Seth Godin wrote a post about media’s race to the bottom that stuck with me for the last few days.
The opening is a good one:
The bestselling novel of 1961 was Allen Drury’s Advise and Consent. Millions of people read this 690-page political novel. In 2016, the big sellers were coloring books.
Algorithms have no care for cultural richness. All they care about is grinding culture into a viscous listicle-slurry that can be measured and sold for fun and profit.
I used to hate it when people made arguments about the Internet being bad for us. It’s not helpful.
So I won’t. Because really this is about media.
Manton Reece is launching an independent platform for microblogging:
Do you remember how the web used to work? How the web was supposed to work?
In the earlier days of the web, we always published to our own web site. If you weren’t happy with your web host, or they went out of business, you could move your files and your domain name, and nothing would break.
Today, most writing instead goes into a small number of centralized social networking sites, where you can’t move your content, advertisements and fake news are everywhere, and if one of these sites fails, your content disappears from the internet. Too many sites have gone away and taken our posts and photos with them.
Check out the Kickstarter page. It might not work. But neither will Twitter.
Martin Belam at the Guardian thinks we’re living through the world’s first cyber war:
This always makes me wonder what broader patterns we might be missing in our own lives, and I’ve come round to thinking that we might already be living through the first world cyberwar – it’s just that we haven’t acknowledged or named it yet.
Really interesting article. Though I’m not sure this is going to be something that starts and stops like conventional wars. He mentions espionage in the article, which feels like a better parallel. Just as there are always spies doing spy work, there will always be states hacking other states.
There’s no way to prevent it, it’s difficult to know when it’s happened, and there doesn’t seem to be any real deterrent.
My wife has the only psychosis that I envy. She loves to run.
That’s not entirely true.
She needs to run. In the same way that I need oxygen and Facebook needs your phone number, she runs.
I’ve gone running before. There’ve been a few times in my life where I was running two or three miles a few times a week. I was happy that I was doing it, but doing it was the worst.
Maybe I didn’t get myself to the point of runner’s high. Or I might have an irreversible bad attitude about running. In any case, it didn’t stick, and I don’t have any plans to make running a regular part of my life again.
When I started weight training in 2015, I finally felt like I was enjoying exercise. I’ve been at it 5 or 6 days a week since then. I really like it. Which means that it’s not exercise that I don’t like. I’m not lazy. Mostly.
It’s just that I really don’t like running.
I don’t like it.
It feels empowering to say it.
Say it with me…
I DON’T LIKE RUNNING.
Put the handclap emoji in between every word like you MEAN it.
I. DON’T. LIKE. RUNNING.
And that’s OK.
Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t like running. I wish that I did.
Just don’t be exercise normative.
And stop closing the whole city to run 5k.
Medium seems to be in trouble and I’m not sure how to feel about it. Spending the past year torn between moving my site there and getting a little stomach acid in the back of my throat everytime I clicked on a link that took me to a Medium post, Medium’s demise would actually improve my quality of life in immediate and tangible ways.
(Picured above: Ugh)
It sounds like they haven’t found a revenue model that works. And while I think highly of their principled stance against click-bate and the click-through dumbing down of the web, I’m also not looking forward to all of the dead links.
As an idealist that is behind on sleep, I’d like to think that Medium’s demise would Or only be good for me, but also for the open web. If their claims about the number of words written on the site are accurate, and then the authors of those words move to WordPress or Squarespace, it could spur a new renaissance of independent blowhards, gurus, and bloggers.
Imagine a world where people venture forth from the safety of platforms and feel the cool breeze of the open internet flowing through their greasy blogger hair!
Of course, it probably just means Facebook gets more #content.