Tag Archive for ‘Social Networks’

Are We Digital Nomads? ➝

JF Martin:

In the last few months, on Twitter and on Micro.blog, I’ve been witnessing something that takes the shape of a small phenomenon: people are moving from one place to another in the digital space.

Yes. Although sometimes it feels like we’re more akin to digital refugees.

➝ Source: numericcitizen.micro.blog

Micro.blog, a Calmer, Happier Version of Twitter ➝

Andrew Doran:

You don’t actually need to host your content on micro.blog. I’ve had my own blog for many years, and have recently started to take my content off of other platforms such as Instagram and Goodreads and host it myself — I want my content on my own platform, not somebody else’s. If you have an existing blog like I do, you can create an account and link it to your existing website via an RSS feed. Any post you write on your own blog then gets posted to your micro.blog account, and syndicated to wherever you want it to go.

Micro.blog is an absolute joy. And I love how much the service encourages you to own your presence on the web. Letting you publish on your own site first and syndicate to Micro.blog, offering cross-posting functionality, supporting Webmentions — it essentially facilitates all of the most important feedback and consumption features from traditional social networks, but it does so by building on top of independent publishing.

I want more tools, services, and apps to be built in this spirit.

➝ Source: andrewdoran.uk

Remember AltStore? ➝

Bill Ottman of Minds recently revealed that the social network’s application was at risk of being removed from the Google Play Store. Their developers pushed a version that removed search, discover, and comment functionality, which was accepted. They also released an update for iOS to match the changes on Android — I suspect in anticipation of similar concerns from Apple.

I’m not too familiar with Minds, I’ve only really heard about it in the past week or so. But from what I’ve seen, it seems fairly tame when compared to very easily discoverable content on Twitter, which doesn’t even seem close to being at risk of App Store removal.

But in my poking around Minds, I saw Bill Ottman mention AltStore — an application and service that smooths out the rough edges for sideloading apps on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. I forgot it even existed.

But now I’m curious about how much of a role AltStore could have going forward. And how welcoming they’ll be to some of these more controversial social applications.

If the folks at Parler or Minds start releasing their apps in AltStore, will Apple make more of an effort to prevent the sort-of loop hole from being utilized? Will there be pressure on Apple to allow apps from non-App Store sources? Will their be similar pressure in the opposite direction?

➝ Source: altstore.io

The Invisible Hand

John Gruber, on the difference between Facebook and algorithm-free anonymous message boards:

We instinctively think that 8kun is “worse” than Facebook because its users are free to post the worst content imaginable, and because they are terribly imaginative, do. It feels like 8kun must be “worse” because its content is worse — what is permitted, and what actually is posted. But Facebook is in fact far worse, because by its nature we, as a whole, can’t even see what “Facebook” is because everyone’s feed is unique. 8kun, at least, is a knowable product. You could print it out and say, “Here is what 8kun was on December 29, 2020.” How could you ever say what Facebook is at any given moment, let alone for a given day, let alone as an omnipresent daily presence in billions of people’s lives?

John’s gone off the rails a bit when it comes to some of his writing lately, including some portions of this piece, but I agree with this specific section.

8kun, 4chan, and sites of their ilk are more honest than Twitter and Facebook because they’re a known quantity. You know what you can expect when you go there. Their open and anonymous nature means that they’re filled with some pretty despicable content, but everyone’s words are on equal footing and there’s no algorithms influencing what you see. There’s no platform using their weight to condone or discredit any of the commentary. The speech is what it is.

But with Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube there is an invisible hand influencing what you do and don’t see. And because of this, it’s impossible to truly know what people with opposing viewpoints actually think and what information you should or shouldn’t pay attention to.

Every person is influenced by their surroundings — their friends, family, the shows they watch, the publications they read, and so on. You as a person and the opinions you form about, just about everything, are a product of what you surround yourself with. And when you spend a fair amount of time scrolling through social networks where the invisible hand is deciding to some degree what you see, that invisible hand has a tremendous amount of influence on your world view.

But here’s where it gets even worse. One would assume that you could simply delete your Facebook account, stop visiting YouTube, and abstain from Twitter to prevent that influence from entering your life, but that’s not actually enough. When all of your friends and family use these services, they carry that influence with them and pass it onto you through their actions and communication. It’s practically inescapable.

I still hold out hope that the open web will prevail in the end. That these platforms will eventually fall out of favor as we collectively move toward technologies that let you own your content and control what you read without the influence of an invisible hand. It’s only a matter of time before the accessibility of the tools, level of frustration with existing platforms, and cost reaches a tipping point.

But if Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and others wanted to, at the very least, delay the inevitable, they could start deemphasizing the algorithmic timelines and move to reverse chronological feeds based on posts from your friends/follows. But I don’t expect that to actually happen. The services are fueled by engagement. And anything that diminishes engagement is doomed before it even has a chance to see the light of day.

The Danger of Platforms Categorizing Content as Misinformation ➝

Patrick Collison, writing on Twitter:

These platforms have tough jobs, no doubt. But I’m worried that the embrace of “misinformation” as a newly illegitimate category may have costs that are considerably greater than what’s apparent at the outset.

It’s dangerous for platforms to categorize content as “misinformation”, label it as such, and/or suppress its reach. What if they get it wrong? What if a commonly held opinion is the exact opposite of the truth and the people that are trying to share the evidence are being suppressed?

Perhaps you trust the current team in charge of classification, but what happens when those members are filtered out and a new group with more nefarious motives take over?

How can you be sure that you’re getting accurate information when it’s being filtered by a company that’s primarily motivated by “engagement”?

➝ Source: mobile.twitter.com

Digital Social Distancing

A handful of weeks ago I started unfollowing people on Twitter. Whenever someone consistently shared anything that made me upset or angry, whether I agreed with their position or not, I unfollowed them.

Before I started unfollowing, I made extensive use of Tweetbot’s mute feature to remove this type of stuff from my timeline. Initially doing so by muting some keywords, but too often things would slip through the cracks. So I began muting individuals for a period of timing — sometimes for a week, and other times for a month. But what that resulted in was the anger and frustration returning to my timeline once the mute filter lapsed.

So I began unfollowing. And some of the people I unfollowed are genuine friends of mine. But I’ve sort-of reached a breaking point. I was becoming more and more miserable with each passing day and my Twitter timeline — a place that used to be filled with links to neat applications, interesting gadgets, and positive ideas — was filled with political stories that just made me unhappy.

I don’t want to lose those friendships, though, I simply want to take a break from their ability to inject those sorts day-wrecking tweets into my life. So for every person that I unfollowed, I added them to a private list on my Twitter account. That way, once things have settled down a bit — hopefully in about a month or so — I’ll be able to refollow and start conversing more regularly again.

But I propose a term that can be used for this:

Digital Social Distancing: the act of distancing yourself from others on social networks — by unfollowing, muting, etc. — with the goal of preventing anger from infecting your mental health.

Instagram Rolls Out Suggested Posts to Create an Infinite Feed ➝

Nick Heer:

Instagram has been testing this for a while; suggested posts began showing up in my feed earlier this year. It tried something similar about two years ago, but stopped after some time.

This time, the change seems permanent, and irritates me so much that it singularly caused me to abandon Instagram. I signed up days after it launched, and posted often. I love the creativity that it encouraged. But I do not want to see photos in my feed from accounts I do not follow, and there is no way to turn this off.

This feature doesn’t appear to be implemented on the Instagram website, at least not yet. So one workaround would be to visit the site instead of launching the app. You could even add the site to your home screen, which will give you a more app-like experience without Safari’s browser chrome.

But the writing is on the wall. Instagram will only get worse with more features like this being added in the future. I’ve been toying with the idea of taking ownership of the platform in which I publish photos and this change on Instagram only further affirms my interest in doing so.

➝ Source: pxlnv.com

Surrendering Curation and Promotion ➝

Seth Godin:

The platforms are built on the idea that the audience plus the algorithm do all the deciding. No curation, no real promotion, simply the system, grinding away.

This inevitably leads to pandering, a race to the bottom.

This is a thought that I just keep coming back to, but I think we’d all benefit if there was a bit more activity on weblogs and a bit less activity on algorithm-powered social networks. Personal curation matters, taste matters, and algorithms will never be able to replicate it.