Dave Winer: Less Facebook is OK

Dave Winer: Less Facebook is OK

Dave is my blogging spirit animal. I like blogging, and I like sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, and Medium. Of those platforms, I get the most return from Facebook. But blogging AND sharing to Facebook and Google+ are just too much work. So I’m going to start focusing mainly on the blog, and just automatically share links to Google+ and Facebook, until those platforms become easier to deal with in conjunction with a blog.

I’m working on figuring out a way I can share short updates directly to those services and to the blog simultaneously. This will involve automated email and plenty of duck tape.

You’re welcome to leave comments here, or on Facebook or Google+. Or just stop reading, even if you’re a close friend or member of my immediate family. I do not require other people to participate in my peculiar hobby.

I will revisit this decision when it doesn’t seem to be working for me, or when the tools for sharing blog content to social media get easier to work with.

I’ll keep mirroring my posts to Tumblr and Medium because that’s easy.

And I’m still trying to figure out what to do about Twitter.

Vox: Wall Street’s unrealistic expectations created a crisis for Twitter

No sympathy for Twitter here. Twitter chose whether and when to go public. If Wall Street is being mean to Twitter, tough nuts. It should have been no surprise; this is how Wall Street works.

With Disney and Google supposedly bowing out of the negotiations, Apple uninterested and Salesforce tepid at best, perhaps the best option would be for Twitter to go private with owners that are happy with the company as it is now — a middle-sized Internet global media platform, rather than a Facebook-killer. But could such buyers be found? Or would any buyer expect meteoric growth?

(Timothy B. Lee, Vox)

Kathy Sierra says she lost nothing by quitting social media after receiving numerous death threats

Kathy Sierra says she lost nothing by quitting social media after receiving numerous death threats

Sierra was the target of a flood of graphic death threats over her blog about web design. Yes, that’s right — web design.

Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything podcast:

In 2007 writer, programmer, and horse trainer Kathy Sierra quit the internet because of misogynist hate trolling. She stayed off the social web for 7 years but last year she came back to see what Twitter was like. She tells us why she only lasted a few weeks and her theory about why so many women are targets online. Plus Danielle Keats Citron explains how we could use the law to drain the cesspool.

How to unplug when you should

Do you obsessively fiddle with your phone all the time? Win back some mental space with these tips – Michael Duran, Wired

I see many articles like this. They all recommend similar steps. Don’t put your phone in your pocket, keep it in your desk where you have to make some effort to get it. Go a couple of days without connectivity.

These tips are not helpful. Keeping my phone out of reach would create more problems than it’s worth, because it’s a legitimate inconvenience when my phone is out of reach. The problem is that I fiddle with the phone at times when I should be doing something else. THAT’S what I’m looking to control.

Going a few days without connectivity is like going without electricity. It’s doable. People call that “camping.” And it’s good for you. But it’s kind of a big deal. Not to be entered into casually.

One tip that is helpful: Turn off nearly all your notifications. You do NOT want to be notified when you get new email, a mention or comment on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. You just don’t.

Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds briefly suspended from Twitter, claims censorship

Reynolds reacted to reports that protesters in Charlotte are swarming the highways and surrounding cars. “Run them down,” Reynolds said. That was the tweet that got him suspended.

Reynolds explains:

I’ve always been a supporter of free speech and peaceful protest. I fully support people protesting police actions, and I’ve been writing in support of greater accountability for police for years.

But riots aren’t peaceful protest. And blocking interstates and trapping people in their cars is not peaceful protest — it’s threatening and dangerous, especially against the background of people rioting, cops being injured, civilian-on-civilian shootings, and so on. I wouldn’t actually aim for people blocking the road, but I wouldn’t stop because I’d fear for my safety, as I think any reasonable person would.

Twitter is quicker on the trigger to censor people on one side of the political chasm than the other, Reynolds says.

Later, he responds to a suggestion that “Keep driving” would have been a better tweet: “It would have been, and in only two words instead of three. But I’ve had over 580,000 tweets, and they can’t all be perfect.”

OPENED UP TWITTER TO SEE THIS: – Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit

Facebook, Twitter join network to tackle fake news

The coalition includes 30 media and technology companies, including Google, the New York Times, The Washington Post, and more.

Billion-dollar companies are openly conspiring to make sure we only find out what they decide is legitimate news. But it’s for our own good, so that’s nothing to be concerned about.

(Angela Moon, Reuters)

Today’s creative writing: Revised beginning of “The Reluctant Magician.” Total 5,130 words

I have changed my vision for both the main female character and the villain, and I wanted to go back and make what I’ve written so far fit that vision.

The alternative is writing notes to myself and going back to the beginning and revising when I get to the second draft. I’ve done that before on previous novels. It’s a slog. This way seems more fresh and lively.

What I’m doing is dangerous. I could end up revising and revising and never adding new material. But I’m making up my writing technique as I go (as well as making up the writing itself, of course).

Someone on Twitter asked me today about my creative writing technique, whether I write major scenes first or write in order. I said this time around I did a 3,000-word outline and from that I’m writing scenes in order.

On previous novels I wrote without an outline. I just wrote scenes in order. But that was like pulling teeth.

I’m trying to get to the point where creative writing is just something I do every day, with no drama. Like BRUSHING teeth, rather than pulling them.

Get Facebook (and Google+) to support the open Web

Dave Winer wants Facebook to support the open Web.

He wants Facebook updates to support embedded links, titles, enclosures, and styling such as italics and boldface.

I 100% agree. And it applies to Google+ too.

I create and publish my blog with WordPress, and syndicate it as far and wide as I can using the NextScripts Social Networks Auto Poster plugin. On Tumblr, the posts show up in very close to native format. The three social networks that are the worst for preserving original content are the three I care about most: Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

I’d settle for less than Dave. I’d be happy if Facebook and Google+ supported embedded links and blockquotes. And let me post using that formatting with a third-party app, like WordPress.

Twitter is a lost cause. It’s always going to have that 140-character limit. Twitter flirted with changing that, but changed its mind.

All I want to do is share my posts in ways so that people who want to see them can easily and conveniently do so. Why does it have to be so goddamn hard?

More from Dave:

Why Notes are not the answer. Very few people read Facebook notes, and there isn’t a standard API for writing to notes using an external program like WordPress or Dave’s own 1999.io.

“All silos are not equally silo-y”: Twitter is a silo, but you can link to a tweet from elsewhere and someone else can read it even if they aren’t logged in. On Facebook, that’s confusing and often not true.

Melania Trump had work visa when she modeled in the 90s, former agency says

Melania Trump’s former modeling agent says she obtained a work visa before she modeled professionally in the United States in the mid-1990s. Those comments came in response to questions about Mrs. Trump’s own remarks that appeared inconsistent with U.S. immigration rules….

In interviews earlier this year with MSNBC and for a profile in Harper’s Bazaar, Mrs. Trump’s comments appeared to be inconsistent with holding a work visa.

“I never thought to stay here without papers. I had a visa. I traveled every few months back to the country to Slovenia to stamp the visa,” she said during the MSNBC interview.

U.S. immigration law did not require such trips that Mrs. Trump describes for work-visa holders at the time. People who hold visitor visas would be required to leave the country on or before the end date of their authorized stay. U.S. law does not allow someone to use a visitor visa to regularly live and work in the country.

Mrs. Trump published a statement on Twitter on Thursday, disputing that she violated immigration laws. “I have at all times been in full compliance with the immigration laws of this country. Period. Any allegation to the contrary is simply untrue,” she wrote.

Seems likely that she was here and working legally. Maybe back in the 90s she overcomplied with requirements because she misunderstood them. Or maybe now she is misremembering events of 20 years ago.

(The Associated Press/CBS News)

A night with right-wing gay Internet troll Milo Yiannopoulos at the RNC

I’m With The Banned

Journalist Laurie Penny joins Yiannopoulos’s entourage at the Republican National Convention, the night he was banned from Twitter. “I’m a radical queer feminist leftist writer burdened with actual principles,” she says. “He thinks that’s funny and invites me to his parties.”

Penny describes the entourage:

There is Daryush Valizadeh, also known as Roosh V, self-styled leader in the “neo-masculinity” movement, author of a suspicious stack of sex travel guides and headline-hunting nano-celebrity in the world of ritualised internet misogyny. Roosh hates feminists for a living. He asks me what I’m doing here. I ask him the same question.

The interaction that follows is the most surreal episode in a deeply surreal evening. Roosh is tall and well-built and actually rather good-looking for, you know, a monster. I have opportunity to observe this because he puts himself right up in my personal space, blocking my view of the room with his T-shirt, and proceeds, messily and at length, to tell me what my problem is.

Number one: my haircut, and he’s telling me this as a man, makes my face look round. This is absolutely true. Number two: I seek to destroy the nuclear family, and disturb traditional relationships between men and women. This is also true, although I remind him that the nuclear family as it is currently conceived is actually a fairly recent social format. He insists that it’s thousands of years old, and asks me if I truly believe that it’s right for gay men to be able to adopt children. I tell him that I do. He appears as flummoxed by this as I do by his presence at what is supposed to be a party to celebrate Gay republicans. He’s here for the same reason I am: Milo invited him.

What surprises me about Roosh is that he seems to be a true believer. Unlike Milo, he appears to be—at least to some extent—convinced of the truth of what he’s saying. He is bitter and vindictive, convinced of his own victimhood as a self-made blogger who was never given his due by the mainstream media. He tells me that the reason I have a column is that I’m a useful idiot and all my readers have low IQs. I ask him if he’s negging me.

Even people who wear socks with sandals can now get verified Twitter accounts.

Twitter is opening account verification to everyone. I suppose I will apply eventually. But for now my snobbery and anti-snobbery are holding me back.

My snobbery is saying, “Now that it’s open to ANYONE, I certainly don’t want it!”

My anti-snobbery (which is really just another species of snobbery) is saying, “I don’t want to sit at the cool kids’ table. They’re all a bunch of jerks. It’s better to eat lunch here by the restrooms.”

And the practical part of me is saying I don’t see much value to that blue checkmark, and I have other things to do with my time than apply.

Historians look to preserve what’s said on social media for future generations

We look to the journals, notebooks, and private letters of past generations to find out what people were really thinking and doing. Now, social media serves that purpose. But preserving it is tricky, both technically and ethically.

Jenna Wortham, The New York Times:

In August 2014, Bergis Jules, an archivist at the University of California, Riverside, traveled to Washington for the annual meet-up of the Society of American Archivists. The day before the conference began, Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo. Jules, along with millions of others, found himself glued to Twitter for news, reactions and commentary. In the days that followed, hashtags like #IfTheyGunnedMeDown challenged the narratives presented by the mainstream media and prompted a national dialogue about racial stereotypes and police brutality. Jules teamed up with Ed Summers, a software developer in attendance, and started collecting tweets that included the word “Ferguson.”

As an archivist, Jules was struck by the way Twitter — and all social media, for that matter — is permanently altering the way we think about history. “We’re thinking ahead to how we’ll look back,” Jules says. He offered the example of how their project, DocNow, collected tweets tagged with #SayHerName, a campaign that emerged within the Black Lives Matter movement to make the movement more gender inclusive. For now, DocNow is focused mainly on Twitter, but Jules hopes it may be built out in the future to work elsewhere.

Social media might one day offer a dazzling, and even overwhelming, array of source material for historians. Such an abundance presents a logistical challenge (the total number of tweets ever written is nearing half a trillion) as well as an ethical one (will people get to opt out of having ephemeral thoughts entered into the historical record?). But this plethora of new media and materials may function as a totally new type of archive: a multidimensional ledger of events that academics, scholars, researchers and the general public can parse to generate a more prismatic recollection of history.

In March, I participated in a talk at the Museum of Modern Art about racial and gender disparity among Wikipedia contributors and how it influences the texture of the site. (Roughly 80 percent are men, and minorities are underrepresented.) Print out everything about the “Star Wars” universe, and you’ll have a heavy tome, but many notable abolitionists and female scientists are practically nonexistent. Considering that Wikipedia is the sixth-­most-­visited site in the world and increasingly treated like the encyclopedia of record, this problem seems worth considering. After the discussion, Kyra Gaunt, a professor and social-­media researcher, approached me. In her spare time, she maintains the “twerking” entry on Wikipedia, which is embroiled in a never-­ending debate about how to define the dance move. Is it more crucial to highlight its roots in black culture or Miley Cyrus’s impact on its mainstream popularity? Even new historical records like Wikipedia can be derailed by old biases reasserting themselves. At least Wikipedia publishes each page’s edit history, so as long as it can keep its servers running, there will be a rich catalog for future historians to see what we argued about and why.

The internet is pushing us ­— in good ways and in bad — to realize that the official version of events shouldn’t always be trusted or accepted without question. And historians are constantly updating the record by looking for primary sources that were overlooked in earlier eras, often from marginalized figures.

How an Archive of the Internet Could Change History

“I’m calling it: Social networking is over”

People are using messaging apps for updates from friends and family about their lives – in other words, people use those apps for “social networking,” says Mike Elgan on Computerworld. The former social networks are now social media, overwhelmed by professional media organizations sharing their content.

Another nail in the coffin for social networking: “the general world of online distractions, including YouTube videos, games, articles, podcasts and more.”

My blogging experiment: The history (which some of you already know about) and a status report

In late February I decided I wanted to control the posts I make to social media. For several years before then, I posted to Google+, and used a service called Friends+Me to copy, or syndicate, those posts to Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter.

This Google+-first strategy worked out well in a few ways. It was fun for me – and that’s the primary reason I do this, for fun, although I do get some professional benefits. I accreted a modest but decent-sized community. I got in some great conversations. I got in touch with old friends and stayed in touch with them, and made a few new friends.

But I was unsatisfied in that I didn’t control my posts. If Google+, Facebook, or those other guys disappeared or changed their business model to exclude me, I’d be screwed. Also, I couldn’t control the layout of posts. I couldn’t insert a simple link, or image, or video. And it was hard to find old posts when I wanted to refer back to something I’d written about in the past. Annoying.

I decided to go back to blogging, something I’d done sporadically before the social media era. I’d made a return to blogging once before in 2014, but went back to the Google+/Friends+Me method after a couple of months because I noticed all the conversations were happening on Google+, Facebook, and so on, so I figured there was no point in doing it on a blog.

This time, I had a reason to do it on the blog: Because it gave me control over my work. I hoped people would come to the blog to read and comment, but I’d be fine if the conversations continued on social media. Indeed, I’d be fine if the number of conversations reduced, because I was starting to get Internet-famous enough to attract rude strangers to my posts.

It’s been more than two months of the experiment. How’s it going so far?

Quite well, actually.

I still get in a lot of good conversations on social media and I have the blog, mitchwagner.com, as a hub. In addition to the pleasure of posting and conversations, I can fiddle around with WordPress, and its plugins and themes and stuff, which I like.

The joys and occasional awkwardness of unfollowing people on social media

And Now, I Unfollow Thee [Katherine Rosman – The New York Times]

I am aware of one person I admire, and with whom I’ve occasionally corresponded over email, who unfollowed me on Twitter a couple of years ago. This happened soon after I made a comment in an email conversation that could have been construed as bigoted.

I also noticed a few months ago that someone who I once considered a real-life friend had unfollowed me on Twitter, after I made a comment that could be construed as disrespectful to his profession.

In both of those cases, it could just be that they found they weren’t enjoying all the posts I make about 20th Century kitsch and technical computer networking news.

And of course the real question is why should I, as a grownup man with a wife and a dog, care about all this high school bullshit? And it’s not like I’m up nights worrying about it and sobbing into my pillow. It just occasionally pops up in my head. Why did those guys unfollow me?

Ironically, in real life social situations, when the conversation turns to social media, I often tell people yes I am very active on social media and it’s ok if they don’t follow me. And I mean it. I know my tastes are idiosyncratic and not for everyone. If you enjoy my posts, great, I’m delighted to have you in my little club of lunatics. If not, that’s fine too and we can still be friends.

 

Twitter’s big challenge is managing Wall Street expectations

Pasted_Image_4_28_16__8_13_AMIts user base is actually growing pretty well, the video strategy isn’t bad, and it’s got the NFL deal, Presidential election, and summer Olympics to look forward to. It has hundreds of millions of users. That can be the basis for a profitable, healthy service.

But Twitter is not going to reach Facebook-class – billions of users – for years, if ever. Twitter needs to convince its investors to go along with that, and not destroy the service in an effort to wring short-term returns out of it.

And it needs to convince advertisers of the same thing.

Photo: Eastern Bluebird, by Dehaan, CC BY-SA 3.0.