Bookmarked Remembering Instagram Before the Influencers (Vice)

Artists like Audrey Wollen, Alexandra Marzella and Arvida Bystrom moved to Instagram from Tumblr in the early 2010s. But the past few years have seen the platform shift.

Daisy Jones takes a look at the early adopters of Instagram and what happened to them. It would be interestingly to look at the early adopters across all the different platforms, whether it be Tumblr, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook and Mastadon. I wonder if there is a correlation across the different platforms and the creativity and voices they foster.
Bookmarked The most popular social media networks each year, gloriously animated (The Next Web)

It’s hard to remember a world without social media, but it existed – as did a lot of other networks. We tracked their evolution.

This is an intriguing representation of social media over time:

It is useful as a provocation for many conversations.

Liked Social Media Could Make It Impossible to Grow Up (WIRED)

In sharp contrast to Postman’s prediction, childhood never did disappear. Instead, it has become ubiquitous in a new and un­expected way. Today, childhood and adolescence are more visible and pervasive than ever before. For the first time in history, children and adolescents have widespread access to the technologies needed to represent their lives, circulate these representations, and forge networks with each other, often with little or no adult supervision. The potential danger is no longer childhood’s disappearance, but rather the possibility of a perpetual childhood. The real crisis of the digital age is not the disappearance of childhood, but the specter of a childhood that can never be forgotten.

Excerpt adapted from The End of Forgetting: Growing Up with Social Media by Kate Eichhorn, published by Harvard University Press.
Bookmarked Trump’s social media summit and me by Ben WerdmüllerBen Werdmüller

Code is never more important than life. Genocide is always a bigger problem than software distribution licenses. Hopefully this is obvious.

While I accept that it runs counter to the stated principles of the free software movement, I believe we need a new set of licenses that explicitly forbid using software to facilitate hate or hate groups.

Ben Werdmuller discusses Minds use of Elgg and its involvement with hate speech. He argues that to counter the abuse of people and open source software, we need a new set of licenses that prevents misuse. This reminds me of Mike Monteiro’s call for reform in regards to design industry to eliminate such situations.
Bookmarked Opinion | I Shouldn’t Have to Publish This in The New York Times (

The way we regulated social media platforms didn’t end harassment, extremism or disinformation. It only gave them more power and made the problem worse.

Cory Doctorow wonders about the future social media and copyright laws.
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.