social media

/Tag: social media

‘Ware the VPN.

Speaking of the Woes of Latter-Day Social Media sites, Om Malik’s profile on “Facebook’s DNA” is an interesting read, particularly if you’re Old™ like me and remember the company’s “move fast and break things” (as opposed to “sell ads and sell ads”) phase.

Mostly, though, it contains this line:

The VPN data [from Facebook Protect] also allows Facebook to better target its ads — much like how Google Mail and Google Chrome allows Google to better target what ads you see. By the way, Facebook isn’t the only one who is taking data from VPN mobile streams. Other data brokers buy data from other VPN apps.

I’ve mentioned this before, but… If you use a VPN, just how much do you trust it?

Related: I really, really need to migrate to Firefox… oy.

2018-02-23T08:02:42+00:0012th August, 2018|Tags: facebook, privacy, social media, tech|0 Comments


On the one hand, this is a hilariously unflattering profile of Twitter. On the other… I’m not sure I’m su-uu-uu-uper okay with the whole “glass cliff” vibe of blaming (female) head of Trust & Safety for, like, the entirely of Twitter’s Nazi problem. So… yanno. There’s that.

2018-02-23T07:56:16+00:0011th August, 2018|Tags: social media, tech, twitter|0 Comments

“It’s not a shadow, it’s just a spot where the light isn’t.”

Twitter on shadowbanning. My favourite part is this (emphasis added):

We do not shadow ban. You are always able to see the tweets from accounts you follow (although you may have to do more work to find them, like go directly to their profile). And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology.

We do rank tweets and search results. We do this because Twitter is most useful when it’s immediately relevant. These ranking models take many signals into consideration to best organize tweets for timely relevance.

In other words, “We don’t shadowban… except when we totally do (because we’re too chickenshit to actually moderate our platform properly).”

Polite reminder in these turbulent times that Mastodon is totally a thing.

2018-08-02T13:25:34+00:002nd August, 2018|Tags: social media, twitter|Comments Off on “It’s not a shadow, it’s just a spot where the light isn’t.”

… no.

Okay, like. So I thought authors whinging about specific negative reviews on social media was The Worst but, no. Apparently publishers doing it is. And this wasn’t like a small press type publisher, either; it was from the account of a major big 5 imprint.

I just… publishers. Don’t do that. Don’t let your media people do that.

2018-07-31T15:47:13+00:0031st July, 2018|Tags: publishing, social media|Comments Off on … no.


This kind of controlled online “I” is, of course, deeply fake—even as it’s really, distressingly tied to the way we are perceived and move through the world, it often has little to do with the way we experience and think about that world. The self that is acceptable to your tinder date, your boss, and your grandma, while factually tied to your data, is going to be a highly narrowed iteration of any feeling, perceiving, real “I,” and certainly a far cry from the inconsistent but emotionally open self of the early Internet. It has all the tools of that Internet, plus more: image manipulation, online, becomes continually easier, with a new face modification app in the iTunes store every other day. It’s the context of that manipulation that has changed. In tying itself up in reality, the Internet has gotten very fake.

Nora Battelle on false realities.

Because I am both, a) Internet Old™, and b) part of some minority intersections, I’ve never actually been my “IRL self” online; my presence is always filtered through a series of personas that are compartmentalized by audience. They’re all “mes”—in the same way the me who exists at my day job is still me but is a different me to the me that exists at home with my husband—but they’re all aspects and avatars of me, not the Platonic Ideal of Me.1

This way of operating online has always seemed natural because it’s the way most people operate offline. This isn’t a contentious concept and has been described in psychology and related fields for decades. The forced consolidation towards a singular online persona in the early 2000s—most famously driven by Mark Zuckerberg’s quote “having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity”—always thus seemed both unnatural and, dare I say, the thinking of immature manchildren who’d never actually had to develop the professional/personal2 divide of most fully-fledged adults.

Which is a tl;dr way of saying I never consolidated identities (I rarely use Facebook and I certainly don’t use it as an “identity hub” to access other online services) or tried to pretend the mes that exist online are the “whole and real” me. Which is also why I find trends like the quoted article’s “Finstagrams” fascinating in a reversion-to-the-mean kind of way.

In other words, kids, you be the you you wanna be to the people you wanna be it to. Regardless of what advertisers and corporate data hoarders might tell you otherwise.

  1. Some of you may also notice this trope of multiple selves/personas crops up a lot in my fiction… ^
  2. And parental, for that matter; parents are different people with their children than they are with the friends, coworkers, and spouses. ^
2018-01-15T08:38:23+00:0024th June, 2018|Tags: culture, social media, tech|Comments Off on Hyperreal.


I think curation, in and of itself, is something that experts do. Beginners need time to acclimate and learn what they do and don’t like about a particular thing. With art, for example, we need to sample a wide variety of works before we know what we prefer and can curate for ourselves. The same applies for wine, whisky, or whatever wonderful object you wish to collect.

For beginners, services push the act of curation as a way to educate, build interest, and create engagement. Like getting a flight of beers every time you go to a restaurant. It’s an important process to learn what your preferences are.

For experts, though, this forced act of curation is intrusive. When I order my Rochefort 8, I don’t want the waiter to keep dropping IPAs at my table. Curation is an active task that is often treated as (and seen as) an act of intrusion to those that have already gone through a lot of curation. It sours the experience.

Jonathan Snook on experienced experiences.

Snook’s post is about social media, particularly why people seem to be less and less enthused about algorithm-sorted timelines.

For the record, I don’t use Facebook, only use Twitter through TweetDeck or a third-party app, and only use Tumblr with XKit. For everything else, it’s Mastodon or plain ol’ RSS, neither of which make any attempts at intrusive curation. It is true that all of this requires quite a lot of manual curation—I only follow the people I want to follow and make liberal use of blacklists, whitelists, and muting—but honestly I kinda enjoy doing that. And the net result is that, well. I quite like my social media feeds. Because they’re mine; it’s content I want to see, not content some company has decided I should.

2018-01-08T08:55:01+00:0012th June, 2018|Tags: culture, social media, tech|3 Comments

I am become Like, destroyer of discourse.

The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem — this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.

Chamath Palihapitiya, ex-Facebook VP of user growth, on the horror he hath wrought.

2018-01-04T07:35:35+00:009th June, 2018|Tags: culture, social media|Comments Off on I am become Like, destroyer of discourse.

Stop using Facebook.

Seriously. I’m not even kidding.




2017-11-28T09:10:22+00:0011th May, 2018|Tags: facebook, infosec, privacy, social media|Comments Off on Stop using Facebook.

If this then Mas(todon).

Quick primer on Mastodon webhooks in IFTTT. I used this to migrate my crosspost notifications from Twitter to Mastodon-first and it is A++ would webhook again.

2018-05-10T14:12:00+00:0010th May, 2018|Tags: mastodon, social media, tech|Comments Off on If this then Mas(todon).