Replied to Courage to Continue by wiobyrne (

Kevin Roose on Clubhouse, the invitation-only social audio app. Clubhouse has been super hot over the last couple of months.

Ian, I really enjoyed Kevin Roose’s thoughts on Clubhouse, especially the quote you shared:

Every successful social network has a life cycle that goes something like: Wow, this app sure is addictive! Look at all the funny and exciting ways people are using it! Oh, look, I can get my news and political commentary here, too! This is going to empower dissidents, promote free speech and topple authoritarian regimes! Hmm, why are trolls and racists getting millions of followers? And where did all these conspiracy theories come from? This platform should really hire some moderators and fix its algorithms. Wow, this place is a cesspool, I’m deleting my account.

I must admit that I have not been invited to the platform and have no intention on using it if I was. What I do not get is how this innovative technology is different from Voxer or Discourse? I guess I may never know. For now, I will just stick to listening to podcasts.

I hope you are safe.


Replied to Butterfly Attacks by wiobyrne (

This is really interesting. In the remaining weeks before the 2020 US Elections, Twitter is limiting your ability to retweet content from others. More specifically, Twitter is urging you to give some context in your re-share…as opposed to blindly boosting the message of others.

Ian, moments like this when Twitter tries to fix things on the fly remind me of a comment Ian Guest once made:

I share some of your concerns, but I don’t feel as … unsettled? A couple of hypotheticals I’ll throw into the pot to see what bubbles to the surface.

  1. What would happen (for you) if Twitter’s ‘fail whale’ reappeared tomorrow and suddenly Twitter was gone?
  2. What if you deactivated your original account and started afresh? Knowing what you know and bearing in mind what you wrote in this post, how would you do things differently, if at all? Is ‘making Twitter great again’ within your capacity?
  3. If Twitter is broken beyond repair and neither Mastodon nor quite cut it, if you had the wherewithall, what would you design as a replacement? What would it need to have or be able to do?

So often the aim is to make things as easy and simple as possible, but I find there is something about the friction of carving out responses from my own site. I feel that it certainly makes me more mindful of my digital actions. As Clay Shirky suggests:

The thing I can least afford is to get things working so perfectly that I don’t notice what’s changing in the environment anymore.

Replied to Escape Pods by wiobyrne (

This piece by Douglas Rushkoff is a followup to “Survival of the Richest,” a report about how the wealthy plot to leave us behind after an apocalyptic event.

Ian, in regards to the rich and their escape pods, I recommend reading (or listening to) Cory Doctorow’s story The Masque of the Red Death from his book Radicalized.
Replied to Sometimes We Must Interfere (

Courtney Ariel provides guidance for white friends desiring to be allies.

  • Listen more, talk less;
  • Try to listen and sit with someone else’s experience;
  • Educate yourself about systemic racism in this country. Use your voice and influence to direct the folks that walk alongside you in real life (or follow you on the internet), toward the voice of someone that is living a marginalized/disenfranchised experience;
  • Come into a place of awareness. Please take several seats;
  • Ask when you don’t know, but do the work first;
  • Stop talking about colorblindness.
Thank you for your links and coverage Ian. I am interested in your book club.

In regards to Run the Jewel, I thought NPR’s decision to scrap New Music to focus on RTJ4.

Replied to Digitally Literate #229 (

Fragmented Digital Lives
Digitally Lit #229 – 1/18/2020

Ian, the piece about Clearview AI is both disconcerting, yet not a surprise. In particular though, I liked your point about shadow profiles.

This is the stuff that really concerns me when we think about surveillance of our data online. It’s not as much the companies that I know are collecting our content (e.g., Google, Facebook, Amazon) it is these shadowy, secretive groups that are collecting and archiving our content…and connecting the dots between all of our content.

Whether it be Google, Facebook or the plethora of any other secretive startups hoovering up the data, I am left wondering about the right to be forgotten.

It is also interesting to consider this alongside Seth Godin’s recent argument about privacy and permission marketing. Maybe it has always been this way, it is just in the digital age we are becoming more aware of it all?

Replied to Digitally Literate #227 by wiobyrne (

Youth Never Forget
Digitally Lit #227 – 1/4/2020
Hi all, welcome to issue #227 of Digitally Literate. Welcome to 2020. I hope the new year…and the new decade treat you well. You’re more than welcome to review these materials on the website. Please subscribe if you would like this to sh…

Another great newsletter Ian. Just a few thoughts. Firstly, in regards to the flaw with the research associated with YouTube:

One of the key critiques of the study is that the researchers didn’t log in. That is to say that they could not experience the full impact of the algorithm as it impacts their findings.

As Becca Lewis suggests, is the problem with measuring radicalisation of YouTube associated with methodology? This reminds me of some of the discussions associated with social media and teens. The examples I have read ‘How YouTube Radicalized Brazil‘ and ‘The Making of a YouTube Radical‘ are anecdotal. I assume this is why Arvind Narayanan says that we do not have the vocabulary to make sense of complexities generated via algorithms.

Also, in regards to Kate Eichhorn’s post about the internet that never forgets (and the subsequent book):

Kate Eichhorn, an Associate Professor of Culture and Media at The New School suggests that people are now forming their identities online from an early age, and in the process are creating a permanent record that’s impossible to delete.

I am reminded of a post from Katia Hildebrandt and Alec Couros from a few years ago in which they suggest that in a world where there is digital record for everything somewhere then we need to learn to consider intent, context, and circumstance when considering different artefacts that may be dredged up.

Replied to Digitally Literate #225 by wiobyrne (

Parents at a public school district in Maryland have won a major victory for student privacy. Tech companies that work with the school district now have to purge the data they have collected on students once a year.

Experts say the district’s “Data Deletion Week” may be the first of its kind in the country.

We have to wonder why this doesn’t happen elsewhere in Pre-K up through higher education.

Another great read Ian.

I was particularly taken by the piece about erasing kids’ data. In particular, I was intrigued by what data is deleted.

While not all student data is deleted that week, the district works to clean much of students’ digital slates over the summer, including data collected by Google and by GoGuardian, which tracks students’ web searches, according to Peter Cevenini, the district’s chief technology officer.

The district demands more than a vague assurance from tech companies that the data has been erased: “They send us a certification that officially confirms legally that the information has been deleted from their servers,” Cevenini said.

I would assume that students would still have access and ownership over their content and that it is the periphery that is stripped out? Imagine if instead of simply deleting, students were actually given insight into the data that is both captured and deleted?

Hope all is well,


Replied to Digitally Literate #212 (

The new Tool album came out this week…and I’m loving it. I’ve been a huge Tool fan for years and saw them multiple times while in college.

It has been interesting listening to the new Tool album. It led me to relisten to Undertow and Ænima. I could not help compare.

A part of me wondered if the music had become somehow historical. For me the album lacks some of the intensity included in past albums. However, I also wondered if a part of the experience is based around my current listening muscles. If I am honest, I listen to a lot of pop these days. This means that listening to a brooding ten minute rock song or a lengthy ballad that Lana Del Rey offers can come across as uncanny.

Replied to Digitally Literate #210 by wiobyrne ( is a personal policy that all email responses regardless of recipient or subject will be five sentences or less.

The website above gives you a piece of text to place in your email signature to let people know about your goal.

I’ve noticed that my emails are getting longer and longer. As I try to provide more details, the recipient is reading less and less. This year I’m going to try and limit myself to five sentences for each reply. That forces me to be concise, to choose only the essentials of what I want to say, and limits the time I spend replying to email.

Learn more in this post by Leo Babauta.

Thank you Ian for link to the email habits. I have been trying to improve my workflows for a while, but after reading Leo Babauta’s piece, I think the issue is my use of email. This also reminded me of Doug Belshaw’s email tips.
Replied to Digitally Literate #207 by wiobyrne (

After watching the documentary and reviewing the stories I shared…are you ready to delete your Facebook account?

Probably not. As we’ve regularly discussed in this newsletter, technology regularly offers us reasons to stop using their products, apps, and services. Yet…we stick around for some reason.

If you’re not going to delete your account…take some time and give it a good cleanse, or refresh.

Download your information from your settings. To download your information:

  1. Click at the top right of any Facebook page and select Settings
  2. Click Download a copy of your Facebook data at the bottom of General Account Settings
  3. Click Start My Archive

After that, test out two of the options shared in the post above (Facebook Timeline Cleaner and F___book Post Manager), to clean out your data.

I’m still deciding whether or not it is time to delete my Facebook account. I have been in the process of scaling back what the social network knows about me. I’ve been downloading and deleting all of my photos from the service. I’ve also refreshed my privacy settings as well. I’ll test out the tools above…and a total purge may soon be in my future.

I think that what frustrates me the most about ‘leaving’ Facebook is the ability to have a working archive. I love what Jonathan Lacour has done. Sadly, I downloaded and deleted my data before the archive become more usable.