👓 The promise and peril of academia wading into Twitter | Johns Hopkins Magazine

Read The promise and peril of academia wading into Twitter by Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson (The Hub)
Increasingly, scholars are turning to Twitter for sharing research and engaging with the public

👓 Following Twitter peeps in an indiereader with granary.io and Microsub | Neil Mather

Read Following Twitter peeps in an indiereader with granary.io and Microsub by Neil MatherNeil Mather (doubleloop)
My online social experience is mostly through the indieweb. For following people and blogs, I use Aperture, a Microsub server, to subscribe to various social feeds. And then I read and interact with those feeds in various clients – e.g. Indigenous on Android, and Monocle on the web. Although I don...

I haven’t migrated over to a microsub-based reader yet, but this is an excellent description of some tools for freeing yourself from reading friends and family in Twitter.

Replied to a post by Daniel Goldsmith (View from ASCRAEUS)
Got to be honest, every time I see someone’s blog in their bio or profile, then click through only to find the most recent post was in 2016, or worse, I die a little inside.

I’m in much the same boat, but I die a lot. It’s depressing.

👓 Twitter reveals big changes to conversations and new camera features | NBC

Read Twitter reveals big changes to conversations and new camera features (NBC News)
The changes are meant to make good on the company's promise to promote "healthy conversation."

Their sample certainly doesn’t look any better here. I wonder how much of a change it will really represent?

I worry that the camera is just another means of weaponizing their users’ phones?

📑 How to decentralize social media—a brief sketch | Larry Sanger

Annotated How to decentralize social media—a brief sketch by Larry Sanger (larrysanger.org)
No one is forced on Twitter, naturally, but if you aren’t on Twitter, then your audience is (probably) smaller, while if you are on Twitter, they can steal your privacy, which I deeply resent. This is a big dilemma to me. Beyond that, I simply don’t think anybody should have as much power as the social media giants have over us today. I think it’s increasingly politically important to decentralize social media.  

This is an important point! And nothing puts a finer point on it than Shoshona Zuboff’s recent book on surveillance capitalism.

A hashtag functionality hiding with the ActivityPub for WordPress Plugin

I discovered yesterday that when I added a # (or hash, pound sign, octothorpe, et al.) in front of any word on my site, it created a native version of something akin to Twitter’s functionality, but it was working on my own website. The primary difference was that the hashed word on the page was, upon publishing the post, automatically wrapped with a URL for that tag on my own website, and it was also automatically added to the list of tags for the post. (As an illustrative example, I’m doing the same thing with the word hashtag earlier in this paragraph.)

I had previously considered adding this type of functionality myself to make syndicating posts (via POSSE) from my own website to sites like Twitter or Mastodon easier. There are a small handful of plugins in the WordPress repository that will add that type of functionality already, but I had eschewed them generally, not wanting yet-another-plugin.

I spent some time trying to track down the plugin that was effecting this change. I couldn’t remember having installed something that would have done this sort of functionality, and I had noticed it only by complete happenstance. I eventually gave up my search halfway through only to later get a message from Matthias Pfefferle that his ActivityPub plugin was the likely culprit. I probably should have guessed as I had literally spent part of that very day looking at the code in his IndieWeb News plugin on GitHub which had code that essentially did the exact same thing, but for a narrower set of results.

The upside of the entire process is that the functionality is now built into a plugin which I’d be using otherwise. As of today’s update, there’s now also a setting for the plugin that will allow one to turn the functionality on or off–I, for one, am definitely keeping it. Of course if you’re looking for the functionality without the extra overhead of the ActivityPub code, I believe you can use Matthias’ WordPress hashtags plugin which does only this.

I’ve never quite liked that Twitter uses @names highlighted within posts. All the additional cruft in Twitter like the “@” and “#” prefixes, while adding useful functionality, have always dramatically decreased the readability and enjoyment of their interface for me. So why not just get rid of them?!

Of course I also remember myself railing against the addition of the symbols @ and # in general text not too long ago, so I’m also now brainstorming and contemplating how one might more quickly (and even in a DRY manner) do this sort of tagging using some other (probably easily accessed, but infrequently used) symbol which could be hidden visually, but which would allow one to add these sorts of tags and the appropriate microformats markup. I suspect there may be some sort of clever CSS I may be able to use too, though it would be better not so that it works easily via syndication and in feed readers with different styling. The goal should be that it would work as plain text from a Micropub client too. With any good luck someone may have thought of it already, otherwise I may be able to hack something simple together to do roughly what I want. The upside would be that simply by writing your post, you could simultaneously be tagging it as well and not need to bother going in and separately adding additional tags!

👓 Kara Swisher interview with Jack Dorsey: Highlights | Recode

Read Kara Swisher interview with Jack Dorsey: Highlights by Kurt Wagner (Recode)
How hard is it to have a conversation on Twitter? So hard even the CEO can’t do it. Kara Swisher’s live-tweeted interview with Jack Dorsey highlighted some of Twitter’s product issues.
Replied to a tweet by StormlightTechStormlightTech (Twitter)
“Thinking that we might have been the ones to teach @microbitch2017 and @ShortShadyBlog how to do webmentions? Has it worked? Bridgy must be failing, because, no retweets showing up comments.”

I see a Bridgy account: https://brid.gy/twitter/StormlightTech but nothing for @microbitch2017 or @ShortShadyBlog so they can’t get webmentions from Bridgy because it doesn’t know about them. Clicking on the timestamp in Bridgy will give you some troubleshooting ideas.

👓 The inspiration for Twitter? AOL Instant Messenger | The Next Web

Read The inspiration for Twitter? AOL Instant Messenger by Joel Falconer (The Next Web)
Twitter started out life as an AIM hack that Jack Dorsey added to his pager, Wired reports. Dorsey had been quite involved in the world of instant messaging, and had launched a dispatch software startup in 1999. Dorsey became quite interested in his friends’ status messages and wanted to see them and set his own …

👓 The Lost Origin of Twitter | WIRED

Read The Lost Origin of Twitter (WIRED)
Before Twitter was public, it was just an AIM hack on Jack Dorsey’s pager. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey had a background in messenger culture. He had even launched a dispatch software startup called D-Net, back in 1999. He was also captivated by his friends status messages on AOL Instant Messenger. He wanted to combine the \[…\]

👓 twttr sketch | Flickr

Read twttr sketch by Jack Dorsey (Flickr)
On May 31st, 2000, I signed up with a new service called LiveJournal. I was user 4,136 which entitled me a permanent account and street cred in some alternate geeky universe which I have not yet visited. I was living in the Sunshine Biscuit Factory in Oakland California and starting a company to dispatch couriers, taxis, and emergency services from the web. One night in July of that year I had an idea to make a more "live" LiveJournal. Real-time, up-to-date, from the road. Akin to updating your AIM status from wherever you are, and sharing it. For the next 5 years, I thought about this concept and tried to silently introduce it into my various projects. It slipped into my dispatch work. It slipped into my networks of medical devices. It slipped into an idea for a frictionless service market. It was everywhere I looked: a wonderful abstraction which was easy to implement and understand. The 6th year; the idea has finally solidified (thanks to the massively creative environment my employer Odeo provides) and taken a novel form. We're calling it twttr (though this original rendering calls it stat.us; I love the word.ed domains, e.g. gu.st/). It's evolved a lot in the past few months. From an excited discussion and persuasion on the South Park playground to a recently approved application for a SMS shortcode. I'm happy this idea has taken root; I hope it thrives. Some things are worth the wait.

The more I seeread, and hear about the vagaries of social media; the constant failings and foibles of Facebook, the trolling dumpster fire that is Twitter, the ills of Instagram; the spread of dark patterns; and the unchecked rise of surveillance capitalism, and weapons of math destruction the more I think that the underlying ideas focusing on people and humanity within the IndieWeb movement are its core strength.

Perhaps we need to create a new renaissance of humanism for the 21st century? Maybe we call it digital humanism to create some intense focus, but the emphasis should be completely on the people side.

Naturally there’s a lot more that they–and we all–need to do to improve our lives. Let’s band together to create better people-centric, ethical solutions.