"…it turns out that at some point I'd previously set up Feedly, the app I chose (likely in a post-Reader hunt for a replacement), and so after I logged in, it pulled in news from sites I cared about back in the late 2000s. It was a nice moment to revisit the person I was then, but also it was a lightbulb going off in my head: Here was a feed! Of news! That's current! It felt familiar in a way that felt good, but also decidedly did not feel like Twitter."
100 emoji! I have been spending more and more time in my RSS reader after changing up the feeds a bit recently and it really is great seemingly secret old tech that still works.
The Verge
"Mastodon, a decentralized social media platform that many are turning to as a Twitter alternative, saw its userbase skyrocket from about 300,000 monthly active users to 2.5 million between October and November, Mastodon’s CEO, founder, and lead developer Eugen Rochko said in a new blog post."
Heh, flocked. That's a lot of people who are suddenly active on an ad-free network. They might get used to that! I'm volunteering a monthly amount to my Mastodon instance admins and I hope enough of that kind of direct support can keep the alternative social media lights on.
The Nation
"…prosecutors hold complete discretion over who gets charged, and those charging decisions (or declinations) are largely unreviewable. Donald Trump could have shouted “I ordered the Code Red” at the select committee, and Merrick Garland could still decide to hide under his desk instead of doing his job."
The very frustrating reality of the situation.
"Those founding fathers drafted a Constitution that denied the humanity of Edie and Nancy; it didn’t even consider them to be “persons”, and you want to tell me that the only way to properly interpret the Constitution is to endorse and adopt their value system without question? That might honor Madison, but it dishonors Edie and Nancy."
A story about how the justice system looks different when you value everyone it’s supposed to serve.
"During testing, with every response — such as clicking a button to indicate feeling depressed “more than half the days” over the last two weeks — a pixel sent Facebook the text of the answer button, the specific URL the user was visiting when clicking the button, and the user's hashed name, email address, phone number."
The targeted advertising industry has set up some ridiculous incentives for people to behave horribly toward other people.
"Now, awaiting Musk’s latest tweets, I find myself anxious that one of his former employees could be physically assaulted or worse over what the CEO is posting. I don’t know how, in that environment, to make little jokes about Google’s latest failed messaging app, or bad PR pitches, or any of the other bits I have been doing on Twitter forever. I don’t know how to pretend that what is happening is not actually happening. I don’t want to provide, even in the smallest of ways, a respectable backdrop against which hate speech against my fellow LGBTQ people, or Black or Jewish or any other people, can flourish."
Go for the bot mishap but stay for the excellent personal reporting in It’s time to start leaving Twitter behind.
The Atlantic
"Beyond Musk’s political affiliations, his actual political convictions—by which I mean the bedrock set of values, ideologies, and organizing principles through which he sees the world and wishes it to be structured—are a slightly different conversation. Here, I tend to agree with The Verge’s Liz Lopatto, who wrote recently that Musk doesn’t really have political beliefs, only personal interests. But one can have vapid or nonexistent political beliefs and still be a political activist. Political activism is about actions."
If someone behaves exactly like a far right activist it doesn't matter what they believe in their heart. Debate should center around known actions, not unknowable motivations.
"The post-Twitter platforms like Mastodon and Tumblr are E2E platforms, designed around the idea that if someone asks to hear what you have to say, they should hear it. Rather than developing algorithms to override your decisions, these platforms have extensive tooling to let you fine-tune what you see."
History is repeating in the social media world and Cory Doctorow provides the context. Chokepoint capitalism is a good term for something I didn't have a term for before.
"I’m not sure yet where I personally lie on the spectrum between the fediverse view and my default of learned helplessness in the face of unrelenting capitalism, but exposure to Mastodon changed my thinking about this project. I stopped referring to the people who would fork my repository as “users” and started calling them “participants”—a term which assigns them more agency and a sense of belonging to a collective whole."
Thoughtful essay by Liza Daly about how the existence of an alternative way of being online helped inform decisions about protecting people online.
danah boyd
"The debt financing around Twitter is gob-smacking. I cannot for the life of me understand what the creditors were thinking, but the game of finance is a next level sport where destroying people, companies, and products to achieve victory is widely tolerated. Historical trends suggest that the losers in this chaos will not be Musk or the banks, but the public."
Failure is a process—it doesn't happen overnight.
Clive Thompson
"This isn’t just a problem for Stack Overflow. In pretty much every other example where you see ChatGPT screwing up basic facts, it does so with absolute self-assurance. It does not admit a smidgen of doubt about what it’s saying. Whatever question you ask, it’ll merrily Dunning-Kruger its way along, pouring out a stream of text. It is, in other words, bullshitting."
Effortless bullshit. At scale. What could possibly go wrong?
"The likelihood that Congress will impose a deal along the lines of the presidential panel’s recommendations, or the tentative agreements, means that management has little incentive to agree to union demands."
Pretty wild that congress can just force a labor contract for rail workers. Knowing that congress will side with management means negotiating was never meaningful.
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