tech

/Tag: tech

Corporate government.

The government-thinking has a secondary appeal to executive teams [of social media sites]. If their site is a country, that makes them the ruling class. It makes the CEO the president (or dictator). And again, squinting, it can kind of feel that way. Running a company, like managing a community, is literally a power trip. You can do things your members can’t, including punishing those members. Power, even tiny power, can be addictive.

But it’s not true. None of it. Your product is not a country. You are not a government. Your CEO is not a president. And, worse, thinking that way is damaging to the community, disastrous for the company, and may just be ruining the world.

Derek Powazek on false equivalences.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The widespread conflation of private platforms and businesses with public (i.e. government) services and infrastructure is like the Original Sin of late-stage capitalism. This is what causes people to cling desperately like Twitter and Facebook, under the assumption that angrily @ing Jack Dorsey is somehow equivalent to making phonecalls to political representatives. This is what causes people to say things like they “believe in” Facebook and “won’t give up on it”, won’t try out new or equivalent services, because they feel some kind of strange, pseudo-patriotism towards the platform. And this is what causes those people to think attitudes like that are somehow valorous.

Spoiler alert: a company is not a government, nor a country, nor a polity. The fact that you think it is is a lie capitalism has taught you, because the reality is the sorts of actions that work on governments (e.g. democracy, accountability) don’t work against corporations—who are accountable to their shareholders/board, not their consumers/product—and yet the foundational conceit of the nation-state (specifically, patriotism) is immensely profitable in the sense that it keeps consumers locked into a particularly brand…

2018-08-25T12:49:53+00:0030th January, 2019|Tags: culture, social media, tech|

Connectivity.

But the imperative to “connect people” lacks the one ingredient essential for being a good citizen: Treating individual human beings as sacrosanct. To Facebook, the world is not made up of individuals, but of connections between them. The billions of Facebook accounts belong not to “people” but to “users,” collections of data points connected to other collections of data points on a vast Social Network, to be targeted and monetized by computer programs.

There are certain things you do not in good conscience do to humans. To data, you can do whatever you like.

Nikhil Sonnad on social media immorality.

2018-08-17T14:09:44+00:0025th January, 2019|Tags: culture, social media, tech|

HTTP dot dot slash slash bullshit.

Hey, do you remember the days you would’ve been laughed off the web for having a page bigger than like 200 KB or that took longer than 0.1s to load? Yeah. Whatever happened to that?

2018-08-17T14:06:32+00:0024th January, 2019|Tags: design, tech, webdesign|

RSS is still good.

I’ve used an RSS reader near-daily for, erm… probably over a decade now? Probably actually closer to two (yikes). And, yeah. It’s still the best way to keep up with news and blogs.

2019-01-19T08:07:08+00:0019th January, 2019|Tags: rss, tech|

Conversation/confrontation.

We exist at a time when technology has made it easier than ever for us to talk to each other, and harder than ever for us to have conversations. We exist at a time when the internet has been colonized by capital, where every article plays a clickbaity game of “Let’s you and her fight.” We exist at a time when we’re encouraged to see conversations as slapfights, where titles read like mockeries of conversation: “No, So & So, You’re Completely Wrong About the X-Men” – “Yes, Such & Such, Wonder Woman is in Fact Feminist.” Why do we do this? Why is conversation forced into confrontation, into a battleground of winners and losers? Why do we talk about “losing” an argument instead of learning a truth?

Amal El-Mohtar on conversation.

This is from El-Mohtar’s GoH speech at WisCon 2017, and it’s absolutely worth reading in full.

2019-01-14T08:06:34+00:0014th January, 2019|Tags: culture, tech|

The decentralised web.

Interesting interview with Eugen Rochko, a.k.a. Gargron the creator of Mastodon, on the growing resurgence of the decentralised, federated web.

2019-01-13T11:41:56+00:0013th January, 2019|Tags: mastodon, privacy, social media, tech|

The eschatological 0.01%.

There was a brief moment, in the early 1990s, when the digital future felt open-ended and up for our invention. Technology was becoming a playground for the counterculture, who saw in it the opportunity to create a more inclusive, distributed, and pro-human future. But established business interests only saw new potentials for the same old extraction, and too many technologists were seduced by unicorn IPOs. Digital futures became understood more like stock futures or cotton futures — something to predict and make bets on. So nearly every speech, article, study, documentary, or white paper was seen as relevant only insofar as it pointed to a ticker symbol. The future became less a thing we create through our present-day choices or hopes for humankind than a predestined scenario we bet on with our venture capital but arrive at passively.

This freed everyone from the moral implications of their activities. Technology development became less a story of collective flourishing than personal survival.

douglas rushkoff on the escapist nihilism of the 0.01%.

And by “escapist nihilism” I mean, “The super-wealthy believe the world is fucked and, rather than use their money to try and fix it, they’re plotting to escape… and leave the rest of us behind.”

2019-01-04T22:26:17+00:004th January, 2019|Tags: culture, tech|