Bookmarked Adding Instagram to a Social Reader by Chris Chris

Screenshot of my Instagram feed Photo by Donna Murray Photography
I mentioned yesterday my frustrations with Instagram were at an all-time high, and I wanted to “soft quit” the app by adding my follows as a source in Monocle. I didn’t find any existing guide on how to do this (sorry if I misse…

Chris McLeod provides a useful guide for using Granary to create a feed for Instagram to use within a feed reader.
Bookmarked We Have Never Been Social by Kathleen FitzpatrickKathleen Fitzpatrick (Kathleen Fitzpatrick)

If the problem has not been the centralized, corporatized control of the individual voice, the individual’s data, but rather a deeper failure of sociality that precedes that control, then merely reclaiming ownership of our voices and our data isn’t enough. If the goal is creating more authentic, more productive forms of online sociality, we need to rethink our platforms, the ways they function, and our relationships to them from the ground up. It’s not just a matter of functionality, or privacy controls, or even of business models. It’s a matter of governance

Kathleen Fitzpatrick outlines her new project to rethink the web from the ground on up.
Bookmarked Open gardens

We need a new approach. Not controlled only by algorithms, but also not a walled garden that limits distribution of content. We need a system that prioritizes curation while preserving the freedom to publish outside of silos, with APIs based on the IndieWeb that are open by default instead of locked down with developer registration.

Manton Reece builds on the metaphor of the web as a garden. Discussing the development of Micro.Blog, Manton Reece discusses the idea of open garden as an answer to the walled garden.
Replied to Building the Brexit party: how Nigel Farage copied Italy’s digital populists (the Guardian)

Casaleggio was far ahead of other political parties in using this data to help shape Five Star’s messaging, which he fed back to supporters through Grillo’s blog, and increasingly through social media. The very tools that were supposedly giving members control over the movement were allowing Casaleggio to exert control over them. With a thoughtfully crafted blogpost, he could intervene in the movement’s internal debates, bolstering certain positions and dampening others down.

I always wondered how Mark Zuckerberg for president would ever work, I would assume that this might be an example.
Replied to Connected pedagogy: Social networks (

Many writers have highlighted the power of the global digital tribe, particularly the way groups tend to solve problems more effectively than individual experts (Surowiecki, 2009). We read of how groups can self-organise and co-ordinate their actions in connected global environments (Shirky, 2008) and that there seems to be no limit what a tribe can do when it is given the appropriate tools (Godin, 2008). Mobile and personal technologies that are connected to global networks have afforded us with the priceless ability to collaborate and cooperate in new and inventive ways (Rheingold, 2002), and allow us to rapidly self organise into new collective forces (Tapscott and Williams, 2008). Connected technology not only gives us access to existing knowledge, it encourages and enables us to create new knowledge and share it widely to a global audience.

I am enjoying this series Steve. A book that has influenced my thinking on the topic has been Teaching Crowds by Jon Dron and Terry Anderson.

One thing that I am left wondering is how the benefits and affordances change and develop over time? I was left thinking about this while reading Clive Thompson’s new book Coders compared with his last book Smarter Than You Think.

Replied to a post by Greg McVerryGreg McVerry

The tools exist now for us to create networks free from corporate control and spying from our own websites. We can still use social media as outreach but as educators we should be modeling a better way.

This is what I was trying to capture in my post on creating a deliberate social space for students.
Replied to Can “Indie” Social Media Save Us? (The New Yorker)

As a technology enthusiast, I’m a believer in the IndieWeb movement and think it will play an important role in the future of the Internet. For the exhausted majority of social-media users, however, the appeal of the proverbial quiet bench might outweigh the lure of a better Facebook. In this vision of the future, there will be many more social-media platforms but far fewer people spending significant time on any of them. Social media has reshaped our culture, and this has convinced us that it is fundamentally appealing. Strip away its most manipulative elements, though, and we may find that it’s less rewarding than it seems.

Cal, you have provided an interesting take on the IndieWeb. I must admit I am always mindful and sometimes sceptical about it being the solution for all. As you touch upon, some may simply choose to retreat to the idyllic life.

The only problem I have with this is that it frames the IndieWeb as a response to a specific problem, that is social media. Personally, I see it as a reimagining of blogging and online interaction, as much as it is a solution to social media. As Ben Werdmuller highlights, POSSEing to social media sites has its limits.

One of the things that I value about my IndieWeb site is a record of my interactions. I think that reclaiming this information provides the foundation for even richer explorations.

This framing of social media was something I was left questioning after watching your TED Talk.

Bookmarked The luxury of opting out of digital noise · Woman. Legend.Blog

As I’ve opted out of Facebook, what I’ve noticed is, first of all, that I don’t feel ragingly angry. I don’t know who went on vacation where, unless I talk to them via text message, and I don’t care. I don’t care about political articles that are specifically designed to infuriate me. I don’t care about people I went to college with ten years ago. My world is neater and quieter.

At the same time, I miss more and more events targeted at my daughter’s age level that we could have attended. I miss small observations that my friends wouldn’t make over text that they do via Facebook posts that I no longer discuss with them. I miss parenting conversations that are extremely relevant to my local school district. I miss birthdays that I should have written down in my paper calendar, but didn’t. I miss discussions the Jewish community at large, which I am connected to digitally instead of physically, is having. By opting out of performing emotional labor on Facebook and going into my own sort of media hibernation, I miss the steady background hum of “having my finger on the pulse” as it relates to me and my family.

Vicki Boykis reflects on the privilege associated with being able to unplug. This continues on from an earlier post on fixing the internet. Like Boykis, I wonder about the relief and ostracism associated with leaving the social web.

We are all connected to the spigot, even if we want to opt out. Social media contains all of our news, our family’s baby pictures, extensions of our lives in one exhausting digital stream. One glaring example that comes to mind is Facebook specifically.

Although I’ve written extensively about how important it is to get off the platform as soon as you are humanly able, for the sake of our collective mental health, I find myself not being able to take my own advice.

Not because I’m addicted, but because Facebook, for better or worse, is still the platform where social events are planned. Where parent groups exchange information. Where family pictures are shared and discussed. To willingly walk away from Facebook and all of its needy notifications is to experience both immense relief and complete ostracism.

This reminds me of Venkatesh Rao’s pushback on Waldenponding. I wonder if one strategy is managing your feeds through a form of social media jujitsu or simply writing the web we want as captured by the #ProSocialWeb movement.

Bookmarked Fix the internet by writing good stuff and being nice to people · Woman. Legend.Blog

Which brings me to the saddest thing about these platforms: they are taking all of our input and time, and our thoughts, energy, and content, and using all of that for free to make money. Think about how many times you’ve tweeted. Or written or commented on a Facebook post. Or started a Medium draft. These are all our words, locked in proprietary platforms that controls not only how our message is displayed, but how we write it, and even more worrying, how we think about it.

Vicki Boykis provides some suggestions on how to turn our current internet from a loud, obnoxious, toxic mall, back into a public forum:

  1. Write your own blog on your own platform
  2. Share good content
  3. Acknowledge creators by paying them
  4. Use adblockers
  5. Engage in dialogue with people who are different from you

I find this an interesting set of reflections. I write my own blog and try to engage in dialogue, but I have issues with platforms like Patreon. I prefer to purchase products.

I think that this post is a useful provocation for the #ProSocialWeb. It is also interesting to consider her point about Adblockers in light of Google’s move to restrict them.

Bookmarked A History of the Influencer, from Shakespeare to Instagram (The New Yorker)

For centuries, influencers have been forcing us to admit an uncomfortable truth: we are neither entirely self-determining nor self-contained.

Laurence Scott dives into the past of influence and influencers. He compares the world of Instagram and Popes with the work of Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde. In the process he highlights the ambiguity associated with influence and the various agents and agendas attached to it. For a different perspective, Sophie Elmhirst looks at the industry built around social media influencers and the push for authentity, while Rosie Spinks believes that we are coming to the end of the self-made influencers and wonders if instead we will have a slacker revival.
Replied to Instagram wants you to stop caring about how many likes you get — here’s why (ABC News)

There is no shortage of online guides providing advice on how to get more likes on social media platform Instagram.

Likes are how the social media platform’s users show their approval of posts, and they drive a whole industry of influencers who make a living publishing carefully curated snapshots of their lives online.

But could this all be about to change?

But later this week Instagram will run a trial which will remove Canadian users’ ability to see the number of likes on others’ photos, and the views on their videos.

This is not much of a surprise. What is interesting is the solutions being tested:

Users will be able to click through to see who and how many people like their own posts, but they will not be able to see the number of likes other users’ posts have attracted.

I prefer the way Micro.Blog uses ‘likes‘. They are not actually for the liker, not the likee. Instead, comments are given primacy.

Liked A Modest Proposal Review (BoffoSocko)

Will you look at this?! Twitter has recreated the WordPress Gutenberg editor interface into their web product. Currently it only has a few blocks for text, photos, gifs, video, embeds, and polls, but it’s not completely horrible and it’s relatively fast and convenient. The Gutenberg editor in WordPress: In fact it appears that they’ve pared the editor down substantially. A few more tweaks and it might be as clean as the Medium editor experience. Want to add a video, just drop a youtube link: Want to embed a blog post from somewhere else? Add the link in your tweet and get a spiffy Twitter Card (just like oEmbed!) I can see people getting awfully tired of clicking that “plus” button interminably though. Maybe if the interface could algorithmically choose where to break text the same way it determines what tweets I’m going to see? Now they just need an edit button and they’ve

Bookmarked Bringing back the web: The digital literacies we need right now by Bonnie StewartBonnie Stewart (

Who are we when we’re online? And how can we engage in digital spaces in ways that don’t undermine the mandates, practices, and ethos of higher education? The keynote explores the underpinnings of our emergent information ecosystem. Digital and open spaces are being weaponized, while pervasive surveillance and predatory practices are normalized. Trolling and bots are regular features of social landscapes, and people are often hesitant to engage online in fighting the echo chamber. Concepts of what it means to know are increasingly generated outside the academy, in Silicon Valley AI frameworks.

What does this mean for higher ed, and for the future of knowledge in a data society? This keynote, from Virginia Tech’s Digital Literacy Symposium, explores ideas grounded in adult education, critical pedagogy histories, and contemporary open practices—including participatory digital literacies and the pro-social web—that may be ways we can ALL help bring the web back from the brink.

In this keynote for Virginia Tech’s Digital Literacy Symposium, Bon Stewart discusses the current state of the web and makes the case for bringing back a #ProSocialWeb.
Bookmarked Twitter>The Novel? @tejucole>Teju Cole? (Meanjin)

Teju Cole joined Twitter in 2009 but didn’t really take to it until 2011, when he was beginning work on a long nonfiction book about his native Lagos. While researching in Nigeria he began to tweet as part of a project he titled Small Fates, an imprecise translation of the French faits divers, referring to compressed news items, typically just a single sentence in length. Cole suggests that the original faits divers influenced the writing of Flaubert and later Gide, Camus, Le Clézio and Barthes. On his website, Cole mentions twentieth-century French journalist Félix Fénéon as a master of the form.

Sam Twyford-Moore discusses the creative use of Twitter by Teju Cole to tell short stories and describe situations. This is seen to be in contrast to longer forms of writing. I was reminded of the #ShortStories that pepper my feed in Mastadon. The discussion of ergodic versus canonical writing was also interesting. This seems similar to discussions of commonplace books.

Social media and the internet could now be seen as our workbooks, where we can test out ideas that we later refine in print or book form. I have drafted and conceptualised several essays in the comments section of other people’s literary blogs (an essay on the Wire published in this journal originated in a thread on James Bradley’s City of Tongues blog). But I want to suggest here that Twitter can be the work as much as the workbook, recalling video-game academic Espen Aarseth’s useful distinction between ‘ergodic writing i.e. writing still emergently based in evolving energy, and canonical writing e.g. unchangeably published’.

I capture this difference by having two spaces: Read Write Respond and Read Write Collect. I like like the way Ian O’Byrne captures this difference:

On this website you’ll find a trail of my digital breadcrumbs as I consume, curate, and create. I’ll archive all of the things I’ve read online. These could be bookmarks to visit, videos to watch, photos, and quotes that inspired me.

Replied to Is Social Media Giving You Value? by an author (Activate Learning Solutions)

If it’s not giving you value then consider:

  1. What can you change (tweaks to behaviour, mindset or habits) to hone your filtering skills?
  2. What are the conversations and communities that you enjoy and give you personal satisfaction in participating? Do more of those and delete the rest.
  3. Do you have FOMO? Don’t. Trust me, you’re not missing out on anything. Use that time you scrolled your feed to feed your mind with something else.
  4. Do you feel the pressure to show and share everything in the spirit of “working out loud”? Don’t. You really don’t need to.  If it’s going to make you feel resentment or unacknowledged, think of what is important to YOU and share that to communities who value your work and who will support, credit and acknowledge it.  Much of “working out loud” actually happens in closed ‘safe’ online communities as many people are not comfortable with doing this on the open networks.  Seek out those spaces instead.
Helen Blunden reflects on her changing value associated with social media. For Blunden, the conversations, networks and learnings that were so prevalent in the past has become more difficult. She talks about stepping back from the social and distraction to instead focus on the private and personal. Although I have had a similar response of late, I am always reminded that this is not the case for everyone. I also wonder what positive participation might look like moving forward.
Replied to Who is going to help build a pro-social web? by dave dave

Please participate. Do it well. Put your values on the internet. Our society is literally being shaped by the internet right now, and will be for the foreseeable future. We are all watching the web we’re building. The web is us. Help build a good one.

I feel like I find myself in both camps Dave. I have been critical of way spaces and devices. However, I still participate, just differently.

I am not sure what the ‘answer’ to the current situation is. I like your hopeful suggestion. For me it is about participating on my own terms, whether this be via webmentions or in a shared space that allows for more ownership, such as a social media space using Edublogs. I am not sure if this is the positive participation you are thinking about. I am mindful that this may not be for everyone, but it at least moves to something other.