Replied to In the year of our blog 2019 by Clint LalondeClint Lalonde (EdTech Factotum)
Thought I would join in the year end fun with Tannis, Martin, Tony and others and put together a year end review kinda blog post. Funny. I’ve been blogging about edtech since 2007, and I don&…

Most of the convo, if any, seems to happen on the socials vs comments left on the blog these days.

The sad part of this is how painfully limiting the conversation can be on social with the character limitations and too many issues with branching conversations and following all the context.
–Annotated December 19, 2019 at 12:51PM

By the numbers

I’m curious what things would look like if you similarly did an analysis of Twitter, Facebook, etc.? Where are you putting more time? What’s giving you the most benefit? Where are you getting value and how are you giving it back?
–Annotated December 19, 2019 at 01:01PM

I still find blogging one of the most professionally satisfying things I do. It is a powerful thing to feel like you have a voice.

–Highlighted December 19, 2019 at 01:03PM

2020 will also bring a more concerted effort on my part to both amplify the women in my network who blog, and both comment and refer back to their blogs. To use what they write as a starting off point for my own posts more.

–Highlighted December 19, 2019 at 01:03PM

And I am planning on cutting back on my personal use of social media (easier said than done) and want to try to return to using my blog more than Twitter for sharing.

certainly a laudable goal!

It helped me a lot to simply delete most of the social media apps off of my phone. I scribbled a bit about the beginning of the process back in November and there’s a link there to a post by Ben doing the same thing on his own website.

More people are leaving social feeds for RSS feeds lately. I’ve recently started following Jeremy Felt who is taking this same sort of journey himself. See: https://jeremyfelt.com/tag/people-still-blog/

Kudos as well to making the jump here:

In part, it’s what prompted me to visit your site to write a comment. (Sorry for upping your cis-gendered white male count, but 2019 was a bad year, and hopefully we can all make 2020 better as you’ve indicated.)
–Annotated December 19, 2019 at 01:03PM

Listened to Scripting News: Tuesday, December 3, 2019 by Dave Winer from Scripting News

An open podcast to Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter. It's way too long and rambles too much, but the idea is imho worth 16 minutes.

The primary take away here seems to be that Twitter needs to keep evolving for it to survive.

Originally bookmarked on December 11, 2019 at 10:35AM

Read Protocols, Not Platforms: A Technological Approach to Free Speech by Mike Masnick (knightcolumbia.org)
Altering the internet's economic and digital infrastructure to promote free speech

Meanwhile, politicians from the two major political parties have been hammering these companies, albeit for completely different reasons. Some have been complaining about how these platforms have potentially allowed for foreign interference in our elections.3 3. A Conversation with Mark Warner: Russia, Facebook and the Trump Campaign, Radio IQ|WVTF Music (Apr. 6, 2018), https://www.wvtf.org/post/conversation-mark-warner-russia-facebook-and-trump-campaign#stream/0 (statement of Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.): “I first called out Facebook and some of the social media platforms in December of 2016. For the first six months, the companies just kind of blew off these allegations, but these proved to be true; that Russia used their social media platforms with fake accounts to spread false information, they paid for political advertising on their platforms. Facebook says those tactics are no longer allowed—that they’ve kicked this firm off their site, but I think they’ve got a lot of explaining to do.”). Others have complained about how they’ve been used to spread disinformation and propaganda.4 4. Nicholas Confessore & Matthew Rosenberg, Facebook Fallout Ruptures Democrats’ Longtime Alliance with Silicon Valley, N.Y. Times (Nov. 17, 2018), https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/17/technology/facebook-democrats-congress.html (referencing statement by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.): “Mr. Tester, the departing chief of the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm, looked at social media companies like Facebook and saw propaganda platforms that could cost his party the 2018 elections, according to two congressional aides. If Russian agents mounted a disinformation campaign like the one that had just helped elect Mr. Trump, he told Mr. Schumer, ‘we will lose every seat.’”). Some have charged that the platforms are just too powerful.5 5. Julia Carrie Wong, Up Big Tech: Elizabeth Warren Says Facebook Just Proved Her Point, The Guardian (Mar. 11, 2019), https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/mar/11/elizabeth-warren-facebook-ads-break-up-big-tech (statement of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)) (“Curious why I think FB has too much power? Let’s start with their ability to shut down a debate over whether FB has too much power. Thanks for restoring my posts. But I want a social media marketplace that isn’t dominated by a single censor. .”). Others have called attention to inappropriate account and content takedowns,6 6. Jessica Guynn, Ted Cruz Threatens to Regulate Facebook, Google and Twitter Over Charges of Anti-Conservative Bias, USA Today (Apr. 10, 2019), https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/04/10/ted-cruz-threatens-regulate-facebook-twitter-over-alleged-bias/3423095002/ (statement of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.)) (“What makes the threat of political censorship so problematic is the lack of transparency, the invisibility, the ability for a handful of giant tech companies to decide if a particular speaker is disfavored.”). while some have argued that the attempts to moderate discriminate against certain political viewpoints.

Most of these problems can all fall under the subheading of the problems that result when social media platforms algorithmically push or accelerate content on their platforms. An individual with an extreme view can publish a piece of vile or disruptive content and because it’s inflammatory the silos promote it which provides even more eyeballs and the acceleration becomes a positive feedback loop. As a result the social silo benefits from engagement for advertising purposes, but the community and the commons are irreparably harmed.

If this one piece were removed, then the commons would be much healthier, fringe ideas and abuse that are abhorrent to most would be removed, and the broader democratic views of the “masses” (good or bad) would prevail. Without the algorithmic push of fringe ideas, that sort of content would be marginalized in the same way we want our inane content like this morning’s coffee or today’s lunch marginalized.

To analogize it, we’ve provided social media machine guns to the most vile and fringe members of our society and the social platforms are helping them drag the rest of us down.

If all ideas and content were provided the same linear, non-promotion we would all be much better off, and we wouldn’t have the need for as much human curation.

Annotated on December 11, 2019 at 11:13AM

That approach: build protocols, not platforms.

I can now see why @jack made his Twitter announcement this morning. If he opens up and can use that openness to suck up more data, then Twitter’s game could potentially be doing big data and higher end algorithmic work on even much larger sets of data to drive eyeballs.

I’ll have to think on how one would “capture” a market this way, but Twitter could be reasonably poised to pivot in this direction if they’re really game for going all-in on the idea.

It’s reasonably obvious that Twitter has dramatically slowed it’s growth and isn’t competing with some of it’s erstwhile peers. Thus they need to figure out how to turn a relatively large ship without losing value.

Annotated on December 11, 2019 at 11:20AM

It would allow end users to determine their own tolerances for different types of speech but make it much easier for most people to avoid the most problematic speech, without silencing anyone entirely or having the platforms themselves make the decisions about who is allowed to speak.

But platforms **are **making **huge **decisions about who is allowed to speak. While they’re generally allowing everyone to have a voice, they’re also very subtly privileging many voices over others. While they’re providing space for even the least among us to have a voice, they’re making far too many of the worst and most powerful among us logarithmic-ally louder.

It’s not broadly obvious, but their algorithms are plainly handing massive megaphones to people who society broadly thinks shouldn’t have a voice at all. These megaphones come in the algorithmic amplification of fringe ideas which accelerate them into the broader public discourse toward the aim of these platforms getting more engagement and therefore more eyeballs for their advertising and surveillance capitalism ends.

The issue we ought to be looking at is the dynamic range between people and the messages they’re able to send through social platforms.

We could also analogize this to the voting situation in the United States. When we disadvantage the poor, disabled, differently abled, or marginalized people from voting while simultaneously giving the uber-rich outsized influence because of what they’re able to buy, we’re imposing the same sorts of problems. Social media is just able to do this at an even larger scale and magnify the effects to make their harms more obvious.

If I follow 5,000 people on social media and one of them is a racist-policy-supporting, white nationalist president, those messages will get drowned out because I can only consume so much content. But when the algorithm consistently pushes that content to the top of my feed and attention, it is only going to accelerate it and create more harm. If I get a linear presentation of the content, then I’d have to actively search that content out for it to cause me that sort of harm.

Annotated on December 11, 2019 at 11:39AM

Moving back to a focus on protocols over platforms can solve many of these problems.

This may also only be the case if large corporations are forced to open up and support those protocols. If my independent website can’t interact freely and openly with something like Twitter on a level playing field, then it really does no good.

Annotated on December 11, 2019 at 11:42AM

And other recent developments suggest that doing so could overcome many of the earlier pitfalls of protocol-based systems, potentially creating the best of all words: useful internet services, with competition driving innovation, not controlled solely by giant corporations, but financially sustainable, providing end users with more control over their own data and privacy—and providing mis- and disinformation far fewer opportunities to wreak havoc.

Some of the issue with this then becomes: “Who exactly creates these standards?” We already have issues with mega-corporations like Google wielding out sized influence in the ability to create new standards like Schema.org or AMP.

Who is to say they don’t tacitly design their standards to directly (and only) benefit themselves?

Annotated on December 11, 2019 at 11:47AM

Read a post by Bix Bix (bix.blog)
Dying to hear what indieweb folks think of the new Jack Dorsey plan to “develop an open and decentralized standard for social media” with “Twitter to ultimately be a client of this standard”. Dorsey claims the effort intends “not only to develop a decentralized standard for social media, but to also build open community around it, inclusive of companies & organizations, researchers, civil society leaders”. Is this Twitter embracing the indieweb, or coopting, or something else?
Read Twitter's Project Bluesky by Ben WerdmüllerBen Werdmüller (Ben Werdmüller)
This morning, Jack Dorsey announced that Twitter would be funding an independent group that would develop an open standard for decentralized social networking, with the expectation that the company would use it. Twitter is funding a small independent team of up to five open source architects, engine...
An intriguing take on this (bitcoin pieces aside), though I wonder what sorts of larger scale pieces Twitter might really need and how they’d need to structure things to mitigate those issues. In the early days, their open API gave them cover to allow others to build on their platform while they worked at scaling and keeping the servers up. Once those were stable, they pulled the rug out from under everyone. If things open up and the service is more broadly distributed, are those scale pieces still so necessary (except for their scraping purposes)?
Read Bbbreaking News: Discovering Amateur News Videos by Monitoring Journalists on Twitter by Andy BaioAndy Baio (Waxy.org)

If you’ve ever looked at the replies on any newsworthy amateur video posted to Twitter, you’ll see an inevitable chorus of news organizations and broadcast journalists in the replies, usually asking two questions:

  1. Did you shoot this video?
  2. Can we use it on all our platforms, affiliates, etc with credit?

That gave me an idea, which I posted to Twitter.

Within two days, a talented developer named Corey Johnson made it real by launching Bbbreaking News.

Read What Happened to Tagging? by Alexandra SamuelAlexandra Samuel (JSTOR Daily)
Fourteen years ago, a dozen geeks gathered around our dining table for Tagsgiving dinner. No, that’s not a typo. In 2005, my husband and I celebrated Thanksgiving as “Tagsgiving,” in honor of the web technology that had given birth to our online community development shop. I invited our guests...
It almost sounds like Dr. Samuel could be looking for the IndieWeb community, but just hasn’t run across it yet. Since she’s writing about tags, I can’t help but mischievously snitch tagging it to her, though I’ll do so only in hopes that it might make the internet all the better for it.

Tagging systems were “folksonomies:” chaotic, self-organizing categorization schemes that grew from the bottom up.

There’s something that just feels so wrong in this article about old school tagging and the blogosphere that has a pullquote meant to encourage one to Tweet the quote.
–December 04, 2019 at 11:03AM

I literally couldn’t remember when I’d last looked at my RSS subscriptions.
On the surface, that might seem like a win: Instead of painstakingly curating my own incoming news, I can effortlessly find an endless supply of interesting, worthwhile content that the algorithm finds for me. The problem, of course, is that the algorithm isn’t neutral: It’s the embodiment of Facebook and Twitter’s technology, data analysis, and most crucial, business model. By relying on the algorithm, instead of on tags and RSS, I’m letting an army of web developers, business strategists, data scientists, and advertisers determine what gets my attention. I’m leaving myself vulnerable to misinformation, and manipulation, and giving up my power of self-determination.

–December 04, 2019 at 11:34AM

You might connect with someone who regularly used the same tags that you did, but that was because they shared your interests, not because they had X thousand followers.

An important and sadly underutilized means of discovery. –December 04, 2019 at 11:35AM

I find it interesting that Alexandra’s Twitter display name is AlexandraSamuel.com while the top of her own website has the apparent title @AlexandraSamuel. I don’t think I’ve seen a crossing up of those two sorts of identities before though it has become more common for people to use their own website name as their Twitter name. Greg McVerry is another example of this.

Thanks to Jeremy Cherfas[1] and Aaron Davis[2] for the links to this piece. I suspect that Dr. Samuel will appreciate that we’re talking about this piece using our own websites and tagging them with our own crazy taxonomies. I’m feeling nostalgic now for the old Technorati…

Listened to Designed to Intimidate from On the Media | WNYC Studios

Millions tuned into impeachment hearings this week — the first two of five already scheduled. On this week’s show, why shifts in public opinion may not necessarily sway the GOP. Plus, what we can learn from the predatory tactics that enriched Bill Gates.

1. Nicole Hemmer [@pastpunditry], author of Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politicson the false premise underlying hope for President Trump's removal. Listen.

2. John Dean [@JohnWDean] former White House counsel, on the lessons he's applying from Watergate to the impeachment hearings for President Trump. Listen.

3. Former Labor Secretary Rob Reich [@RBReich] and Goliath author Matt Stoller [@matthewstoller] on how billionaires like Bill Gates use their power and wealth to force their vision on society. Listen.

IndieWeb is the beginning of the end of the gilded age of social media. Major corporations like Facebook, Twitter, et al. have made having an internet presence and communicating with others simple and free. We now know that their definition of “free” is far from our definition.

It’s like the drug dealer who says you can get bribed or you can get a bullet. […] What you always see with monopolists who control an important platform: they use control of that platform to take control of markets that have to live on that platform.

— Matt Stoller, a Fellow at the Open Markets Institute, in On the Media: Designed to Intimidate [November 15, 2019]
Previously, Stoller was a Senior Policy Advisor and Budget Analyst to the Senate Budget Committee and also worked in the US House of Representatives on financial services policy, including Dodd-Frank, the Federal Reserve, and the foreclosure crisis.

Facebook values you at around $158.[1]

Facebook profits off of its 1.4 billion daily users in a big way: According to its most recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the average revenue per user in 2017 was $20.21 ($6.18 in the fourth quarter alone). Users in the U.S. and Canada were worth even more because of how big the markets are.

Money.com in March 2018

Now that you know what you and your data are worth, why not invest in yourself instead?

For about $5 a month or $60 a year, you can pay for an account on micro.blog and have a full suite of IndieWeb tools at your disposal. It’s simple, beautiful, but most importantly it gives you control of your own data and an open and independent presence on the entire web instead of a poor simulacrum of it walled away from everyone else. Of course there are other options available as well, just ask how you can get started.

Read How to Compose an Annotation-based Tweet by Jon Udell|

Annotation is one way to remix the web, Twitter is another. The two approaches can play nicely together but, to make best use of the combination, it helps to understand what happens when you tweet a Hypothesis direct link.

Annotation example featuring Chris Aldrich

Oh, look Jon uses an annotation I made as an example in his post!
Liked a tweet by Matt BaerMatt Baer (Twitter)

This UI “feature” always drives me bonkers too!