Acquired Ruined by Design: How Designers Destroyed the World, and What We Can Do to Fix It by Mike Monteiro (Mule Books)

The world is working exactly as designed. The combustion engine which is destroying our planet’s atmosphere and rapidly making it inhospitable is working exactly as we designed it. Guns, which lead to so much death, work exactly as they’re designed to work. And every time we “improve” their design, they get better at killing. Facebook’s privacy settings, which have outed gay teens to their conservative parents, are working exactly as designed. Their “real names” initiative, which makes it easier for stalkers to re-find their victims, is working exactly as designed. Twitter’s toxicity and lack of civil discourse is working exactly as it’s designed to work.The world is working exactly as designed. And it’s not working very well. Which means we need to do a better job of designing it. Design is a craft with an amazing amount of power. The power to choose. The power to influence. As designers, we need to see ourselves as gatekeepers of what we are bringing into the world, and what we choose not to bring into the world. Design is a craft with responsibility. The responsibility to help create a better world for all. Design is also a craft with a lot of blood on its hands. Every cigarette ad is on us. Every gun is on us. Every ballot that a voter cannot understand is on us. Every time social network’s interface allows a stalker to find their victim, that’s on us. The monsters we unleash into the world will carry your name. This book will make you see that design is a political act. What we choose to design is a political act. Who we choose to work for is a political act. Who we choose to work with is a political act. And, most importantly, the people we’ve excluded from these decisions is the biggest (and stupidest) political act we’ve made as a society.If you’re a designer, this book might make you angry. It should make you angry. But it will also give you the tools you need to make better decisions. You will learn how to evaluate the potential benefits and harm of what you’re working on. You’ll learn how to present your concerns. You’ll learn the importance of building and working with diverse teams who can approach problems from multiple points-of-view. You’ll learn how to make a case using data and good storytelling. You’ll learn to say NO in a way that’ll make people listen. But mostly, this book will fill you with the confidence to do the job the way you always wanted to be able to do it. This book will help you understand your responsibilities.

book cover of Ruined by Design featuring the title and a red and black image of a mushroom cloud from a nuclear bomb

Has anyone read Mike Monteiro’s new book “Ruined by Design”? Sounds very IndieWeb in flavor… (or at least anti-silo/anti-corporate)

I just noticed he’s touring with his book and will be in my backyard later this month: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mike-monteiro-lets-destroy-silicon-valley-tickets-60958127400

I love the line for it: “This isn’t a talk, this is a union meeting.”

Got a .azw version of the book for my Kindle.

👓 Jack Dorsey’s TED Interview and the End of an Era | New Yorker

Read Jack Dorsey’s TED Interview and the End of an Era (The New Yorker)
The C.E.O. of Twitter no longer seems capable of controlling the system he’s created.

A Modest Proposal Review

Will you look at this?! Twitter has recreated the WordPress Gutenberg editor interface into their web product. Currently it only has a few blocks for text, photos, gifs, video, embeds, and polls, but it’s not completely horrible and it’s relatively fast and convenient.

The Gutenberg editor in WordPress:

The title of the pending post is "Hello to the New Editor"
Screen capture of the new Gutenberg interface

In fact it appears that they’ve pared the editor down substantially. A few more tweaks and it might be as clean as the Medium editor experience.

Want to add a video, just drop a youtube link:

Want to embed a blog post from somewhere else? Add the link in your tweet and get a spiffy Twitter Card (just like oEmbed!)

An Introduction to the IndieWeb

I can see people getting awfully tired of clicking that “plus” button interminably though. Maybe if the interface could algorithmically choose where to break text the same way it determines what tweets I’m going to see?

Now they just need an edit button and they’ve got a “real” blogging experience, but one that’s editable in tiny 280 character chunks. Who has the attention span for more content than this anyway?

I can already tell that newspapers and magazines are going to love this. Just imagine the ease of doing shareable pull quotes this way?!

I can see journalistic institutions rebuilding their entire platforms on Twitter already!

Old CMS -> Tumblr -> Medium -> Twitter!

What is your favorite editing experience?

  • The Tweetstorm-o-matic
  • WordPress’ Gutenberg
  • WordPress Classic Editor
  • Medium

Uh oh! I’m noticing that they’ve neglected to put a block in for a title area. Maybe we could just do a really short tweet up at the top of the thread instead? If only we could drag and drop tweets to reorder them? At least you can add new tweets into the middle of the stream.

Besides, who’s going to read anything but the headline tweet anyway. No one is ever going to read this far into a tweetstorm. Maybe a blog post where they at least know what they’re getting into, but never a 20+ card tweetstorm.

And would you look at that? They almost jumped ahead of Medium on inline annotations by allowing people to reply to very specific pieces of the text. I’m kind of disappointed that they don’t have the pretty green highlighter colors though.

Screencapture from Medium.com with an example of an inline response.
An inline annotation on the text “Hey Ev, what about mentions?” in which Medium began to roll out their @mention functionality.

Now if only I could register a custom domain on their service and have control over the CSS, Twitter could be a first class open web CMS.

#​I​CanOnlyDream

*Sigh* I suppose until then I’ll just stick with my humble little website that allows me to own and control my own data on my own domain name and communicate with others using simple web standards.

#​​IndieWebForever

👓 How to Automatically Link Twitter Usernames in WordPress | WPBeginner

Read How to Automatically Link Twitter Usernames in WordPress (WPBeginner)
A simple snippet that automatically link twitter usernames in WordPress by automatically replacing all @username tags with twitter profile links.

👓 Twitter’s Jack Dorsey paid $1.40 in 2018 | Reuters

Read Twitter's Jack Dorsey paid $1.40 in 2018 (Reuters)
Twitter Inc said on Monday it paid its Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey $1.40...

Surely I won’t be the first to have said it, but a penny per character in a tweet almost seems fitting if not overpaying. But they need to amend his contract to match the new 280 character limit.

Replied to https://twitter.com/davidwbarratt by David Barratt on Twitter David Barratt on Twitter (Twitter)

Sure why not? Don’t you imagine that if multiple millions left Facebook for managed hosting that the cost of $5/month would potentially drop to $1/month or less via competition?

👓 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.