Bookmarked Truth in an age of truthiness: when bot-fueled PsyOps meet internet spam (Kris Shaffer)
Harald D. Lasswell wrote that the function of propaganda is to reduce the material cost of power. On a social-media platform, that cost-reduction comes in many forms. By their very existence, the platforms already reduce both the labor and the capital required to access both information and an audience. Automated accounts further reduce the cost of power, for those who know how to game the algorithm and evade detection long enough to carry out a campaign. But when artificial amplification becomes itself artificially amplified through the presence of spammers and opportunists, the cost to power for those who game the system in just the right way can be incredibly small. For those of us studying the digital information landscape, whether we seek to understand it or to effect positive change in it, it is essential that we understand all of the ways in which messages can be amplified — and the effects those methods can have on each other when they overlap.
Kris Shaffer continues his work in regards to bots, unpacking the way in which our attention is hijacked through attempts to influence and advertise. It is important to appreciate the mechanics behind these things for they are the same mechanics that those on social media engage with each and every day. One of the points that Shaffer (and Mike Caulfield) make is that whether something is true or not, continual viewing will make such ideas more familiar and strangely closer to the truth.
Bookmarked Digital Readiness (steve-wheeler.co.uk)

Open Lecture: 2018 Steve Wheeler- Literacies and competencies for learning in the digital age from Educational Development Unit on Vimeo.

The rapid proliferation and deployment of smart mobile, pervasive computing, social and personal technologies is changing the higher education landscape. In this presentation I will argue that new media present new opportunities for learning through digital technologies, but that such opportunities will require new literacies. This is not just my view - it reflects the views of many other commentators including Lea & Jones (2011), Beetham et al (2009) and Lankshear & Knobel(2006). Essentially, the traditional literacies that have dominated higher education in the past are thought to no longer be sufficient in the face of recent changes. I will explore a range of new 'digital literacies and competencies', discuss the concept of 'digital fluency' and highlight some new and emergent pedagogical theories, including connectivism, heutagogy, paralogy and rhizomatic learning, that seek to explain how students are learning in the first part of the 21st Century.



Biography:
Steve Wheeler is a Learning Innovations Consultant and former Associate Professor of Learning Technologies at the Plymouth Institute of Education where he chaired the Learning Futures group and led the Computing and science education teams. He continues to research into technology supported learning and distance education, with particular emphasis on the pedagogy underlying the use of social media and Web 2.0 technologies, and also has research interests in mobile learning and cybercultures. He has given keynotes to audiences in more than 35 countries and is author of more than 150 scholarly articles, with over 6000 academic citations. An active and prolific edublogger, his blog Learning with 'e'sis a regular online commentary on the social and cultural impact of disruptive technologies, and the application of digital media in education, learning and development. In the last few years it has attracted in excess of 7.5 million unique visitors.

More about Steve Wheeler https://steve-wheeler.net/

Steve Wheeler’s presentation is not necessarily a definition of what digital literacies / fluencies, but rather a wander through education today. For Wheeler, the key is finding your desire lines and personalised learning. This not only touches on what is learned, but also how the learning occurs – negotiated, blended, socially. It is interesting to think of some of these ideas alongside Peter Hutton’s work and calls to reform Australian education.
Bookmarked I tried leaving Facebook. I couldn’t by Sarah Jeong (The Verge)
Facebook had replaced much of the emotional labor of social networking that consumed previous generations. We have forgotten (or perhaps never noticed) how many hours our parents spent keeping their address books up to date, knocking on doors to make sure everyone in the neighborhood was invited to the weekend BBQ, doing the rounds of phone calls with relatives, clipping out interesting newspaper articles and mailing them to a friend, putting together the cards for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas, and more. We don’t think about what it’s like to carefully file business cards alphabetically in a Rolodex. People spent a lot of time on these sorts of things, once, because the less of that work you did, the less of a social network you had.
Sarah Jeong reflects on leaving Facebook. One of the things that stood out from her discussion was the habits that we have lost or forgotten. This touched on the ‘templated’ nature of platforms such as Facebook. It also reminds me of Marshall McLuhan’s tetrad and what is lost with new technology. What has seemingly been lost is the ability to converse and maintain deep social connections.
Liked It’s Time to Stop Saying “If You’re Not Paying, You’re the Product” (Slate Magazine)

There are at least two alternative ways of viewing our relationship to Facebook that hold more promise for making that relationship a healthier and less exploitive one. The first is to view ourselves as customers of Facebook, paying with our time, attention, and data instead of with money. This implies greater responsibility on both sides. If we understood that Facebook and other “free” online services exact real costs to things we value, we might use them more sparingly and judiciously. We might finally grasp that every time we grant new data permissions or sign on to a new privacy policy, we’re almost certainly giving up a lot. Even if we don’t have time to read the whole thing, let alone comprehend it, we could equate it in our minds to spending hundreds of dollars—and then make better decisions about whether that specific app or update is still worth it to us. Ideally this formulation of users as customers forces on Facebook and other apps the responsibility of earning their loyalty, convincing them that their service is worth the tradeoffs, and not violating their trust.

The second is to view ourselves as part of Facebook’s labor force. Just as bees labor unwittingly on beekeepers’ behalf, our posts and status updates continually enrich Facebook. But we’re humans, not bees, and as such we have the capacity to collectively demand better treatment. The technologist and activist Jaron Lanier, carrying this analogy to its logical conclusion in the book Who Owns the Future?, suggested that users of Facebook and other data-hungry online services rise up and demand actual monetary compensation for their data. That seems a little far-fetched, but at the very least citizens and their representatives in governments should demand more robust protections and legal rights. The European Union’s new privacy law, the General Data Protection Requirement, could be viewed as akin to a bill of worker’s rights for users of online services.

Bookmarked Social Media Jujutsu by Tom Woodward (bionicteaching.com)
Jujutsu is a martial art focused on using your opponent’s momentum against them– clever redirection of force rather than trying to meet it directly. This seems like it might be an option for some of today’s social media woes where people are trying to continue to take advantage of the good aspects of these tools/communities while opposing some of their attempts at manipulation. There are major alternatives like Mastodon but many people aren’t going to make that jump. So consider this post more of a way you might mitigate harm while continuing using tools meant to bend your mind and warp your perceptions.
Tom Woodward reflects on the stresses of social media and shares a number of tools for mitigating the harm. This includes add-ons which hides Twitter metrics and tools which adjust your language. He also touches on some strategies, such as commenting on sites more than social media. Depending on your platform, I would recommend the #IndieWeb and activating webmentions. Also, Micro.blog offers another entry point to claiming the web, especially in regards to RSS.


Also posted on IndieNews

Bookmarked Instagram makes me anxious (discursive.adamprocter.co.uk)
I get anxious when in real life friends don’t like an Instagram photo of mine, especially if it related to work I’m undertaking, I wonder why they didn’t spend 2 seconds pressing the heart, did they even see my photo? Don’t they know I like to get, well a like. It makes me worry. Sometimes...
Adam, this reminds me of Bill Ferriter’s questions about audience and Harold Jarche’s discussion of metrics. I very rarely look at my analytics. What I do is for me firstly, that others may benefit is a bonus of the open web. As Maha Bali points out:

I first fell in love with the web or the open aspect of the web when I was trying to finish my PhD during a time where Egypt had a lot of political conflict and I was unable to leave the house because I had a young child and the library at my institution was closed. I needed some resources, and even though I had access to some online resources, I actually needed some paper based resources that did not exist for free online, and at the time, what I fell in love with was green open access stuff that was placed on repositories, and honestly pirated stuff, that was placed online so that I had some access to some articles and book chapters that I wouldn’t normally be able to access from home. And it was that transformative moment for me where I decided that if I publish things, I would like as much as possible for the things that I publish to be openly accessible to other people.

Listened Taking the time to be offline by Dean Pearman from Design and Play
In our first real episode for 2018, we revisit the importance of offline time and switching off. This is always a challenge when work is something you are incredibly passionate about. How do we develop good work habits when the lines are blurred so much? We explore the third space, a concept developed by Adam Fraser designed to help people transfer better between work and space. We once again circle back on time tracking and managing our time. We explore the value of what to measure when tracking time. Steve explains his tracking of interruptions and the use of reticular activation to intentionally manage his focus and habits. We talk about the books we read and those that just couldn’t bring ourselves to read (#blurredlines). This leads to a rich discussion on real evidence of learning and design thinking as a mental model. Student centred learning features as Dean explores his school’s new Inspire Me curriculum and the removal of the curriculum safety net.
Replied to On the Need for Phone Free Classrooms by Pernille Ripp (pernillesripp.com)
I know that I have pushed the use of phones in our classrooms before on this blog, how I have written about using them purposefully, but I will no longer subscribe to the notion that when kids use their phones it is only because they are bored. It is too easy to say that if teachers just created relevant and engaging lessons then no child would use their phones improperly in our rooms. That’s not it, all of us with devices have had our attention spans rewired to constantly seek stimulus. To instantly seek something other than what we are doing. To constantly seek something different even if what we are doing is actually interesting. And not because what we seek out is so much better, look at most people’s Snapchat streaks and you will see irrelevant images of tables and floors and half faces simply to keep a streak alive. It is not that our students are leaving our teaching behind at all times because they are bored, it is more because many of us, adults and children alike, have lost the ability to focus on anything for a longer period of time.
Pernille, you might be interested in a Douglas Rushkoff’s recent reflection at the beginning of a Team Human episode. He wonders why is it so easy for people to lose sight of the design and purpose behind these platforms? He argues that other than teaching media, social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc) should never be used by schools. I think that this crosses over to the smartphone debate.
Bookmarked Thirteen and Insta-famous: How Aussie tweens are 'brand-managing' themselves (ABC News)
You definitely do need to have two accounts, says Meika Woolard, a 13-year-old with 335,000 Instagram followers. She is one of Australia's most prominent teen Insta-influencers, and part of a growing trend of users harnessing the power of multiple accounts.
This touches on piece in Boing Boing highlighting that young people do not want a single identity. Uses of social media like this has me thinking about the way that IndieWeb and Domain of One’s Own centralise identities. Is this something unique to social media? Is this a limit of the ‘Rel=me’ approach?