frontline | PBS

Watched The Facebook Dilemma (Part 2) from FRONTLINE | PBS

A major, two-night investigation of the powerful social media platform’s impact on privacy and democracy in the U.S. and around the world.

SEASON 37: EPISODE 4: The promise of Facebook was to create a more open and connected world. But from the company’s failure to protect millions of users’ data, to the proliferation of “fake news” and disinformation, mounting crises have raised the question: Is Facebook more harmful than helpful? On Monday, Oct. 29, and Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, FRONTLINE presents The Facebook Dilemma. This major, two-night event investigates a series of warnings to Facebook as the company grew from Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room to a global empire. With dozens of original interviews and rare footage, The Facebook Dilemma examines the powerful social media platform’s impact on privacy and democracy in the U.S. and around the world.

This documentary focuses on just one of the major failings of Facebook and its attendant effects on society. If you’re using Facebook, you should watch both parts before continuing to support them.

I’m not quite sure what to label this particular type of failure. Tragedy of the commons? It’s painfully obvious that Facebook not only has no real idea how to solve this problem, but it’s even more telling that they don’t seem to have any desire or drive to solve it either.  The more I watch what they’re doing to their product and their users, the more I think that they have absolutely no ethics or morality at all. In particular Mark Zuckerberg  is completely tone deaf in these areas, and as a result the entire fish stinks from the head.

The only solution may be massive regulation. The sadder part is that with both their financing and lobbying power, not to mention their social influence power which could be leveraged completely via dark posts, they could have a painfully out-sized influence on elections to get their own way.

I’m really worried that things will get far worse before they get better.

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👓 How do we replace Flickr? #Indieweb #Yesvember | Kevin Marks

Read How do we replace Flickr? #Indieweb #Yesvember by Kevin MarksKevin Marks (Kevin Marks's Known site)
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...
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📑 Reply to Ben Werdmüller | Interdependent Thoughts

Annotated Reply to Ben Werdmüller by Ton Zijlstra (Interdependent Thoughts)
They can spew hate amongst themselves for eternity, but without amplification it won’t thrive.  

This is a key point. Social media and the way it (and its black box algorithms) amplifies almost anything for the benefit of clicks towards advertising is one of its most toxic features. Too often the extreme voice draws the most attention instead of being moderated down by more civil and moderate society.

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👓 Gab and the decentralized web | Ben Werdmüller

Read Gab and the decentralized web by Ben WerdmüllerBen Werdmüller (Ben Werdmüller)
As a proponent of the decentralized web, I've been thinking a lot about the aftermath of the domestic terrorism that was committed in Pittsburgh at the Tree of Life synagogue over the weekend, and how it specifically relates to the right-wing social network Gab. In America, we're unfortunately used ...

I couldn’t have put it any better myself.

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👓 Why we’re changing Flickr free accounts | Flickr

Read Why we’re changing Flickr free accounts (Flickr Blog)
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.

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📺 The Facebook Dilemma (Part 1) | Frontline

Watched The Facebook Dilemma from FRONTLINE

A major, two-night investigation of the powerful social media platform’s impact on privacy and democracy in the U.S. and around the world.

The promise of Facebook was to create a more open and connected world. But from the company’s failure to protect millions of users’ data, to the proliferation of “fake news” and disinformation, mounting crises have raised the question: Is Facebook more harmful than helpful? On Monday, Oct. 29, and Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, FRONTLINE presents The Facebook Dilemma. This major, two-night event investigates a series of warnings to Facebook as the company grew from Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room to a global empire. With dozens of original interviews and rare footage, The Facebook Dilemma examines the powerful social media platform’s impact on privacy and democracy in the U.S. and around the world.

Some great journalism, but somehow I don’t think it’s as frightening as it should be.

It did spark some great debate within the house though.

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