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The Linux of social media”—How LiveJournal pioneered (then lost) blogging

Like many eventual household names in tech, LiveJournal started as a one-man project on a lark, driven by a techy teenager with too much time on his hands.

Many” seems like a stretch, here. I think the modern cultural myth of the boy genius starting a big Internet thing is exactly that…a myth. Like most myths there is a glimmer or incipit bit of truth at the heart of it, but a myth does not define a pattern.

Canon Is An Abyss

On poop, wizards, authorial intent, the canon, the bible, and the abyss.

Complications arise, however, when authors write what amounts to fan fiction about their own works: aftermarket pieces which extend or challenge their previous output and what was assumed, perhaps incorrectly, to be the foundation they set. For better and worse a premium is placed upon authorial intent, and a creator issuing aftermarket canon is not unlike a contractor arriving at your house with a single brick and a mandate from the city, explaining You don’t necessarily need this, but we think the place would be better if we added it.”

And later on,

All fictional canon is abyssal. The difference between canons is how deep we are encouraged to look, and by what method that encouragement is delivered. Pottermore tweets are one kind of encouragement to stare into the abyss of Harry Potter; but some works are designed as deeply abyssal. Doctor Who, soap operas, Star Wars, many long running comic series and the Dark Souls games allow their audience to become like Crowley’s magician: to sacrifice themselves to the depths of canon, become lost in the infinite void of often paradoxical possibility. These works do not unknowingly or only occasionally beckon their audience into the abyss of canon but take it as their ongoing structural mandate.

Mystery still surrounds hack of PHP PEAR website

A compromised package manager seems pretty much like a worse case scenario situation. Throwback to the recent npm bruhaha.

Privacy Is Not Dying, We’re Killing It

Why hello-there provocative title! 👋

So we say we value privacy, but we hardly understand what we mean by it. Privacy flourishes in the attention economy to the same degree that contentment flourishes in the consumer economy, which is to say not at all. Quietly and without acknowledging as much, we’ve turned the old virtue into a vice.

Privacy in the digital-age” is such an interesting concept, rife with issue for sure, but also…intriguing. It seems like, maybe, privacy is something that is a) more valuable than it used to be, b) a creative act. If we desire to interact online, we have to construct our privacy intentionally. Set it aside, tend to it.

Why Paper Maps Still Matter in the Digital Age

With the proliferation of smartphones, it’s easy to assume that the era of the paper map is over…research reveals that the paper map still thrives in the digital era, and there are distinct advantages to using print maps.

🗺

Digital interfaces are good for acquiring surface knowledge.

📱

Print maps help you acquire deep knowledge faster and more efficiently.

🏃‍♀️💨

Ultimately, I don’t think it should be a competition between physical and digital. In the future, people will continue to need both kinds of maps. Instead of arguing whether paper or digital is a better map interface, people should consider what map is the right tool for the task.

🤝

In reply to: GitHub - RSS-Bridge/rss-bridge: The RSS feed for websites missing it

You’re not social when you hamper sharing by removing feeds. You’re happy to have customers creating content for your ecosystem, but you don’t want this content out - a content you do not even own. Google Takeout is just a gimmick. We want our data to flow, we want RSS or Atom feeds.

We want to share with friends, using open protocols: RSS, Atom, XMPP, whatever. Because no one wants to have your service with your applications using your API force-feeding them. Friends must be free to choose whatever software and service they want.

We are rebuilding bridges you have wilfully destroyed.

In reply to: Facebook Rebellion – RSS, Mastodon, and a longing for more options – Secret Geekery

It has been interesting watching the opinion of certain groups turn against Facebook. It seems wider spread than the usual ebb and flow of FB-directed skepticism (e.g. not just security conscious nerds this time). It is particularly interesting to see this happen now, as the IndieWeb seems to be at a generational inflection point, with the rise of services like Micro.Blog, Mastodon, and more folks rolling their own IndieWeb solutions everyday. My college was obsessed with a saying, supposedly coined by a founder: Pay attention to when you are uncomfortable, it means you are about to learn something.” Are we reaching a point of general discomfort on social networks? Are we about to learn something? 🤷‍♂️

I’ve been really drawn to the IndieWeb and Micro.Blog because they provide something that I feel is missing from my experiences on the mainstream social networks: community. Rather than a place for communal interaction, Facebook and Twitter are sources of anomie. I’ve played with Mastodon, but not found an instance I like (read as fit into”). But, it most certainly seems more community oriented than even Micro.Blog, which can lean to the mac-nerdy-app.net/serious side of the road.

In reply to: Marcelo Marfil - A love letter to emails

And at that point, I realized the problem was never the medium. Emails were designed to be nothing but a way to exchange messages between people. It was we who tried to turn it into some sort of hub for all of our junk.

How-to micro.blog, a micro.guide

I’m completely smitten. I’m in love with micro.blog. I’ve been using it for nearly a year and am more or less off of all other social media. I think micro.blog made me a developer. Before micro.blog came around I was a full time product designer and project manager, then micro.blog came along and I started hacking on my own CMS. Now I’m a full time PHP developer!?

To start

What is micro.blog?

At first glance micro.blog is like Twitter — a micro blogging service (clever name, eh?). But that isn’t all.

Micro.blog is both a micro blogging service and a blogging platform. What does this mean?

From a practical standpoint, this means that micro.blog users can post short, tweet-like posts, and longer wordpress-y posts…and photo posts (a la Instagram).

Users can also reply to one another, building threaded conversations starting from some initial post.

Quick recap

Micro.blog is a (micro)blogging service. With it, users can post short, tweet-length posts, photos, and long-form blog posts.

How-to

This is where things start to get interesting! Micro.blog is different from most any other service (that I’ve ever encountered) on the internet in that it isn’t a silo.

To use micro.blog you do indeed need to register an account (just an email, no password necessary).

(ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

After registering you’ve got to make a choice (a choice that you can change up at any time) — where do you want your content to live?

Brief digression

In the world of Facebook and Twitter you don’t choose where your content (posts, photos, comments, replies, etc.) are stored. They’re stored on Facebook/Twitter’s servers. Therefore, they own” your content. And your content becomes something they can mine.

Micro.blog is different. Your content lives wherever you want it to. As long as your content is accessible via RSS or JSON Feed, micro.blog can work with it.

Granted, there is a discussion to be had about data mining RSS feeds…but that’ll wait for another day.

How-to, continued

A micro.blog user-account is really just 1 or more RSS/JSON feeds all streamed through a single spot.

It allows you to aggregate RSS feeds into a single social feed” that represents you.

SO — back to that choice: where do you want your content to live?

Because it is also a blogging platform, micro.blog can host your blog for you for $5/month.

Alternatively, you can host your content elsewhere (e.g. using wordpress, tumblr, hugo, jekyll, coleslaw, etc.), and just add the RSS/JSON feed from that externally hosted blog to your micro.blog account. BOOM!

Up and running 🏃‍♀️💨

But how do you post?

Well — if you’ve opted for a micro.blog hosted blog you can post directly through the micro.blog website, or by using the micro.blog iOS or macOS apps, or even by using the dedicated photoblogging app, Sunlit 2.0.

If you’ve opted for a wordpress site, you can also create posts using the micro.blog iOS or macOS apps, and Sunlit 2.0, too! They’re interoperable 🕺

BUT WAIT!!! There’s more! All of the aforementioned apps (micro.blog iOS, macOS and Sunlit 2.0), are also micropub clients, so you can post to absolutely any micropub enabled website using them (that, however, is a longer discussion, so not fully explored in this here post).

Some closing notes

…this post ended up being a bad how-to” guide, and isn’t really all that micro in length 🤷‍♀️ 🌮

Micro.blog is young and still growing. It is by no means perfect, but @manton, @macgenie and co. are doing an awesome job on both the technical, and (more importantly) the social front. They’re doing a lot of really solid work building the community, striving for inclusivity, and thinking through design choices at these early stages that could have major ramifications down the road.

There can be a bit of a learning curve to get up and running with micro.blog, but, I’ve found the community to be wicked helpful, and they’ve got a great help blog that I imagine/hope will continue to grow, and become the go-to repository for all questions micro.blog.

In reply to: Mainstream use cases for a microblog

I’ve loved being part of micro.blog since launch, and am excited to see folks start adopting it more and more. At this point, it and Instagram are the only social networks I use.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my website, and what changes/enhancements I want to make to it down the road. 4 - 5 years ago I was a big fan of tumblr, and have been using my website in a similar manner: posting some short form content, some long form content, heaps of links, and images. Micro.blog seems to be wicked well situated for that sort of content.

P.S. If you want an invite to micro.blog, I’ve got a few!

In reply to: https://colinwalker.blog/2017/05/21/21052017-1205/

I love the framing here: as I understand it, Colin is saying that the indieweb is more social network-y than the big-name social networks because those are each self contained. With the indieweb there is a bona fide network. An ecosystem.

There’s been a whole heap of media coverage about how best to combat fake news. I think the indieweb and its associated tech. offer an interesting angle on the fake news question. Fake news…or propaganda (let’s call it what it is)…leverages the architecture of big-name social networks to disseminate misinformation as widely as possible. By their very nature, big-name social networks sort of obscure shared and re-shared contents’ root source. The importance is the share: my good bud shared it, therefore I’ll look at it.” The architecture of the indieweb on the other hand — and of the open internet — preserves the source. Threads lead back to point of origin.

This linking back to the source seems to be the current best practice, and I read about efforts to combat fake news by implementing blockchain. I wonder if the indieweb can rise to the challenge?