On living without social media

Well, mostly. I've been mostly without Twitter for a couple of months now. I haven't had a Facebook account for much longer than that. I stopped Instagramming when Facebook bought them. I've deleted the Twitter apps from my devices, and now if I want to check in I have to use the browser. Not having notifications or easy launching of a stream adds a bit of friction. I also have 2-factor authentication enabled, and logout after checking in, so dropping into twitter is deliberately kind of a pain in the ass. [Read More]

Birdcage liners - Joel on Software

Algorithms, tuned not to help readers but to help advertisers. Intermittent reinforcement tuned to maximize engagement/addiction. This is some scary shit, but it's the web in 2018. We can do better. But whereas Twitter sort of stumbled upon addictiveness through the weird 140-character limit, Facebook mixed a new, super-potent active ingredient into their feed called Machine Learning. They basically said, “look, we are not going to show everybody every post,” and they used the new Midas-style power of machine learning and set it in the direction of getting people even more hyper-addicted to the feed. [Read More]

Re-rethinking social media

I've been uneasy with the role that social media has in my life for a long time. One part information, one part connection with friends and colleagues, one part numbing, one part noise and abuse and racism and sexism. I don't know a healthy way to approach social media. I don't believe there is one. The concept is attractive - instant connection with people I know and love! Who wouldn't want THAT? [Read More]

2017 week 1 in review

Work The first week back after Christmas break - simultaneously slow and quiet, and intensely busy and productive. TI Learning Spaces We're working on improving the tech in the active learning studios in the TI - the biggest visible change is the addition of power bars (3 AC plugs and 3 USB plugs) on each station, so students don't have to engage in creative engineering to access the plugs in the floor boxes. [Read More]

Adam Croom - A brief pause from social media

For an undetermined amount of time, I'm going to be taking a break from most social media activity. Call it whatever you want: rest, recovery, therapy, need for a change of scenery, election fatique, information overload, a distraction. They are all correct. Source: A brief pause from social media. – Adam Croom Yup. I'm right there with you, Adam. I deactivated my Twitter and Facebook accounts about 10 days ago. [Read More]


I've been frustrated by how much time I burn away fidgeting with social media. Lately, it's been essentially a form of self-regulation or soothing as it feels like civilization is melting down. Trump stumbles to pronounce a 5-letter acronym fed to him on a teleprompter? Ugh. To Twitter! etc. The world isn't melting down. I need to snap out of the pattern of just pissing away time on social media. So, I've deleted the Twitter and Facebook apps from my phone and iPad. [Read More]

Community Detection on Twitter

I've been thinking a lot about how to visualize online presence and community. There are lots of great tools to do post-hoc analysis, but I'm thinking about something more realtime. It doesn't exist yet, though. In the meantime, I'm playing around with the current tools to get a feel for what stories they can pull from the social graph data. Yesterday, I followed the howto from Caleb Jones, to pull the social graph data from my Twitter account. [Read More]

Tent - distributed social networking

Via a post by John Gruber, Tent: Tent is a protocol for open, decentralized social networking. Tent users share content with apps and each other. Anyone can run a Tent server, or write an app or alternative server implementation that uses the Tent protocol. Users can take their content and relationships with them when they change or move servers. Tent supports extensible data types so developers can create new kinds of interaction. [Read More]

on commercial silo-ification of online discourse

I complain about twitter, facebook, and other corporate silos as much as the next person. If only there was some alternative… Something that didn't mine everything and everyone I know to sell that data to the highest bidder(s). One response to this has been the development of new private commercial silos, with barriers to entry (subscription fees, or invitation requirements) that are intended to keep out the riff-raff while letting the cool and worthy folks into the conversation. [Read More]