Posts tagged media

greatergood.berkeley.edu greatergood.berkeley.edu
"Shockingly, they found a positive and statistically significant relationship between the amount of coverage dedicated to mass shootings and the number of shootings that occurred in the following week."
I wish more people knew about the media contagion problem—especially people in the media.
slate.com slate.com
image from slate.com
Like the Ogilvy company meeting a few weeks ago, this is an inside look at employees pushing back against management decisions. It's fascinating to get insight into debates around language at a major media outlet like this. Language defines how we interpret the world, so this conversation is like watching people determine what is real.
nytimes.com nytimes.com
image from nytimes.com
Because there isn't much happening there? And maybe that's good?!
"Scaling job two – looking good at work – up to a social network creates a new sort of venue: a non–office office, with thousands of bosses, none of them yours, all of them potentially watching."
Interesting to consider the different social pressures at work on LinkedIn that aren't explicitly part of the service. (Sorry about the NYT paywall link—I'm trying to stop linking there.)
Vox Vox
The spectacle is merciless but can the media change that fact with selective attention? I like Ezra Klein's thought here:
"Perhaps offense and bigotry should be understood as Trump’s baseline — newsworthy, just as the central projects of other leaders are newsworthy, but not worthy of blanket coverage upon every utterance."
I also think this is partly what Beto O'Rourke was challenging when he lost his cool with the media: ‘What the F*ck?’ Is Right. The media feigning suprise at every new racist comment has worn thin.
Vox Vox
image from Vox
How those annoying ad blocks at the bottom of every article you read online work. Chumbox is the perfect name for them. I think the more we learn about how these things prey on our psyche the more immune we become.

ps. Corn, maybe.
Wired Wired
image from Wired
“In a connected, searchable world, it’s hard to share information about extremists and their tactics without also sharing their toxic views... Labeling extremist content or disinformation as ‘fake news’ doesn’t neutralize its ability to radicalize.”
This article describes the information contagion problem perfectly. I wonder if all information should come with specific instructions to stay grounded after consuming it.
OneZero OneZero
image from OneZero
"Remember ‘We’re the free speech wing of the free speech party’? How vain and oblivious does that sound now? Well, it’s the morning after the free speech party, and the place is trashed."
Fascinating interview with fourteen content moderators who have worked at various services like Google, Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook.
law.duke.edu law.duke.edu
image from law.duke.edu
Some art from 1923 is finally entering the US public domain after a 20-year extension passed by congress in 1998. In addition to a partial list of works here, check out the What Could Have Been section to feel the impact of that 1998 decision. They also have a good page about Why the Public Domain Matters.

My Year in Social Media

Last year around this time I talked about trying to stop contributing to corporate social media: Facebook-Free in Twenty Eightee-n. That went ok. I stopped using Instagram altogether. I posted three pictures to Facebook in 2018. I deleted my Twitter account in August (Twitter Breakup) and then went back and claimed my username so it couldn't be used for evil. (I got my username back too late to save the 11-year archive which is mildly annoying—but also ok.) And I do still read Twitter ocassionally through a significantly smaller window. I didn't post to Flickr at all. (That might change now that they're under new ownership.)

So that's some kind of progress. How is my current relationship with social media? To put it in meme terms:



Leaving social media does not make it go away. If you work on the web in any capacity (I do), the big sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google are omnipresent. It seemed like each week of 2018 brought a new jaw-dropping revelation of Facebook mismanagement. Google leaked user data, hid it, and employees were in the streets asking for fair working conditions. Twitter is a platform for Nazis because they incentivize engagement above all things and do not adequately handle abuse. I agree with Anand Giridharadas who posted this Twitter thread: "Trying to fight a predatory, politically connected monopoly through heroic personal responsibility doesn't work." We need regulation.

So that's depressing! I wouldn't call it heroic responsibility, but I did change my online habits quite a bit in 2018. I now read and post social messages via Mastodon which is a distributed kinder, gentler Twitter. I wish more people would make the switch so I could close my Twitter reading window altogether. I stopped posting photos online which is something I used to enjoy. I'll make an effort to post them here more frequently.

In October I did start posting more frequently to this site which means I also started paying more attention to my site metrics. Last week I made a snarky post about Google Analytics which was my poor way of processing this. I deleted it because the fact is, Google Analytics is a necessary tool if you work on the web. Necessary, but I don't like the way it turns people into numbers. So that's a tension I'm trying to live with and the answer might be that I shouldn't use web marketing tools for personal projects. I'd like to have a way to know if what I'm writing here is being read and resonating, but not if it means getting alerts and notifications that traffic is dropping, engagement is lower, and people are bouncing away forever. There has to be a more humane way to visualize and engage with web audiences.

My wish for social media in 2019 is for new leadership at all of the major web companies. I don't think we'll ever see them disappear, nationalized, or regulated in a meaningful way. I'd like them to have a less central role in how we create and share online. I think some new leaders could steer the companies away from growth-at-all-costs toward a more ethical relationship with users. I'd like to see them usher in the era of maintenance! That's where they take the amazing tools they've built and optimize them to work within society.
motherjones.com motherjones.com
image from motherjones.com
This is a good summary of the twists and turns in the Facebook saga. What makes this article interesting to me is that Mother Jones discusses their own relationship with Facebook over the years. Facebook sent them lots of traffic at the height of "Facebook as news feed" and they profited from it. This kind of symbiotic media relationship is a big part of the Facebook story but most media outlets don't want to discuss it. For example see: CBC's longstanding tech columnist condemns the broadcaster's cozy relationship with Facebook. Companies are still driving traffic to Facebook every day by encouraging their users to connect and subscribe via Facebook. Those solicitations are an endorsement of Facebook. We should discuss this part of the system.
kottke.org kottke.org
If you missed the fallout from the latest revelations about Facebook, Jason Kottke has a good summary. Hiring a PR firm to create fake news to smear critics does transcend merely awful and puts them into the truly evil category. They made it! With all of this pressure to improve, Facebook feels like they're at war, but Josh Marshall asks: Who is Facebook at war with? Gina Bianchini thinks we'll see a renaissance in smaller social media because The Facebook Era is Over. I want to believe! (Maybe we'll all start blogging at LinkedIn instead?)
thecorrespondent.com thecorrespondent.com
image from thecorrespondent.com
The Correspondent is an effort to create a news organization funded by news consumers rather than advertisers. They're raising money Kickstarter-style with a goal of raising 2.5 million in 30 days. They also have a nicely designed site if you're into that sort of thing.
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