Linked List Archive

The Initial Charge Linked List is a collection of notable links and brief commentary, with entries regularly added throughout the week.

TikTok’s Secret ‘Heating’ Button Can Make Anyone Go Viral ➝

Emily Baker-White, reporting for Forbes:

For years, TikTok has described its powerful For You Page as a personalized feed ranked by an algorithm that predicts your interests based on your behavior in the app.

But that’s not the full story, according to six current and former employees of TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, and internal documents and communications reviewed by Forbes. These sources reveal that in addition to letting the algorithm decide what goes viral, staff at TikTok and ByteDance also secretly hand-pick specific videos and supercharge their distribution, using a practice known internally as “heating.”

We’d be foolish to assume this is only happening on TikTok. I would expect Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and others to have similar systems.

Any social algorithm that goes beyond a simple reverse chronological timeline should be treated with skepticism by default and avoided whenever possible.

(Via Roger Stringer.)

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Siri Remote Connection Issues With New Apple TV 4K ➝

Tim Hardwick, writing for MacRumors:

An increasing number of third-generation Apple TV 4K owners are reporting connection issues with the Siri Remote that are only temporarily resolved by either restarting the remote or power cycling the set-top box.

I’ve been experiencing this lately. It’s annoying, to say the least.

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Twitterrific Has Been Discontinued ➝

Twitter acquired Tweetie in April 2010. Prior to that acquisition, the only native Twitter apps available were developed by third-parties. And now, they are explicitly prohibited by Twitter’s API policies.

Twitterrific was the first mobile Twitter app — originally developed during the jailbreak days before the App Store even existed.

It’s sad that it happened like this, but honestly, I’m not sure if the backlash would have been much different if Twitter chose a different path. If it was announced ahead of time, if access required a Twitter Blue subscription, if ads were introduced to the API feeds, or what have you.

There’s a group of users that exclusively interacted with Twitter through third-party apps and I can’t imagine any scenario where changes wouldn’t have resulted in a backlash and a very high attrition rate. I don’t agree with it, but I can see how someone at Twitter could come to the conclusion that it would be better to just cross their fingers and do it quietly.

The silver lining in this, though, is that talented developers that have spent years in an adversarial relationship with their API maintainers can move on to build bigger and better things. The folks at Tapbots are already well on their way to launching Ivory and hopefully Iconfactory will focus this newfound development time toward something neat as well.

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Medium Launches a Mastodon Instance ➝

Tony Stubblebine, writing on Medium:

Today, Medium is launching a Mastodon instance at to help our authors, publications and readers find a home in the fediverse. Mastodon is an emerging force for good in social media and we are excited to join this community.

They launched their own instance rather than building ActivityPub into Medium itself. My instinct tells me this isn’t the right choice, but there’s value in having a variety of implementations. We’re in the early days and there’s plenty of room for experimentation.

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Ivory for iOS ➝

Tapbots, on their upcoming Mastodon app:

Ivory is currently in Early Access, which means there are features missing and we are actively building them while you get to use the app.

If you don’t like using software with missing features, we recommend you wait until we are out of Early Access and evaluate then. But you’ll be missing out on a lot of the fun!

They’ve also published a roadmap of what they’re working on or are planning to work.

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TopNotch for macOS ➝

It’s from the makers of CleanShot and simply turns your menubar black to hide the notch on your MacBook. I had been using Boring Old Menu Bar for this, but TopNotch is free and the menu bar icon doesn’t just randomly disappear on me like Boring Old Menu bar’s did.

(Via Chai.)

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Twitter’s Algorithmic Feed Becomes Default Timeline on iOS ➝

Tim Hardwick, writing for MacRumors:

In a change that is sure to draw the ire of some users, Twitter has removed the sparkle-shaped icon from the top-right of the app’s interface that let users switch between “For You” and “Latest” and replaced it with two tabs called “For You” and “Following.”

“For You” still shows users tweets from people they follow out of order, sprinkled with algorithmically suggested tweets from people they don’t, while “Following” shows tweets in pure reverse chronological order.

While the change technically makes it easier to switch timelines – users can now just swipe between them instead of tapping the star icon – users on iOS will now always see the algorithmic “For You” tab when opening the app, whether they want to or not.

I completely understand why Twitter wants you to use the algorithmic feed, but they should always give you an option to show a reverse chronological feed by default.

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Discovering Content on the Fediverse ➝

Alex Gleason:

When starting a brand-new server, the best approach is to follow _one person._One active user on a different server who you want to see; that’s all it takes. […]

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can follow two or three people!

The way your network grows is through follows and reposts. Your Fediverse feed is the collection of all users people on your server follow, and all the content they’ve reposted.

This is efficient. It contains only the posts you and your users want to see. It’s cost-effective, user-friendly, but it takes time. Like planting a seed, you have to give it the right environment and wait.

This is how I built out my follows after setting up a Mastodon instance in summer 2021. It takes patience, but it’s worth it.

I would also recommend routinely checking your server’s Profile Directory page and Explore tab — I do this about once each month. Unfollow some people that are no longer posting or that aren’t quite as interesting as you initially expected and follow some new people.

Over time you’ll craft an excellent home timeline and you’ll have more opportunities to discover even more new users through your new follows’ boosts.

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