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Facebook isn’t even hiding its manipulation anymore

February 25, 2016 Category :Uncategorized Off

So this is where we’re at now with Facebook (from FACEBOOK REACTIONS, THE TOTALLY REDESIGNED LIKE BUTTON, IS HERE)

Commenting might afford nuanced responses, but composing those responses on a keypad takes too much time.

Go ahead and read the article if you need some background. In fact, there’s some information in there on how Facebook is going to use this new feature. Make no mistake, this is all about money for Facebook. It’s about keeping you engaged. For the longest time the idea behind social media (at least as we know it now) is that you traded your time (as in the time spent viewing or avoiding viewing ads) in exchange for the provided service. Your mileage may vary but this seems more like a ranch now, and we’re the cattle. You get fed a diet of palatable information in order to keep you around long enough to get some ad clicks. The difference is that what most people either assume or are willing to negotiate upon is the idea that they choose what they see. That went out the door a long time ago for Facebook and much more recently with Twitter (and their new non-chronological timeline and shadowbanning). The latest round of “like-emojis” is just one more step in the same direction, but for me it may be the final straw. I’ll decide for myself what I see from my social networks.

I’d just posted recently that I intend to use blogs more. It’s my content, it’s my website, and ultimately I favor having 10 people that actually give me a few minutes of their thoughts than hundreds who can’t even spare a second. And frankly there’s no reason to rely on centralized, corporate social networks anymore. While they certainly pushed the technology forward in terms of accessibility and features, these days most internet users have their own machines that could be online 24/7. And virtual servers are so cheap these days that $5/month will get you a server capable of hosting hundreds of moderate-load users. So, I’m stepping away from Facebook and Twitter. Not abandoning them; they still have some value. That value decreases each time an algorithm is used to decide for me what I should be seeing. Their days are numbered and I’m going to get with the future now.

I’ll probably make a real post later about GNU social and why it’s better than both Twitter and Facebook, and also has advantages over other decentralized, peer-to-peer social media networks. But until then, read up about it for yourself. Just keep in mind one thing: it’s designed to be a federation. You don’t run your own server in isolation. Each server, if a user there follows a user on another server, is networked together. You can easily follow people from different servers and interact with them all the same. People think each one is a twitter clone, running in isolation, and that you’d need an account on every server you want to use. Not so, one account allows you to follow, like, reply, and repeat (virtually) everybody else. It’s more like email. Just because somebody isn’t on your email server doesn’t stop you from sending to and receiving from them.

The more things change…

February 17, 2016 Category :Uncategorized Off

So I’ve decided to bring back this blog. Almost five years ago I intended to use it but never really got around to keeping up here. At the time I was still happy enough with existing social media. That’s changed. Facebook is fairly blatantly selling its users as ad consumers. Not an unfair practice but when money interests determine what you see from people online it’s fundamentally broken. It’s no longer social media, it’s consumer media. And twitter is just going to complete hell. They’ll be MySpace 2.0 before the end of next year if not much sooner. Five years ago the options for alternative social media were limited. I think Google+ just came on the scene and never really made it anywhere big other than continuing its existence because of a huge backing from the parent company.

Things have changed.

Diaspora* is a great idea but the entry barrier is a bit too high for most users. Synereo is still under development but it looks like people have figured out how to make social media have a heartbeat without basically being whored out to corporate interests. And most important GNU social is finding an increase in interest as twitter goes down. Long and short, I see the first big generation of social media giants collapsing soon. And as a technologically inclined person I want to be part of the future, so I figure why wait for things to get bad (Digg, what?) before finding something better.

There’s also a more philosophical reason. I read an article about a blogger who was imprisoned in Iran for writing about the government. He was recently let out after five or more years without access to the internet. He was shocked by what it had become in only a few short years. He mourned the loss of the “blogosphere” and the rise of the soundbite instant-gratification social media. And he was right about a lot of stuff. The “decline” of the internet (really, the users) over the last few years is probably related to being lead by shaped internet feeds. You get stuff fed to you instead of going out to find what you like.

So, I’m “returning” to blogging. These days it’s trivial to share links. If somebody really cares about what I have to say they’ll come here. That’ll be very few people. But it’ll be better for those who do want to see it and I’ll at least avoid polluting social media with uninteresting noise. Why try to have a conversation with 500 people who will give you only a second of their time if you could have a nice long talk with five people who actually care?

That all being said, I’m going to push the idea of jumping ship from Twitter and joining GNU social. That’s a topic for another blog post, but in short it’s more like social media really should be, like email. You choose your server/host but can still follow people on other servers. I’m @orobouros@loadaverage.org. That’s one server, there’s plenty others. (Avoid quitter, but again, that’s a story for another post.) Let me know if you sign up for GNU social and I’ll probably follow you back. It’s been great so far.