Tag Archives: facebook

Facebook. Sigh.

Quitting Facebook is often an act of the privileged. (Note that lower income teens are about twice as likely to use Facebook as teens from richer families.) It’s fine for white men like me to get pissy and leave because we have other outlets for our grievances and newsrooms are filled with people who look like us and report on our concerns. Without social media, the nation would not have had #metoo or #blacklivesmatter or most tellingly #livingwhileblack, which reported nothing that African-Americans haven’t experienced but which white editors didn’t report because it wasn’t happening to them. The key reason I celebrate social media is because it gives voice to people who for too long have not been heard. And so it is a mark of privilege to condemn all social media — and the supposed unwashed masses using them — as uncivilized. I find that’s simply not true. My Facebook and Twitter feeds are full of smart, concerned, witty, constructive people with a wide (which could always be wider) diversity of perspective. I respect them. I learn by listening to them.

Source: Facebook. Sigh. – Whither news? – Medium

This post echos a lot of thoughts I’ve had around Facebook and social media in general. There are so many more questions than answers right now.

Facebook PGP Email

Facebook just added optional PGP support for all their email notifications to users:

To enhance the privacy of this email content, today we are gradually rolling out an experimental new feature that enables people to add OpenPGP public keys to their profile; these keys can be used to “end-to-end” encrypt notification emails sent from Facebook to your preferred email accounts. People may also choose to share OpenPGP keys from their profile, with or without enabling encrypted notifications.Source: Securing Email Communications from Facebook

Serious kudos to Facebook for building PGP into their infrastructure. The fact that Email is transported in the clear is something that most people forget. I tried it this morning, and it works well.

Facebook’s Experiment

The internet is currently a fury on Facebook’s paper where they spent 1 week in 2012 an manipulated 0.1% of their users feeds to have them see more positive or more negative than average posts, and see what they produced in return. And they published the results here. A very solid summary at the Atlantic.

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This outrage seems a little odd, in contrast to the Freemium game explosion, which is all about being as brutally manipulative as possible to make you buy in app upgrades. Candy Crush basically is actively exploiting the same human weaknesses that creates gambling addiction. If we want to talk about ethics in computing right now, Freemium is something we need to have a very serious conversation about.

The study highlights how your filter bubble impacts your mood. If you are exposed to more positive content, you end up more positive. If you are exposed to more negative content, you end up more negative. Not by huge margins, but by noticable ones. Who you are is impacted by what you emotionally ingest. It shouldn’t be a surprising idea, but it does take something like Facebook to be able to measure the effect with enough controls to make sure it’s real.

If seeing a few minutes a day of more positive or negative content impacts your mood enough to get a reaction out of you, what else impacts it? Home; Work; Friends; Media. And what hacks can you do to impact it yourself.

Is Google+ just another Chrome?

I’ve been really frustrated with Google+ slowly consuming all the rest of Google services, because I find it so deficient compared to Twitter, and even Facebook. My long form content lives here, on my own server, in my own blog. Both Twitter and Facebook make it easy to also have that content live a life in their platform.

Google+… not so much. We’re more than 6 months after launch, and still no API besides scraping public posts. As such, I spend little time over there, and largely disdain the system, which doesn’t loose much, because there are so few people generating content there anyway. With the launch of their “Google+ your world” search yesterday, I was even more frustrated. G+, still with no API, is now infiltrating the search rankings. Grrrr.

But this morning, I read this, and it occurred to me, what if G+ is another Chrome. By that I mean a project that isn’t meant to be a market leader by itself, but one that’s meant to shape a market to keep it fluid. Twitter and Facebook have a pretty epic duopoly on content right now, and they are both working to make it harder to consume outside of their bubble. This summer they both quietly killed RSS feeds off. You can still consume via their API, but even in that front Twitter’s been waging a bit of a war on their API consumers, retaking the Mobile UI.

So maybe G+ was really a reaction to a trend Google was seeing, that the gated communities were throwing up more and more restrictions to making their content searchable in Google. Instead of bringing lawyers, bring technology. Make a competitor that is searchable, and get the gated communities to now really want to be included in the results. Make the market fluid again.

Maybe. I’m not sure I’ve even convinced my self of this. But it would explain some of the areas of focus in G+. It would also explain why public posts API is the only one they’ve released so far. At the end of the day, the social giant fight matters little to me, as long as I can syndicate into them, which is why the lack of G+ write API (and associated WordPress plugin) is my biggest concern. So while this softens my feelings on G+ a little, I really do wish they’d actually make the platform way more open. Then I might feel it was worth investing in content and discussions there. Until then, you can find my quick bits over on Twitter, and the long form ideas here, with Disqus, which makes it really easy to comment or converse outside the duopoly bubble.

The new “pick two”

I think that the whole Facebook dust up around privacy really has brought us a new pick any two triangle diagram:

The New Pick Any Two

When it comes to some kind of online services you only get to pick two of: privacy, no effort, and no cost.  With free services, that you don’t have to manage yourself, it should be no surprise that you have to give up privacy.

I’m sure there is a better wording for the pyramid, or even a better distillation of the legs.  If you’ve got any thoughts on that front, please post a comment.