How we got to where we are, from goatse to Club Penguin.
(This is, unsurprisingly, a very US-/English-language-focused list, so… commence arguments about the rankings, I guess.)
Today we had three push-button votes on the Copyright Directive. On one of the votes, we pressed the wrong button: the vote on the order in which we would vote. If it had gone through we could’ve voted on deleting Article 13, which we wanted. The vote should have ended up 314–315.
One of the things I think most people don’t realize is that the internet—like, the whole thing, and the base technologies it runs on—are a giant tracking machine. Whether or not individual websites monetize (or exploit, or both) that is one thing, but the fact is that every time you load any resource (an image, say, or a font or script or video or, or, or…) from any website, you leave that website with a record of it.
It’s hard to even grasp the scale of this, until you, for example, read the lengths to which Feedbin had to go to to try and avoid it…
So here’s the thing:
- The blogosphere was not always better than the contemporary social web;
- The blogosphere felt like it was getting better in a way that the contemporary social web does not.
Jason Kottke on the old web.
So this post by and about Super Mainstream Tech Bloggers… but I also find it interesting in light of the conversations around platform fandom is currently having…
To reiterate the point I and others have repeatedly made, if you don’t own your online presence you’re just [one] malprogrammed bot or one bogus DMCA notice away from being shut down. It doesn’t matter if your content is on WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Flickr, Youtube, etc, if it is someone else’s platform then you’re still at risk.
Nate Hoffelder on platforms.
While I (obviously) do agree with this, I will note “owning your own platform” is not actually a panacea in the sense that, online, we’re always beholden to someone else, whether it’s our website host, datacenter operator, CDN provider, domain registrar, or whatever. These relationships are complex. I won’t host a website in the US any more, for example, after EA slapped my old videogame fan blog with a DMCA over Star Wars: The Old Republic screenshots. I could’ve counter-claimed, but doing so would’ve forced me to renounce any potential protection under Australian law (DMCA notices are deceptively vicious if you’re not American). It was such a trivial fucking thing, and I nearly lost my entire website because of it.
On the other hand, my old host did lose a customer. So… y’know. There’s that.
That being said: hosting all your content with a massive third-party aggregation company that considers you to be a product, not a customer? Yeah, nah. Not a great idea, huh.
Jason Kottke’s retrospective of twenty years of blogging.
I’m not quite up to twenty years yet—My First Blog was a LiveJournal, creation date 14 September 1999—although I was making non-blog websites by ’98. Thankfully most of these have been lost to the gods of bitrot; unlike Kottke, I’ve gone through periods where I’ve wiped my old sites and started fresh, mostly because, like him, there’s a lot of shit in my old archives1 I look back now on an cringe over. The person I am at thirty-four is not the person I was at twenty-four… or fifteen, for that matter.
Because I was fifteen when I made my first post on LiveJournal and, of all things, I still remember doing it; I was sitting at my computer in the living room of my ‘rents old house, off school for the day because I’d bargained Mum out of having to attend the athletics carnival if I vacuumed the house. My First Blog Post was explaining this situation, as well as confessing I had not, in fact, vacuumed the house because I was too busy tooling around with LiveJournal (which I was sure would “never take off”).
As mentioned, pretty much all those old websites have been lost to the ravages of time, although I will admit I did get nostalgic and try and have a look for them on archive.org anyway. This was the earliest I could find, circa 2001 (minus all graphics, which from memory featured… Gackt, maybe?):
Things to note:
Mostly, though, we were all just so young. Yikes.
Facebook is an absolutely fine repository for the names of people I’ve met in my life, and for photos I have of those people, and it would be a nice memorial to my life when I’m dead. But it has no business being a publisher, and they don’t even like to acknowledge that that’s what they are. Facebook hides behind all of this machinery, when what they’re doing is very human. Recommending things for people is a personal act, and there are people who are good at it. There are critics. There are blogs. It’s not beneficial to us to turn content recommendations over to an algorithm, especially one that’s been optimized for garbage.
Matt Klinman on human interactions.