👓 Feed Reading By Social Distance | Ton Zijlstra

Read Feed Reading By Social Distance by Ton Zijlstra (zylstra.org)
At the Crafting {:} a Life unconference one of the things that came up in our conversations was how you take information in, while avoiding the endlessly scrolling timelines of FB and Twitter as well as FOMO. My description of how I read feeds ‘by social distance‘ was met with curiosity and ‘c...

Ton’s archives have some more material on this topic, but it’s definitely an interesting way to sort and filter one’s feeds.

👓 The cheater in the Oval Office should be banished from the tribe | LA Times

Read The cheater in the Oval Office should be banished from the tribe by Virginia Heffernan (LA Times)
Think Trump didn't know he was getting a shady assist at the ballot box. Read the Mueller report.
Replied to Deviance and Hallmark Christmas Movies by Tressie McMillan CottomTressie McMillan Cottom (tressiemc)
The title is click-bait. If you follow me on That Social Media site you know two things about me: I love Dolly Parton and I am mad for Hallmark Christmas movies. As the former goes without saying, …

I’ve got the same Hallmark  Channel Christmas movie affliction. I’ve created a list of common Hallmark Movie “things” that I often use as a drinking game, but as you highlight, I really ought to have it as a larger Bingo card. I’ll have to start working on it soon though as I expect this year’s “Countdown to Christmas” will start sometime just after Labor Day.

I do wish you had the time to write the Hallmark Christmas movie book–it would make a fascinating read. I’ll bite at the question about why the “dead parent” is your favorite, but I’d be more interested in your take on the premier of this past years’ Memories of Christmas which breaks some of the traditional molds. Like all the rest of their originals, I’m sure(?) they’ll rerun it in subsequent years.

It turns out I know two of the writers of the Memories of Christmas production. At least one of them mentioned a Hallmark Movie “playbook” though she didn’t indicate if it was one internally created by the network or if it was her own as I suspect that she’s got the same affliction some of us other “fans” do.

🔖 Why Is Digital Sociology? | Tressie McMillan Cottom

Bookmarked Why Is Digital Sociology? by Tressie McMillan CottomTressie McMillan Cottom (tressiemc)
Any attempt at knowledge production has to answer the basic question of what it is. But, before long, it must also address the question of why it is. As early as the 1990s sociologists were asking …

📖 Read Chapter 1: A Networked Public pages 3-27 of Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest by Zeynep Tufekci

📖 Read Chapter 1: A Networked Public pages 3-27 of Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest by Zeynep Tufekci

Book cover of Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest by Zeynep Tufekci

Chapter 1 was pretty solid. This almost seems to me like it would make a good book for an IndieWeb book club.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

A national public sphere with a uniform national language did not exist in Turkey at the time. Without mass media and a strong national education system, languages exist as dialects that differ in pronunciation, vocabulary, and even grammar, sometimes from town to town.  

What I’m understanding about the text is that it was hard for Turkish to interact with one another since there was no official language and how these girls for enforced to master this one language.—beatrizrocio

I suspect that it wasn’t the case that they had trouble communicating via speech, but that the formal language was more difficult for them. Typically most languages have a “high” (proper) form and a “low” (colloquial) form. Think of it more like the King’s Standard English versus the speech of an illiterate inner-city youth. They can both understand each other, but one could read and understand the New York Times, but the other would have significant trouble.

December 26, 2018 at 12:33PM

Political scientist Benedict Anderson called this phenomenon of unification “imagined communities.”  

December 26, 2018 at 12:35PM

Technologies alter our ability to preserve and circulate ideas and stories, the ways in which we connect and converse, the people with whom we can interact, the things that we can see, and the structures of power that oversee the means of contact.  

December 26, 2018 at 12:37PM

As technologies change, and as they alter the societal architectures of visi-bility, access, and community, they also affect the contours of the public sphere, which in turn affects social norms and political structures.  

December 26, 2018 at 12:40PM

For example, in a society that is solely oral or not very literate, older people (who have more knowledge since knowledge is acquired over time and is kept in one’s mind) have more power relative to young people who cannot simply acquire new learning by reading.  

To a large extent, this is also part of the reason we respect our elders so much today, although this is starting to weaken as older people are increasingly seen as “behind the times” or don’t understand new technologies…

December 26, 2018 at 12:45PM

In her lifetime, my grandmother journeyed from a world confined to her immediate physical community to one where she now carries out video conversations over the internet with her grandchildren on the other side of the world, cheaply enough that we do not think about their cost at all. She found her first train trip to Istanbul as a teenager—something her peers would have done rarely—to be a bewildering experience, but in her later years she flew around the world. Both the public sphere and our imagined communities operate differently now than they did even a few decades ago, let alone a century.  

It’s nice to consider the impact of the technologies around us and this paragraph does a solid job of showing just that in the span of a single generation’s lifetime.

December 26, 2018 at 12:47PM

movements, among other things, are attempts to intervene in the public sphere through collective, coordinated action. A social movement is both a type of (counter)public itself and a claim made to a public that a wrong should be righted or a change should be made.13 Regardless of whether movements are attempt-ing to change people’s minds, a set of policies, or even a government, they strive to reach and intervene in public life, which is centered on the public sphere of their time.  

a solid definition of what a movement is

December 26, 2018 at 12:49PM

Governments and powerful people also expend great efforts to control the public sphere in their own favor because doing so is a key method through which they rule and exercise power.  

December 26, 2018 at 12:49PM

homophily  

December 26, 2018 at 12:57PM

If you cannot find people, you cannot form a community with them  

December 26, 2018 at 01:05PM

The residents’ lack of success in drawing attention and widespread support to their struggle is a scenario that has been repeated the world over for decades in coun-tries led by dictators: rebellions are drowned out through silencing and censorship.  

December 26, 2018 at 04:47PM

In his influential book The Net Delusion and in earlier essays, Morozov argued that “slacktivism” was distracting people from productive activism, and that people who were clicking on political topics online were turning away from other forms of activism for the same cause.  

December 26, 2018 at 04:58PM

Another line of reasoning has been that internet is a minority of the pop-ulation. This is true; even as late as 2009, the internet was limited to a small minority of households in the Middle East.  

December 26, 2018 at 05:05PM

Only a segment of the population needs to be connected digitally to affect the entire environment. In Egypt in 2011, only 25 percent of the population of the country was on-line, with a smaller portion of those on Facebook, but these people still managed to change the wholesale public discussion, including conversa-tions among people who had never been on the site.  

There’s some definite connection to this to network theory of those like Stuart Kaufmann. You don’t need every node to be directly connected to create a robust network, particularly when there are other layers–here interpersonal connections, cellular, etc.

December 26, 2018 at 05:07PM

Two key constituencies for social movements are also early adopters: activists and journalists  

December 26, 2018 at 05:08PM

Ethan Zuckerman calls this the “cute cat theory” of activism and the public sphere. Platforms that have nonpolitical functions can become more politically powerful because it is harder to censor their large num-bers of users who are eager to connect with one another or to share their latest “cute cat” pictures.  

December 26, 2018 at 05:13PM

Social scientists call the person connecting these two otherwise separate clusters a “bridge tie.” Research shows that weak ties are more likely to be bridges between disparate groups.  

December 26, 2018 at 05:18PM

As Ali explained it to me, for him, January 25, 2011, was in many ways an ordinary January 25—officially a “police celebration day,” but traditionally a day of protest. Although he was young, he was a veteran activist. He and a small group of fellow activists gathered each year in Tahrir on January 25 to protest police brutality. January 25, 2011, was not their first January 25 pro-test, and many of them expected something of a repeat of their earlier protests—perhaps a bit larger this year.  

This mirrors the story of the rape that preceded the Rosa Parks protests in Alabama several years prior and helped set the stage for that being successful.
It’s often frequent that bigger protests are staged to take place on dates/times that have historical meaning.

December 26, 2018 at 05:31PM

His weak-tie networks had been politically activated  

This makes me wonder if she’s cited Mark Granovetter or any of similar sociologists yet?
Apparently she did in footnote 32 in chapter 1. Ha!

December 26, 2018 at 05:37PM

or example, it has been repeatedly found that in most emergencies, disasters, and protests, ordinary people are often helpful and altruistic.  

December 26, 2018 at 05:53PM

However, that desire to belong, reflecting what a person perceives to be the views of the majority, is also used by those in power to control large numbers of people, especially if it is paired with heavy punishments for the visible troublemakers who might set a diff erent example to follow. In fact, for many repressive governments, fostering a sense of loneliness among dissidents while making an example of them to scare off everyone else has long been a trusted method of ruling.  

December 26, 2018 at 05:56PM

Social scientists refer to the feeling of imagining oneself to be a lonely minority when in fact there are many people who agree with you, maybe even a majority, as “pluralistic ignorance.”39 Pluralistic ignorance is thinking that one is the only person bored at a class lecture and not knowing that the sentiment is shared, or that dissent and discontent are rare feelings in a country when in fact they are common but remain unspoken.  

December 26, 2018 at 05:57PM

Thanks to a Facebook page, perhaps for the first time in history, an in-ternet user could click yes on an electronic invitation to a revolution.  

December 26, 2018 at 06:00PM

Only a segment of the population needs to be connected digitally  

Don’t forget the power of the “sneakernet”!

December 26, 2018 at 06:59PM

🔖 The influence of collaboration networks on programming language acquisition by Sanjay Guruprasad | MIT

Bookmarked The influence of collaboration networks on programming language acquisition by Sanjay Guruprasad (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Many behaviors spread through social contact. However, different behaviors seem to require different degrees of social reinforcement to spread within a network. Some behaviors spread via simple contagion, where a single contact with an "activated node" is sufficient for transmission, while others require complex contagion, with reinforcement from multiple nodes to adopt the behavior. But why do some behaviors require more social reinforcement to spread than others? Here we hypothesize that learning more difficult behaviors requires more social reinforcement. We test this hypothesis by analyzing the programming language adoption of hundreds of thousands of programmers on the social coding platform Github. We show that adopting more difficult programming languages requires more reinforcement from the collaboration network. This research sheds light on the role of collaboration networks in programming language acquisition.

[Downloadable .pdf]

Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning, Program in Media Arts and Sciences, 2018.; Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.; Includes bibliographical references (pages 26-28).

Advisor: César Hidalgo.

URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/119085

I ran across this paper via the Human Current interview with Cesar Hidalgo. In general they studied GitHub as a learning community and the social support of people’s friends on the platform as they worked on learning new programming languages.

I think there might be some interesting takeaways for people looking at collective learning and online pedagogies as well as for communities like the IndieWeb which are trying to not only build new technologies, but help to get them into others’ hands by teaching and disseminating some generally tough technical knowledge. (In this respect, the referenced Human Current podcast episode may be a worthwhile overview.)

🎧 Episode 47: Dick Move (MEN, Part 1) | Scene on Radio

Listened to Episode 47: Dick Move (MEN, Part 1) by John Biewen and Celeste Headlee from Scene on Radio

Launching Scene on Radio Season 3 series—MEN—co-hosts John Biewen and Celeste Headlee look at the problems of male supremacy. And we visit Deep Time to explore the latest scholarship on how, when, and why men invented patriarchy.

Featuring Meg Conkey of UC-Berkeley, Mel Konner of Emory University, and Lisa Wade of Occidental College.

Music by Alex Weston, and by Evgueni and Sacha Galperine. Music and production help from Joe Augustine at Narrative Music.

🎧 Episode 44: White Affirmative Action (Seeing White, Part 13) | Scene on Radio

Listened to Episode 44: White Affirmative Action (Seeing White, Part 13) by John Biewen from Scene on Radio

When it comes to U.S. government programs and support earmarked for the benefit of particular racial groups, history is clear. White folks have received most of the goodies. By John Biewen, with Deena Hayes-Greene of the Racial Equity Institute and recurring series partner Chenjerai Kumanyika.

Affirmative action is really best framed as White affirmative action…

After listening to most of this series and really appreciating the work that has gone into it, I wish there were an online lecture series version of Deena Hayes-Greene’s work for the Racial Equity Institute. I’d love to hear a longer version of what they’ve done without needing to travel. Ideally it could be done as a paid series of lectures along the lines of what The Great Courses does (perhaps as history/sociology lectures?) or some other similar group that could produce it well with accompanying learning materials, but also done in a way to help underwrite and spread their work. I’d definitely pay for it.

👓 Ibn Khaldun | Wikipedia

Read Abū Zayd ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān ibn Muḥammad ibn Khaldūn al-Ḥaḍramī (Wikipedia)
Ibn Khaldūn (/ˈɪbən kælˈduːn/; Arabic: أبو زيد عبد الرحمن بن محمد بن خلدون الحضرمي‎, Abū Zayd ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān ibn Muḥammad ibn Khaldūn al-Ḥaḍramī; 27 May 1332 – 17 March 1406) was a Tunisian Arab historiographer and historian. He is widely considered as a forerunner of the modern disciplines of historiography, sociology, economics, and demography.

Concerning the discipline of sociology, he described the dichotomy of sedentary life versus nomadic life as well as the inevitable loss of power that occurs when warriors conquer a city. According to the Arab scholar Sati’ al-Husri, the Muqaddimah may be read as a sociological work. The work is based around Ibn Khaldun’s central concept of ‘aṣabiyyah, which has been translated as “social cohesion”, “group solidarity”, or “tribalism”. This social cohesion arises spontaneously in tribes and other small kinship groups; it can be intensified and enlarged by a religious ideology. Ibn Khaldun’s analysis looks at how this cohesion carries groups to power but contains within itself the seeds – psychological, sociological, economic, political – of the group’s downfall, to be replaced by a new group, dynasty or empire bound by a stronger (or at least younger and more vigorous) cohesion. Some of Ibn Khaldun’s views, particularly those concerning the Zanj people of sub-Saharan Africa,[27] have been cited as a racist,[28] though they were not uncommon for their time. According to the scholar Abdelmajid Hannoum, Ibn Khaldun’s description of the distinctions between Berbers and Arabs were misinterpreted by the translator William McGuckin de Slane, who wrongly inserted a “racial ideology that sets Arabs and Berbers apart and in opposition” into his translation of the Muqaddimah.  

November 09, 2018 at 11:09PM

He believed that the reason why non-Arabs were accepted as part of Arab society was due to their mastery of the Arabic language.  

November 09, 2018 at 11:21PM

🎧 Is Online Dating Destroying Romance? | Crazy/Genius | The Atlantic

Listened to Is Online Dating Destroying Romance? by Derek ThompsonDerek Thompson from Crazy/Genius | The Atlantic
Two sociologists debate the merits of online dating and discuss their research on the history of romance in America.

Interestingly no discussion of satisficing.

👓 Anomie | Wikipedia

Read Anomie (Wikipedia)

Anomie (/ˈænəˌmi/) is a "condition in which society provides little moral guidance to individuals". It is the breakdown of social bonds between an individual and the community, e.g., under unruly scenarios resulting in fragmentation of social identity and rejection of self-regulatory values.

The term is commonly understood to mean normlessness, and believed to have been popularized by French sociologist Émile Durkheim in his influential book Suicide (1897). However, Durkheim first introduces the concept of anomie in his 1893 work 'The Division of Labour In Society.' Durkheim never used the term normlessness; rather, he described anomie as "derangement", and "an insatiable will". Durkheim used the term "the malady of the infinite" because desire without limit can never be fulfilled; it only becomes more intense.

🔖 The Strength of Weak Ties | American Journal of Sociology: Vol 78, No 6

Bookmarked The Strength of Weak Ties by Mark S. Granovetter (American Journal of Sociology 78, no. 6 (May, 1973): 1360-1380. https://doi.org/10.1086/225469)
Analysis of social networks is suggested as a tool for linking micro and macro levels of sociological theory. The procedure is illustrated by elaboration of the macro implications of one aspect of small-scale interaction: the strength of dyadic ties. It is argued that the degree of overlap of two individuals' friendship networks varies directly with the strength of their tie to one another. The impact of this principle on diffusion of influence and information, mobility opportunity, and community organization is explored. Stress is laid on the cohesive power of weak ties. Most network models deal, implicitly, with strong ties, thus confining their applicability to small, well-defined groups. Emphasis on weak ties lends itself to discussion of relations between groups and to analysis of segments of social structure not easily defined in terms of primary groups.

h/t Disconnected, fragmented, or united? a trans-disciplinary review of network science by César A. Hidalgo (Applied Network Science | SpringerLink)

🔖 Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness | Mark Granovetter | American Journal of Sociology: Vol 91, No 3

Bookmarked Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness by Mark Granovetter (American Journal of Sociology)
How behavior and institutions are affected by social relations is one of the classic questions of social theory. This paper concerns the extent to which economic action is embedded in structures of social relations, in modern industrial society. Although the usual neoclasical accounts provide an "undersocialized" or atomized-actor explanation of such action, reformist economists who attempt to bring social structure back in do so in the "oversocialized" way criticized by Dennis Wrong. Under-and oversocialized accounts are paradoxically similar in their neglect of ongoing structures of social relations, and a sophisticated account of economic action must consider its embeddedness in such structures. The argument in illustrated by a critique of Oliver Williamson's "markets and hierarchies" research program.

h/t Disconnected, fragmented, or united? a trans-disciplinary review of network science by César A. Hidalgo (Applied Network Science | SpringerLink)