Jari Pennanen (@[email protected])
Ordering replies in chronological order is not a good general solution, it amplifies reply-guys, and doesn't give good context for the reader. Ideally, it should be configurable for each user, but here is a general idea, order of replies: 1. Replies from people I follow2. Replies from people who follow me3. Other replies without questions4. Other replies with questions This could be used as a basis for filtering as well, if you don't feel like answering, then hide all questions. #Mastodon
GPL all the things?
The point is pure psychology: The internet and other advanced "communication" technologies has caused a loneliness in people due to the lack of genuine human interaction, which is partly due to its inherent nature and partly due to the intense commodification of everything on it from large corporations such as Google. The result is that systems are designed more and more to appeal to the need of the person to gain attention. Twitter itself is much more of a platform where people fight to gain attention for themselves because it is the single aspect of human interaction that has been "gamified" in order to keep these platforms running in exchange for ad views. It is a pathological nature of human interaction that has become a sort of mental drug for users. The final result is that people have a knee-jerk response to continue these systems because they have become psychologically addicted to seeing their own little posts as encapsulations of their voices, with all the upvotes and views satisfying a single component in their minds of human interaction -- a component that is meant to be part of a much larger complex of behaviours that constitute real, genuine human interaction, and which no longer exist due to our collective support of a consumerist system that places no value on the essence of humanity.
Paul Bauer (@[email protected])
A capitalist company in (kind of) Communist China is going to US federal court to defend the First Amendment and free speech against the US government. We truly live in the dumbest timeline. #tiktok
inverted vibe curve
I don’t understand. we banned TikTok but the kids still think ethnic cleansing is bad. time to send in the cops I guess. I’m a liberal
fromjason.xyz 🖤 (@[email protected])
The reason why #Threads and #Mastodon are incompatible is that Mastodon is a community, and Threads is a market. That's it. It's not big Fed vs small Fedi. It's not platforms vs protocols. It's communities vs markets. Communities are supportive and markets are extractive. Communities answer to those who must live with decisions made. Markets answer to money. And wouldn't you know it, those contrasting forces influence people's behaviors, goals, and motivations for engaging with others.
X confirms plans for NSFW Communities
X is a pretty good name for the site because it already is full of NSFW content. I have very few followers and still get porn bots replying to several of my posts and comments. It's frankly pretty gross. I predict that we're eventually going to discover that like Tumblr and Reddit, hosting porn was a key part of Twitter's business all along.
Reddit shares plunge 25% in two days, finish the week below first day close
Reddit is a very risky venture. It relies on enormous amounts of free work and they are not keen on the website being further monetised. The mods are regularly at odds with the site ownership and without them it looses value quite fast, the moderation is what makes the site work. While last years protests against the API shutdown didn't take reddit down the scars of that action and the protests by users are visible on a lot of searches of the site now. Many users deleted the contents of their accounts alongside the account and you find deleted posts all over the historical posts now. Its reduced the value of the site quite considerably for answering weird questions via another search engine. This incident caused Lemmy to become a stable and permanent competitor that is gradually growing and competing with Reddit. Its still tiny but unlike a year ago it works a lot better its not hastily been thrown together. Reddit enacting another war with its users and there is now a clear alternative that people can go to. The trust wont be there in Reddit as a company for a lot of users and they wont need as big a push as last year. Its a risky investment because its nothing without those mods and if they protest or leave the user base will quickly dissipate as the site descends. Its been harder to moderate since a lot of the tools were lost with the APIs. The quality of Reddit has clearly dropped in a lot of subs. Reddit does not have many cat lives left. They still haven't made any money and the entire project seems to be unstable.
yes, it's me, liza 🇵🇷 🦛 🦦 (@[email protected])
for the love of the internet: DO NOT USE TINY URL OR LINK SHORTENERS UNLESS YOU OWN THE SERVERS AND PLAN TO KEEP THEM RUNNING BEYOND YOUR DEATH the amount of dead links on my pre-2015 tweets it absolutely painful. there's no way to salvage any of it: Twitter won't include the actual URL in the data dump they give you. i know people use them for metrics but for what you're paying them, get a blog with ActivityPub (ohai Wordpress) and push your toots from there. voilá! now you have metrics
Steve Purcell (@[email protected])
The user experience of Element with a large Matrix chat room is one of software that is fundamentally unserious about anything other than encrypting the hell out of everything.
R3yScale (@[email protected])
@LGUG2Z No matter the topic, I always find it interesting, or at least entertaining to read though HN threads, until that topic reaches something that ventures into the 'political'. That special kind of 'politics', that label applied so diligently by the straight white guy (or his close admirers) to anything sufficiently far enough from his own issues, or worse, anything which could infringe on his power over others. Those threads are where braincells go to die, the quality drops so hard of a cliff, it's astounding to witness the lack of self-awareness.
TikTok is finally on the decline
There is an argument that even if you hate TikTok, or Twitter, or Instagram, or whatever, you should not cheer on their demise, because whatever comes after them will be worse. That is, they will be a more effective form of whatever attention eating mechanism the previous one relied on to generate ad revenue for funders. The history of the internet provides many examples of this. But the cost of switching away from the incumbent is sometimes enough to keep these upstart apps from becoming established in the first place. So if you have accepted the fact that our culture won't suddenly go back to not abusing social social media when one of these services shut down, then we who hate them might want the current cast of social media villains to stick around as long as possible.
GREG ISENBERG (@gregisenberg)
So, Mark Zuckerberg finally tried the Apple Vision Pro and compared it to the Meta Quest 3 He says: - Quest is 7x less expensive yet way more comfortable - Quest is better for gaming, Xbox, YouTube - "I'm surprised how much better Quest is better for majority of things" My biggest takeaway: The future of ads feels like his IG post. This is real. No marketing talk, just saying it as it is. Zuck's Apple Vision Pro feels like I'm listening to a tech reviewer not a guy worth $165B. I feel like I'm having a convo in a living room with my friend Mark. You feel his enthusiasm. Reminds me of the Kayne Superbowl ad. The guy spent $7M and took a 30s selfie video. Highly effective. He sold $19M of product within 24h of that video. So my point is, if you're creating an "ad" More living room, less high budget. Be real.
Joan Westenberg (@[email protected])
The death of the writer has arrived. The Verge have pretty much nailed it in their piece on self promotion. In the social media era, writers must become podcasters, graphic designers, videographers, and conventionally attractive TikTok models to gain an audience. The profession of "writer" no longer exists - only the "influencer" remains. A thread on the demise of the solitary writing life…
Flattr is closing down
I don't see creators clamoring for micropayments. The reason is simple: It's not a good way to actually earn an income. Creators need stable and predictable support. Subscriptions work much better for them. It's a tried-and-true business model. What advocates of microtransactions don't see: It turns something that absolutely should not be a commodity (creative work), into a commodity. That's the fundamental failure here, and it's a big one.
How to set your domain as your handle
> All it needs to do is to get rid of the invite system Exactly. The hype will be dead by the time people can actually join. If we look at the example of Clubhouse, the invite system just pissed a lot of people off. So by the time they finally opened up the app to the public, the goodwill of the potential userbase was spoiled. Invite systems feel bad and hurt your relationship with your future users.
An app can be a home-cooked meal (2020)
Thanks for sharing about your projects (especially notado and kuli.sh), I would never have heard about it if it weren't for this comment.
matzipan (@[email protected])
So my current annoyance with non-algorithmic feeds is that frequent posters like newspapers drown out and the small bloggers in the feed with a high signal to noise ratio. On RSS readers it's a bit easier to separate things into folders, but on masto, it also means that if you don't constantly check the feed, you will miss things... Fixing this mechanic in masto will help even more towards fixing the FOMO of social media.
Nobody knows what's happening online anymore
Recently I was thinking about how I am completely out of touch with the culture of younger generations, and was about to laugh it off cause that's how it is with every generation, but then I realized that I don't even know how I would know. In the past if you wanted to know what kids were listening to, you change the radio station to that new loud one you normally skip, or watch that new TV show that people are going on about. Today, I know what Spotify is trying to push, but I have no idea if that is what is actually popular. Even if I were to install TikTok I probably wouldn't see the same things they are. I have no idea if the garbage on the front page of reddit is really reflective of how younger people think, or if it just an engagement algorithm feedback loop gone wrong where everyone reasonable has long since checked out. I have a few younger acquaintances/friends IRL, but they would be the first ones to admit that they don't feel like they fit in with their peers, and even a apart from that its generally best not to project too much based on interactions in my own bubble. I feel like every decade of the 1900's had pretty distinct cultural trends and identity, and even subcultures and counter cultures of the past were more public, but now it's all balkanized. I have no idea if that is a bad thing, but it is certainly different.
Meredith Whittaker (@[email protected])
@daniel @signalapp @heiseonline The number of rude, misinformed comments I get--here especially--from people who clearly have no experience developing & maintaining a high availability comms service that people actually use is astounding. I can't tell if it's rigid ideology--unwillingness to acknowledge the sorry state of the tech ecosystem due to a personal investment in a fading FOSS libertarian dream, or misogyny, or genuine/willful misunderstanding, or some combo. But it's exhausting.
Ciara (@[email protected])
We need a word for real-life enshittification caused by online culture. Like being unable to find an organisation’s info because they’ve Instagram but no website. Or panicked people being sent a videolink to download to their phone when they ring for an ambulance. Or being excluded from residents' association news if you're not on Facebook. Or having cash payment refused. Or staff in the business you’re physically standing in telling you to find the answer to your question on their website.
Apple cuts off Beeper Mini's access
Sometimes I think this whole "blue bubble" thing is a gigantic opt-in psych experiment about how biases like racism can start absolutely anywhere.
Apple cuts off Beeper Mini's access
youtube-dl, NewPipe, and uBlock Origin exist solely for the purpose of empowering the individual, yet they are constantly attacked on HN as being tools used unfairly to harm Google's profitability. Open-source projects like Matrix, PeerTube, Mastodon, are built to be free and open-source for the benefit of end-users and lack of vendor lockin. Yet each is derided on HackerNews for not being enough like their corporate counterparts. Yes, there are those here who don't do that, but as cynical as it sounds, I do think this site's audience is mostly folk who like the status quos set by FAANG-types and don't really care about hackerism outside of toy websites.
Tinker ☀️ (@[email protected])
Woo... okay... I think I'm going to get off Reddit all together and just focus on Lemmy (and similar) instances. Like... I love being challenged and corrected and I specifically look for that as it helps me grow and learn, but damn if the approach on Reddit is harsh. I greatly prefer conversations where there's a foundation of love, care, and respect - where we all assume each other has the best intentions and wants to pursue truth and knowledge. Reddit is like the youtube comments of interactive social media.
أماندا (@acabthearab)
Haha oh man I just realized I know people irl who left Twitter *on principle* over 3lon "destroying it" & those very same people are still voting for Biden. Their principles are stronger about Twitter than a genocide 🫠
Reddit Sans
What an interesting thread to read. "Typography aficionados" are one of the most ardent and vocal subcultures within the Hacker News community. Any given post may be hijacked at any time, for a meta-discussion about the font choices on that post's linked web page. When a post actually IS about a new font, people dissect that latest microscopic riff on Helvetica like whiskey snobs describing a spirit's nose and mouthfeel. However, a strong cross-cutting theme on HN is "hating Reddit even though you obviously spend a lot of time there". It's a clash of the titans, and a real role-reversal... this may be the first time I've ever seen a post about fonts mostly hijacked by something else instead.
RSS can be used to distribute all sorts of information
I gotta say I don't deeply understand ActivityPub, but one of the first things I thought when trying to grok it was "how does this improve on RSS?". Like another commenter here I think a big part of it is that it's JSON and not XML, but I think another thing people would say is that you aren't storing things locally, that is you don't have an application pulling things onto your local machine (phone, laptop, whatever). But I've evolved lately, and now I strongly feel like we're missing the forest for the trees here. These things aren't just RSS; they're email. They're email lists. ActivityPub even uses the language of email; it has `to` and `cc`, and `replyTo` fields, in/outboxes. There are (media)Types, i.e. MIME types. There are differences. ActivityPub basically exists to be an underlying protocol for Twitter-like social media, so it specs out things like Likes or Undo. But IMO, stuff like this is either superfluous/harmful (chasing likes/views maybe isn't a good idea), or maybe unclear what a lot of people would want out of a conversations platform. I don't really want someone else to irrevocably edit the stuff I've pulled down; sure I'll let you send a diff or something, but I want the history. Or, on the other hand, maybe I don't want someone to store a history of my worst posts, ready to unleash them whenever I dare to do something public. Or, on the other hand, maybe this has been a really useful tool to speak truth to power. Or, maybe we shouldn't create a protocol that seems to guarantee this, only to have rogue servers that store these things as diffs anyway to lull you into a false sense of "posting hot takes is OK I can always undo/edit/blah".
The Small Website Discoverability Crisis @ marginalia.nu
Not so long ago, every blog has a "blog roll", a list of author’s favorite blogs. Nothing was better than have your blog in the blogroll of a "famous" blogger. It is funny how people who didn’t live through this blog era are now reinventing it spontaneously. It’s a bit like bloggers were onto something 20 years ago, before being killed by the advertisements monopolies. But there’s a big difference between old blogosphere and current blogosphere : old blogs had ads. Most bloggers were experimenting with it, one way or another. We were lured by monetization and killed ourselves in the process. Younger bloggers seem to have learn about it: let’s do the same old blogs but, this time, without any ads and by actively preventing tracking. That’s how evolution works, when you think about it. It’s beautiful.
Eniko Fox (@[email protected])
"Just stop using YouTube instead of waging an ad blocker blocker war and use other services" Okay. What services? Peertube? A network with an amount of traffic that is a rounding error compared to YouTube's and has no monetization strategy? Nebula? The video streaming service that is invite only and which sources new talent to invite specifically from YouTube? The service that has set up a model where it is dependent on YouTube and can only really survive if YT is thriving? Vimeo? The site that has sent creators of popular videos bills of thousands of dollars for "taking up too much bandwidth?" Which video streaming service is viable for new and unknown video makers building an audience and established ones who do it for a living and everyone in between? You can't answer that question because *no such service currently exists*
X is changing its algorithm to highlight smaller accounts
Twitter was the first platform to get celebs posting on the daily so they had something new and exciting on their hands. TikTok then said, what if we turn normal people into celebrities? TikTok would not exist without Twitter and I think Twitter could not have been TikTok. The two cater to different audiences. The elitism of Twitter is what kept the celebs posting there.
X is changing its algorithm to highlight smaller accounts
This is good. Was insane that it used to literally penalize your account if you interacted with sub 1000 accounts before. Seeing how TikTok treats its creators really shows old Twitter management squandered something bigger by chasing only the desires of journalists and celebs on their platform. Never seeing the bigger picture of what was possible.
Archived YouTube Video Finder
Cultural rot caused by YouTube taking down old videos is a serious problem. There was a YouTube channel I was following for about 15 years, of an older woman who had pet foxes. Her health started declining and she always had on her channel something like, "I'll leave these videos up forever." She passed away and YouTube deleted all her content. The problem is 100x worse for any political content. My YouTube bookmarks from just the past few years is a graveyard of information that's not convenient to have around. It's even true for politics-related jokes, songs, and memes. They seem to be selected for deletion more often than not, within a few years.
To bring socializing back to social networks, apps try A.I. imagery
As a person with an audience – you get to a point where the audience feels like an insatiable beast that just wants wants wants and never gives back. Soon you feel like a monkey dancing for peanuts to a jeering crowd that will move on to the next monkey immediately when you stop. You are only as good as your last [new] piece of content. Social media has long since stopped being a bazaar of ideas and stimulating exchange. These days to most people it’s passive entertainment fueled by semi amateur creators. It’s no linger social media, now it’s social media. It's pretty draining if you’re on the creator side.
Tell HN: There is a highlights page on HN
I’d contrast to Tildes where I think reply notifications help keep people engaged in discussions and Mastodon where I think people use favorites to close off a discussion. Tildes is interesting to compare to HN because it is superficially similar but the balance between links and discussions is quite different. That is, I think “Ask HN” is pretty sad and mostly failed (look at how few get a single comment) but linkless discussions on Tildes are pretty lively.
Please help keep the signal high and the noise low
Opinion -- why this matters. Dismissing something such as an article or comment (in the classic HN/Reddit style) has a very low barrier of entry. I'm talking about the "pick a trope - any trope!" that is turned into a one-liner zinger. Corporations bad, rich people evil, republicans dumb, etc and play on that. It's easy to do, and easy to get people to agree, because it's a trope, thus obvious. **All it serves**, though, is to add to people's anger and despair. It does not help the situation if the dismissal is right; and if it's wrong, it is actively harmful. Fictional example: Let's say there's a post about a new drug that cures cancer, and the top comments are "It will never work" and "This only exists because rich people get cancer too". These dismissals don't bring data, just an unprovable hypothesis, that is only here to make people sad. OTOH something like "I don't trust a drug that comes from ThisCompany because of X, Y, Z" would be an informed dismissal and actually useful. What I'm saying is, if you're going to make people sad, don't do it for no reason.
Social media’s addictive loop compels users to share mindlessly
> After a time, habitual or frequent users become desensitized to positive feedback, such as likes and comments, from other users. I've noticed this personally. In my early social media days circa 2012, going viral with a post of mine evoked genuine gratefulness for the post and appreciation for how much reach it got. Now, going viral is just a habit. 10,000 likes, 1000 shares on Facebook is my new normal. It's not 'special' like it used to be. I still appreciate my viral posts, just not to the extent of my early social media days (this is probably because fewer people were on it in 2012).
We Don’t Need a New Twitter
Twitter’s real value was its “global RSS” nature. You could get short, quick updates about local news, published papers, sports events, political happenings, and more. It made it easy to source info from your followers (or their followers) quickly. Think Ask HN but broader. Activity on Twitter is down now, mastodon and threads aren’t cutting it. There’s more activity on LinkedIn but it’s quite phoney. I genuinely feel that Twitter provided me with useful information from people of interest.
Doctors on TikTok
The end result of most social media is to make all relationships exploitative.
‘I can’t stress how much BookTok sells’: teen literary influencers swaying publishers
I think the interesting thing is that you take a moderate sized segment (teen girls) and it's changed into a more powerful influence when the channel is centralized. It creates a smaller surface area for marketers to focus on.
Instagram Threads: The Problem With The "Everything for Everyone" Approach
This isn't a critique of Threads, this a commentary on the nature of social graphs and different identities in different spaces. People use IG different than they use Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, etc. You could get the same experience on Twitter by following Dora the Explorer, Procter and Gamble, your uncle, and Brian Chesky but you have chosen to have a specific experience in that app by curating your feed. A better example, port LinkedIn's graph to Snapchat and it would seem like absolute nonsense. IG ported a visual social graph to a text based app, this, by definition, isn't going to produce the most optimal experience. Thats 100% fine though, you'll realize who is good at posting text content, follow them, you'll unfollow the people that are not good, etc. This is why TikTok was interesting in the first place because it removed the curation step and created an interest graph instead of a social one. What the poster is talking about is the friction inheirent to using a social graph as a proxy for an interest graph. "I love when you talk about tech but I don't care at all about your dog."
US Redditors to earn real money for gold, karma
My suspicion is that this has a spectecular possibility of backfiring. When you attempt to remunerate good behavior in any way it tends to move the focus from the natural rewards of the behavior to the unnatural financial reward. Reddit already has a reputation for fostering groupthink and low effort posts that are easy to agree with and in my mind this could significantly amplify those tendencies. If one can make actual money by botting and harvesting gold from the community, the chase is on to do so. I hope Reddit does add this to the app because I imagine it will only speed their downfall, and the sooner that happens, the sooner the communal resources will be freed up and something new, and potentially better, can form in its place.
How to Blow Up a Timeline — Remains of the Day
All this reminds me of World of Warcraft. In 2004-2008ish, WoW was a cultural phenomenon. South Park made an episode about it, there was a famous question on Jeopardy about it, parents played it, celebrities played it. Then it started to fade away for many reasons. But as it was fading, people were asking what was the next MMO, what was the "WoW-killer". It never came - sure there were and are other MMOs (ESO, FF, GW2, etc) that people played, but nothing ever peaked like WoW, because WoW happened at a unique moment in time. It was right before social media exploded, and so people were able to be social with each other in the game, creating a unique community situation. All the other MMOs (mostly) grew up with social media, so the social effects were diminished. They were just games. I see an analog with Twitter. There will never be a Twitter killer, a Twitter 2.0. There will be successful, Twitter-like things (Threads, Bluesky) but nothing can be like Twitter because the era is gone. (Which is the point of essay, more or less). Something else will happen that will engross us for a while, and I'm curious what it will be (and really wish I could predict it!), but nobody, not even Twitter (just like WoW itself was never a WoW killer), will be another Twitter.
Helvetica Blanc (@[email protected])
Just wanna get this out of my system with Threads dropping: anyone dogging on folks who have to maintain social media presence on objectively awful networks like Meta, Twitter, etc in order to scrape together a living can either fuck off or start paying us to not be there. Believe me, I'd rather not have to maintain seven social media presences to make near poverty wages, but it's either that or waste my life at a corporation and not making art.
Kat (@[email protected])
Twitter: I follow news and political giants, but all I see are bad people and arguments Bluesky: I follow 10% of my old friends who were able to get out of twitter in time and sometimes it works Threads: I follow my friends but I can’t see them through the algorithm of businesses Mastodon: oh look a beekeeper in the Netherlands
how to block meta from mastodon
Unpopular opinion but defederating Meta is a terrible idea. What are people thinking will happen? Allow them to federate and you'll have mastodon users able to view and interact with posts from Threads without needing to be concerned about ads or tracking, without giving over any more control of privacy than they would to any other fediverse instance, and without needing to possess accounts homed within the Meta infrastructure. Defederate them, and anyone who wants to interact with anyone on threads will most likely need to maintain a presence on both and handover more personal data to Meta than they otherwise would. Defederating is actively hostile to fediverse users.
Musk is undeniably just trying to run twitter into the ground at this point.
I mean I see why Reddit and Twitter are doing it. We're in a really weird transitional period of the internet right now, for better or for worse. They're doing it to prevent scraping, because why would you read all these garbage tweets to get to the information you need when an ChatGPT can spit out the exact information without fluff? It's taking their content without any funding back to them, effectively stealing their revenue. So what are these companies to do? Honestly I hope this is birth to a new form of social media, and this benefits the fedi greatly. It will be unsustainable to run large social media companies like theirs who profit off of user data and content. Whereas tons of fedi servers ran by hobbiest, effectively ran out of pocket or by donations, is much more sustainable. They're doing it for community and more pure content that everyone wants without corporate fluff. If ChatGPT scrapes the fedi community, that's okay because the fedi isn't designed to make money so nothing is lost.
Bluesky facing degraded performance due to record high traffic
Since Bluesky is invite-only and there's a lot of clamoring for invite codes, it's easy to think that you're missing out if you're not a member. I'd like to offer a different perspective, that most HN readers would probably be happier on Mastodon than Bluesky. In particular, Bluesky is very small, has a strange vibe, and has almost no technical content or people interested in it. The number of participants on Bluesky is small, and everyone seems to know each other. Getting even a single like on a post is an accomplishment, and getting 16 likes (I think) gets you onto What's Hot. Approximately nobody is interested in technical discussions; Mastodon is much better for that. The vibe on Bluesky is weird. Everyone is very enthusiastic about being there, and most of the discussion is about being on Bluesky. Someone said that everyone is Extremely Online and much more interested in meta-discussion than discussion, and I'd agree. Bluesky is all about the in-jokes and memes, which turn over at a dizzying rate, much faster than even Twitter. It's a very horny place, with lots of butt photos. I don't want to be negative about Bluesky. For people who want a tight-knit community to chat with, it's great. But don't feel like you're missing out if you don't have an invite code. (BTW, I don't have any to give out.) Edit: I'm not hyping Mastodon here, just comparing Twitter alternatives. Unfortunately, so far I've found that Twitter is the best choice for me. I get maybe 10% of the interesting technical discussion on Mastodon that I get on Twitter. And I still don't understand how to work with the federation. There's also Newsmast, a new social app that reached out to me, but there's approximately 0 content there. One thing I forgot to mention about Bluesky is that it looks exactly like Twitter, so much that I can forget which app I'm on. It's very different in that regard from Mastodon, which is like alternate-universe Twitter.
Jari Pennanen (@[email protected])
So I just read that #Bluesky has added just 5k accounts (!!) in the past day, but because a lot of existing people are posting it's causing performance issues. To me it also looks like amateur hour, if they can't open up their registrations and get it working, Meta's #Threads will certainly deliver. Not that I would ever post to Threads, but regular folks moving from Twitter probably don't care if it's Meta's or Elon's network... as long as it works!
YouTube is testing a more aggressive approach against ad blockers
I block ads because they're psychological warfare that corporations wage against me. I don't care how unobtrusive the ads are. I don't care if the ads don't track me. I grew up changing the channel on TV when ads came on, and ripping adverts out of magazines before sitting down to read them. I vote for billboard bans whenever I can. I have zero tolerance for ads of any sort. Advertisers have no morals, they're completely depraved. They'll eagerly exploit a teenager's self-conscious body issues to sell useless beauty products. They sell sugar water to fat people and at every turn promote the rampant consumerist culture that is destroying our planet. They're lower than pond scum and I never want to see a single ad from them ever.
Ask HN: Why Discord instead of a public forum?
> And the cost is lack of discoverability, basically forever. Sadly, this is actually a feature. Discoverability of content adds an incentive for SEO-style spam. It's very hard to implement technical solutions to this kind of incentive problem. I'm part of a few discords where there's a lot of valuable knowledge about purchasing certain consumer products. If this content were discoverable by millions of people it'd be someone's full time job to game the system.
I gave Lemmy, Kbin, and Beehaw a chance. I think I'll be sticking with Tildes.
I think the monetization of amateur NSFW content has turned any sex-adjacent space on the internet into advertising spots for these sort of things. It might not sound that bad in the abstract but some gaming subs have gotten really bad to the point where a significant portion of their posts were low effort cosplay of girls trying to get their name out there, and I don't know if I want to be advertised porn at all everywhere on the internet. It gets worse with advertising agencies where people actually sign contracts and then they spam sites like twitter and reddit, I don't know if I can see them as any different from just professional porn companies at this point.
Pixelfed Introduces Import from Instagram
> you can seamlessly transfer your photos, captions, and even hashtags that’s rich, given that nobody has posted photos, captions and hashtags to their feed in 2 years Its all in the ephemeral stories now, or the reels Too late
Not entirely sure how to fill the void Reddit has left
Something that dawned on me the other night was that I used to get bored with being on the internet 10-15 years ago. I would check the sites I would frequent, check some forums for any updates, and then eventually make my way to playing a game or doing something else. Reddit started out that way for me, but then they eventually turned into that endless scroll. I think so many of us have become accustomed to never hitting that bored level because we were so used to scrolling to eventually find something that entertains us for another moment. I'm guilty of closing Reddit in the past when I feel tired of it, then immediately opening it up again 15 mins later once I'm feeling bored again. It wasn't helping fix that boredom, just abstaining it for a little while longer. For a lot of us, we're going to have to relearn that it's OK to be bored again. That you don't need a constant feed to avoid boredom, but instead embrace it as normal. Instead use it to find a new site, discover local independent journalism, explore a new hobby, and so much more. The constant scroll was just another way for Reddit to keep you on their platform longer; making you a better product for them without them really offering much in return.
June 2023 Data Dump is missing
This, along with recent Reddit goings-on has made me realize a major risk with the current structure of online communication. Take either Reddit or Stack Exchange as examples. They build a platform, and users contribute their time, thought, energy, and knowledge to build a community on that platform. Those companies can then gatekeep and restrict access to all that the community built, when all they did is provide the platform, and store the data. We need to rethink this model. The thought and knowledge of communities and users need to belong to those communities and users. To people they intentionally and thoughtfully delegate to and trust. We need to decentralize our communications, like how the internet used to be before the arrival of social media and mega forums. We need to revert to small, focused forums, with less anonymous, more persistent communication, run by people we trust. Otherwise, we will continue to see mega companies harvest our data and use it (or not provide it) against our wishes. If we don’t work to mitigate that dynamic, we have nobody to blame for the poor outcomes but ourselves.
Ask HN: Is it time to resurrect a Usenet clone?
The solution to a lot of problems is simply to not scale platforms past something like 1000 users. At that level, you can have a community that is guided by individual people and their relationships, rather than anonymized and centralized. And the infrastructure is much simpler to set up and maintain: we just need more tools tailored to being easy to set up and administer at this scale. m15o has built a ton of examples along these lines. There are other communities and tools too, loosely referred to as the "small web"/"smol web" https://lipu.li/?u=m15o&p=projects https://runyourown.social/ https://github.com/cblgh/cerca
Ask HN: Is it time to resurrect a Usenet clone?
Usenet thrived in a time where most of us trusted each other, traffic was an order of magnitude lighter, trolls were few, spam was unheard of, and moderation - if any - was cheap and painless. I honestly believe those times are past us. And I say that as someone that loved Usenet back in the day. What you're asking for, for free, isn't possible.
Apollo will close down on June 30th
When your landlord raises your rent from $2000 to $8000, they're not really hoping to raise your rent. They're evicting you. I think the new API pricing model was developed with a single purpose: extinguishing third-party apps to improve the official app's install/usage metrics before their upcoming IPO.
Apollo will close down on June 30th
This makes me indescribably sad. Apart from mourning the loss of a fantastic app by an awesome developer, to me it signals the end of a golden era of small indie client only apps. Since the APIs for the likes of reddit, twitter (RIP tweetbot) and others were available for free or a reasonable fee it spawned a whole cottage industry of developers who made a living selling alternate front ends for these services. These apps invented many of the conventions and designs that eventually percolated to the official clients. Sometimes these innovations even became platform wide conventions (pull to refresh anyone?). The writing was on the wall for a while, but now the door is firmly closed on that era - and we will all be poorer for it.
Reddit will exempt accessibility-focused apps from unpopular API pricing changes
> alright, we'll let you fix our broken s** site but only if you take a vow of poverty. I'm so glad someone brought this up. Every conversation I've seen about Reddit's API pricing on HN has had at least one person asking, "well, how are they supposed to fund the site then?" And that's not Reddit-specific, it's a really common talking point whenever a property/platform starts cracking down on fan/volunteer work. But that question never gets asked about the fan/volunteer work. It's interesting to look at what ventures we as a society think have an almost moral right to make money, and which ventures we almost think of as being morally obligated to not make money. Sometimes it's really arbitrary. If 3rd-party accessibility services are important for accessing your service, those 3rd-party developers should be allowed to make money off of their stuff. Sometimes "non-commercial" clauses are appropriate for some projects/terms, but sometimes they get really abused and it's worth taking a step back in many situations and asking why they were included in the first place. Community-focused devs like to eat and have housing too.
Had a call with Reddit to discuss pricing
This is a selling point of Discord. The ability to have a conversation without "researchers" being able to search for it for decades.
Tom Welsh is writing stories for Nivalis (@CalmDownTom)
I'm not sure if anyone is telling young developers this, but, on balance, posting on Twitter is more likely to lose you an opportunity than gain you one. I've never seen a Tweet that made me say "we need to hire them!" but I've seen plenty "Let's never work together" tweets.
YouTube removed dislike counts, so this guy made Rotten Tomatoes for YouTube
Honestly, it isn’t hard to justify Youtube’s choices on this very specific issue. The dislike button presumably has a function beyond public shaming. I expect it’s primarily for tailoring recommendations and tuning their algorithms, but in any case it was clearly being abused by troll hordes. If Youtube devs could see that significant amounts of dislikes were coming from users who hadn’t watched the video, or could identify other statistical aberrations, it stands to reason that such abuse would actively interfere with the legitimate functionality it was intended for and/or work against the interests of YouTube, advertisers, as well as authors and viewers. I personally think that removing the public counter was an elegant solution in this case, as it suppresses the worst excesses of trolling while maintaining the original intent of the dislike feature, which should improve the overall experience for most users, generally speaking.
Meta preps new social app
It seems like the biggest asset that creators are creating are the communities that form around them and their niche. The people who consume content within a niche tend to be very likeminded and often times quite willing to rally behind and support the bastions propelling the niches that they identify with. Even for smaller creators, I've seen time and time again that all you need is one or two highly dedicated and engaged fans to make being a creator an extremely lucrative endeavour. I've been working on a platform to help content creators diversify their revenue streams and offer their communities that become a sort of privatized social network as one of their product offerings in addition to their content. The hope is to allow creators to better capture their community and monetize from their niche. https://sociables.com/creators
TracingWoodgrains (@tracewoodgrains)
It's easy to forget in the moment how transient much of the internet is. After being bought by Snapchat and abandoned, Gfycat's certification has expired with nobody around to bother to renew it. Just like that, a vast chunk of the internet is gone.
Alice GG (@[email protected])
Discord new username policy is really the perfect example of Silicon Valley's promotion-driven development. Literally no user asked for it. It will not make the platform better in any way. But I am sure that someone will make an amazing slide deck showing how it improved an obscure metric, set their OKR to 100% and ask to be moved from "Staff Principal Lead Engineer" to "Senior Staff Principal Lead Engineer Holo Ex (Rare)"
Sarah Burstein (@[email protected])
Don't listen to anyone who says "likes don't matter" on here. Yes, it's true that there's no algorithm for them to feed. But letting people you know that you like what they're sharing, that you agree with them, that they're not just shouting into an empty abyss? That matters.
Byron Miller (@[email protected])
In four months of having full text search, we have not received any complaints of abuse or concerns from any local users or users across federation. Now, the discussions of this out in the open have been extreme and highly debated but I feel it's time to share that I have not experienced any of the "beefs" with search and I've learned that I think we have more problems without search. With search, we have an auto-moderator bot that can look for keywords and surface posts to moderators for review. With search we can watch for trends and boost posts that otherwise are hard to discover. With search you can discover people on their profiles because they have facts about them beyond just their username. With search, we could do cool things like saved searches as lists or saved searches as advanced UI panes. Y'all write amazing content that begs to be discovered and y'all deserve that discovery remains in your hands as user options to opt/in out and not give it to Google.
Bluesky Frustrations | anderegg.ca
Bluesky is going to be successful because of its current state of being invite-only and sponsored by Dorsey. It's essentially the new blue checkmark: an indication that you're part of the group of "always-online Twitter powerusers". Once Bluesky opens up people will join because they either want to be part of that group or the people that you'd follow on pre-Elon Twitter are part of that group. Technology has little to do with it
Bluesky Frustrations | anderegg.ca
> People are having a great time! But I suspect this is because the service is currently small, simple, and centralized. Once the decentralized systems are in place, there’s a good chance it’ll be more confusing. Precisely! This is what has been ticking me off about the Bluesky love-in so far; it's as if people are so desperate to call something "new Twitter" that they forgot the systemic factors around why Twitter turned bad. Today, BSK is exclusive. Getting an invite gives one the ability to peer into what's happening at the cool table. It's invite-only, so most people there will be cool and not try to clickbait or build clout. Problem is, Facebook was exclusive once too. It didn't last. Twitter also was once just a quirky little online space. Then the Arab Spring happened and now everybody writes with an assumed gravitas, as if their 280 chars are going to be featured in a CNN story.
Journalist writes about discovering she’d been surveilled by TikTok
If you hate tiktok, I get it —- I really do. But please just know that you’re missing out on something wonderful, unique, and delightful; in fact, delightful in ways remarkably similar to the feeling that https://news.ycombinator.com/highlights gives you. There’s a commonality between HN and TikTok that I haven’t yet been able to put into words. They’re both “bookish”. You feel like you’re exploring. Often times I’ll swipe past 6 or 7 memes in about 3 seconds, when something incredible catches my attention. And it’s often incredible in exactly the same way as HN: you feel like you’ve unearthed some fascinating gemstone. (And much like HN, it’s designed for entertainment, so you can waste arbitrary amounts of time if you fall under its spell too long.) I wrote a comment at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=34573893 showcasing the three lists I was particularly proud of: educational, physics, and math. But I have dozens more. There’s guitar tutorials, handyman repairs, a collection of 18 videos teaching you how to tie all kinds of useful knots, art tutorials, cute animals, hardcore ML discussions, and everything in between. Someday I’ll showcase them properly. (Theoretically you can view them on my TikTok profile, but I doubt it’s presented well: https://www.tiktok.com/@theshawwn) Just know that if you stomp TikTok out of existence, it’ll be a real loss. It’ll feel to me like you’d feel if someone burned down HN. And the calls for banning TikTok sound to me how you’d feel if Reddit was urging everybody to ban HN. Now imagine that politicians are seriously considering whether to ban HN. That’s how it feels to read through the comments here about TikTok. The outrage is deserved and understandable, but it’ll be a real loss if it disappears. If this comment coaxes you into trying out TikTok, one tip: use the “not interested” button ruthlessly. (Long press on a video.) The algorithm will dial you in after around 45 minutes, which isn’t so long. The first experience can feel jarring the same way that YouTube in incognito mode looks like a weird dystopian universe filled with people screaming at each other.
So this guy is now S3. All of S3
Here's how I think about it: * ActivityPub -> AT Protocol (https://atproto.com/) * Mastadon -> Bluesky (https://blueskyweb.xyz/) Right now, federation is not turned on for the Bluesky instance. There are differences in both, however. I'm not going to speak about my impressions of the Mastadon vs Bluesky teams because frankly, Mastadon never really caught on with me, so they're probably biased. ('they' being my impressions, that is, I just realized that may be ambiguous.) At the protocol level, I haven't implemented ActivityPub in a decade, so I'm a bit behind developments there personally, but the mental model for AT Protocol is best analogized as git, honestly. Users have a PDS, a personal data server, that is identified by a domain, and signed. The location of the PDS does not have to match the domain, enabling you to do what you see here: a user with a domain as their handle, yet all the PDS data is stored on bluesky's servers. You can make a backup of your data at any time, and move your PDS somewhere else with ease (again, once federation is actually implemented, the path there is straightforward though). This is analogous to how you have a git repository locally, and on GitHub, and you point people at the GitHub, but say you decide you hate GitHub, and move to GitLab: you just upload your git repo there, and you're good. Same thing, except since identity is on your own domain, you don't even need to do a redirect, everything Just Works. This analogy is also fruitful for understanding current limitations: "delete a post" is kind of like "git revert" currently: that is, it's a logical deletion, not an actual deletion. Enabling that ("git rebase") is currently underway. Private messaging does not yet exist. Anyway if you want to know more the high-level aspects of the docs are very good. Like shockingly so. https://atproto.com/guides/overview They fall down a bit once you get into the details, but stuff is still changing and the team has 10,000 things to do, so it's understandable.
Mitchell Hashimoto (@mitchellh)
The idea of using verified domains as a username is so obvious in hindsight its shocking no mainstream app I know of did this before. Proving domain ownership has been used for so many other things of course, just shocked domain-as-identity is effectively nowhere until now…
Nostr (“Notes and Other Stuff Transmitted by Relays”) – An Introduction
> Resilience is provided by the protocol being simple enough to implement in a weekend, in your language of choice. Platform lock-in is impossible, since any client can republish any note to a different relay if one misbehaves or enacts a disagreeable policy. That's a wonderful sentiment but we said the same thing about the web and email and both are effectively controlled by large companies. Twitter is centralized due to being the creation of a single company, but that's not the fundamental problem. The web and email got effectively centralized because distributed protocols create problems of search, filtering, abuse, identity, community continuity, etc. You can't easily solve them in a distributed way, and even if you _can_, you can't easily get everyone in the network to upgrade. Hence, providers arise that say "We're Nostr, only better!(tm)" or "We're the best way to find what you want on Nostr!" and they work on locking in their customers. If you want to be resilient to monopolization you have to show how you're going to solve those other problems.
Imgur Updates TOS, Banning NSFW Content
Twitter [0] explicitly allows sexual content: > You can share graphic content and consensually produced adult nudity and sexual behavior content within your Tweets, provided that you mark this media as sensitive. But since we're on the topic, one social media service that you didn't mention is TikTok. I haven't seen anyone write about this and find it a bit fascinating. Although TikTok claim that sexual content isn't allowed, a lot of adult sex workers continuously skirt or outright ignore the rules. Some sex worker's strategy seems to be to continuously create multiple new accounts, as new accounts have a time period and size limit where growth and reach is really easy in order to get creators initially hooked. Two trends I've encountered are women flashing their vaginal lips through a see-through dress with a backlight and women flashing their breasts on reflective background items while seeming to engage in some mundane activity. But even the sex workers that don't engage in blatant TOS violations clearly create content to lead you towards their OnlyFans page. A breakdown of the evolution of the sex worker advertisement meta on TikTok is a YouTube video waiting to be made, especially as TikTok dies off and the strategies no longer remain viable as a vehicle for growth. A modern-day version of Aella's classic "Maximizing Your Slut Impact: An Overly Analytical Guide to Camgirling" [1]. [0] https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/media-policy [1] https://knowingless.com/2018/11/19/maximizing-your-slut-impa...
Imgur Updates TOS, Banning NSFW Content
Tumblr 2.0 incoming? It's a not-so-unspoken fact that a lot of social media platforms are popular because they have tons of pornography. Reddit, Twitter, OnlyFans (more openly) and (until now) Imgur all have massive communities around explicit content. Even Twitch and YouTube are hugely successful as ways for OnlyFans creators to drive users to their explicit content. Going to be very interesting to see if imgur drops off the face of the earth as tinypic, imageshack, photobucket and many others before it did. Certainly this was the longest-lasting image host I can think of.
mnml mnl (he/him) (@[email protected])
it's kind of impossible to find anything on mastodon, even people you follow or toots you saw earlier this morning. I can search "joe" in the search bar and i'll see all kinds of joes, except the ones I actually followed. Gotta get better at the habit of bookmarking anything I spend more than 5 seconds on.
AJ Sadauskas (@[email protected])
The thing about Twitter is that it really lacks a lot of the features you'd expect from a true Mastodon replacement. For example, there's no way to edit your toots (which they, confusingly call "tweets"—let's face it, it's a bit of a silly name that's difficult to take seriously). "Tweets" can't be covered by a content warning. There's no way to let the poster know you like their tweet without also sharing it, and no bookmark feature. There's no way to set up your own instance, and you're basically stuck on a single instance of Twitter. That means there's no community moderators you can reach out to to quickly resolve issues. Also, you can't de-federate instances with a lot of problematic content. It also doesn't Integrate with other fediverse platforms, and I couldn't find the option to turn the ads off. Really, Twitter has made a good start, but it will need to add a lot of additional features before it gets to the point where it becomes a true Mastodon replacement for most users. #twitter #mastodon #twittermigration @fediverse
Google Reader shut down announced ten years ago today
Ironically, for me it was probably when they shut down Google+ that I finally changed my views on Google. For me Google+ was a lot like HN: Peaceful, quiet and beautiful and lots Open Source content and smart people. I still look once or twice a year but it seems everyone who are into building social media wants to copy not only the very limited functionality of Twitter, down to its dumb limitations, but also its UX and aestheti. The exceptions I am aware of are Hubzilla (which lools seriously interesting but just confuses me and has no obvious way to enter - and yes, I can create my own instance but I cannot find anyone else), Diaspora (which I think copies Facebook and which is also confusing) and MeWe (which superficially look like Google+ but insist on repeating Googles mistake WRT real name policy).
Discord, or the Death of Lore
It’s a little unsettling to think about how much information and knowledge is being locked up in walled-garden servers on discord, basically unsearchable (discord has a search feature, but it’s pretty awful). There’s so many communities that end up moving to it because it serves their most engaged members so well, but it’s terrible for everyone else. For example, “Voron” 3D printers are an awesome open-source design, but more and more I am directed to their discord to ask questions - many of which were, in all likelihood, asked dozens of times before. It’s great for their engaged members, who are all super helpful - but if it’s a reddit thread I can get my answer almost immediately, rather than asking, waiting and consuming someone else’s time for trivialities. Sites like reddit at least can be readily searched from a conventional search engine, and can be crawled and stored externally in a pinch. Discord has its place, especially for game communities or other such personal things, but I’m not sure it’s ideal compared to a conventional forum as time passes and more information is built up and either lost or hidden away.
PhpBB 3.3.10
One definining characteristic of internet media is where they rank on the "transience" spectrum. The most extreme end probably being some old school chat apps and IRC on one side, and encylopedic wiki's (not the only kind) on the other. And while both forums and Usenet were closely rooted in current conversation, they had a more long-standing meaning, too. Where you could follow whole discussions even years later and where the writing style recognized this, often having single posts that more closely resemble articles. Twitter and Mastodon seem a lot more ephemeral. As do sites like this or reddit, after all, they're concerned with "news". StackOverflow seems closer to the forums of olden time out of most of the contemporary outlets. So apart from the UI, you might miss that different conversational character resulting out of this. As a final note, I do miss Wikis like the original one, where you had a lot of long-standing information, but with a conversational bent.
PhpBB 3.3.10
Every time I see hype about Mastodon and the fediverse I miss the phpBB days. There was something special about the interlocking network of forums that didn't need to "federate" in any formal capacity. We just joined communities we liked and formed overlapping networks like normal people do and always have done. No one at the time felt any need to try to accommodate the whole world in one venue. As someone who never understood the appeal of Twitter or Facebook, the new wave of FOSS social apps feels very alien to me.
The Expanding Dark Forest and Generative AI
After the forest expands, we will become deeply sceptical of one another's realness. Every time you find a new favourite blog or Twitter account or Tiktok personality online, you'll have to ask: Is this really a whole human with a rich and complex life like mine? Is there a being on the other end of this web interface I can form a relationship with?
Ask HN: Techwise, how did TikTok get so good?
What sold me on Tik Tok (I'm a early 40 year old guy!) was realizing how their algo allowed you to drill in to a musical emotional trip like no other platform that I've seen to date. You find a video, with a song, that you vibe with. Now, click on the bottom right sound graphic and you can watch ALL the videos produced with that sound and vibe. It is part of the core product! So good it's hard to describe :)
The internet wants to be fragmented
The biggest problem is the like button. The like button is not only a bad metric - it's the worst possible metric. Speaking up used to be something you do to change someone's mind or yours. What's the point in speaking up if nobody does anything with what you said? The like button reprogrammed people. They started getting positive feedback for speaking in an echo chamber, for saying and doing things their audience already agrees with. They started getting negative feedback for doing the thing language was designed for. Normal purposeful speech makes different opinions closer, while speech under the feedback of the like button makes similar opinions even closer and different opinions further apart. If the interaction stays the same of course fragmentation is inevitable - but that's not a good thing. This fragmentation extends to the real world and has real consequences. It will blow up. Even with Twitter being internally fragmented the polarization in society grew. Nobody wants to listen to the other side anymore, while there's always the most to be learned from listening to the other side. The core of the problem needs to be addressed: that social media has reprogrammed people to the purpose of speech. One of the reasons I'm even bothering with websites like HN as opposed to social media is because it still feels like there's a slight chance of making people change their minds here.
Mozilla to explore healthy social media alternative
Interesting project, although in all likelihood vast amounts of people crave toxicity, popularity contests and flamewars. Kinda like how school bullying appears everywhere, independent of culture. That doesn’t mean that healthy places cannot exist or thrive, but it means that there will always be demand for the unhealthy. Tech impacts society, but we’re mistaken if we think we can change human nature. I’d expect the outcome of the research to reach a different conclusion than people expect. For instance, I don’t think the typical system of likes and followers will ever be healthy. Beware of early results though, because it always takes a while for a platform to mature enough to see if it withstands the test of millions of users, socially speaking. My WIP theory is: people-oriented public broadcast mediums always deteriorate towards the unhealthy with massive scale. You can have one or the other, but not both. (People oriented means that there is a strong focus on the people, usually with real name and face, or emphasizing the user/display name) Anecdotally, to illustrate the point: - LinkedIn became a cesspool despite having a professional boring focus. My theory: because it’s people-oriented and public. - Group chats have thrived and are very rarely problematic, despite likes and reacts everywhere. My theory: private groups with implicit trust. No need to build your personal brand. - GitHub has not deteriorated (a bit perhaps, but very much usable still), despite having likes, being a public broadcast medium. My take: it’s because it is mostly content oriented.
Black Aziz Anansi [In Exile] (@[email protected])
Pro tip: If the goal is for Mastodon to obtain mass adoption, then a good idea would be to figure out how to incorporate content creators within the community. Like most early tech spaces, Mastodon looks like it's being used by mostly tech geeks, academics, and folks who are into technology, but this does little to attract your average Joe to Mastodon, and the danger in that is your average Joe ends up consuming social media pumped out by people like Elon and his fans.
How to rebuild social media on top of RSS
RSS has got to be the thing that Hacker News loves the most that every non-tech person on Earth doesn't care about. So many techies love this model of designing their feed and collating what content they consume, while the quickest growing social network's entire pitch (TikTok) is "we'll deliver you what you want without you having to follow anyone".
What Happens When Everything Becomes TikTok?
Yep. This is the same strategy Instagram used a few years ago in copying Snapchat's Stories format, and likely has the same goal. The idea is not that Instagram can take back TikTok's audience — those users are well and truly lost — but rather that it can deny existing Insta users any reason to even try TikTok in the first place. (Because they can get the same form factor without downloading a new app.) From what I've heard, the Stories copying strategy did successfully contain (but did not roll back) the Snapchat threat to Insta. So there's some reason to believe they can hold the line against TikTok with this approach too, even absent the possibility of a government ban. I expect this sort of convergence will continue in the future. Whatever one might think of fast-following as a strategy, scale plus rapid copying of features does seem to work.
🅼🆁. 🆅 ∞ (@[email protected])
Dear reporters, news people, etc., The reason you're not getting any reach on Masto is because you rarely interact. You just come here, post your news article, and don't engage with the community. You will never get reach if you don't interact with people. This is not Twitter. This is not Facebook. If you want this platform to work for you, you have to become a part of the community, not just shout at us and leave. Forget everything you learned in the walled corporate digital gardens.
Sheril Kirshenbaum (@[email protected])
Having now been on #Mastodon for 1 month, a few observations: - Mastodon makes me realize how much the #Twitter algorithm maximized user outrage to boost engagement for profit. Gross. Here, my feed is interesting & supportive. - There's a culture of kindness - at least so far. It's extremely appealing & should be normalized on & offline. - Beyond reactions to toots, people share songs, poetry & ask great questions. I can't remember the last time I found social media to be fun.
𝐓𝐈𝐓Δ𝐍𝐁𝐎𝐑𝐍 :verified: (@[email protected])
If you only use social media accounts to share terrible news stories about terrible people doing terrible things, you're missing out on a fantastic opportunity to finally be happy. There's also a strong probability that you're shouting into the void because you've been blocked or muted. Don't let the bad aspects of the world destroy your opportunity to be cheerful on #Mastodon for once. You don't need to be a bot for the news corporations.
Brian PJ Cronin (@[email protected])
All the talk of leaving the birdsite vs. staying on the birdsite to “fight” makes me think of Barry Lopez: “The amount of energy that goes into the defeat of an enemy is energy that would be better spent in doing something that makes the enemy irrelevant.”
Brian PJ Cronin (@[email protected])
All the talk of leaving the birdsite vs. staying on the birdsite to “fight” makes me think of Barry Lopez: “The amount of energy that goes into the defeat of an enemy is energy that would be better spent in doing something that makes the enemy irrelevant.”
You Either Leave It or You Don’t — There’s No Middle Ground
You only have two choices. Either you let go of porn completely or you don’t. There is no middle ground in this topic and certainly no easy way out excuse. Your choice can only have two outcomes. You can choose to lead an incredible life with serious discipline, or you can succumb to your desires and have little mastery over yourself. There’s no in-between. Soft porn or hard porn — it’s all the same. Both will take you deeper down the rabbit hole. If you think soft porn is fine then you’re sadly mistaken. It won’t take long for soft porn to turn into hard porn. And once you are further desensitized, it only gets more horrific. A small spark, deemed harmless, has the capacity to burn thousands of acres of forest down. The similarities to porn are no different. One small spark can turn into two, three, and even one hundred. By then, if these sparks are not put out, you’re bound to burn down. The depressive episodes will return, the suicidal thoughts begin to take hold, the confidence you regained will begin to vanish, a life of impurity will ensue, and life itself will become unbearable. You’ll question yourself and your worth, shame will consume you, and the life you wished to lead will seem to be getting farther out of reach. So if you have managed to step away from porn, don’t fool yourself into thinking a quick glance, or exploring a topic you’re “curious” about is harmless. The spark that burns thousands of forests each year is fueled by your negligence and curious mind.
Kris Nóva (@[email protected])
The fediverse is proof that we as a collective species can grow. We learn. We innovate. The next generation takes charge. We move forward. This gives me a small amount of hope.
I don't want to go back to social media
If leaving Twitter, or Twitter shutting down, causes you to lose contact entirely, then what exactly was your relationship, how much did you really mean to each other? It makes you think. It made me think, anyway, and reevaluate my relationship to social media.
I don't want to go back to social media
The openness of Twitter to the entire world is actually a problem if you want to make friends, real friends, not just online acquaintances. It's like finding a needle in a haystack.
I don't want to go back to social media
Social media can be seductive because it gives the illusion of friendship. It's the ultimate in low maintenance, no effort "friendship". You do have a lift a finger… then you have drop the finger, and that's all you have to do. Click, like, done. Like 'em and leave 'em. It's a kind of relationship so shallow that even a casual in-person friendship looks deep in comparison.
I don't want to go back to social media
I'm torn on the topic. On one hand, you can accomplish so much in your life in a short amount of time by not endlessly consuming social media. From personal experience, you read more, write more, build more, and enjoy being in the moment with your loved ones more. On another hand, being a creator on social media can change your perspective of how much impact you can have on the world by helping others with whatever you're able to help with. Create a lot, consume little. This however comes with a responsibility: "The more you create, the more powerful you become. The more you consume, the more powerful others become."
Jae Bloom (@[email protected])
For those coming over, know that links don’t hurt you in the non-existent algorithm here. So feel free to share music, videos, articles and things made by other people that you come across. You never know, you may help someone find something new and cool! Imagine actually sharing content to places OUTSIDE the Fediverse!!! What a wild concept! #FediTips #TwitterMigration
The “je ne sais quoi” of TikTok — Daniel Immke
That’s the point I am trying to get at with this post. It’s very tough to explain, especially to “Product Managers” focused on KPIs who think of TikTok as “short videos.” It’s not just a format change or a tab you can add to your app’s navigation. It’s an unambiguously positive change in social media, on pretty much every front.
The “je ne sais quoi” of TikTok — Daniel Immke
For all of the cynicism I’ve seen about social media over the last 7 years, TikTok has felt like the opposite. A scroll through a Facebook or Instagram feed can leave one feeling less than. TikTok has never made me feel that way. It’s made me feel seen and understood by complete strangers. It’s helped me understand myself and other people better. It made me feel a lot less alone during the pandemic.
The “je ne sais quoi” of TikTok — Daniel Immke
Collaboration is so easy. A user can write a raw, vulnerable verse to someone else’s song and achieve the emotional connection that music can faciliate with hundreds of thousands of people. Without even showing their face or name. To me, this is incredible. Especially when you consider that the closest other platforms get to this is spammy “Plz check out my music 🙏” comments on a Drake music video.
The “je ne sais quoi” of TikTok — Daniel Immke
Even when not impressionistic, there’s space for introspective or “negative” content that explores the full spectrum of what it’s like to… be a person. It feels authentic. Not created to elicit sympathy, rather, commiseration.
The “je ne sais quoi” of TikTok — Daniel Immke
This is my favorite kind of TikTok. I don’t have a well defined categorization system, but this falls under what I would term “impressionistic” - It’s a window into someone else’s experience and emotions. Almost like a slice of life. It connects you to another human being in a way that Facebook always claimed to.
The “je ne sais quoi” of TikTok — Daniel Immke
Sometimes he dances outside, sometimes he dances in his kitchen. I don’t know anything else about him, and don’t really need to. His TikTok account has over 25,000 followers. He has a fanbase for his videos and clearly gets his needs as a human being (attention, validation, connection) met by posting those videos. It’s almost impossible for me to imagine someone posting the same content on YouTube or Instagram and being successful without an established following.
The “je ne sais quoi” of TikTok — Daniel Immke
One day, this video came across my feed. A quick swipe over to his account shows that’s all he posts- just videos of him dancing his heart out to ecletic pop music. There’s no grand value proposition like you might see on a short form Instagram video about how to make cute popsicles for summer. At the end he didn’t approach the camera and say “Hey if you liked that, be sure to like and subscribe and hit that notification bell.” It’s just someone dancing their heart out and enjoying themselves.
The “je ne sais quoi” of TikTok — Daniel Immke
The situation is even worse if you’re trying to make art and reach people, like with writing, music, or live streaming. The winners take all the attention. You will find people commenting on popular music videos begging anybody to try out their content.
The “je ne sais quoi” of TikTok — Daniel Immke
From MySpace onward, the paradigm of social media has always been about telling. Telling the platform—and everybody else—who you are. You tell it your gender, your date of birth, your interests, your friends, your thoughts about this or that subject. You have this persona you craft and present to the world.
The “je ne sais quoi” of TikTok — Daniel Immke
TikTok has taken over the world. Every other social media has a shallow copy of it that sucks. I stopped using most traditional social media about 5 years ago. I was happy without it — I didn’t feel like anything was missing from my life. If I stopped using TikTok, I would miss it. TikTok is different from everything that has come before it in many ways that are difficult to articulate. In French this concept is called “je ne sais quoi.” I also believe it’s the future of social media. As in, every subsequent successful social media product will incorporate some aspect of TikTok’s innovations. The problem is, I don’t think a lot of people understand what those innovations actually are.
The “je ne sais quoi” of TikTok — Daniel Immke
I think it's a bit weird to compare TikTok to traditional social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Those older platforms were about your social networks (friends and friends of friends) - or at least they were before they started to ape TikTik. For me, the much closer comparison to TikTok is YouTube, and I feel that TikTok is really just a mobile-optimized YouTube.
Lance McDonald (@manfightdragon)
For a few months, Twitch has publicly been getting a lot of praise for changing to a new, much better 55% revenue share on ads played by streamers. But a lot of people don't realize that to get this new better share, we have to agree to a new contract manually every month. But... ... these contracts are slowly getting worse. Twitch now want me to stream 7 minutes of ads every hour to keep my 55% revenue share, and still are going to cut me off after I hit 64 hours streamed this month (my schedule is 80 hours) and drop me back to the old rate regardless. 55% ad revenue share is GREAT, in my opinion. And if I could just get that on every advert I ran on my stream, it would be amazing. But sadly they require mandatory minimum ad runs, and only agree to pay it for a limited time each month which takes away a lot of the good. As someone who streams full time, only paying me for the first 64 hours I stream next month, despite it being December, the biggest ad-spend month by FAR for any platform, is pretty sad. (Also the dollar amount they offered me is the lowest it's been in months, figure that out?)
The Rise of Influencer Capital
I strongly disagree with Galbraith's argument essentially about "the end of quality". We did not reach a zenith of product quality in the 50s. What did change was the coverage of mass media. Instead of relying on long and expensive genuine user feedback loops to generate positive buzz around a product, advertising manufactures that buzz directly. This is why is it everywhere, and influencers are just the latest innovation. Not because product quality/QoL reached a high point.
The Rise of Influencer Capital
This is only tangentially related, but this article reminds me of Galbraith's "The Affluent Society" which should frankly be required reading for undergrad social sciences. In it, he argues that, at the time of writing (late 50s), the industrialized West has largely solved what had previously been the main preoccupation of economics - improved standard of living. As evidence, Galbraith points to advertising. The argument is simple: when important productivity improvements take place, say the invention of a new way of baking bread, they don't need advertising to gain mass use. Their benefits are so obvious that they don't need to be sold. Demand doesn't have to be created, because demand comes from human existence. The existence of advertising, in contrast, shows that the thing being advertised probably isn't that important. Indeed, the item is so trivial as to require advertising to create demand for it. This then leads us to wonder what benefit is being served by both creating this product and the demand for it; Galbraith argues that we've essentially fetishized economic growth at all costs (a holdover, in his view, from the early days of econ which was concerned with our metaphorical bread making instead of our metaphorical advertised widget making). He then attacks planned obsolescence as the dumbest outcrop of this process, because now we're purposefully wasting materials on things which we hope to replace in the near future for no reason other than to keep making the things, things which we don't need anyway - as evidenced by the fact that they're advertised. Anyway I think this fits in perfectly with the whole influencer economy phenomenon, because that's literally all they do. Their raison d'etre is to generate demand for items nobody needs or even previously knew about.
The Rise of Influencer Capital
This is only tangentially related, but this article reminds me of Galbraith's "The Affluent Society" which should frankly be required reading for undergrad social sciences. In it, he argues that, at the time of writing (late 50s), the industrialized West has largely solved what had previously been the main preoccupation of economics - improved standard of living. As evidence, Galbraith points to advertising. The argument is simple: when important productivity improvements take place, say the invention of a new way of baking bread, they don't need advertising to gain mass use. Their benefits are so obvious that they don't need to be sold. Demand doesn't have to be created, because demand comes from human existence. The existence of advertising, in contrast, shows that the thing being advertised probably isn't that important. Indeed, the item is so trivial as to require advertising to create demand for it. This then leads us to wonder what benefit is being served by both creating this product and the demand for it; Galbraith argues that we've essentially fetishized economic growth at all costs (a holdover, in his view, from the early days of econ which was concerned with our metaphorical bread making instead of our metaphorical advertised widget making). He then attacks planned obsolescence as the dumbest outcrop of this process, because now we're purposefully wasting materials on things which we hope to replace in the near future for no reason other than to keep making the things, things which we don't need anyway - as evidenced by the fact that they're advertised. Anyway I think this fits in perfectly with the whole influencer economy phenomenon, because that's literally all they do. Their raison d'etre is to generate demand for items nobody needs or even previously knew about.
Jason Evangelho (@[email protected])
One thing I truly love about #Mastodon is that people are still replying to things I posted several days ago. This is a fundamental difference compared to that other site. But WHY is this important? Because it reduces that creeping need to post ALL THE TIME in order to stay visible. (Another toxic side-effect of most social media platforms). By not having an algorithm disappearing your content, it encourages your content to be focused more on quality, not quantity.
Scaling Mastodon is impossible
Mastodon is messy. The world is messy. We have cities with different rules, different mayors, different odds of existing in 50 years. It's nice to have all the cities follow all the same rules and customs if you agree with them, and nice to have another city to move to if you don't. Email as a decentralized medium has survived for decades. You use a big provider like Gmail, choose a host in another region, or an organization like Proton Mail that does thing somewhat different. It's OK that Mastodon is messy and at times chaotic. It's organic.
Scaling Mastodon is impossible
Mastodon is messy. The world is messy. We have cities with different rules, different mayors, different odds of existing in 50 years. It's nice to have all the cities follow all the same rules and customs if you agree with them, and nice to have another city to move to if you don't. Email as a decentralized medium has survived for decades. You use a big provider like Gmail, choose a host in another region, or an organization like Proton Mail that does thing somewhat different. It's OK that Mastodon is messy and at times chaotic. It's organic.
Kris Nóva (@[email protected])
My most significant feedback about the Mastodon network: 1) Classifying servers by a topic, profession or organization attracts excessively large numbers of people to a relatively small number of servers. 2) Servers should drastically limit their active user count. Ideally less than 100 but at worst case 500. To that end, a different classification (likeness of mind & location) and forking/merging processes (similar to cellular division in life, but also backwards) would help it thrive.
Ask HN: Do you believe there's really an alternative to Twitter?
I do game development on the side, just fun small indie games. I like using twitter to follow other game devs and see what they are working on. It's fun tracking down new devs and seeing new and interesting projects, and it's fun sharing progress on my games and getting some positive comments from them. What's not fun is the sheer amount of topics on twitter I have zero interest in invading my timeline. I don't like how much marketing spam there is, since every post is secretly hoping to 'go viral', which even for the indie devs I follow makes it fairly bland sometimes. Twitter is just so huge that it's not possible to have any small communities. For all its warts, there's a fantastic twitter community around the FGC (fighting game community) - members in the community regularly post really interesting questions or statements on fighting games and/or their design, and it usually kicks of dozens of videos from other people I follow on that topic. The FCG's usage of Twitter is probably the best I've seen. Personally, what I would like is something more akin to a mailing list or RSS feed I suppose, but with the ability to reply to threads, a bit like a forum. I want to be able to follow people I find interesting manually, with zero discovery in the app itself. I want to hear updates from them, and without any 'retweet' functionality there's less incentive for small players to spam the ever living hell out of their account in the hope of getting lucky. I think that would be my dream app - something that works like an RSS feed, but without the technical overhead of actually setting up and publishing to your own RSS feed, with the ability to respond with comments on the posts without having to repost it to a site which does allow it (like HN or Reddit) with one shared identity. That would be cool. Does Mastodon fill that role? Does anything? If so I'd certainly use it.
Ada (@[email protected])
Now the way the Internet Archive is doing mastodon is how more organisations and celebs should be joining the fediverse! They have a dedicated in house instance, which lets you identify official staff, and gives them control and security over their content, whilst also allowing people and instances to opt in or out of interacting with them Kudos for doing it right @internetarchive!
Sean Hood (@[email protected])
If MySpace taught a generation HTML; is the Mastodon era going to create a generation of sysadmins?
Sean Hood (@[email protected])
If MySpace taught a generation HTML; is the Mastodon era going to create a generation of sysadmins?
Luke Chadwick (@[email protected])
I'm far from someone that cares about social engagement metrics in general, but at the same time if I post something I actually want my circle of friends/followers to see it. If they don't I might as well write it in my journal. It seems to me that Twitter is optimizing so that my posts are not seen, and Mastodon the engagement was instant and sustained over the course of the day.
TikTok’s Stratospheric Rise: An Oral History - WSJ
I think tiktok's "slice of life" short glimpses into how people live is dramatically more interesting than the bloated content youtube pushes at me, which is usually weirdos with fake sounding voices doing overly dramatized "explainers" or "reactions" about something the algorithm has identified I'm mildly interested in. What you see in tiktok feels more "real" (even when contrived) than the overly produced content of youtube.
TikTok’s Stratospheric Rise: An Oral History - WSJ
Go get addicted to TikTok for a month and find out how high quality the stuff can get. There are farmers, professors, chefs, mathematicians, dancers, artists and so much more doing amazing things on the platform. Privacy concerns aside, it really is a wonderful nexus of humans.
TikTok’s Stratospheric Rise: An Oral History - WSJ
The best part of TikTok is being able to see who is talking to you. Reddit has become less and less useful to me as I have aged as I can’t shake the feeling that I’m not talking to a person at all or if I am it’s a 13 year old edge lord pretending to be whatever. So much information gains or loses value based on who is saying it. It also came out around the same time that every YouTube creator started stretching their content to 10 minutes minimum for ad revenue. I rarely want to spend 10 minutes on a single throw away topic which killed a lot of interest in browsing YouTube casually for me. I know there are a lot of naysayers for good and bad reasons but if you are on the fence you should give it a try and it will likely become one of your favorite online spaces to spend time.
TikTok’s Stratospheric Rise: An Oral History - WSJ
I am skeptical of TikTok because it works too well and is too enjoyable - while conditioning users’ brains to go into a very short attention mode. Someone else here talked about the advantage of finding something interesting and 20 minutes long on YouTube- much healthier. One thing that TikTok did for me that was awesome: I searched for restaurants in the small tourist town I live in, and the search results were very good. I had read that young people (I am 71) use TikTok as a search engine so I tried it. I tend to have TikTok installed about 25% of the time, and uninstall it when I am wasting too much time. Someone here suggested blocking content creators I don’t like; next time I have it installed I will try that.
TikTok’s Stratospheric Rise: An Oral History - WSJ
My very loose understanding is that the effectiveness of the "Not interested" button is somehow inversely proportional to the strength of the correlation that TikTok uses for that particular suggestion. As the obvious example, if you are a male, you might only need to click "not interested" once or twice to stop seeing e.g. skateboarding or woodworking content, but many, many times to stop seeing content from attractive females.
TikTok’s Stratospheric Rise: An Oral History - WSJ
The problem that Youtube has is that they already were what TikTok is today. Early ~2005 Youtube was extremely similar to what modern TikTok is, lots of amateurs talking into their webcam and not a whole lot of professional content. Youtube however spend a lot of effort to drive that early content away and focus on professional content that they could monetize easier. Finding a random video from somebody who isn't a professional full-time Youtuber is getting pretty rare these days. Youtube Shorts thus has the problem that all the random slice-of-life content that strives on TikTok, is deliberately suppressed on their own platform. Difficult to see how they can fix that, as it just goes against everything they have been doing for the last decade. The algorithm is important of course, but it needs content to search through and I just don't really think there is enough left on Youtube to compete with what TikTok is doing. All the videos I saw on Youtube Shorts was just professional Youtube's cutting some bits out of their larger videos into a shorter video, it just felt useless, annoying and uninteresting.
TikTok’s Stratospheric Rise: An Oral History - WSJ
ByteDance has been making loads of money from Chinese domestic market, through TouDiao and DouYin. It knows in order to compete with big names such as Facebook, YouTube, it needs the North American market, which is known for all international brands. Basically winning the US market is winning the world, the same concept as being a Hollywood star is a international star. I think people failed to understand TikTok. People keep talking about social network. TikTok is not a social network, it does not use your friends and your connections to predict what you will enjoy, and that's the beauty of it. For me TikTok is a TV. It is MTV, constantly showing you exciting videos, regardless where it come from. YouTube is like Cable TV. The closest to it is Instagram, but Instagram pays too much attention to who you follow. TikTok does not replace Facebook, but it will eat your TV time, it competes with Netflix.
Exploring Mastodon
The thing that surprised me a bit about federation is that it puts instances front and center. You have an account at your "home instance", and that's the first thing you see. When I first read about federation I had thought that the idea was to have one big network of independent but equal instances that just transparently share data under common topics. But instead I discovered that you are identified with your instance and can follow topics per instance, with local topics being the default, and you have to explicitly reach out to see the "rest of the world". With Lemmy communities too. It seems that you can subscribe to a community on a given instance, but there is no such thing as cross-instance communities. I found this disappointing because it means that for there to be a critical mass of content in a particular community so that it gains in popularity, then that particular community in that particular instance has to become popular on its own, instead of all instances contributing to one big community. Add to this that the default view is "local communities" and you've guaranteed you'll never build something as popular as reddit, sadly. Example, someone from mylemmy.eg cannot post together with someone from hislemmy.com in one big Programming forum. Instead they both have to agree to post in [email protected] and not [email protected] which, imho, is unlikely to be a successful as there being one centralized place where everyone knows to post. If they'd just remove the domain names and pool everything I think it would have a lot more chance of success.
Exploring Mastodon
But one lesson we can draw from the history of the internet is that despite this appearance of decentralization, it will still be a centralized world, because centralization tends to bring convenience. There may be a host of instances out there, but the organizations they serve won’t be running them directly. Instead I expect a few service providers will run instances, just as they do for email now.
Being Ridiculed for My Open Source Project (2013)
> And then there is twitter. You may recall the advice about waiting til next morning to hit send on that scathing email reply. You might not feel so dramatic after a cooldown period. My working theory on why Twitter is so noxious is that it captures (then broadcasts) people's impulsiveness reaction. I keep thinking of Marshal McLuhan's The Medium is the Message. What would he say about Twitter? I've never grokked McLuhan's distinction between "hot" and "cold" mediums. (Makes sense; being one of the first to discuss this stuff, he had to invent a vocabulary.) My current guess involves feedback loops and channel bandwidth. "Hot" is reactive, "cold" is deliberative. But it's not just the immediacy of the medium, it's also the interactions (feedback loops). Face to face, there is very high bandwidth (included by not limited to backchannel, body language, facial expressions, context, etc) along with rapid feedback. So we have the information needed to keep communication from going off the rails. Alas, Twitter's very constrained bandwidth, while maintaining the rapid feedback loop, doesn't permit any sort collaborative moderating effort. In other words, Twitter is custom built for kneejerk clapbacks. For contrast, I keep thinking of John Carmack's journaling via a .plan file (and the finger protocol). Twas a precursor to blogging and RSS feeds. Why didn't that medium incite virality, outrage, and pogroms? .plan files are also low band width, right? I think it's because the feedback loops simply didn't exist.
So Musk just bought twitter, any advise for how a Twitter native can migrate to Mastodon?
Mastadon requires a skill a lot of people don't have in today's internet, which is how to find and surf the web when it isn't centralized. Wayyy back before social media had really taken hold, your content wasn't in any one place. You could google for it, or use AOL's search, or Yahoo, but each one had different results, and only really gave you a *starting point*. Once you got to these sites, they'd have a links page that lead to other favorite sites of the owner or a webring that would lead you to other random pages in a group of websites that had all allied because they were similar in content. During this era, you'd also have forums that had a bunch of followers and worked kinda like reddit that would point you at new content, and chat groups which would be open discord-like text chats or email groups that would email each other back and forth as a topic thread. During the blog era, we had self-hosted blogging that had similar -- webrings, friend blogs, etc. At this time, you also had RSS feeds, where you'd "subscribe" to a website and you'd get notified on your browser when content was updated. Livejournal and Deadjournal was big in this era because they had simplified features of that and everything was centralized so you could search on those websites individually. Mastadon depends on a lot of surfing through these kinds of methods -- getting a couple friends, finding their followers, and leaping through their followers and so forth to get a large follower list. There is no central "search" function, and what searches exist are quite limited. You won't be able to find others easily or just put stuff on blast and know it makes its way to others. You need to be proactive, follow people, search out people you've got common interests with. You can do this best by joining a few servers all at once, do some searching in their feed groups and with content tags, make a subscription list for yourself, and then export it to your main account that you settle at. Once you've done that, you can close out your account at these other feeds, and redirect it to your main feed so people can find your new home easily. But it isn't like today's internet. You won't have trending topics beyond your local server. You won't have content generated based on your likes. If you don't actively monitor for something, your server won't give it to you to see. Most servers block google and other search engine trawlers so finding your feed might be extra difficult unless you share it to other social media or on your own personal website/linkedin/etc. It takes work and effort, but you can be certain that you've got control over your data and what you see, and you're not being sold to or sent advertizements.
amos ([email protected]) (@fasterthanlime)
I wish everyone discarding Mastodon as weird and bad and "not a replacement" a very change your mind and do it anyway. Twitter is not territory that's yours to fight for. You never owned it in the first place. I'm sad too, but rebuilding your audience takes a while — don't wait.
Ex-Reddit CEO on Twitter moderation
You're confusing bad actors with bad behavior. Bad behavior is something good people do from time to time because they get really worked up about a specific topic or two. Bad actors are people who act bad all the time. There may be some of those but they're not the majority by far (and yes, sometimes normal people turn into bad actors because they get upset about a given thing that they can't talk about anything else anymore). OP's argument is that you can moderate content based on behavior, in order to bring the heat down, and the signal to noise ratio up. I think it's an interesting point: it's neither the tools that need moderating, nor the people, but conversations (one by one).
Ex-Reddit CEO on Twitter moderation
Every single social media platform that has ever existed makes the same fundamental mistake. They believe that they just have to remove or block the bad actors and bad content and that will make the platform good. The reality is everyone, myself included, can be and will be a bad actor. How do you build and run a "social media" product when the very act of letting anyone respond to anyone with anything is itself the fundamental problem?
Ex-Reddit CEO on Twitter moderation
At least one missing element is that of reputation. I don't think it should work exactly like it does in the real world, but the absence of it seems to always lead to major problems. The cost of being a jerk online is too low - it's almost entirely free of any consequences. Put another way, not everyone deserves a megaphone. Not everyone deserves to chime in on any conversation they want. The promise of online discussion is that everyone should have the potential to rise to that, but just granting them that privilege from the outset and hardly ever revoking it doesn't work. Rather than having an overt moderation system, I'd much rather see where the reach/visibility/weight of your messages is driven by things like your time in the given community, your track record of insightful, levelheaded conversation, etc.
Twitter Blue for $8/Month
Twitter is basically a broadcast platform for people who matter "in the real world". It gives them an easy way to reach their audience on their own terms without any middlemen. As a centralized platform, Twitter creates more value for those who follow than those who broadcast. Because the broadcasters are primarily known for something other than the "content" they create on the platform, they would find their audience anywhere. Followers, on the other hand, can conveniently follow many people on the same platform. Regardless of whether they are interested in global celebrities, local politicians, or professionals in a specific subfield, they can often find those people on Twitter. Blogs used to be popular among many of the groups you can now find on Twitter. I guess Twitter replaced them, because the short message format forces you to focus on the essentials. Creating a new post is much faster, and you will reach many more people, because reading the post is not a significant time investment.
Twitter Blue for $8/Month
That's the core problem with this approach. Elon and others have the idea in their head that Twitter is a social graph where people come to interact with each other, and everyone is relatively equal. So every user paying $X/mo to solidify their place in the graph makes some conceptual sense. In reality Twitter is more akin to YouTube than Facebook. A tiny percentage of users are creators while the vast majority are consumers. If you go by the rough count of their currently verified accounts, only ~0.16% of monthly active users are producing content of any real value. An average user (part of the 99.9%) isn't going to care about any status or badges – they are only there to look at memes. Creators and influencers on the other hand are going to care, but (1) there are too few of them for their $8/mo to make a substantial difference to the company's bottom line, and (2) the platform needs them as much as they need platform. So you really want to instead do the exact opposite – ask the consumers to pay and fund your creators with that money.
Centralization Is Inevitable
The point of open protocols is not that there will actually be many providers, but that one could switch providers easily if they do something fishy. It's about the threat, and what can happen on margin. Keeping a sword dangling over the monopolist's head is reasonable.
Twitter discontinues ad-free articles for Blue subscribers
Raise the price and drop the features, makes sense to me. Next step, the MMO route: sell different-color flair for your account so everybody can tell how much you spend per month on Twitter. Then, let people filter by tier: Twitter Blue can block Twitter Blue and no-check users; Twitter Red cannot be blocked except by Red and above... on up to Twitter Diamond who can't be blocked by anybody but other $100k/mo users. Sure, people will hate it, but will they pay?
Tell HN: The issues of Twitter are not a technical problem to solve
I disagree. Your points aren't necessarily wrong, but they ignore one big factor. Twitter chooses what content to promote to people. I could use Twitter quite happily not knowing about the latest "scandal" in, say, the knitting world. But Twitter actively promotes that content to me - either with the "trending" sidebar or by showing me content that it thinks will increase my engagement. That is a technical problem. How do you surface engaging content without also surfacing harmful / polarising / abusive content? If a specific Tweet got a million likes, a "neutral" algorithm might choose to promote it. But unless that algorithm knows that the Tweet is deliberately inflammatory, it can't choose to de-prioritise it. So, yes, there is a problem with human nature. But it is being exacerbated by deliberate technical and policy choices.
Tell HN: The issues of Twitter are not a technical problem to solve
I used to agree with you until I created a new Twitter account from scratch. I'm not American and I specifically put non-political things in my interests. Yet, the second I signed up I got the following: 1. A notification about a smug reply a rando made to a Republican Congressman. 2. Posts from a meme page with a Pepe the frog avatar showing homeless people fighting in San Francisco. 3. Somebody I don't follow accusing another person I don't follow of being a nazi. The problem with Twitter is that it needs high engagement, so it strongly recommends posts that are low on quality but high on emotion. This gets people to post the most smug and controversial takes they can handle. I recommend everyone creating a new social media account every once in a while to see what the rest of the world see. It's as enlightening as browsing the internet with Adblock disabled.
Stop writing Twitter threads! - Chez pieq
Twitter penalizes links. If you post a tweet with a link only a fraction of the people will see it compared to a twitter thread. They much prefer people stay on platform. It's not just Twitter doing this - all social networks prefer you stay within their platform. Facebook is notorious for it. If you put all that work into a blog post and only 5 people see it versus typing it out as a twitter thread and 1000 see it, it makes it obvious which one is better - even if its a worse UI.
Stop writing Twitter threads! - Chez pieq
As someone that regularly writes long-form content on a blog, I have to say: this post completely misses the point. People write Twitter threads because Twitter gives them distribution for what they want to say. Sure, it may not be the perfect soapbox for what you want to say. But if you write something insightful, a zillion people may see it as opposed to your mom and best friend who read it on your blog.
How I Trained My TikTok | metastable
Once AI output meets or exceeds what humans can do, will humans stop creating, will we let the machines take over producing our content? I don’t think so, I think TikTok shows us humans crave to create as much as consume. The AIs won’t take over, but they will live in the spaces in between, powering human-to-human interaction at a scale and speed we’ve never seen before. TikTok is the Mirror of Erised, from Harry Potter, made real: it shows you what you want to see. When I gaze into TikTok before bed I’m reminded that we are not done creating, we are not done learning, we are not done.
How I Trained My TikTok | metastable
Instead of watching videos with thousands or millions of views, I was seeing videos with a hundred views or even ten views. The algorithm seemed to be trusting me to deliver an early vote. Contributing the millionth view to a video felt inconsequential and anonymous, but being the eleventh viewer seemed intensely personal. I frequently stumbled on musicians tentatively playing their instruments for the camera; their lighting and audio needed work, their performance was not polished, but I watched as if to say “please keep trying”.
How I Trained My TikTok | metastable
Now that I better understood how TikTok worked, I changed my approach to watching videos. If a video seemed repetitive or shallow or snacky in any way, I skipped it, and I tried hard to do this within the first few seconds. It required constant discipline to not become entranced by shiny objects. On the other hand, if a video seemed nourishing or worthwhile, but was a bit slow-paced or challenging, I stuck with it. I was mindful that my viewing choices were impacting both the algorithm and the creators: whatever I watched TikTok would make more of it.
Behind TikTok's boom: A legion of traumatized, $10-a-day content moderators
What's most disturbing is the realization that a measurable percentage of humans are just f*cked up. Considering how many reports there are of Facebook, Youtube, Tiktok, and other sites where content moderators are suffering from having to perform their jobs, it suggests that there's a great deal of really terrible stuff going on - and worse, that the people involved are filming and attempting to share it. This is a serious thing, and it paints humanity as being far darker than it would seem from the surface. It also suggests that the apocalyptic movies may not be so far off when they suggest that humanity will revert to open barbarism if we're faced with a catastrophy large enough.
Behind TikTok's boom: A legion of traumatized, $10-a-day content moderators
The "defaults" on TikTok are fairly terrible. However, after spending maybe one hour at most scrolling and liking/disliking things to tune the algorithm, and search tags, it works fairly well. I have - Learned several cooking recipes and some tricks - Cleaning advice I've actually put to use - How to use some woodworking tools. Also, general woodworking ideas - Cat behavioral advice In my experience, it's far better than Reddit (mostly because there's far more niche content, and it isn't limited to "recently posted") and the discovery is far easier than on YouTube.
Your account is permanently suspended
I think the solution is opt-in curation. If someone (or 10k someones) watches and compiles quality items of interest, maybe i want one of those feeds INSTEAD of Twitter’s ML algorithm. Twitter can still monetize but now curations could monetize individually via including specific ad tweets. And i want to subscribe to multiple curations, not just one. Twitter could even have their own ML algorithm as a curation but I want it to be explicit opt in. You could browse curations by popularity or topic and opt in to the ones you like, or opt out if you don’t like one anymore. Trolls wouldn’t get included in curations that anyone cared about. The down side is that it magnifies the social media echo chamber effect, but it also makes everyone’s feed more personally relevant.
Your account is permanently suspended
It's only hard if your business model is "growth & engagement" and you need to maximize user and engagement numbers at all costs. If that's not your business model, abuse prevention is trivial. You can operate the network like a members' club where people gain privileges (such as posting links, media, etc - anything that can be used to spam or harm other users/the platform) over time as they prove themselves and acquire trust (Stack Overflow calls this number "reputation") and you can then use this trust number as a weight in automated decisions, so that high-trust users (who are unlikely to suddenly burn their hard-earned account) will not be impacted by an automated ban. Forums in the good old days were ran by volunteers were able to deal with spam/abuse just fine with a combination of bans and privilege levels (it will take time & effort to level up an account to where it's able to post links/etc and be useful for spamming), there's absolutely no reason current social media companies can't do the same, if it wasn't for the fact that their business model to a certain extent relies on moderation being both unfair to users and subpar at effectively suppressing bad content (hint: bad content is nice to have around as long as it's not too visible, as it generates tons of outrage and thus engagement - it's only a problem when powerful people get wind of it and then you delete it and issue a fake apology).
Your account is permanently suspended
It's only hard if your business model is "growth & engagement" and you need to maximize user and engagement numbers at all costs. If that's not your business model, abuse prevention is trivial. You can operate the network like a members' club where people gain privileges (such as posting links, media, etc - anything that can be used to spam or harm other users/the platform) over time as they prove themselves and acquire trust (Stack Overflow calls this number "reputation") and you can then use this trust number as a weight in automated decisions, so that high-trust users (who are unlikely to suddenly burn their hard-earned account) will not be impacted by an automated ban. Forums in the good old days were ran by volunteers were able to deal with spam/abuse just fine with a combination of bans and privilege levels (it will take time & effort to level up an account to where it's able to post links/etc and be useful for spamming), there's absolutely no reason current social media companies can't do the same, if it wasn't for the fact that their business model to a certain extent relies on moderation being both unfair to users and subpar at effectively suppressing bad content (hint: bad content is nice to have around as long as it's not too visible, as it generates tons of outrage and thus engagement - it's only a problem when powerful people get wind of it and then you delete it and issue a fake apology).
School vs. Wikipedia
Any new media has this problem. I know we think of digital media as being old and well understood at this point, but that's far from the truth. Media moves too quickly for most people to understand it. By the time you understand it, it changes again. That was true for newspapers, radio, television, digital media, and now ubiquitous computing. As people who build these media platforms (hackers) we need to do a better job designing the technology for humans and educating people to approach it with a more sophisticated mindset. Ex; social media has been a disaster. Remember, it was not that long ago that everyone got their information from the same places. This is going to be a long road.
FB feed is 98% suggested pages and barely any friend's posts
Yes it’s a negative feedback loop created by the very bad product decisions they made to optimize for local maxima of getting more ads revenue. You inject more and more ads followed by more and more suggested content, thereby reducing the in network content. The in network content doesn’t get as much of traction, therefore people stop posting. This in turn forces the feed to have more and more suggestions and a few stale in network posts from days ago. This drives engagement down from people who want to see in network content and they leave. So what is left is people who do engage with suggested content, pushing the product to make decisions to push even more suggested content. All of this continues till eventually fatigue sets in and a sudden rapid drop in engagement kicks in because your global maxima of a quality product was lost long time ago and your product dies.
The coming tsunami of fakery
The end result of all this fakery is a growing doubt and distrust of the world and the information presented to us. Bots on twitter, corporate reddit moderators pruning discourse, astroturfed discussions, deepfakes, AI generated news articles, AI art, it all waters down the assumption that what we see before us is real. Leading us to doubt everything we read, see and hear. Much of this bot driven noise online is only possible in large, public online communities. I think we will see a shift towards much smaller walled gardens of community online. It's already happening with the mass exodus to discord and smaller chatrooms. I think we can all safely assume that our 30 discord friends are real people... for now. The country club exists for the wealthy to enjoy the pleasantries of community and pastime without interruption by the masses. I think the internet will move to mirror the real world as we segregate apart into the places we most enjoy... or have the connections and money to afford. Authentic and vibrant human communities with novel content curation will be a luxury, while the "public pool" for the masses will be an internet of data pollution and grime.
Why do you waste so much time on the internet?
Just speaking for myself, I've noticed that my habit is to eat what is in front of me, and clean my plate. I mean this both literally and figuratively. If I have dessert in the house, like a bag of chocolate, then I eat one after dinner. If I don't have it in the house, then I just don't eat dessert. If I have a social media feed full of content, then I'll scroll through all of it until there's nothing else that's new. So what I've been doing is not entirely quitting Internet stuff, but instead I just massively unsubscribing, unfollowing, and filtering all the feeds. Sort of a Marie Kondo thing. I go through every subreddit I'm in, every RSS feed, every account I follow on Twitter, and i strongly consider "is this really providing lots of joy and/or value?" If not, it gets the chop. I've cut out at least 2/3s of the stuff I was following since the peak, and it's only going down. Now when I doomscroll it's only for a few minutes. I hit the end of new content very very quickly. When that happens I start to look elsewhere. I've been reading a lot more actual books, done more chores, and been more productive overall. As for the things I unfollowed? They clearly had no value because not only do I not miss them, I can barely even remember what they were.
I decided to move away from big tech for my children and myself
I have a son who is 11. All of his friends have smart phones. He will have friends over to the house and the friends will sit there and stare at their phones. My son who doesn't have a phone will be like, hey can you get off tiktok so we can play or go outside? It is rather sad to see this, they are hanging out sharing videos they find on their feeds through their phones. One time my son said, hey get off your phone and lets go scooter around the neighborhood, the kid replied, hey I think I am going to go home. He wanted to surf his phone more than actually hang out with his friend. I think I made a very good decision not to give my son a phone until he is driving. Instead of surfing tiktok all day, he learns music, does origami, plays outside, helps me with the garden and many other things that bring him a lot of joy. I obviously help him with whatever interest he has, and I think him seeing the way his friends handle social media has made him not really want a phone anymore. He doesn't even mention it to me like he did when all his friends first started getting one. He sees how addicted they are and how he doesn't even have those friends over anymore. I think people over estimate the "pariah" thing. I grew up in a family of alcoholism, so I chose never to drink. At first people would ask me to drink with them at parties and such. Eventually they realized I never gave in, so when they were out buying alcohol, they would always buy me a pack of soda so when I came I would have something to drink with them. So if the friends are good, I don't think our kids will be pariahs. I think/hope that instead our kids will just find people who appreciate and understand their choices or the choices of their parents. If they don't, are they that good of friends after all? I think it is okay to have less friends, if the quality is higher.
Internet spring cleaning: How to delete Instagram, Facebook and other accounts
People are realizing that social media is draining, predatory, and entirely superfluous. Of course there are employees here of social media corporations who would want to stem the tide of this mass exodus, but it's useless. Social media corporations have overstepped their boundaries and become a net negative on human society. Deleting your social media accounts results in an immediate improvement of quality of life and mental wellbeing. These sites are intentionally designed with predatory psychological mechanisms, they are designed by hackers like ourselves, but the hackers who see "social engineering" as a perfectly ethical practice and not simply psychological manipulation. These services are designed to be addictive, full stop. Addiction is not healthy, and neither is social media. Maybe this will bring SV back to its roots, real technological progress for the nation and not desperate bids for data mining based on cheap psychological tricks. People are growing sickened of the endless scrolls of psychological disturbing viral content combined with the false positivity of human interest stories. It is deepening social divisions, racial conflicts, political partisanship, and general misery. We don't need social media, what we need is real social connections in an increasingly isolated society, and social media stands in the way of this.
An argument for a return to Web 1.0
The golden age of the Internet was also distinctly different because I'd wager that the majority of people online back in those days had some technical know-how. You knew you were interacting with people who could operate a computer well enough to dial-up to an ISP so generally they were fairly intelligent. As nostalgic as it is, I think if you were to really strive for that type of world again you need to move forward with building a new network - something that requires some measure of intelligence in order to gain access to it. Of course, what's then stopping someone from automating that and repeating the cycle all over again? Better off just carving out your little piece in this new massive online world and building a community - or - just join one that already exists. There's millions of forums and "hand-made" websites out there, you just need to dig a little deeper these days.
The new silent majority: People who don't tweet
One of my pet theories for why social media is such a cesspool is that it exposes us to the whole of someone else. If I play boardgames with Sue, that's enough. We meet, enjoy a beer and play some Catan and go our separate ways. That's a fine relationship. If I follow Sue on social media, now I know her politics, religion, sex life, drug usage, opinions on every little thing.. and frankly, I don't care or want to. I'm happy just playing some Catan once in a while. Historically you didn't need to know everything about everyone. Your friends will always have opinions or lifestyles you will find disagreeable - that is the nature of human existence. Humanity either needs to "agree to disagree" on wide swaths of things we care a whole bunch about (abortion, firearms, lgbtq, etc) or we need to go back to not discussing those things in public or polite company. My $0.02 is that it's easier to fall back to rules of polite conversation than fix our compulsive need for agreement.
Facebook loses users for the first time
There is something else going on around FB. Almost all activity online has shifted away from the Social Graph to a Content Graph. Almost nobody wants to see what their friends are doing online anymore. In a lot of ways it can be cringey. People just want the latest, catchiest content. TikTok and Youtube are the OGs here, but it's everywhere when you start to look. Twitter timeline changes being an awkward but working example. Discovery > Static friends list. The entire premise FB was founded on is eroding. This isn't just Apple privacy and some regulatory strangulation. It's seismic to the business. The reason most people are still going to Facebook is incompatible with their primary activities online which is: consuming content from people-you-don't-know. Facebook is where you find out your highschool friend is super in to a MLM, your uncle has drastic political views you don't share, and that your historical social class and network is largely irrelevant to your life a decade later. They are doing everything they can to try to move in this direction, but the more they push it the less useful Facebook is for the average user. Instagram's discovery page is a prime example. But Reels are less good than TikTok, and whatever they are doing for short form video in Facebook is surely a hopeless game of catch up. This is classical innovator's dilemma. The very idea that Zuckerberg straight up said they need to copy the competition harder is incomprehensible considering the resources they have. They are going to try to do a few things. One is to anti-trust Apple (in the media at least), and the other is to hand wave (Metaverse). The reason the Metaverse was such a non sequitur is that it is so clearly a last minute thrust coming out of the C-Suite. If you've ever worked at a highly visible tech pubco, you've seen this happen before. Weak quarters mean that product announcements get pushed up. When it is as all encompassing as the Metaverse announcement, you know something is up.
The metaverse is bullshit
Text is mightier than the Metaverse. Kids can do video calls with their smartphones but prefer texting. We could discuss Hacker News stories with video chat but we prefer text. News and politics junkies prefer reading text tweets on Twitter to watching talking news anchors. Once upon a time Amazon was a company that only sold books. Dried ink on dead trees. And in the early internet age this book seller outperformed many more "forward looking visionary" startups. Billions and billions spent on making movies as polished as possible, yet "I thought the book was better" is what we always hear. The Metaverse will be programmed with text. The quarterly reports outlining its financial losses will be written in text. When journalists ultimately write its obituary, they will write text.
FTC Puts Hundreds of Businesses on Notice about Fake Reviews
Generally I'd say product reviews are one of those ideas like passwords that work but don't survive introduction to the general public and mass use. The problems of authenticity are obvious, but I've also noticed that people who rely on word of mouth from their friends and colleagues are generally happier. And why wouldn't they be? A colleague tells you this e.g. monitor is perfect for your line of work so you get it and find it also good. No fuss, nothing nerve wracking, no time wasted. Compared with reading through dozens of reviews that even when authentic raise good points that are maybe entirely irrelevant to you. I try to buy stuff in shops now. It's more expensive only if my time spent on reading reviews is free. And these days it's not even more expensive to buy in real shops anyway.
Facebook going down meant more than just a social network being unavailable
Was talking about this with a friend today, and I think this incident highlights why I sometimes get really depressed about my career and technology. I'm a Gen X-er, and I started my career in the late 90s. Before that I was a ham radio operator in junior high and HS (back when they had Morse code tests!). I remember the heady euphoria around the Internet then, and the vision of "tech utopia" was certainly the dominant one: the Internet would bring a "democratization of information" where anyone with a computer could connect to the Internet, publish a website, and communicate with people across the world. Really cool new services came online frequently. I still remember the first time I used Google, and at the time I was blown away by how good it was ("like magic!" I said) because the results were so much better than other search engines of the time. But these days, the older I get the more and more I feel like tech is having a negative impact on both society at large and me personally. In the 90s we all thought the Internet would lead to a decentralization of power, but literally the exact opposite happened. Sure, telcos sucked, but there were tons of them spread across all corners of the globe. Now there is 1 single megacorp that a sizable portion of humanity depends on for phone/text communication. It just makes me sad. Sure, there are pluses to tech I'm ignoring here, but I just think that how reality turned out so 180 from the expectations of the late 90s is what really hurts.
Facebook going down meant more than just a social network being unavailable
Was talking about this with a friend today, and I think this incident highlights why I sometimes get really depressed about my career and technology. I'm a Gen X-er, and I started my career in the late 90s. Before that I was a ham radio operator in junior high and HS (back when they had Morse code tests!). I remember the heady euphoria around the Internet then, and the vision of "tech utopia" was certainly the dominant one: the Internet would bring a "democratization of information" where anyone with a computer could connect to the Internet, publish a website, and communicate with people across the world. Really cool new services came online frequently. I still remember the first time I used Google, and at the time I was blown away by how good it was ("like magic!" I said) because the results were so much better than other search engines of the time. But these days, the older I get the more and more I feel like tech is having a negative impact on both society at large and me personally. In the 90s we all thought the Internet would lead to a decentralization of power, but literally the exact opposite happened. Sure, telcos sucked, but there were tons of them spread across all corners of the globe. Now there is 1 single megacorp that a sizable portion of humanity depends on for phone/text communication. It just makes me sad. Sure, there are pluses to tech I'm ignoring here, but I just think that how reality turned out so 180 from the expectations of the late 90s is what really hurts.
If I could bring one thing back to the internet it would be blogs (2020)
As a minor counterpoint: I've come to dread blogs and newsletters because so many of them are written by grind culture freaks who only write faux-insightful SEO'd content as a way to build an audience to sell snake oil to. These days the only blogs I trust are the ones I see on the top of HN or lobsters, which is unfortunate because I have interests beyond tech and I find it very, very difficult to find good blogs I can read about those interests. I think that shows there is a problem with blogging that goes beyond just the medium. Consider that blogging is a decentralised ecosystem, so you have no central place for discovery outside of Google specifically and search generally. Being on the top of Google is an attractive proposition because it means many eyeballs and lots of ad revenue. Therefore it is natural that many new blogs exist to game the search engine, hence the term "blogspam". Some of the same incentives exist with large social media sites as well, but on Twitter and the like if you mute/block enough big people and follow only those you care about, your feed will eventually become clean enough to look at every day. So I think it is much more important to solve the discovery problem with blogs if you want them to get more traction.
Paradise lost: The rise and ruin of Couchsurfing.com
The social proof that a couch surfing reference brought was second to none. Each one boils down to this "I, a stranger, stayed for a few nights in this other strangers home for free, and they were good human beings". That social proof carried to any part of the globe you visited. I cannot think of an internet app that brought people together in a more meaningful and wholesome way at scale. It was great while it lasted.
Facebook Knows Instagram Is Toxic for Teen Girls, Company Documents Show
Jonathan Haidt has done a ton of research on this and it's terrifying. His thesis seems to make a lot of sense: boys bully each other physically while girls bully each other reputationally. This is likely why mental health issues for boys and girls have diverged wildly since about 2014, because as lives moved online, this was a recipe for disaster for girls since social media is so perfect for this kind of bullying, but sort of a non-event for boys who were already online playing video games all day. Social media unlocked and turbocharged all those preexisting pathologies for girls.
ByteDance in talks with banks to borrow over $3B
I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives.
TikTok overtakes YouTube for average watch time in US and UK
Yea, the Youtube algorithm is the "pick me girl" of algorithms. I watched one video by a creator I already follow about their solar panel installation and water-catcher garden irrigation. What do I get in my recommendations? Dozens and dozens of videos from completely random channels about solar panel installation and gardening. I very rarely find new creators on YouTube, who produce consistent high quality content. I follow a handful of channels and even from them I lookat 20-40% of their videos. TikTok on the other hand I swore I'd never use. Then came Covid19 and lockdowns. I reached the end of HN, Reddit and Youtube, so I installed it. The Algorthm is fucking amazing. Dunno how they do it, but 80-90% of stuff it shows me I end up watching (it is 10secs to 3 mins so the investment isn't that huge =) ). I've ended up following, among others, an opthalmologist who does sketches about hospital stuff, to mechanics who show the most f'd up cars they get to service, to farrier and sheep shearing videos to a guy who does comedy about weird animal facts. I'd never actually go search anything like that on purpose, but I actually kinda found out I enjoy looking at. It's a good way to space out for 30 minutes and relax. Most TikTok videos get to the point before a stereotypical YouTuber has gone through their intro and sponsor segments :)
58% of Hacker News, Reddit and tech-savvy audiences block Google Analytics
There is a German movie about the system that is used to gather TV ratings. It's a special box that some users get which reports what they are watching. Small sample size goes into a big statistic (not sure how accurate the portrayal of the system in the movie is). These boxes are given to the people who pay the German public TV fee, which excludes i.e. students (they don't have to pay) and some other groups. This group of critical people figured that out and started to hack into these machines to fake ratings. They faked the ratings away from stupid trash TV towards some higher quality stuff, documentaries, culture, ... Obviously in the movie then the country saw a renaissance, everyone got smarter, yadda yadda, you get it. I feel like this is similar. All tech savvy people block ads and analytics and at least the known tricks they use against us. So the internet only tracks the defenseless people and is then built to serve them (and or exploit them). Maybe we should engage in large scale AdWords fraud. Send come fake traffic away from Facebook and over to Wikipedia.
Goodbye, Fleets
"We’ll explore more ways to address what holds people back from participating on Twitter." Perhaps I can help. Twitter is always angry. You'll find the most idiotic, extreme, harmful statements from both sides of the political spectrum. Worse, Twitter actively rewards it. The more unhinged and controversial, the more engagement you get. The replies will be equally angry. Any attempt to add nuance or reason is futile. Because the damage is already done in the form of retweets, likes, quotes. Hence, the unreasonables run Twitter. And they have normalized a lot of absolutely pathetic behavior. Taking things out of context and applying the worst faith interpretation of it, willingly. Sub-tweeting, screenshotting, exposing private conversations, speaking badly of others within their bubble, and sometimes this triggering further attacks or even cancellations. This culture of perpetual outrage, hate-addiction even, and the many childish behaviors that come with it, are born at Twitter. After a Twitter session, one feels miserable and depressed. There is nothing delightful, nothing new you learned, no new friend you met. It's horror. Like the news, but then 10 times worse. Wait, sometimes there's non-hateful tweets too. 99% of them are self-congratulatory or stupid. Something like: "My 3 year old just commented that an intersectional approach in politics is most effective". Attention starved, completely made up. Yet for sure it will get thousands of likes. Both hate and idiocracy are richly rewarded. To stay in line with the ever narrowing Twitter culture, one has to use it at least 6 hours per day. Otherwise, you might miss that word you used your entire life suddenly being problematic. Could even be a particular emoij. Anything triggers outrage. Anything at all. It seems the entire point of Twitter: maximizing outrage perpetually. It's a Twitter thing and a Twitter thing only. I've never experienced it with such intensity anywhere else, and I'm merely lurking. The reason I hate it so much is that it goes beyond just a website sucking, its effects are cultural.
Goodbye, Fleets
> Although we built Fleets to address some of the anxieties that hold people back from Tweeting, Fleets are mostly used by people who are already Tweeting to amplify their own Tweets this is exactly my problem with Twitter. It's an even bigger echo chamber than FB. As much as I try, I can't seem to escape the oversaturated bubble of a handful of extremely loud mouthed tweeters and their ardent followers. Mix in the toxic conversations, and it's definitely not a place I feel comfortable discussing anything.
Minimum Viable Self
>Online provides a forum for people to get the sort of attention we might like. "Look what I can do!" or "Look at me!" Still, one of my gripes about social media is that there are so many people who lurk. There's a lot to learn from lurking. My mother watches Tik Tok videos and doesn't post herself, but cooks more now than ever based on the ideas she sees on there. You can learn about a cultural trend, a social cause, a musician, a resource, etc. There are lurkers with agendas, sure, but many are just bored and don't take pictures of everything. Message boards like this offer even more to learn. Many people repeat what's already been said. The lurker respects this or has nothing to say and moves on. I don't like that Burning Man curator's quote calling their saying a form of "inclusivity" when it doesn't include the lurker. It also suggests that "being present" is necessarily not being observant, but doing things that are supposed to be done at their festival, which I don't agree with. That said, I'm sure a space like that would actively become less of what its meant to be if there were tons of people just spectating. They should own the exclusivity that they want.
Minimum Viable Self
I know very few people who want attention from strangers when they go out in public. Most of us want to be left alone while we go about our business. Online provides a forum for people to get the sort of attention we might like. "Look what I can do!" or "Look at me!" Still, one of my gripes about social media is that there are so many people who lurk. The lurkers are there to look at people attempting to get attention. The attention seekers are acting. They are on a stage. Nobody is confusing the act for the real person except the young and naive. The lurkers are the audience. Lurkers don't contribute anything (most won't hit the like button, much less comment, even if later the tell me "I loved your post"). The quiet ones are not "homeless." Burning Man attempts to solve this with the no spectators rule: “‘No Spectators’ is a long-standing saying on Playa. You are encouraged to fully participate. It’s all about being there, being fully present, and not just observing. Two of the ten principles of Burning Man are radical participation and radical inclusivity, meaning that there are no outsiders. Everyone is part of the experience.” – Nora Atkinson, The Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator-in-Charge, Renwick Gallery Again, nobody is confusing the Burning Man persona with who they are back at the office after the event is over. People try things out, take mind altering drugs. Identity is fluid. Social media isn't bad because it is fake. Social media is good because it is fake. "...we tend to see other people’s lives as works of art." Sometimes, but most people aren't that good at performance.
TikTok owner ByteDance sees its earnings double in 2020
TikTok is a social network that could not be made by an American company, due to its complete disregard for free speech and embrace of censorship. This is a major part of its success, due to not allowing its network to deteriorate into culture wars and general unpleasant behaviour. I suspect any future social network much like TikTok will have exclusion as a major feature.
Don't Let Social Media Think for You
The mob is a huge problem with Twitter (and adjacent social media), and the issue with a mob is purely that of its size. It's the size that makes the mob, and everyone who has ever considered chiming in to add their voice why so-and-so was bad should stop to think about whether the world really needs that additional voice. Each individual voice may be perfectly right. So-and-so may really have done wrong. But did they really do such wrong that the 10,000th voice is needed? I am ashamed to say I've done it myself, back when I was on Twitter. My feed would start lighting up with some really Bad thing that so-and-so said -- and generally it was "Bad" -- and I'd add my voice somewhere to that cacophony. Not necessarily writing to the Bad Person, but chiming in on someone's long thread. Now I look back and see I was another participant in the mob. Look, the author described in the post absolutely did herself no favors. Her book may have been great, but the way she interacted with people on social media was absolutely not. But being the 10,000th person to tell her that is never necessary. That's just wanting to join a mob, because mobs are fun, because you're all justified in this act together. Mobs are scary, because everyone thinks they are justified. A good friend of mine grew up in Kenya and recounted that when he was about nine, he saw a mob catch a thief. Joining in with everyone else, he took a wire and whipped the man. Next thing he knew, the crowd had put tires over the alleged thief and set him on fire. He has never forgotten the guilt he felt.
Life after an internet mob attack
+1. I did exactly this a few years back when I saw a prominent member of the Nodejs community get savaged for linking to an article (exploring the idea that campus speech codes might adversely impact autistic people). I thought "if they can (nearly) take down this guy (a Nodejs technical steering committee member) for linking to a blog post, what are they going to do to me, Joe Nobody?" I was primarily a consultant at the time and relied on being invited to conferences to give talks & trainings in order to drum up new consulting work. Reputational damage would have been devastating to my income as a freelancer. So participating "in the public sphere" was just not worth the risk. I had no idea what view I express today might in the future be deemed unacceptable. Even just being visible on there makes you more of a target–it's harder to have a pile-on on, say, someone's blog. I miss twitter and facebook at times (quit facebook for different reasons), but overall it's a huge relief to not be contributing to those ecosystems.
Life after an internet mob attack
When these attacks take on a racial or gender-focused hue, I think they end up having a terribly ironic effect: further isolating the group they sought to protect (e.g., POC, women, etc). That is, they win the battle, but lose the war. Each of these stories reinforces in my mind to not associate with those that are higher on the oppression totem pole. I know it is not their fault, and I feel bad for doing so, but the risk/reward simply does not make sense. It helps that I'm a loner anyway. See [https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26612918][1] for the effect I'm speaking of. People will continue to distance themselves as (primarily American) society continues to be a flashpoint and Twitter a flashmob. [1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26612918
Status Anxiety as a Service
> Twitter creates the instantaneous illusion of social equality between influencers and normal people, but then it periodically reminds you that it’s an illusion. I noticed a kind of "illusion of community" on Reddit. E.g., you arrive late to a sub where, say, a female poster complained about her boyfriend. Skimming the comments you see a fairly wholesome thread. Thoughtful comments, innocuous thread-game digressions, good faith advice and disagreements, etc. You even see the OP responding to these and it all seems like an obviously valuable conversation. Then you start unfolding some of the lower-scored comments. You find trolling, misogynistic statements, nasty insults, bad faith questions that turn into abuse. Worse-- you find OP had the bad fortune of interacting with many of these low quality posters before the mods and participants cleaned up the overallcontent by hiding them. If you skim the top subs of Reddit, you're almost always following this pattern of reading the moderated content of a thread that originally had a much higher percent of visible abusive content. It seems like the digital equivalent of enjoying watching an organized sport, then joining the team and getting hazed in the lockeroom.
TikTok Remix Culture
I have never seen so many to say "average" people on tiktok like on any other social platform, in a sense that I can relate to those people and don't feel like a celebrity is trying to feed me some content down my throat. There's so much of normalization of everything that I'm blown away by how normal Tiktok is, you can see teenagers struggling in a school, you can see people hating their 9-5 jobs, you can see crafts and arts, you can see people with disabilities living life at its fullest, cooking videos, etc. The whole vibe is so wholesome that it's truly the first social network that feels social in a wide sense.
“It's Not Cancel Culture – It's a Platform Failure.”
Twitter rewards being a dickhead. It was fun when everyone was allowed to be a dickhead, but now there's a protected class that cannot be criticised and freely sends death threats and the like to whatever bad guy they think they have that day. This wouldn't be so bad, but there's now a bunch of normies who weren't raised on the mantra of keeping internet shit on the internet
Is content moderation a dead end?
It's hard to separate content moderation from the problem of Evil. Low entropy evil is easy to automate out, high entropy and sophisticated evil can convince you it doesn't exist. This is also the basic problem of growing communities, where you want to attract new people while still providing value to your core group, while still managing both attrition and predators. What content moderation problems have proven is that even with absolute omniscient control of an electronic platform, this is still Hard. It's also yields some information about what Evil is, which is that it seems to emerge as a consequence of incentives more than anything else. In the hundreds of forums I've used over decades, the best ones were moderated by starting with a high'ish bar to entry. You have to be able to signal at least this level of "goodness," and it's on you to meet it, not the moderators to explain themselves. There is a "be excellent to each other" rule which gives very reasonable blanket principle powers to moderators, and it's pretty easy to check. It also helped to take a broken windows approach to penalizing laziness and other stupidity so that everyone sees examples of the rules. Platform moderation is only hard relative to a standard of purity as well, and the value of the community is based not on its alignment, but on its mix. If you are trying to solve the optimization problem of "No Evil," you aren't indexed on the growth problem of "More Enjoyable." However, I don't worry too much about it because the communities in the former category won't grow and survive long enough to register.
Social media addiction linked to cyberbullying
When you interact online, you fundamentally are interacting with only yourself. It is a solipsistic endeavor. You fundamentally choose which comments to respond to; unlike the real world, where a conversation occurs between two people, you can instantly drive into a conversation whenever you see fit, and leave whenever you wish also. Therefore, the choice of which conversation, which comment, is entirely yours. And since the comments available are literally never-ending, you have the ultimate choice as to which you are responding. Therefore, every conversation you have is with a version of a person you have constructed in your head. This is what enables people to be mean and rude on the internet. It's because they are talking to a construct which is fundamentally in their own head, often times with their own nasty internal conflicts applied. This is also the fundamental mistake people make about the online world being a place where "discourse" can change anyone's internal landscape. It cannot, because it every discourse on the internet is by definition completely a subset of the ego of the single individual.
Essay: How do you describe TikTok?
TikTok is a social media app that focuses on 'creating' interesting content 'in the moment'. Instagram is about interesting content but more in a very curated museum sort of way. "Look at me when I am at my best" Snapchat is about not-necessarily-interesting content that focusses on being in the moment. "Look at me shooting the shit" TikTok is about showcasing talent in the moment. Even the prettiest instafluencer can't just stand there doing nothing in a TikTok video. The focus is on creativity and doing something creative. "Look at me showing you something entertaining / interesting / educational or all of the above." Since you pretty much have to catch the attention of the viewer from the very first second (or you will get swiped up), there is none of that "Hey guys how's it going" bullshit that plagues Youtube videos. Extreme content density.
Permanent suspension of @realDonaldTrump
It used to be fairly uncontroversial that internet forums could be heavily moderated. Many of the more valuable forums I frequented in my youth were often moderated to stay on topic and cut down on spam. I cannot imagine paying much attention 20 years ago if a random forum decided even to go further than Twitter has and simply ban all Republicans or all Democrats. Indeed there are many subreddits that go this far with little fanfare. What is the dividing line here between these sites and Twitter? Another question - what burden does a Twitter ban impose on free speech on the Internet? If Twitter bans me, I am free to move to another social media site like Parler or even make my own blog. If my views are despicable enough then some services may refuse to host me but I am unaware of anyone who has been totally bereft of a solution to put up a website. These alternatives fail to impress for one obvious reason. It's harder to get eyeballs on Joe's random Q blog than on Twitter or Facebook. Similarly I could self-publish a book - and people do - but I lack the expertise necessary to actually get anyone to read it. I personally see social media as a set of publishers rather than as a printing press, hence why I'm not too chagrined by this decision.
This community is available in the app – Rukshan's Blog
The only way to protest these harmful developments is to quit these websites altogether and use alternatives. If the information on reddit is so important, just read passively using teddit, but stop feeding your valuable data into a system you don’t support. Rather, help expand communities that actually respect their users with your knowledge. Someone has to start it.
Voat Is Shutting Down
Its not that free speech platforms are destined to fail, its anonymity. You're not responsible for your words. That's why these fail. Notice I use my real name here on this website. Not a pseudonym. Whatever I say here, I would say to you in front of your face. Same as I do on Facebook and Twitter and Reddit and the other areas I post. I've always used my real name. I'll always use my real name. We don't require anyone to take responsibility for what they say, so they say anything they want. Combine with this an entire zeitgeist of people who feel disconnected and alone, and its a recipe for attention-seeking behavior. And on the converse, sometimes its taken too far, with people losing their jobs for things that clearly meant in jest (Justine Sacco) or for clumsily worded communication. Call-out culture needs to die. SJW culture needs to die. One-up culture needs to die. We have to start giving people the benefit of the doubt.
Essay: How do you describe TikTok? - Kyle Chayka Industries
This essay is probably what is going to make me finally install the app. Nobody has been able to explain to me what TikTok is beyond people dancing and reacting to memes. I think what the author says about the algorithm guiding you instead of what your friends want is something I've always wanted. Other social media gets so bogged down in the relationship between you and the people you follow rather than the nature of the content itself.
Essay: How do you describe TikTok? - Kyle Chayka Industries
Recommendation algorithms can be tools of soft censorship, subtly shaping a feed to be as glossy, appealing, and homogenous as possible rather than the truest reflection of either reality or a user’s desires. In Hollywood, a producer tells you if you’re not hot enough to be an actor; on TikTok, the algorithm lets you know if you don’t fit the mold.
Essay: How do you describe TikTok? - Kyle Chayka Industries
TikTok isn’t limited to power users or a particular demographic (as in the case of the mutual addiction of Twitter and journalists), and that’s largely because of the adeptness of its algorithmic feed. There is no effort required to fine tune it, only time and swiping. Though the interface looks a little messy, it’s actually relatively simple, a quality that Instagram has abandoned under Facebook’s ownership in favor of cramming in every feature and format possible. (Where do we post what on there now — what’s a grid post, a story, or a reel, which are just Instagram’s shitty TikTok clone?) In fact, just surfing TikTok feels vaguely creative, as if you move through the field of content with your mind alone.
Essay: How do you describe TikTok? - Kyle Chayka Industries
Such specific genres of content are available elsewhere on the internet — I could follow a sensory deprivation YouTube channel or Instagram account — but the TikTok feed centralizes them and titrates the niche topic into my feed as often as I might want to see it, maybe one out of a hundred videos. After all, one video doesn’t mean I want dozens more of the same kind, as the YouTube algorithm seems to think.
Essay: How do you describe TikTok? - Kyle Chayka Industries
It’s easy to get mad at Twitter because its algorithmic intrusions are so obvious; it’s harder with TikTok when the algorithm is all there is. The feed is a seamless environment that the user is meant to stay within.
Essay: How do you describe TikTok? - Kyle Chayka Industries
On TikTok, I never know where something’s coming from or why, only if I like it. There is no context. If Twitter is all about provenance — trusted people signing off on each other’s content, retweeting endorsements — TikTok is simply about the end result. Each video is evaluated on its own merits, one at a time.
Essay: How do you describe TikTok? - Kyle Chayka Industries
A Spotify autoplay station, for example, most often follows the line of an artist or genre, serving relatively similar content over and over again. But TikTok recognizes that contrast is just as important as similarity to maintain our interest. It creates a shifting feed of topics and formats that actually feels personal, the way my Twitter feed, built up over more than a decade, feels like a reflection of my self.
Essay: How do you describe TikTok? - Kyle Chayka Industries
When you begin your TikTok journey, you are not faced with a choice of accounts to follow. Where Twitter and Instagram ask you to build your list yourself (the former more than the latter) TikTok simply launches you into the waterfall of content.
The Prophet of the Revolt - The Pull Request
What has changed in the new information landscape is that it has given a voice to the deplorables who are the majority in every country, but also to marginal actors who would have been shut out under the old industrial model.  Fifty years ago, the mass audience could only sit and listen.  Today the public talks back – hipsters, rednecks, it doesn’t matter, everyone talks back in loud, rude tones.  The uproar around every public conversation is a new and startling development.  It fills the elites with fear and loathing, so that they start hallucinating a civil war.
The Prophet of the Revolt - The Pull Request
The great explanatory narratives demand our trust, and trust, in my framework, is a specific relationship to the available information.  I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out why distrust is so prevalent today.  The story-tellers – public officials, the media, scientists:  the elites – live in an entirely different information universe from the rest of us.  They behave as if we were still in the 20th century, and information is still their monopoly, which they dispense as they see fit and which we will accept on authority.  They pretend that they alone have escaped Plato’s cave:  they know.  So their stories strike a mathematical pose, and seek to explain, from on high, how they will apply their expertise to “solve” political, social, or health “problems.”
Building the Middle Class of the Creator Economy - Li's Newsletter
An irony that I don’t know how to quite articulate is that the goal for all platform companies (TikTok, Instagram, Roblox, YouTube) is to keep a free market within, but a total monopoly as a platform on the outset. As much as you try for balance, power laws will exist and the creators of these very platforms know very well from their own experience that those who capture it will do massively better than those who don’t.
Why My Tweets are Ephemeral
One push-back I have received to this is that deleting tweets breaks conversations; it makes others’ replies to my tweets look broken. That’s fair. My argument to this is the same—how often do people look back at their conversations from days ago? Not often. Those who do though should probably set up some sort of backup.
Why My Tweets are Ephemeral
Due to the real-time nature of Twitter, there’s often no engagement on tweets after first few hours, much less days or years. Think about it, how many times do you get people retweeting you the next day, or on the third day? Unless you are a big-shot, probably rarely.
Why My Tweets are Ephemeral
On your social media profile, your historical tweets will be attributed to the person you are now. When you see someone’s social media profile today, you do so in today’s context. Unfortunately, there’s no way to convey that context over the tubes. That leaves very little room for people to evolve and change for the better.
How I Spend My Attention - my third brain
Biggest quality of life benefit I've given myself in the past two months: Turn off the news. If something is actually important, you'll hear about it anyway. And if you don't hear about it, it wasn't actually as important as the reporters made it out to be. Plus in all likelihood the events being reported on are thousands of miles away from you and have zero impact on your daily life. Obviously this pairs well with cutting out all the nonsense on your social media feeds.
Show HN: Write-Only Interface for Twitter
The thing you're missing is that each of the tweets in a thread has its own set of replies & quote tweets, some of which may themselves be threads. [1] This is why I like to think of Twitter as a fractal annotation platform: it allows people to write commentary on specific portions of other people's commentary. Twitter's innovation is that it forces the writer to divide their text into annotatable segments before publishing it. I think it's great that we're coming up with better tools to facilitate the process of writing modular text. Hopefully these tools will make it clearer to writers what Twitter threads are for and reduce the prevalence of behaviors like splitting sentences across tweets. [1] Unfortunately Twitter's thread-composing UI isn't available when writing a reply to someone else's tweet. It would be nice if they fixed this. (Perhaps the reasoning is that a multi-tweet reply would work better as a quote tweet. I still think it would be nice to have the thread UI available for every tweet, regardless of the context.)
Show HN: I Rebuilt MySpace from 2007
As someone with extremely deep contempt for Silicon Valley, Big Tech monopolies, and modern social media culture, this brought a tear to my eye.It was so easy to make new friends online once upon a time. The fascist uniformity of modern social platforms has left a generation creatively stifled and alienated from each other. I miss the ugly comet cursors, the crummy MIDI tunes, the bad HTML, the encouragement to make new friends, and the ability to reach people without paying thousands in garbage ads. I miss dating online without bribing some shitty algorithm. It used to be that I could click "browse," find a cute girl's profile, say hi, and set up a date within a few days. Modern social media is cold and hostile. Stay in your friend group. Avoid strangers: They're all scary and bad. Don't trust anyone (except for us, the tech company. Give us all your data for free.) The internet used to be bohemian, weird, creative, tacky, and friendly. It was my favorite place to be. Where did that joy go? What have we become in the last 8 years?
Essay: How do you describe TikTok? - Kyle Chayka Industries
Thanks for this experiment in critical writing, it's appreciated. Looking forward to more critiques of algorithms from an experiential viewpoint. Reviewing an algorithm seems to me like reviewing architecture, in that social media creates a sense of space within its platforms. You noted that TikTok feels like a canal, being close to one-dimensional (which is what makes it so pleasant). There's a careful control/management of the space which separates a well-curated feed from a lesser one. On TikTok, you can go forwards, or you can go backwards. Instagram used to be one-dimensional, but over time has sprawled into 4 or 5 dimensions, ruining it in my opinion. The algorithm has a difficult time dealing with the added complexity, and it's not very beginner-friendly anymore. Meanwhile, users tend to navigate along the dimensions they're already used to, and automated suggestions are treated as an intrusion. TikTok's success is its well-defined boundaries which give it better control over the experience. (I could comment about the American obsession with having "choice", but I'll shelve that one for now.)
Social Media Usage and the Level of Depressive Symptoms in the US [pdf]
Back when I was in school, if you weren't popular and wouldn't get invited to parties you wouldn't find out what you missed until the next day or after the weekend and by that time the whole FOMO would blow over but now thanks to the advent of always-online mobile devices and social media you get to watch your friends or colleagues Live, go on fancy trips and have fun without you, providing you with a constant source of FOMO. Same with online dating. If you were bad with the opposite sex you'd get rejected by the women in your circles, but at least you'd get a chance to talk and meet face-2-face and still stay in touch platonically later. Now you can get rejected, ghosted and stood up by thousands of other potential mates before they even meet you which must do wonders for your self esteem (/s). Same with finance. Some would make more $ than you but you wouldn't know about it. Now you can FOMO while you watch others making $$$ on trading platforms from their Cryptocurrency or TSLA stocks and feel left behind in the rat race. My $0.02
So you want to buy a farm?
I want to show people it's possible to work with natural systems to create self-renewing wealth and document my journey so others may reap the benefit of learning from my experiences so they may avoid simple mistakes. Especially starting out, there are plenty of places to waste time and energy and the feedback loop of waiting multiple years to see results of a test is too slow, if we are to gain adoption we need a better way to transfer to each other what works and what doesn't. A video is one way to do that. A person might watch a 5 minute YouTube video and take with them something which took me years to get right. That 5 minutes could translate into many years of learnings which may be applied immediately to their system if they share a similar context. Being rich is a mindset, and therefore anyone who identifies as it, is it. In most ways, I'm already rich. Sharing my journey could be considered philanthropy for the planet and all living things on it. Yes, I spend time making videos but I think this is my most important work so far, if I don't share then the experience dies with me. I will have no regrets for trying. I'm only one person after all, and we need global change so I need help and community. This post is a call-to-action, will you join me?
Digital gardens let you cultivate your own little bit of the internet | MIT Technology Review
“The stream has dominated our lives since the mid-2000s,” Caulfield says. But it means people are either posting content or consuming it. And, Caulfield says, the internet as it stands rewards shock value and dumbing things down. “By engaging in digital gardening, you are constantly finding new connections, more depth and nuance,” he says. “What you write about is not a fossilized bit of commentary for a blog post. When you learn more, you add to it. It’s less about shock and rage; it’s more connective.” In an age of doom-scrolling and Zoom fatigue, some digital-garden enthusiasts say the internet they live in is, as Caulfield puts it, “optimistically hopeful.”
Digital gardens let you cultivate your own little bit of the internet | MIT Technology Review
That ethos of creativity and individuality was echoed by several people I spoke to. Some suggested that the digital garden was a backlash to the internet we’ve become grudgingly accustomed to, where things go viral, change is looked down upon, and sites are one-dimensional. Facebook and Twitter profiles have neat slots for photos and posts, but enthusiasts of digital gardens reject those fixed design elements. The sense of time and space to explore is key.
Digital gardens let you cultivate your own little bit of the internet | MIT Technology Review
The movement might be gaining steam now, but its roots date back to 1998, when Mark Bernstein introduced the idea of the “hypertext garden,” arguing for spaces on the internet that let a person wade into the unknown. “Gardens … lie between farmland and wilderness,” he wrote. “The garden is farmland that delights the senses, designed for delight rather than commodity.”
Digital gardens let you cultivate your own little bit of the internet | MIT Technology Review
Welcome to the world of “digital gardens.” These creative reimaginings of blogs have quietly taken nerdier corners of the internet by storm. A growing movement of people are tooling with back-end code to create sites that are more collage-like and artsy, in the vein of Myspace and Tumblr—less predictable and formatted than Facebook and Twitter. Digital gardens explore a wide variety of topics and are frequently adjusted and changed to show growth and learning, particularly among people with niche interests. Through them, people are creating an internet that is less about connections and feedback, and more about quiet spaces they can call their own.
Goodbye IFTTT
> but as time went on and services removed many useful hooks, it lost a lot of value Worries me that with post-smartphone technology it’s more valuable for companies to remove interoperability than to foster it. Look at Instagram, you can’t even post a hyperlink because it’s more beneficial for them to prevent a fundamental internet feature.
Unexpected, Useless, and Urgent, or What RSS Gets Right
You need to actively curate your subreddits to get the best experience. When there is a disparity between your subreddits (in number of posts or their flashiness), few subreddits will flood your whole feed with useless junk. E.g. I have subscribed to EarthPorn (I like nice pictures of Earth naturally), and suddenly 50% of my feed becomes panoramas. That is nice to look at for a moment, but it is really bad for your reading. But if you are able to find few relevant subreddits that do not have that many users, it can be actually really great for discovering interesting stuff. You just need to be really aggressive with how you curate your subscriptions.
Audio’s Opportunity and Who Will Capture It — MatthewBall.vc
Younger generations have always discovered the music of a prior generation. However, this was usually done in small groups via parents and close friends, or to mass audiences via professionally-produced (and incredibly high cost) movie soundtracks. And while labels have theoretical business cases for promoting decades-old music for new generations, this is functionally impractical. Not only are efforts focused on new artists, but just imagine a Sony Music executive trying to figure out why a 15 year old today should care for Billy Joel, how to reach them, and how to overcome the stigma of Joel being their dad’s favourite artist. TikTok, which isn’t governed by the music labels but is enabled by their rights, has solved this problem. And it does so using entirely 21st-century technology (e.g. smartphones, social networking and algorithms), and thousands of users creating videos that reach millions of viewers.
You may be using Mastodon wrong
If you're of a certain age you may remember BBSs, Usenet, the IRC, or early internet forums. Do you recall how exciting it was to log into the unknown and realize that there were people all around the world who shared your interests? It was an amazing feeling which got lost on the modern internet. Now you have a chance to relive it.
Social Cooling (2017)
I went to a debate once, in which the former head of GCHQ (British equivalent of the NSA) argued that because agents weren't literally listening to people's phone calls, like the Stazi did, mass digital surveillance is fine. And unfortunately for many people this argument works. Human eavesdropping is obviously a problem at a viceral level, because somebody you don't know listening to you is frightening. The fact that digital surveillance gives power to its possessor just as much as human surveillance did is hard to get across.
YouTube launches TikTok competitor, Shorts
I wondered the same thing. It's the exact same service that just changes hands every few years under a new brand. In grade school before the internet, this occurred through physical products. My first grade trend was Yo Yo (Yomega, Brainstorm, Duncan), second grade Pokemon trading cards (Digimon, Magic, Yu Gi Oh), third grade finger skateboards (TechDeck), fourth and fifth segways into middle school when social systems are developing so its clothes brand trend pursuit which is when I checked out because video games were starting to get interesting. Phones and Xanga/Myspace arrived roundabout when I got my driver's license. I'm sure there were similar toy brand trends pre-covid when kids were still seeing each other every day and sharing physical toys. TikTok released some official report the other day in compliance with whatever legal motions were recently filed, and it keeps saying the word "clusters" when referring to users. I guess it's just yet another company that wants to compete over access to "clusters" of users aged 12-35 (that's the widest age range I would expect to be concerned with the latest communication app offering that enables the exact same utility they already had with Vine/Snap/Tik).
Journalists aren’t the enemy of the people. But we’re not your friends either
When was the last time you read a news article about a topic where you are an expert, and walked away from it thinking that it would help laymen better understand the topic? Journalism is a bit of a personal frustration of mine. It's so important to the function of our society to have an informed population, but we don't, and it's because of the consistent lying that is done by journalists that we don't. Maybe not solely, but the news is one of our primary sense organs, and it's currently broken, or perhaps worse: it's currently on psychadelic drugs and is telling us things that aren't real. If it goes on long enough, we're going to end up schitzophrenic as a society. I think that at the very least we are in the middle of a metaphorical psychotic break. I hope we recover from it, and I really wish that the journalists would at least try to help us, instead of blatantly trying fuel it. And while we're at it: shut down twitter. It's the drug dealer give our sensemaking organs the drugs.
Reddit gets its app to 50m Play Store downloads
Step 4 is that communities die. Well over half of all web traffic is from cell phones, and the mobile-first web is hostile to long text content. It is also incredibly hostile to user-created long text content. With the exception of people who need keyboards for work (tech workers, academics, journalists, writers, etc) there's no one left online to make community content anymore. Hence, HN (a community for tech workers and similarly minded people) and Twitter (where most organic, non-public-relations major players are journalists, academics, or writers). What passes for web communities have almost entirely become playgrounds for intellectual lightweights to spew memes at each other combined with a platform for entities posting inorganic content that pretends to be genuine.
Reddit gets its app to 50m Play Store downloads
I've been using Reddit since 2009 (after the Digg exodus for ironically - a bad redesign.), and the biggest change I've noticed (aside from the terrible single page app they switched over to) is how massively popular schadenfreude content is now. Subreddits like "Justice Served" and "Public Freakout", "Malicious Compliance" "Entitled Parents", the list goes on and on. It's all "This person/people/group did something bad and now are getting their comeuppance." and the site has become like a nerdy version of World Star Hip Hop. You really can't browse the regular Reddit front page without encountering a lot of content that is designed to upset you. I've started to actually hate using Reddit. Niche subreddits are still useful in limited ways, but it's a shame to see things go this way. Reddit had a good run.
Reddit gets its app to 50m Play Store downloads
There is a phenomenon when older and older groups enter a social platform, the quality of that platform deteriorates for the younger generation, and perhaps maybe even overall. We saw this with facebook, We saw this with twitter, and we're now seeing this with Reddit. (yes, there is twitter outside of tech, and it's content quality is extremely poor and juvenile) Reddit, at one point, was just science, memes, an occasional atheist post, and and A list Celebrity AMA every other day - a platform that provided niche content mostly for age 18-30 year old Americans. Now with the flood of all sorts of ideas from all fronts, It has become way too overwhelming to really digest what everyone has to offer - Diving deep into reddit will eventually and inevitably get anyone upset and bothered. As Reddit builds its foundation upon favoring ad populum, it is starting to become evident that not every voice should be heard, especially when the average american individual is as uneducated as he or she is. “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” ― Isaac Asimov I'd like to one up Asimov - that it is not a false notion, but literally the core tenet of what democracy is. That all opinions are of equal value. And in all honesty... this is dangerous.
Google is apparently taking down all/most fediverse apps from the Play Store
It has been shown time and time again that giving unrestricted uncensored access to billions will lead to the worst ideas proliferating. Look at QAnon and conspiracy theories running wild. Look anti-vaxxers and how America, one of the most advanced countries in the world, is now having Measles outbreaks after decades of having nearly 0 cases. Look at how simple things such as wearing a mask has become a controversial topic. Yes, everyone would obviously prefer a fully open and uncensored platform, but the reality is that those are very easy for bad actors to take advantage of. So many things on the web is disappearing thanks to these bad actors. Public APIs are getting locked down, Catpchas everywhere, passwords and 2fa are getting increasingly more complicated, and so on. If you really think every platform should be 100% open, you live in an idealistic universe that is not this one. The whole idea of "the solution to bad speech is more speech" simply does not work. It just doesn't.
The courtyard and the public radio | thesephist.com
We tune the channel by subscribing to newsletters and following the specific voices we want to hear from Twitter and Instagram. We tune the channel when we decide to block toxic Netizens or take a break from social media entirely. We tune the channel by joining private online spaces – Slack groups, Discord servers, group message threads – where we can have conversations with people we trust, rather than the stranger voices of the Wild, Wide Web. This shift means that, for those of us who want a voice online, we need to give reasons for the Internet to tune to our stations, and create ways to tune in easily. This is why newsletters are coming back, and this is why more “community” initiatives are popping up every day that really just boil down to exclusive, private group chats. People want to curate their own information soundscape, and tools are popping up left and right to make that as easy as possible.
Ask HN: What are some available force multipliers that most people don't know?
Eyerollingly boring advice, but quitting (and deleting!) reddit, twitter, facebook, instagram, and maybe even HN. Anything designed with the explicit goal of occupying your attention. Maybe you've noticed that you haven't managed to read a book in a year. There's a reason for that. And none of those sites can give you knowledge of the depth found in even a particularly crappily-written book. People get all worried about losing their followers & social connections. The social fabric is very adaptable. It does not require public technological codification. You realistically only need fewer than five good friends to be happy; text them. I can guarantee your followers don't care about you at all. The ones who do will reach out to you in other ways. Since the OP also listed a fallacy, one in the same vein is the endowment effect - where people value things more simply because they already possess them. Consider the example of you holding a stock priced at $200. Now consider an alternate universe where you didn't own that stock but had $200 cash (plus some extra for transaction costs). Would you buy the stock? If not, you should probably consider selling it. This same thought process can be applied to nearly anything in your life: job, significant other, city in which you live. It's good for keeping you out of traps.
Facebook launches its TikTok rival, Instagram Reels
Reels isn’t going to compete with TikTok in any real way for a few simple reasons. First and foremost, as a non-Instagram user, I flat-out can’t use it. A while back, when I was curious about TikTok, I downloaded it and was instantly swiping through a video feed that was already getting customized for me. I downloaded Instagram this morning and was presented with a wall to create an account. Nope. Second, TikTok is new. Instagram is old. Young people want to use the newest social app that old people haven’t yet infiltrated.
Ask HN: Why US companies are not beating TikTok in the field?
Instagram is about me. It's about how beautiful I am, how much my kids love me, how popular I am, how influential I am. Facebook is about my political beliefs. LinkedIn is about how hardworking and clever I am. Twitter is about my thoughts. TikTok is about you, the audience. The people posting in TikTok are creators. It doesn't matter if my post is not funny or clumsy or taken with a bad camera. It doesn't matter that I'm ugly. It's about me participating with you. You can interact with my video side by side. There's a lot of dance stuff but the dancing is just the easy entry. There's cooking videos, science experiments, confessions, inspirational videos, camera tips, art, pranks, and so on. Their best competitor is YouTube, which does well, but feels a little elitist and doesn't have the little microinteractions. TikTok has mastered 30 second stories. The other social media had recognized that people want brief stories (and even call the feature stories) but they haven't really capitalized on it.
Stories and lessons from working with Jeff Bezos on the original Kindle
The problem with Goodreads is more than just an old-fashioned website. The community there, the whole "social" angle of the site, has been taken over by the same phenomena as on Amazon.com: publishers send free copies of their books to certain reviewers, who often don’t even actually read the book before writing their review, and then those reviewers exploit this attention to build up their own reputations as "influencers" and eventually monetize those reputations. Because their reviews have bright colours and image memes, and cliques support each other with mutual likes, those reviews show up at the top of any book listing. If you are one of those reviewers who honestly reads and reviews books, then you can feel like your signal is lost in the noise of the shill reviewers. Also, for those who were initially interested in what their real-life friends were reading, the majority of those IRL friends will have dropped off the site over the years, either because of a natural attrition or because they have come to prefer snackable web content over books.
‘Success Addicts’ Choose Being Special over Being Happy
I think this is why lots of people are unhappy nowadays. Think about life in a small community. It’s easy to be the guy who is special because he’s the best at baking, or juggling, or playing an instrument, or telling stories. Whatever it is. Wanting to be especially good at something and recognised for it seems like a pretty basic human need to me. How is anyone going to feel special now when everyone’s seen a hundred YouTube videos of people doing your special thing infinitely better than you ever will? No wonder people get addicted to ‘fake specialness’ at work. Relationships can also make people feel special. But the nagging feeling that you’re not REALLY special may remain...
Facebook's employees reckon with the social network they've built
I feel like all of this debate is painfully missing the point. The problem is not some content moderation policy, the problem is that social media has changed social conversations from small local interactions into monstrous virtual fight clubs between millions of people simultaneously, and where the most extreme opinions are rewarded with the most attention. Boring level headed opinions used to at least have a chance of rising above the noise. Not anymore.
Come for the Network, Pay for the Tool
As more and more identity formation happens online, it’s is inevitable that most of it happens in private spaces. As we spend more and more time living in these spaces, it’s inevitable that their intentional shaping should become more important to us. As more and more internet-first communities choose to build the means for themselves to live, it is inevitable that both “community” and “business” will take on new meanings. We are transitioning from an era of centralized management of human development and financial capital into an era where both identity formation and resource allocation happens in decentralized, loosely-coordinated, and emergent ways. I think we will gain the most learnings about the future of business and identity not from top-down corporate models of community management, but from friends, squads, and content creators starting groups and supporting the legitimate participation of community members in their ongoing development, finance, and governance.
Come for the Network, Pay for the Tool
What does “community” mean? Facebook calls its billions of users a community, and multinational brands use this word to refer to their customers. Are these communities in any meaningful sense? What about the “brand communities” I mentioned earlier, do these qualify? And can a community that is paid truly be called a community at all? As paid communities become more prominent, I expect to see these questions asked more frequently and urgently. Marketers, venture capitalists, and business writers will answer from one perspective, offering up ways to monetize large swaths of people. Journalists and critics will reply with a different perspective, decrying organizations for extracting value from relationships. And I imagine we will hear the voice of communities themselves, defending just who they are from both sides.
Twitter is at its best when verified accounts can’t tweet
It wasn't better because verified accounts were locked out; it was better because accounts with large amounts of social capital were locked out. It temporarily reset a social network to a more egalitarian state, before the winner-take-all feedback loops take hold. But left to its own devices, even if those accounts (and their owners) were locked out entirely, the same dynamics would re-assert themselves and new dominating accounts would emerge, absent some ongoing active effort to break the feedback loops that create them.
Avoiding the Global Lobotomy
Modern western society - and maybe others, I really only know the west - has built what must be one of the most powerful abstracting bubbles ever for separating people from the real world. For a wealthy westerner - if you don't want to know how your food is grown - you don't have to know. If you don't want to know how your shirt is made - you don't need to know. Don't want to know about the political systems that are keeping the world ticking over? Don't need to know. Anyone who is in a position earning more than ~$60k/annum can be totally isolated from the real if they want to be and all their problems start becoming social ones, except disease and the grim spectre of eventual death. Even then we're starting to abstract away disease as well - look at how the wheels fell off politically when disease popped through the walls of the bubble on a mass scale. Been a long time since that sort of threat has been meaningful (maybe AIDS in the 80s?). Good luck, in both sarcasm but also all sincerity, convincing people in that robust of a bubble that there are real problems that need to be fixed. People have no north star to fix a direction. They won't be able to organise anything in reality; they'll get caught up on social problems.
Twitter account reposting everything Trump tweets, suspended within 3 days
Twitter has always been a refuge of the small minded and the most superficial aspects of our society. Couple that with raging narcissism, dog-whistle politics, racism, and you have a weaponized platform. This is the dark side of the tech. /u The light side is that it allows almost real-time reporting of current events, crowdsorcing, and sentiment feedback to allow for responsible action by people who pay attention.
Protests become fertile ground for online disinformation
The level of disinformation I'm seeing around this is like nothing I've ever seen before. The thing is: many of these protests have dozens of people livestreaming the entire thing. You can see what is happening in real time, and it makes a lot of the disinformation extremely obvious. I think a lot of the disinformation is just a function of how twitter (and to a lesser extent facebook) encourage misunderstanding/rage. For instance: there was a report that the majority of arrests after a Minneapolis protest were from out of state. This of course went completely viral, and was also completely false. But the retraction of course did not go viral (since it will not create as much rage), and people are still repeating this misinformation. Twitter especially is such a sad thing, and I hope at one point we can look back at the it the way that we look back at drug epidemics. It encourages people to misunderstand one another and get angry, not to seek a greater shared understanding.
Protests become fertile ground for online disinformation
I have found if you have nothing constructive to do, then twitter sucks you in and is very addictive. But after a few years or so of constant nonsense, you become adapted to the addiction and just ignore everything on it. Atleast thats what happened to me. I went from constantly checking twitter to deleting my account and just going to the feed of one or two people once a day to keep informed. I now laugh at how worked up everyone gets, and all the play acting and rival factions involved. Its almost like an iq test, where you pass if you dont play the game. The problem is a lot of people are staying indoors right now with nothing to do and are discovering twitter/reddit for the first time. Imagine a person not only new to social media, but new to the internet as a whole with no bs filters built in. He/she would be such a mark. The real herd immunity is people understanding over time how emotionally manipulative social media is and learning to ignore it like we do 99% of advertisements.