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  1. Last 7 days
    1. tl;dr;

      Things change. The silos hold too much power. There's no clear or stable path forward. Too little advice about revenue or the bottom line.

      Perhaps publications should unionize?

    2. No representatives from over the over 35 publishers who attended felt they could confidently predict where Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or any other growing social media platforms would be in five or 10 years.

      What is the product? Who is helping whom?

    3. The more transparency in the media industry, the more publishers at all levels will be on equal playing field with new platforms. If everyone makes the shift to Facebook Instant Articles and sees a negative return, but no one talks about it, Facebook will always have all the power.
    4. Publishers of all sizes are trying to figure out how to leverage these new platforms as user behavior on each platform evolves. On top of all this, the platforms themselves are rapidly changing. It can often feel like no one is on steady ground.
    5. However unlike a user account, you don’t own your audience and can be kicked out any day.
    6. Publishers should be open and honest about their failings. The endless puff pieces on “how X publisher is using Y new platform” serve no one but the publisher and platform’s public relations teams. Sharing not only how your brand is leveraging a new platform, but the failings, challenges encountered, and tactics used to overcome those challenges, benefits the industry at large and opens the door for collaboration.

      I see almost no one doing this sort of sharing. Instead it's more often "we're shutting down this service", "we've turned off this feature", or something similar on top of "revenue results were not reported."

    7. That said, once a new platform is identified as a target you don’t want to wait too long to pounce. There are benefits to being early. It can show platform representatives that you’re a believer in the product and the company, which may make them more willing to work with you or build products to help you. For instance, publishers who were early to Twitter, such as The New York Times, were marked “suggested follows” for users and saw huge audience growth.
    8. If the goal is ultimately to drive direct revenue, you might approach things differently. It takes time for a sub-brand to grow. Partnering with an advertiser to launch a new sub-brand can be a good way to mitigate the financial cost of launching something new.

      Some scant suggestions about income...

    9. In 2014, Hearst launched Sweet, a lifestyle-driven publication that lives exclusively on Snapchat.

      Hearst's Sweet, the first Snapchat-only media property, is closing its daily digital magazine, but the brand will be kept alive with a new show under that name. Other video titles will be available as well. The publisher has fired some staff as a result of the change, but would not say how many people. [...] Hearst declined to comment on whether Sweet was profitable and how it measures its success. Sweet went through a round of layoffs last year, according to Digiday, including then-editor-in-chief Luke Crisell.

      -- via SWEET, HEARST'S SNAPCHAT MEDIA PROPERTY, PIVOTS TO VIDEO on 2018-08-23

      Pay close attention to the statement on profitability.

    10. Publishers who aren’t media partners with Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter, aren’t highlighted prominently on these platforms, don’t receive a heads up about new products and never have a direct line to support at these companies.

      Looking at the relationship of authors, book publishers, and even the big 5 publishing companies provides a reasonable model for what all of this looks like down the road. All the publishers are generally screwed if they're reliant on one distributor which they don't control.

    11. A common complaint we heard from publishers at all levels is that it’s difficult to build partnerships with social media platforms. They seem to be holding all the cards. Even large publishers often feel in the dark during meetings with large platform companies.

      I'm more curious why all the large media companies/publishers don't pool their resources to build a competing social platform that they own and control so the end value comes to them instead of VC-backed social silos?

    12. Even publishers with the most social media-savvy newsrooms can feel at a disadvantage when Facebook rolls out a new product.

      The same goes in triplicate when they pull the plug without notice too!

    13. For instance, come to senior leaders with new ideas and opportunities on emerging platforms that could lead to direct audience growth or revenue.

      audience growth is good, but growth without the revenue is misplaced....

    14. benefits of these new mediums

      Still waiting for these "benefits" to be defined concretely, particularly those that actually provide support to the bottom line.

    15. Building a new analytics dashboard to highlight social metrics in addition to traditional web traffic is a an option for those publishers with the technical staff to undertake such a project. This type of integrated dashboard can help get newsroom staff excited about embracing new platforms. It’s also valuable for editors to see that even though a video received 2,000 views within a web article, that same video reached over 2 million on Facebook.

      Why not just build better, more interesting functionality into one's own web/mobile presences where the eyeballs are more captive? Why always be pushing to other platforms where one's content may have no monetary value to the publisher, but all the value redounds to the platform which isn't performing for the publisher.

    16. It also could add potential revenue.

      At last a mention of "potential revenue."

    17. Legacy publishers need to leverage distributed content to grow their audience and survive this wave.

      Growing audience is certainly laudable, but this is an odd blanket statement which is going to need some significant supporting evidence for the how, why, and how will these legacy publishers benefit?

    18. Cheddar

      On April 30, 2019, Cheddar announced an agreement to be bought by the cable company Altice USA for $200 million in cash. Altice purchase Cheddar to bolster its news. When the deal closes, Jon Steinberg would become Altice News president overseeing Cheddar plus Altice USA's News 12 Networks and i24 News. --via Wikipedia) referencing The Hollywood Reporter

    19. “If we can differentiate those platform experiences in the right way, we can start to craft content experiences that are maybe built for the same person, but they’re in a different mindset depending on the platform they’re on,” the company’s president told Digiday.

      This is a great "if" statement here, but it's completely missing the question of how doing these things benefits the bottom line of the publication.

    20. It could mean working closely with a platform itself to beta test new products and features. Companies like CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post have signed on as Facebook media partners and have collectively produced hundreds of Facebook Live broadcasts, for instance. Other brands such as The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, ESPN and more have teamed up with Snapchat to produce content for Snapchat Discover, Snapchat’s media portal.

      It's been almost 2 1/2 years since this was published. I'm curious if the group has revisited this white paper to evaluate how these methods have worked over time.

      Prima fascia evidence would indicate that most major publications that have gone all-in on some of these experiments have only lost out on them following the pivots that social silos have made since. A good example is the large number of publishers that went in on Facebook video related products only to have Facebook completely abandon them. It's not a partnership if the publication has no recourse when the social platform abandons them.

      I seem to recall that several online pubflishers were essentially forced to completely shutter following social platforms pivoting unexpectedly.

    21. Distributed content is any content that a publisher creates to live “natively” on an outside platform without directing any traffic back to your domain. This could mean allowing Facebook or Google to host your articles through Facebook Instant Articles or Google AMP. But it more generally means content you create specifically to live off-site on certain platforms.

      This definition of distributed content seems tragically flawed to me. If it doesn't live natively on a publisher's platform, then how is it exactly "distributed"? This definition is really more like silo-specific native content.

      It also seems predicate on publications entirely giving up all the agency and ownership of their own content. If they're creating content completely for silos, where's the value for them other than the diminishing returns of their brand recognition?

      Concepts like POSSE or PESOS are much better and more valuable in my mind by comparison.

      While the marketing idea of creating content that seems native to the platform on which it appears is valuable, publications still need to get eyeballs back to either their own platform or to places where their advertising, subscription, or other financial enterprise centers can directly benefit. Simply giving away the candy store without direct benefit to the publisher are only going to hasten their demise.

    1. “If Facebook is providing a consumer’s data to be used for the purposes of credit screening by the third party, Facebook would be a credit reporting agency,” Reidenberg explained. “The [FCRA] statute applies when the data ‘is used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in part for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing the consumer’s eligibility for … credit.'” If Facebook is providing data about you and your friends that eventually ends up in a corporate credit screening operation, “It’s no different from Equifax providing the data to Chase to determine whether or not to issue a credit card to the consumer,” according to Reidenberg.
    2. “It sure smells like the prescreening provisions of the FCRA,” Reidenberg told The Intercept. “From a functional point of view, what they’re doing is filtering Facebook users on creditworthiness criteria and potentially escaping the application of the FCRA.”
    3. In an initial conversation with a Facebook spokesperson, they stated that the company does “not provide creditworthiness services, nor is that a feature of Actionable Insights.” When asked if Actionable Insights facilitates the targeting of ads on the basis of creditworthiness, the spokesperson replied, “No, there isn’t an instance where this is used.” It’s difficult to reconcile this claim with the fact that Facebook’s own promotional materials tout how Actionable Insights can enable a company to do exactly this. Asked about this apparent inconsistency between what Facebook tells advertising partners and what it told The Intercept, the company declined to discuss the matter on the record,
    4. How consumers would be expected to navigate this invisible, unofficial credit-scoring process, given that they’re never informed of its existence, remains an open question.
    5. But these lookalike audiences aren’t just potential new customers — they can also be used to exclude unwanted customers in the future, creating a sort of ad targeting demographic blacklist.
  2. May 2019
    1. People are rewarded for being productive rather than being right, for building ever upward instead of checking the foundations. These incentives allow weak studies to be published. And once enough have amassed, they create a collective perception of strength that can be hard to pierce.

      We desperately need to fix these foundations of science to focus on solid foundations and reproducibility...

    2. When geneticists finally gained the power to cost-efficiently analyze entire genomes, they realized that most disorders and diseases are influenced by thousands of genes, each of which has a tiny effect. To reliably detect these miniscule effects, you need to compare hundreds of thousands of volunteers. By contrast, the candidate-gene studies of the 2000s looked at an average of 345 people!

      I'm hoping that more researchers are contemplating this as they stroll merrily along their way this week.

    3. It’s as if they’d been “describing the life cycle of unicorns, what unicorns eat, all the different subspecies of unicorn, which cuts of unicorn meat are tastiest, and a blow-by-blow account of a wrestling match between unicorns and Bigfoot,” Alexander wrote.
    4. “How on Earth could we have spent 20 years and hundreds of millions of dollars studying pure noise?”
    1. As it happens, he’d already done some work on coding theory—in the area of biology. The digital nature of DNA had been discovered by Jim Watson and Francis Crick in 1953, but it wasn’t yet clear just how sequences of the four possible base pairs encoded the 20 amino acids. In 1956, Max Delbrück—Jim Watson’s former postdoc advisor at Caltech—asked around at JPL if anyone could figure it out. Sol and two colleagues analyzed an idea of Francis Crick’s and came up with “comma-free codes” in which overlapping triples of base pairs could encode amino acids. The analysis showed that exactly 20 amino acids could be encoded this way. It seemed like an amazing explanation of what was seen—but unfortunately it isn’t how biology actually works (biology uses a more straightforward encoding, where some of the 64 possible triples just don’t represent anything).

      I recall talking to Sol about this very thing when I sat in on a course he taught at USC on combinatorics. He gave me his paper on it and a few related issues as I was very interested at the time about the applications of information theory and biology.

      I'm glad I managed to sit in on the class and still have the audio recordings and notes. While I can't say that Newton taught me calculus, I can say I learned combinatorics from Golomb.

    2. Despite all his contributions to the infrastructure of the computational world, Sol himself basically never seriously used computers. He took particular pride in his own mental calculation capabilities. And he didn’t really use email until he was in his seventies, and never used a computer at home—though, yes, he did have a cellphone.

      Ha! I should take a little bit of pride here as I was the one that helped Sol to finally set up and get his email working. I'd have to look, but I suspect that it wasn't until around 2004ish when I saw him somewhat regularly and frequented his and Bo's annual Christmas parties.

    3. in June 1955 he wrote his final report, “Sequences with Randomness Properties”—which would basically become the foundational document of the theory of shift register sequences.
    1. Relatively new bookstores in LA:

      • Last Bookstore (Downtown) opened 2008
      • Stories Books & Cafe (Echo Park) 2008
      • The Mystic Journeys (Venice) 2009
      • {pages} (Manhattan Beach) 2010
      • Pop-Hop Books & Print (Highland Park) 2012
      • Book Show (Highland Park) 2013
      • The Ripped Bodice (Culver City) 2016
      • OOF Books (Cypress Park) 2017
      • Now Serving (Chinatown) 2017
      • Owl Bureau (Highland Park) 2019
    2. Twenty Stories Bookmobile, which left L.A. traffic for Providence, Rhode Island, in 2018

      This makes me think that a mobile bookstore a la the traditional LA roach coach with a well painted/decorated exterior could be a cool thing.

      I'm reminded of a used bookstore pop-up I saw recently at the Santa Anita Mall prior to the holidays. Booksellers were traditionally itinerant mongers anyway. Perhaps this could be a more solid model, especially for the lunchtime business crowds.

    1. Crowther offered everyone who shared at least a certain volume of data with his forest initiative the chance to be a co-author of a study that he and a colleague led. Published in Science in 2016, the paper used more than 770,000 data points from 44 countries to determine that forests with more tree species are more productive4.

      I suspect a similar hypothesis holds for shared specs, code, and the broader idea of plurality within the IndieWeb. More interoperable systems makes the IndieWeb more productive.

    2. High-level bodies such as the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the European Commission have called for science to become more open and endorsed a set of data-management standards known as the FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) principles.
    1. Tufekci argued that, in the 21st century, a surfeit of information, rather than its absence, poses the biggest problem. “When I was growing up in Turkey, the way censorship occurred was there was one TV channel and they wouldn’t show you stuff. That was it,” she said. “Currently, in my conceptualization, the way censorship occurs is by information glut. It’s not that the relevant information isn’t out there. But it is buried in so much information of suspect credibility that it doesn’t mean anything.”
    1. "I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world." Walt Whitman, 1855.

      from Song of Myself, 52 https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/song-myself-52

      Which is also played out in a scene from The Dead Poet's Society https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6xyHna-NuM

    1. About this time I met with an odd volume of the Spectator.[18] It was the third. I had never before seen any of them. I bought it, read it over and over, and was much delighted with it. I thought the writing excellent, and wished, if possible, to imitate it. With this view I took some of the papers, and, making short hints of the sentiment in each sentence, laid them by a few days, and then, without looking at the book, try'd to compleat the papers again, by expressing each hinted sentiment at length, and as fully as it had been expressed before, in any suitable words that should come to hand. Then I compared my Spectator with the original, discovered some of my faults, and corrected them. But I found I wanted a stock of words, or a readiness in recollecting and using them, which I thought I should have acquired before that time if I had gone on making verses; since the continual occasion for words of the same import, but of different length, to suit the measure, or of different sound for the rhyme, would have laid me under a constant necessity of searching for variety, and also have tended to fix that variety in my mind, and make me master of it. Therefore I took some of the tales and turned them into verse; and, after a time, when I had pretty well forgotten the prose, turned them back again. I also sometimes jumbled my collections of hints into confusion, and after some weeks endeavored to reduce them into the best order, before I began to form the full sentences and compleat the paper. This was to teach me method in the arrangement of thoughts. By comparing my work afterwards with the original, I discovered many faults and amended them; but I sometimes had the pleasure of fancying that, in certain particulars of small import, I had been lucky enough to improve the method of the language, and this encouraged me to think I might possibly in time come to be a tolerable English writer, of which I was extremely ambitious. My time for these exercises and for reading was at night, after work or before it began in the morning, or on Sundays, when I contrived to be in the printing-house alone, evading as much as I could the common attendance on public worship which my father used to exact of me when I was under his care, and which indeed I still thought a duty, thought I could not, as it seemed to me, afford time to practise it.

      Even the greats copied or loosely plagiarized the "masters" to learn how to write.The key is to continually work at it until you get to the point where it's yours and it is no longer plagiarism.

      This was also the general premise behind the plotline of the movie Finding Forrester.

    1. I feel some apprehension about how this book might present designers’ “amazing amount of power.”  I think designers work within a profound network of constraints, and I’m curious how this will be addressed.

      I, too, share this apprehension. From what I've read so far, it's a tough hill to climb, but I think he'll suggest that designers need to have larger associations like doctors, architects, lawyers, etc. to be able to create a better "standard of care."

    1. Here’s my pitch for a Dumb Twitter app: The app forces you to tweet at the original 140 character tweet length. You can reply. You can’t like or retweet. You most certainly can’t quote tweet. There is no private DMing. Linear tweet stream only.

      Perhaps he's unaware of it, but this sounds a lot like the design decisions that micro.blog has made in it's platform which is very similar to DoOO, but for the broader public.

    2. So far coming back to Twitter has felt like visiting your hometown: it’s great to visit but it’s also a reminder of how much you enjoy not living there anymore.
    3. In fact, I’d argue this blog has been largely a collection of writings concentrated on me working through the thoughts of my own digital identity and the tools that help shape it. The whole bit is highly meta.
  3. Apr 2019
    1. I think most social networks, if they've made this journey, need to make a return to utility to be truly durable.

      This sounds to me like what the IndieWeb is doing. Utility for the site owner directly.

    2. Incidentally, teens and twenty-somethings, more so than the middle-aged and elderly, tend to juggle more identities. In middle and high school, kids have to maintain an identity among classmates at school, then another identity at home with family. Twenty-somethings craft one identity among coworkers during the day, then another among their friends outside of work. Often those spheres have differing status games, and there is some penalty to merging those identities. Anyone who has ever sent a text meant for their schoolmates to their parents, or emailed a boss or coworker something meant for their happy hour crew knows the treacherous nature of context collapse.
    3. Perhaps old dogs don't learn new tricks because they are closer to death, and the period to earn a positive return on that investment is shorter.
    4. That so much social capital for the young comes in the form of followers, likes, and comments from peers and strangers shouldn't lessen its value.
    5. Maintenance of existing social capital stores is often a more efficient use of time than fighting to earn more on a new social network given the ease of just earning interest on your sizeable status reserves. That's just math, especially once you factor in loss aversion.
    6. A social network like Path attempted to limit your social graph size to the Dunbar number, capping your social capital accumulation potential and capping the distribution of your posts. The exchange, they hoped, was some greater transparency, more genuine self-expression. The anti-Facebook. Unfortunately, as social capital theory might predict, Path did indeed succeed in becoming the anti-Facebook: a network without enough users. Some businesses work best at scale, and if you believe that people want to accumulate social capital as efficiently as possible, putting a bound on how much they can earn is a challenging business model, as dark as that may be.

      An interesting thesis on why Path failed. Again it posits that social capital is the only reason to be there...

    7. As people start following more and more accounts on a social network, they reach a point where the number of candidate stories exceeds their capacity to see them all. Even before that point, the sheer signal-to-noise ratio may decline to the point that it affects engagement. Almost any network that hits this inflection point turns to the same solution: an algorithmic feed.
    8. I think the Stories format is a genuine innovation on the social modesty problem of social networks. That is, all but the most egregious showoffs feel squeamish about publishing too much to their followers. Stories, by putting the onus on the viewer to pull that content, allows everyone to publish away guilt-free, without regard for the craft that regular posts demand in the ever escalating game that is life publishing. In a world where algorithmic feeds break up your sequence of posts, Stories also allow gifted creators to create sequential narratives.
    9. Copying some network's feature often isn’t sufficient if you can’t also copy its graph, but if you can apply the feature to some unique graph that you earned some other way, it can be a defensible advantage.
    10. After all, the best messaging app in most countries or continents is the one most other people are already using there.
    11. Most of these near clones have and will fail. The reason that matching the basic proof of work hurdle of an Status as a Service incumbent fails is that it generally duplicates the status game that already exists. By definition, if the proof of work is the same, you're not really creating a new status ladder game, and so there isn't a real compelling reason to switch when the new network really has no one in it.

      This presumes that status is the only reason why people would join such a network. It also underlines the fact that the platform needs to be easy and simple to use, otherwise no one enters it and uses it as the tool first before the network exists.

    12. The same way many social networks track keystone metrics like time to X followers, they should track the ROI on posts for new users. It's likely a leading metric that governs retention or churn. It’s useful as an investor, or even as a curious onlooker to test a social networks by posting varied content from test accounts to gauge the efficiency and fairness of the distribution algorithm.
    13. graph-based social capital allocation mechanisms can suffer from runaway winner-take-all effects. In essence, some networks reward those who gain a lot of followers early on with so much added exposure that they continue to gain more followers than other users, regardless of whether they've earned it through the quality of their posts. One hypothesis on why social networks tend to lose heat at scale is that this type of old money can't be cleared out, and new money loses the incentive to play the game.
    14. TikTok is an interesting new player in social media because its default feed, For You, relies on a machine learning algorithm to determine what each user sees; the feed of content from by creators you follow, in contrast, is hidden one pane over. If you are new to TikTok and have just uploaded a great video, the selection algorithm promises to distribute your post much more quickly than if you were on sharing it on a network that relies on the size of your following, which most people have to build up over a long period of time. Conversely, if you come up with one great video but the rest of your work is mediocre, you can't count on continued distribution on TikTok since your followers live mostly in a feed driven by the TikTok algorithm, not their follow graph.
    15. I can still remember posting the same photos to Flickr and Instagram for a while and seeing how quickly the latter passed the former in feedback. If I were an investor or even an employee, I might have something like a representative basket of content that I'd post from various test accounts on different social media networks just to track social capital interest rates and liquidity among the various services.
    16. Instagram, despite not having any official reshare option, allows near unlimited hashtag spamming, and that allows for more deterministic, self-generated distribution. Twitter also isn't as great for spreading visual memes because of its stubborn attachment to cropping photos to maintain a certain level of tweet density per phone screen.

      Some interesting UI clues here that either help or hamper social networks

    17. time travel back to pre-product-market-fit Twitter

      Want to see what your Twitter timeline would've looked like 10 years ago today, if you followed all the same people you do now? https://t.co/41a6iQcYhc

      — Andy Baio (@waxpancake) May 24, 2018

      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
    18. What changed Twitter, for me, was the launch of Favstar and Favrd (both now defunct, ruthlessly murdered by Twitter), these global leaderboards that suddenly turned the service into a competition to compose the most globally popular tweets.

      For the social status conscious these two services definitely created a layer of interesting discovery to the service that it hadn't had before.

    19. Recall Twitter in the early days, when it was somewhat of a harmless but somewhat inert status update service.

      As I'm thinking about it I definitely went to Twitter for its use as a tool and not for the social or network piece.

    20. By definition, if everyone can achieve a certain type of status, it’s no status at all, it’s a participation trophy.
    21. It's true that as more people join a network, more social capital is up for grabs in the aggregate. However, in general, if you come to a social network later, unless you bring incredible exogenous social capital (Taylor Swift can join any social network on the planet and collect a massive following immediately), the competition for attention is going to be more intense than it was in the beginning. Everyone has more of an understanding of how the game works so the competition is stiffer.

      Perhaps the IndieWeb is growing at such a much slower rate (in this thesis, there is a much higher level for "proof of work") that this sort of social capital is more akin to that of social capital in real life? Some of the value of IndieWeb is that all your "social capital" can be put in one place and better controlled by you.

      Why would one want to game their own sites in these ways? Are personal sites a better reflection of real life social capital? There's also lost personal time in learning and participating in dozens of social silos which is much better spent creating things of greater consequence.

      With respect to his mention of Paul Krugman's Instagram account, it's useful to be able to pick and choose what you might want to follow in Paul's life. If you're a close friend then his Instagram account is awesome, but if you're a young political science student then his bookmarks, reads, notes, and articles would be much more valuable to you.

    22. [An aside about exogenous social capital: you might complain that your tweets are more interesting and grammatical than those of, say, Donald Trump (you're probably right!). Or that your photos are better composed and more interesting at a deep level of photographic craft than those of Kim Kardashian. The difference is, they bring a massive supply of exogenous pre-existing social capital from another status game, the fame game, to every table, and some forms of social capital transfer quite well across platforms. Generalized fame is one of them. More specific forms of fame or talent might not retain their value as easily: you might follow Paul Krugman on Twitter, for example, but not have any interest in his Instagram account. I don't know if he has one, but I probably wouldn't follow it if he did, sorry Paul, it’s nothing personal.]

      In publishing circles, this has long been known as platform or author platform--ie that thing that made you famous in the first place that gives you the space to attempt to try to use that fame to sell books.

    23. Almost every social network of note had an early signature proof of work hurdle. For Facebook it was posting some witty text-based status update. For Instagram, it was posting an interesting square photo. For Vine, an entertaining 6-second video. For Twitter, it was writing an amusing bit of text of 140 characters or fewer. Pinterest? Pinning a compelling photo. You can likely derive the proof of work for other networks like Quora and Reddit and Twitch and so on. Successful social networks don't pose trick questions at the start, it’s usually clear what they want from you.

      And this is likely the reason that the longer form blogs never went out of style in areas of higher education where people are still posting long form content. This "proof of work" is something they ultimately end up using in other areas.

      Jessifer example of three part post written for a journal that was later put back into long form for publication.

    24. While you can outsource Bitcoin mining to a computer, people still mine for social capital on social networks largely through their own blood, sweat, and tears.

      The other portion of the problem is then turning this social capital into actual money. This gives way to the rise of influencers.

    25. The creation of a successful status game is so mysterious that it often smacks of alchemy. For that reason, entrepreneurs who succeed in this space are thought of us a sort of shaman, perhaps because most investors are middle-aged white men who are already so high status they haven't the first idea why people would seek virtual status
    26. "Come for the tool, stay for the network" wrote Chris Dixon, in perhaps the most memorable maxim for how this works.

      I sort of feel like this is the missing piece of Hypothes.is. I came for and love the tool, but wish there were more of a network available.

    27. This is the classic cold start problem of social. The answer to the traditional chicken-and-egg question is actually answerable: what comes first is a single chicken, and then another chicken, and then another chicken, and so on. The harder version of the question is why the first chicken came and stayed when no other chickens were around, and why the others followed.

      This gives me a hypothesis about why the chicken post came first within the IndieWeb.

    28. Think of this essay as a series of strongly held hypotheses; without access to the types of data which i’m not even sure exists, it’s difficult to be definitive. As ever, my wise readers will add or push back as they always do.

      Push back, sure, but where? Where would we find this push back? The comments section only has a few tidbits. Perhaps the rest is on Twitter, Facebook, or some other social silo where the conversation is fraught-fully fragmented. Your own social capital is thus spread out and not easily compiled or compounded. As a result I wonder who may or may not have read this piece...

    29. Social capital is, in many ways, a leading indicator of financial capital, and so its nature bears greater scrutiny. Not only is it good investment or business practice, but analyzing social capital dynamics can help to explain all sorts of online behavior that would otherwise seem irrational.
  4. quickthoughts.jgregorymcverry.com quickthoughts.jgregorymcverry.com
    1. I can reliably predict when features get added and bugs squashed. I may not know that with WordPress.

      These pieces definitely happen on WordPress as well, it's just got an order of magnitude larger of people and infrastructure, so it can sometimes be more difficult to follow.

      Here's the best place to start for it: https://make.wordpress.org/

      You can follow along with most changes at https://core.trac.wordpress.org/

    1. Under OLC's analysis, Congress can permissibly criminalize ce1tain obstructive conduct by the President, such as suborning perjury, intimidating witnesses, or fabricating evidence, because those prohibitions raise no separation-of-powers questions. See Application of 28 U.S.C. § 458 to Presidential Appointments of Federal Judges, 19 Op. O.L.C. at 357 n.11. The Constitution does not authorize the President to engage in such conduct, and those actions would transgress the President's duty to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." U.S. CONST. ART IT, §§ 3. In view of those clearly permissible applications of the obstruction statutes to the President, Franklin's holding that the President is entirely excluded from a statute absent a clear statement would not apply in this context.

      Since the DoJ won't indict a sitting president, here's a direct suggestion of what Congress could do.

    2. if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.

      TL;DR

      This summary is not what Trump or even Barr have been indicating in their communications.

      Barr's statement on the day of the release of the redacted report: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aHPFh2HfSM

    3. The President's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.

      So the better judgement of others has apparently kept Trump out of trouble?

    4. March 2019
    5. 28 C.F.R. § 600.8(c)

      PART 600—GENERAL POWERS OF SPECIAL COUNSEL can be found here: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CFR-2016-title28-vol2/pdf/CFR-2016-title28-vol2-part600.pdf

      Part (c) reads:

      (c)Closing documentation. At the conclusion of the Special Counsel's work, he or she shall provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel.

    1. Medium’s ultimate underlying problem:Medium thinks it’s a brand.
    1. A 2015 clip about vaccination from iHealthTube.com, a “natural health” YouTube channel, is one of the videos that now sports a small gray box.

      Does this box appear on the video itself? Apparently not...

      Examples:

      But nothing on the embedded version:

      A screengrab of what this looks like:

    2. “The primary goal of our recommendation systems today is to create a trusted and positive experience for our users,” the document reads. “The YouTube company-wide goal is framed not just as ‘Growth’, but as ‘Responsible Growth.’”
    3. The idea was to reward video stars shorted by the system, such as those making sex education and music videos, which marquee advertisers found too risqué to endorse. 

      This is an interesting concept. Too often, too many people are "shorted by the system".

    4. crisis. Its “creators,”

      I see crisis and creators close to each other in the text here and can't help but think about the neologism "crisis creators" as the thing we should be talking about instead of "crisis actors", a word that seems to have been created by exactly those "crisis creators"!

    5. YouTube doesn’t give an exact recipe for virality. But in the race to one billion hours, a formula emerged: Outrage equals attention.

      Talk radio has had this formula for years and they've almost had to use it to drive any listenership as people left radio for television and other media.

      I can still remember the different "loudness" level of talk between Bill O'Reilly's primetime show on Fox News and the louder level on his radio show.

    6. When Wojcicki took over, in 2014, YouTube was a third of the way to the goal, she recalled in investor John Doerr’s 2018 book Measure What Matters.“They thought it would break the internet! But it seemed to me that such a clear and measurable objective would energize people, and I cheered them on,” Wojcicki told Doerr. “The billion hours of daily watch time gave our tech people a North Star.” By October, 2016, YouTube hit its goal.

      Obviously they took the easy route. You may need to measure what matters, but getting to that goal by any means necessary or using indefensible shortcuts is the fallacy here. They could have had that North Star, but it's the means they used by which to reach it that were wrong.

      This is another great example of tech ignoring basic ethics to get to a monetary goal. (Another good one is Marc Zuckerberg's "connecting people" mantra when what he should be is "connecting people for good" or "creating positive connections".

    7. The conundrum isn’t just that videos questioning the moon landing or the efficacy of vaccines are on YouTube. The massive “library,” generated by users with little editorial oversight, is bound to have untrue nonsense. Instead, YouTube’s problem is that it allows the nonsense to flourish. And, in some cases, through its powerful artificial intelligence system, it even provides the fuel that lets it spread.#lazy-img-336042387:before{padding-top:66.68334167083543%;}

      This is a great summation of the issue.

    8. Somewhere along the last decade, he added, YouTube prioritized chasing profits over the safety of its users. “We may have been hemorrhaging money,” he said. “But at least dogs riding skateboards never killed anyone.”
    1. Early Christians used the ichthys, a symbol of a fish, to represent Jesus,[94][95] because the Greek word for fish, ΙΧΘΥΣ Ichthys, could be used as an acronym for "Ίησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ" (Iesous Christos, Theou Huios, Soter), meaning "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour".
    1. Andrews, P., & Hatch, G. (2001). Hungary and its characteristic pedagogical flow. Proceedings of the British Congress of Mathematics Education, 21(2). 26-40. Stockton, J. C. (2010). Education of Mathematically Talented Students in Hungary. Journal of Mathematics Education at Teachers College, 1(2), 1-6.

      references to read

    2. Moreover, the teacher repeatedly asks, “Did anyone get a different answer?” or “Did anyone use a different method?” to elicit multiple solutions strategies. This highlights the connections between different problems, concepts, and areas of mathematics and helps develop students’ mathematical creativity. Creativity is further fostered through acknowledging “good mistakes.” Students who make an error are often commended for the progress they made and how their work contributed to the discussion and to the collective understanding of the class.
    1. Digital sociology needs more big theory as well as testable theory.

      Here I might posit that Cesar Hidalgo's book Why Information Grows (MIT, 2015) has some interesting theses about links between people and companies which could be extrapolated up to "societies of linked companies". What could we predict about how those will interact based on the underlying pieces? Is it possible that we see other emergent complex behaviors?

    2. Digital sociology needs more big theory as well as testable theory.

      I can't help but think here about the application of digital technology to large bodies of literature in the creation of the field of corpus linguistics.

      If traditional sociology means anything, then a digital incarnation of it should create physical and trackable means that can potentially be more easily studied as a result. Just the same way that Mark Dredze has been able to look at Twitter data to analyze public health data like influenza, we should be able to more easily quantify sociological phenomenon in aggregate by looking at larger and richer data sets of online interactions.

      There's also likely some value in studying the quantities of digital exhaust that companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc. are using for surveillance capitalism.

    1. While I would say that Alexander L. George and Andrew Bennett’s book “Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences“, is neither a new book nor an old one (it was published in 2004), it is definitely a classic and a must-read. Moreover, I’m a comparativist, and someone who undertakes systematic case study comparisons, so George and Bennett’s book is definitely my go-to when I want to revise my research strategy.
    1. But thirdly, and most valuably, the template gives you a big space at the bottom to write sentences that summarise the page.  That is, you start writing your critical response on the notes themselves.

      I do much this same thing, however, I'm typically doing it using Hypothes.is to annotate and highlight. These pieces go back to my own website where I can keep, categorize, and even later search them. If I like, I'll often do these sorts of summaries on related posts themselves (usually before I post them publicly if that's something I'm planning on doing for a particular piece.)

    2. I kept losing content that I edited out and then wanted to put it back in.

      This is where bits like version control of academic documents can be incredibly valuable!

      See: https://boffosocko.com/2014/09/17/revision-control/

    3. And that free hand comes in useful for holding open books, grasping coffee cups, or stuffing your face with Gummi bears.

      The importance of the Gummi bears portion cannot be overstated. ;)

    1. I find it somewhat interesting to note that with 246 public annotations on this page using Hypothes.is, that from what I can tell as of 4/2/2019 only one of them is a simple highlight. All the rest are highlights with an annotation or response of some sort.

      It makes me curious to know what the percentage distribution these two types have on the platform. Is it the case that in classroom settings, which many of these annotations appear to have been made, that much of the use of the platform dictates more annotations (versus simple highlights) due to the performative nature of the process?

      Is it possible that there are a significant number of highlights which are simply hidden because the platform automatically defaults these to private? Is the friction of making highlights so high that people don't bother?

      I know that Amazon will indicate heavily highlighted passages in e-books as a feature to draw attention to the interest relating to those passages. Perhaps it would be useful/nice if Hypothes.is would do something similar, but make the author of the highlights anonymous? (From a privacy perspective, this may not work well on articles with a small number of annotators as the presumption could be that the "private" highlights would most likely be directly attributed to those who also made public annotations.

      Perhaps the better solution is to default highlights to public and provide friction-free UI to make them private?

      A heavily highlighted section by a broad community can be a valuable thing, but surfacing it can be a difficult thing to do.

  5. Mar 2019
    1. Does that mean the end of fair use?

      They tried this in Spain to disastrous results and somehow still haven't learned their lesson.

    1. “Imagery in public space is a reflection of who has the power to tell the story of what happened and what should be remembered,” Bleiberg said. “We are witnessing the empowerment of many groups of people with different opinions of what the proper narrative is.” Perhaps we can learn from the pharaohs; how we choose to rewrite our national stories might just take a few acts of iconoclasm.
    2. “Ancient temples were somewhat seen as quarries,” Bleiberg said, noting that “when you walk around medieval Cairo, you can see a much more ancient Egyptian object built into a wall.” Such a practice seems especially outrageous to modern viewers, considering our appreciation of Egyptian artifacts as masterful works of fine art, but Bleiberg is quick to point out that “ancient Egyptians didn’t have a word for ‘art.’ They would have referred to these objects as ‘equipment.’” When we talk about these artifacts as works of art, he said, we de-contextualize them.
    3. The prevalent practice of damaging images of the human form—and the anxiety surrounding the desecration—dates to the beginnings of Egyptian history. Intentionally damaged mummies from the prehistoric period, for example, speak to a “very basic cultural belief that damaging the image damages the person represented,” Bleiberg said. Likewise, how-to hieroglyphics provided instructions for warriors about to enter battle: Make a wax effigy of the enemy, then destroy it. Series of texts describe the anxiety of your own image becoming damaged, and pharaohs regularly issued decrees with terrible punishments for anyone who would dare threaten their likeness.
    4. “The damaged part of the body is no longer able to do its job,” Bleiberg explained. Without a nose, the statue-spirit ceases to breathe, so that the vandal is effectively “killing” it. To hammer the ears off a statue of a god would make it unable to hear a prayer. In statues intended to show human beings making offerings to gods, the left arm—most commonly used to make offerings—is cut off so the statue’s function can’t be performed (the right hand is often found axed in statues receiving offerings).

      fascinating

    5. A protruding nose on a three-dimensional statue is easily broken, he conceded, but the plot thickens when flat reliefs also sport smashed noses.
    6. This stylistic continuity reflects—and directly contributed to—the empire’s long stretches of stability.

      I'm curious what evidence there is that it "directly contributed to" stability.

    1. The problem with Undead Texts is not that they are unscholarly; it is that they are antidisciplinary.
    2. Scholarship now emphasizes variability and specificity in ways that discourage cross-historical and cross-cultural comparisons.
    3. Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011), a popular explanation of why violence has declined, relies heavily on Norbert Elias’s Undead Text The Civilizing Process (1939) for many of its key ideas. Elias himself, however, developed the ideas original to him in the way scholars do: He immersed himself in primary sources, familiarized himself with the scholarly literature, and forged a new narrative of cultural history.
    4. Undead Texts remain crucial to the history of their fields, but their arguments and methods are no longer seen as viable.
    1. On my blog it has context. You can see all the other eat/drink posts on thier own or mixed in with everything else. I can include links to the place where I bought it, who makes it, or related posts.Instagram's context is its a photo with an optional description. It doesn't matter what it's of. It won't contain links to anything.
    1. The fact is, though, it is often genuinely difficult for users without a decent amount of technical experience to find the right balance. Many systems don’t make it easy to find, organize and back up valuable files, while shunting more ephemeral data to the digital trash heap. Social networking sites are notoriously difficult to search, let alone download content from. Cloud services shut down or change policies often with little notice, said the Archive Team’s Jason Scott, like Tumblr’s about-face on erotic pictures, Google’s move to shut down social network Google+ or the venerable photo-sharing site Flickr’s recent announcement it would begin purging images from legacy free accounts with more than 1,000 pictures uploaded as of March 12.
    1. Engelbart insisted that effective intellectual augmentation was always realized within a system, and that any intervention intended to accelerate intellectual augmentation must be understood as an intervention in a system. And while at many points the 1962 report emphasizes the individual knowledge worker, there is also the idea of sharing the context of one’s work (an idea Vannevar Bush had also described in “As We May Think”), the foundation of Engelbart’s lifelong view that a crucial way to accelerate intellectual augmentation was to think together more comprehensively and effectively. One might even rewrite Engelbart’s words above to say, “We do not speak of isolated clever individuals with knowledge of particular domains. We refer to a way of life in an integrated society where poets, musicians, dreamers, and visionaries usefully co-exist with engineers, scientists, executives, and governmental leaders.” Make your own list.
    2. As several speakers noted at the Symposium marking the 50th anniversary of the famous “Mother of All Demos,” networked digital computing, at scale, amounts to one of the most powerful and potentially dangerous experiments we have ever performed on ourselves.
    1. “The eye speaks to the brain in a language already highly organized and interpreted,” they reported in the now-seminal paper “What the Frog’s Eye Tells the Frog’s Brain,” published in 1959.
    2. by stringing them together exactly as Pitts and McCulloch had discovered, you could carry out any computation.

      I feel like this is something more akin to what may have been already known from Boolean algebra and Whitehead/Russell by this time. Certainly Shannon would have known of it?

    3. Nature had chosen the messiness of life over the austerity of logic, a choice Pitts likely could not comprehend. He had no way of knowing that while his ideas about the biological brain were not panning out, they were setting in motion the age of digital computing, the neural network approach to machine learning, and the so-called connectionist philosophy of mind.
    4. There was a catch, though: This symbolic abstraction made the world transparent but the brain opaque. Once everything had been reduced to information governed by logic, the actual mechanics ceased to matter—the tradeoff for universal computation was ontology. Von Neumann was the first to see the problem. He expressed his concern to Wiener in a letter that anticipated the coming split between artificial intelligence on one side and neuroscience on the other. “After the great positive contribution of Turing-cum-Pitts-and-McCulloch is assimilated,” he wrote, “the situation is rather worse than better than before. Indeed these authors have demonstrated in absolute and hopeless generality that anything and everything … can be done by an appropriate mechanism, and specifically by a neural mechanism—and that even one, definite mechanism can be ‘universal.’ Inverting the argument: Nothing that we may know or learn about the functioning of the organism can give, without ‘microscopic,’ cytological work any clues regarding the further details of the neural mechanism.”
    5. Lettvin, along with the young neuroscientist Patrick Wall, joined McCulloch and Pitts at their new headquarters in Building 20 on Vassar Street. They posted a sign on the door: Experimental Epistemology.
    6. In June 1954, Fortune magazine ran an article featuring the 20 most talented scientists under 40; Pitts was featured, next to Claude Shannon and James Watson.
    7. at the Second Cybernetic Conference, Pitts announced that he was writing his doctoral dissertation on probabilistic three-dimensional neural networks.
    8. Oliver Selfridge, an MIT student who would become “the father of machine perception”; Hyman Minsky, the future economist; and Lettvin.
    9. In the entire report, he cited only a single paper: “A Logical Calculus” by McCulloch and Pitts.

      First Draft of a Report on EDVAC by jon von Neumann

    10. Thus formed the beginnings of the group who would become known as the cyberneticians, with Wiener, Pitts, McCulloch, Lettvin, and von Neumann its core.

      Wiener always did like cyberneticians for it's parallelism with mathematicians....

    11. By the fall of 1943, Pitts had moved into a Cambridge apartment, was enrolled as a special student at MIT, and was studying under one of the most influential scientists in the world.
    12. it had been Wiener who discovered a precise mathematical definition of information: The higher the probability, the higher the entropy and the lower the information content.

      Oops, I think this article is confusing Wiener with Claude Shannon?

    13. Which got McCulloch thinking about neurons. He knew that each of the brain’s nerve cells only fires after a minimum threshold has been reached: Enough of its neighboring nerve cells must send signals across the neuron’s synapses before it will fire off its own electrical spike. It occurred to McCulloch that this set-up was binary—either the neuron fires or it doesn’t. A neuron’s signal, he realized, is a proposition, and neurons seemed to work like logic gates, taking in multiple inputs and producing a single output. By varying a neuron’s firing threshold, it could be made to perform “and,” “or,” and “not” functions.

      I'm curious what year this was, particularly in relation to Claude Shannon's master's thesis in which he applied Boolean algebra to electronics.

      Based on their meeting date, it would have to be after 1940. And they published in 1943: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02478259

    14. I really like this picture here. Perhaps for a business card? http://static.nautil.us/5236_78289d91e9c4adcf4e97d6b3d4df6ae0.jpg

    15. McCulloch and Pitts wrote up their findings in a now-seminal paper, “A Logical Calculus of Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity,” published in the Bulletin of Mathematical Biophysics.
    16. “an idea wrenched out of time.” In other words, a memory.
    17. McCulloch and Pitts alone would pour the whiskey, hunker down, and attempt to build a computational brain from the neuron up.

      A nice way to pass the time to be sure.

    18. Gottfried Leibniz. The 17th-century philosopher had attempted to create an alphabet of human thought, each letter of which represented a concept and could be combined and manipulated according to a set of logical rules to compute all knowledge—a vision that promised to transform the imperfect outside world into the rational sanctuary of a library.

      I don't think I've ever heard this quirky story...

    19. McCulloch and Pitts were destined to live, work, and die together. Along the way, they would create the first mechanistic theory of the mind, the first computational approach to neuroscience, the logical design of modern computers, and the pillars of artificial intelligence.

      tl;dr

    20. McCulloch was a confident, gray-eyed, wild-bearded, chain-smoking philosopher-poet who lived on whiskey and ice cream and never went to bed before 4 a.m.

      Now that is a business card title!

    1. But that post-digital lens asks us to look beyond the “twitter is a cesspool” argument.

      This is important because even well meaning and thoughtful platforms like micro.blog could have bad actors once they reach scale. Working on this separate and broader issue can mitigate those eventualities.

    2. Social media is not a thing that needs to be fixed. People connecting with people is a thing. Jerks are a thing. Jerks are not a digital problem. Jerks are a real-world problem that has been around for a long time. We need to get past the digital and fix our real-world jerk problem. And, as we go along, we have to think about how our systems help create those jerks.
    1. Walter Pitts was pivotal in establishing the revolutionary notion of the brain as a computer, which was seminal in the development of computer design, cybernetics, artificial intelligence, and theoretical neuroscience. He was also a participant in a large number of key advances in 20th-century science.
    1. Found reference to this in a review of Henry Quastler's book Information Theory in Biology.

      A more serious thing, in the reviewer's opinion, is the compIete absence of contributions deaJing with information theory and the central nervous system, which may be the field par excellence for the use of such a theory. Although no explicit reference to information theory is made in the well-known paper of W. McCulloch and W. Pitts (1943), the connection is quite obvious. This is made explicit in the systematic elaboration of the McCulloch-Pitts' approach by J. von Neumann (1952). In his interesting book J. T. Culbertson (1950) discussed possible neuraI mechanisms for recognition of visual patterns, and particularly investigated the problems of how greatly a pattern may be deformed without ceasing to be recognizable. The connection between this problem and the problem of distortion in the theory of information is obvious. The work of Anatol Rapoport and his associates on random nets, and especially on their applications to rumor spread (see the series of papers which appeared in this Journal during the past four years), is also closely connected with problems of information theory.

      Electronic copy available at: http://www.cse.chalmers.se/~coquand/AUTOMATA/mcp.pdf

    1. Agent Matt DelPiano has left the agency after 26 years to launch a full service management company, Calvary Management. All of his clients are expected to stay with him as he transitions.
  6. Feb 2019
    1. It’s simply better to link directly to your related content in a meaningful context, than to use a generic related posts box somewhere else on your page.
    1. But I think the secret is that somebody else does his flow for him. I mean, what are PR and advertising but flow, bought and paid for?
    2. Flow is ascendant these days, for obvious reasons—but I think we neglect stock at our peril. I mean that both in terms of the health of an audience and, like, the health of a soul. Flow is a treadmill, and you can’t spend all of your time running on the treadmill. Well, you can. But then one day you’ll get off and look around and go: oh man. I’ve got nothing here. I’m not saying you should ignore flow! This is no time to hole up and work in isolation, emerging after years with your work in hand. Everybody will go: huh? Who are you? And even if they don’t—even if your exquisite opus is the talk of the tumblrs for two whole days—if you don’t have flow to plug your new fans into, you’re suffering a huge (get ready for it!) opportunity cost. You’ll have to find those fans all over again next time you emerge from your cave.

      This is a great argument for having an author platform.

    3. But I actually think stock and flow is a useful metaphor for media in the 21st century. Here’s what I mean: Flow is the feed. It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that reminds people you exist. Stock is the durable stuff. It’s the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today. It’s what people discover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, building fans over time.
    1. For example, the idea of “data ownership” is often championed as a solution. But what is the point of owning data that should not exist in the first place? All that does is further institutionalise and legitimate data capture. It’s like negotiating how many hours a day a seven-year-old should be allowed to work, rather than contesting the fundamental legitimacy of child labour. Data ownership also fails to reckon with the realities of behavioural surplus. Surveillance capitalists extract predictive value from the exclamation points in your post, not merely the content of what you write, or from how you walk and not merely where you walk. Users might get “ownership” of the data that they give to surveillance capitalists in the first place, but they will not get ownership of the surplus or the predictions gleaned from it – not without new legal concepts built on an understanding of these operations.
    2. It is no longer enough to automate information flows about us; the goal now is to automate us. These processes are meticulously designed to produce ignorance by circumventing individual awareness and thus eliminate any possibility of self-determination. As one data scientist explained to me, “We can engineer the context around a particular behaviour and force change that way… We are learning how to write the music, and then we let the music make them dance.”
    3. We saw the experimental development of this new “means of behavioural modification” in Facebook’s contagion experiments and the Google-incubated augmented reality game Pokémon Go.
    4. Larry Page grasped that human experience could be Google’s virgin wood, that it could be extracted at no extra cost online and at very low cost out in the real world. For today’s owners of surveillance capital the experiential realities of bodies, thoughts and feelings are as virgin and blameless as nature’s once-plentiful meadows, rivers, oceans and forests before they fell to the market dynamic. We have no formal control over these processes because we are not essential to the new market action. Instead we are exiles from our own behaviour, denied access to or control over knowledge derived from its dispossession by others for others. Knowledge, authority and power rest with surveillance capital, for which we are merely “human natural resources”. We are the native peoples now whose claims to self-determination have vanished from the maps of our own experience.
    5. In this way they have come to dominate what I call “the division of learning in society”, which is now the central organising principle of the 21st-century social order, just as the division of labour was the key organising principle of society in the industrial age.
    6. The result is that these new knowledge territories become the subject of political conflict. The first conflict is over the distribution of knowledge: “Who knows?” The second is about authority: “Who decides who knows?” The third is about power: “Who decides who decides who knows?”
    7. As it turns out his vision perfectly reflected the history of capitalism, marked by taking things that live outside the market sphere and declaring their new life as market commodities.
    8. Historians call it the “conquest pattern”, which unfolds in three phases: legalistic measures to provide the invasion with a gloss of justification, a declaration of territorial claims, and the founding of a town to legitimate the declaration.
    9. The Age of Surveillance Capital is a striking and illuminating book. A fellow reader remarked to me that it reminded him of Thomas Piketty’s magnum opus, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, in that it opens one’s eyes to things we ought to have noticed, but hadn’t.

      Of course it doesn't hurt that both its size and the cover art are both reminiscent of the book as well.

    10. The combination of state surveillance and its capitalist counterpart means that digital technology is separating the citizens in all societies into two groups: the watchers (invisible, unknown and unaccountable) and the watched. This has profound consequences for democracy because asymmetry of knowledge translates into asymmetries of power.
    1. 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.

    2. The feed readers. Just as the RSS standard spawned lots of “reader” and “aggregator” software, so there should be similar feed readers for the various data standards described in (1) and the publishers described in (2). While publishers might have built-in readers (as the social media giants all do), the publishing and reading feature sets need to be kept independent, if you want a completely decentralized system.

      I've outlined a bit about how feed readers could be slighly modified to do some of this in the past: https://boffosocko.com/2017/06/09/how-feed-readers-can-grow-market-share-and-take-over-social-media/

    3. But how do we make it happen?

      Larry, I caught your Twitter conversation with Aaron Parecki earlier about IndieWeb. I've added a lot of the open specs he referenced to my own WordPress website with a handful of plugins and would be happy to help you do the same if you like.

      If nothing else, it'll give you some direct experience with how the decentralized nature of how these things work. I'm posting my reply to you own my own site and manually syndicating the reply (since you don't yet support webmention, one of the protocols) which will give at least some idea of how it all works.

      If you're curious about how you could apply it to your own WordPress site, I've collected some research, articles and experiments specific to my experience here: https://boffosocko.com/research/indieweb/

    4. We can look at a later iteration of Everipedia itself as an example. Right now, there is one centralized encyclopedia: Wikipedia. With the Everipedia Network, there will be a protocol that will enable people from all over the web to participate in a much broader project.

      As I look at this, I can't help think about my desire to want to be able to link to a wiki in a post and have a Webmention added to that post's "See Also" or reference section. With the link automatically added to the wiki's page like this, future readers and editors could have access to my original and could potentially synopsize and include details from my post into the wiki's article.

    5. The social media browser plugins. Here’s the killer feature. Create at least one (could be many competing) browser plugins that enable you to (a) select feeds and then (b) display them alongside a user’s Twitter, Facebook, etc., feeds. (This could be an adaptation of Greasemonkey.) In other words, once this feature were available, you could tell your friends: “I’m not on Twitter. But if you want to see my Tweet-like posts appear in your Twitter feed, then simply install this plugin and input my feed address. You’ll see my posts pop up just as if they were on Twitter. But they’re not! And we can do this because you can control how any website appears to you from your own browser. It’s totally legal and it’s actually a really good idea.” In this way, while you might never look at Twitter or Facebook, you can stay in contact with your friends who are still there—but on your own terms.

      This is an intriguing idea. In particular, it would be cool if I could input my OPML file of people I'm following and have a plugin like this work with other social readers.

    1. You can think of creating sets of posts and sets of blogs as the network infrastructure - aiding discovery and exploration of the network. This is of course only possible with stable addresses (i.e. URLs!).

      Let's bring back the blogroll!

      I'm also enamored of directories like https://indieweb.xyz/en

    2. Secondly, it implies that the connection between the nodes is important. Every blog and every post can live as both node and as connection. What does that mean? It means you can write a post that is directed within the network. If you want to get on the radar of a blogger - write about their ideas and reference them. The lowly hyperlink is a connective tissue that creates a network graph between the nodes.

      One of the most valuable things I've discovered about Webmention is that it creates bi-directional links on the network. Sometimes these links are minor and just give me the location I initially saw something, but other times, they're far more substantial.

    1. What am I missing about annotations for the web?

      They're not as wide spread certainly, but several people within the IndieWeb have been experimenting with annotations, and Webmention in conjunction with text fragments called fragmentions. In particular, Kartik Prabhu probably has one of the best examples and his site is able to take webmentions to fragments and show them in the margins in his site (much like Medium does).

    2. There’s also a robust ecosystem of tools to follow users, monitor site annotations etc.

      Wait? What!? I've been wanting to be able to follow users annotations and I'd love the ability to monitor site annotations!! (I've even suggested that they added Webmention before to do direct notifications for site annotations.)

      Where have you seen these things hiding Tom?

    3. Especially on mobile.

      I've found in the past that highlighting on Chrome for Android was nearly impossible. I've switched to using Firefox when I need to use hypothes.is on mobile.

    1. Some other interesting wikis Credit for inspiration for this whole project comes from a variety of wikis and wiki-like collections on the web: buster.wiki/ - Strong design and everything has a date by the looks of it which enables an RSS feed. Very polished and thought through. are.na - A platform that all the cool kids use for building personal knowledge libraries. Lightly social, perhaps the right answer but slightly questionable if they’ll be around for a long time. Ymmv. Brendan’s /canon - this was part of the original inspiration for me. A curated list of pure stock - things that Brendan returns to again and again. He has a template you can copy too. Worrydream’s quotes page - just a massive list of interesting quotes collected by Brett Victor. Notice how being one giant page makes it instantly searchable. daywreckers.com - from Ben Pieratt, not quite a wiki but a very minimal site designed to collect the dots. A daily visit from me. derek sivers’ daily journal - a post from Derek Sivers on how to keep a text-file long-term store for your ideas and notes. And there’s lots more too - this twitter thread has a whole bunch of interesting rabbit holes. And, you can of course find this list of wikis on my wiki :)

      An interesting list here to be sure.

      As I'm thinking about it I also have to think about not only my own blog cum commonplace book, but I do also keep a private digital set of structures in OneNote (primarily) as well as some data Evernote which serve a lot of the same functionality.

    2. A blog without a publish button I’m stealing this quote from my modern friend Ryan also has a nice little idea for modern friends as being something between internet stranger and ‘actual friend’. That’s me and Ryan Ryan Dawidjan who has been pioneering this concept of open-access writing and blogging without a publish button. For a long time he has maintained a quip file called high cadence thoughts that is open access and serves as a long-running note of his thinking and ideas. It’s a less-performative version of blogging - more of a captain’s log than a broadcast blog. The distinction will come down to how you blog - some people blog in much the same way. For me however blogging is mostly performative thinking and less captain’s log. So I am looking for a space to nurture, edit in real time and evolve my thinking.

      I like the idea of a blog without a publish button. I do roughly the same thing with lots of drafts unpublished that I let aggregate content over time. The difference is that mine aren't immediately out in public for other's benefit. Though I do wonder how many might read them, comment on them, or potentially come back to read them later in a more finished form.

    3. Catch up by reading my last post of digital streams, campfires and gardens.

      I immediately thought of a post from Mike Caulfield (Hapgood). Interesting to see that Tom has already read and referenced it in his prior post.

    1. How do you manage information flows? If anyone is using a personal wiki-style long term information tool I’d love to hear from you!

      I've got a handful of interesting things bookmarked here: https://boffosocko.com/tag/wikis/ which includes a rabbit hole of a request similar to your own.

    2. Campfires - mostly blogging for me, though I know some folks gather around private slack groups too. My blog functions as a digital campfire (or a series of campfires) that are slower burn but fade relatively quickly over the timeframe of years. Connection forming, thinking out loud, self referencing and connection forming. This builds muscle, helps me articulate my thinking and is the connective tissue between ideas, people and more. While I’m not a daily blogger I’ve been blogging on and off for 10+ years.
    1. ‪if you’re ever feeling down, just remember that the greatest talents of our time were all once consistently fooled by peek-a-boo ‬
    2. I blog to share and learn. rarely teach. I think the imposed pressure on the latter keeps a lot of blog posts from great people hidden - lost tweet from spring 2015
    1. Julie Beck argues that unless we do something with what we have read within 24-hours then we often forget it.

      For a while I've been doing PESOS from reading.am to my website privately. Then a day or so later I come back to the piece to think about it again and post any additional thoughts, add tags, etc. I often find that things I missed the first time around manage to resurface. Unless I've got a good reason not to I usually then publish it.

    1. By colorizing their photographs, they become less abstract. They are no longer just representing something old, a historical event that happened so many years ago. Marina Amaral

      We're almost always moved more by the individual than the aggregate. This is also what made the recent photo of the Yemini girl so moving and valuable.

    1. resurgence of blogging
    2. Professional blogging; whether that be funded by advertisers, subscribers, fans – is a big business. What are your thoughts on how Micro.blog helps or ignores people or businesses that may want to use the platform to share their content and earn a living from it?
    1. What happened is that Spotify dragged the record labels into a completely new business model that relied on Internet assumptions, instead of fighting them: if duplicating and distributing digital media is free (on a marginal basis), don’t try to make it scarce, but instead make it abundant and charge for the convenience of accessing just about all of it.
    1. However, a healthy news ecosystem doesn’t just require a thriving free press, it also needs a diversity of curators, newsletters and content discovery options that enable the weird and wonderful to surface. We want to use Nuzzel as a test kitchen to see what models works for curators as well as content creators. The simple goal is a sustainable open web where the goals of creators, curators and consumers are aligned around the best possible experience.

      This sounds exciting to me and could dovetail with efforts of many with respect to IndieWeb for Journalism.

    2. First, Nuzzel is goddamned awesome.

      Amen

    1. If you would like to comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Culture, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.

      So sad to see that they've abrogated their responsibility for comments on their site to Twitter and Facebook

    1. This a harrowing story made even sadder by the grim reality of the statistics.

      I'm almost losing count of how many racial health disparity stories I've been seeing lately. It's so common I've got tags for it on my site now.

      https://boffosocko.com/2019/01/09/i-was-pregnant-and-in-crisis-all-the-doctors-and-nurses-saw-was-an-incompetent-black-woman-time/

    2. Learning and Teaching Letter Grades are the Enemy of Authentic & Humane Learning: Bernard Bull discusses how grades work against authentic and self-determined learning. Although they are ingrained in education, he recommends considering the aspects of life free from grades and having these conversations with others. What is interesting is this is only one post being shared at the moment. Bill Ferriter shared his concerns about the association between standard grades and fixed mindset, while Will Richardson argues that grades only matter because we choose to let them matter.This continues some of the points discussed in Clive Rose’s book The End of Average and Jesse Stommell’s presentation on grades and the LMS. It is also something that Templestowe College has touched in the development of alternative pathways to higher education.

      Thanks for aggregating a variety of sources here!

      I'd recently come across Robert Talbert's post <cite>Traditional Grading: The Great Demotivator</cite> which likely fits into this same sub-topic.

    3. eating in a ‘twelve hour window’

      Ha! I recently ran across sever people pushing fasting apps including one called Zero which encourages fasting for 16 hours (or essentially skipping one meal a day.)

      Many have been quietly pushing this for the past few years in relation to things like the paleo diet, etc. I'll also note that Nassim Nicholas Taleb has mentioned something like it frequently (since you mention flaneuring below).

    4. Are there any other texts that you would add to my list to guide my personal inquiry this year?

      You might take a quick search into some of the writings of Nassim Nicholas Taleb relating to the idea. He mentions some of the benefits of being a flâneur interspersed in several of his books as side topics, but I'm sure he's got to have an essay or two on the overall topic.

      He's one of the people I've noticed using the word (in his case as a title which he might put as a profession on his business card) in the past 20 years who seems to have brought it to the social forefront to the point that many of your other references have been influenced by it.

      I think there's a lot to be learned about the overarching idea, so I'm interested to see what you come up with on an extended survey of the word as you progress.

    5. This makes me wonder about the realities of Australia’s indigenous people and and systemic inequality in Australia’s society.

      You might be interested in the last section of a recent episode of <cite>On the Media</cite>. It discusses a documentary (bordering on reality show) relating to indigenous peoples of Canada, which I think made brief mention of Australia and a similar project there. While I'm sure there are some very striking differences between these indigenous peoples, there are also some not surprising similarity in the ways in which they are exploited and marginalized.

      In general I liked the idea of what the documentary was and represented and wish there were versions for other countries.

    6. interview with John Naughton, Shoshana Zuboff touches on the feeling of ‘informed bewilderment’
    7. A return to RSS or is there something else again in the development of the web?

      There are other options out there, though in many cases distribution is uneven. There are new specs like JSONFeed which many sites and feed readers support just in the last year.

      There are also simpler methods than RSS now including the microformats-based h-feed which one can use to create a simple feed that many feed readers will support.

      Part of RSS's ubiquity is that it is simply so prevalent that most common CMSs still support it. The fact that the idea of RSS is so old and generally un-evolving means there isn't a lot of maintenance involved once it's been set up.

    1. Responding to Axios' reporting, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders emailed this statement: "President Trump has a different leadership style than his predecessors and the results speak for themselves."

      They just don't say very much or anything very good.

  7. Jan 2019
    1. Maintaining a website that you regard as your own does require maintenance. Like a garden, you may choose to let a few weeds flourish, for the wildlife, and you may also seek to encourage volunteers, for the aesthetics. A garden without wildlife is dull, a garden without aesthetics is pointless.