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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:49 am 
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I believe the Dems would get right on top of things & fix all the mess around social media should they regain control of congress.

Why I deleted the Instagram app — and you should think about it too

Instagram has never been my favorite app, perhaps because I love reading words more than staring at photos. But beyond that core element, it's continued to be the bane of my existence — at least while writing about the tech industry, chatting with friends, and watching the world around me strain to be more "Instagrammable."

http://mashable.com/2018/01/21/why-i-de ... 0RjDjdsiqz


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:05 pm 
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I never had Instagram. It's not the kind of thing I'd ever do with photography, but then I'm weird. I realize that most other people have a far more pressing need to post pictures of their lunch to the Internet than I do. Somehow I missed having that gene. I do a lot of photography, but for some unfathomable reason it's about light and art instead of my stupid face blocking the view of the Pantheon.

Social media in general are a zoo, and indeed I've changed my mind and now I think some censorship is required to keep it from becoming just a big disaster.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:28 pm 
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I don't know about censorship, other than blocking people using social media to directly urge the committing of criminal activity. And, as we all know, the SCOTUS has said that's only actionable if they're being very direct and deliberate in urging people to do criminal acts. My "I Love ISIS" Facebook page probably can stay. But my "Here are the reasons why you should assassinate politician Joe Blow, and here's his address." That one could be a problem.

I do think social media does need to take action regarding deliberate deception, fraud, and disinformation, but I don't view that as censorship. It's kind of like why the government won't allow people to sell snake oil.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:35 pm 
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We're using different words for the same things. Censorship is probably the wrong word.

My idea of free speech stops at the proverbial yelling fire in the theater. 10 years ago, I'd have said let the Internet work out its own content. Now that it has, I've come to think that something needs to be done to keep the few assholes from ruining it for everybody. Not to mention stopping the real damage that is being done to the social order by deception, death threats, and blackmail.

At a minimum, a whole lot of accounts on these social networks need to go away, and keep going away as the abusers start new ones and do it again.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:49 pm 
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The biggest problem on Instagram is the bots. Since this was on Mashable, I thought the author might talk about that.

The mainstream came to know about bots during the 2016 election, to the extent that Facebook (which owns Instagram), Twitter, and Google got hauled in front of a Senate committee to explain just how in the hell they could let that happen. Ethically, that is. Technologically is a whole 'nother issue.

On Instagram, the 3rd-party automation options are so dizzying, it actually makes it somewhat easy to do organic, i.e. "unpaid" posting if you're doing it, say, for a small business or nonprofit. People do prefer a human behind the voice, still.

Here's how it works. If I want to boost my followers on Twitter, for instance, I can just buy likes. Or I can pay a little more and buy likes and retweets. On Insta, I can buy a bot that will not only gain me post likes and followers, it will also leave a comment in my name. Digital, robot shills. There are hundreds of outfits that provide these services. As one can imagine, the potential for all manner of scamming is major.

Thing is, to people who do this for a living and monitor organizational accounts, you can tell the bots from actual persons. But the Insta ones are starting to blur the line.

Since I work for relatively small orgs that depend on reputation (and that also don't have big ad budgets), I don't ever use bots or 3rd-party automation, and I'll delete bots and other troll or crap accounts that follow my accounts. I was recently headhunted for a social media job at a Very Large Design Software Concern (didn't get it) and had to think through the potential that I'd have to include bots as a strategy, and contended I'd do it, since it's the industry standard for huge corps.

In fact, scratch that up top about bots being the worst problem. The actual worst problem is that this problem is not going away any time soon.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:35 pm 
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We're using different words for the same things. Censorship is probably the wrong word.

My idea of free speech stops at the proverbial yelling fire in the theater. 10 years ago, I'd have said let the Internet work out its own content. Now that it has, I've come to think that something needs to be done to keep the few assholes from ruining it for everybody. Not to mention stopping the real damage that is being done to the social order by deception, death threats, and blackmail.

At a minimum, a whole lot of accounts on these social networks need to go away, and keep going away as the abusers start new ones and do it again.

Which is, as we know, why I call it anti-social media.

Purposes, purposes.

Organizing Arab Spring? Not bad, until it went to shit with the authoritarians. News media? Holy shit, not by a long shot. When everyone is a reporter then no one will be, to quasi-borrow from Syndrome in The Incredibles (and I would bet some one else said it but i’m too lazy to look right now).

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:55 pm 
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I never had Instagram. It's not the kind of thing I'd ever do with photography, but then I'm weird. I realize that most other people have a far more pressing need to post pictures of their lunch to the Internet than I do. Somehow I missed having that gene. I do a lot of photography, but for some unfathomable reason it's about light and art instead of my stupid face blocking the view of the Pantheon.

Social media in general are a zoo, and indeed I've changed my mind and now I think some censorship is required to keep it from becoming just a big disaster.

Social media went from keeping family and friends informed of your life, and theirs, to a medium where people use it to criticize, fight, and harass each other. That's why I've chosen not to use it plus, most of the time, I'm not interested in the everyday minutiae of other people's lives.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:43 pm 
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:!: :?: Where do you guys get these ideas about social media?

Yes, plenty of people have a poor experience on certain platforms, then write off all 100 platforms because of it. It's not anti-social, either. Especially not for those people with mobility or communicative disabilities who use it as assistive communications technology. It's also quite good for introverts, or at least it can be.

Trans, intersex, and a whole host of young people post-LGBTQ sexualities have really found their voice via social media. Those kids aren't going back in the closet, not for any money. This is a good societal development.

What's happened to social media is another element of what has happened to the internet in the past 25 years, including the web and email: commercialization and the money-making factor. And we'll see what happens to the web, social media, and email in the age of post-net neutrality. That is, if Congress doesn't make a law (I doubt they will.)

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:32 am 
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I guess my position is just that it does remind me a bit of MUDs and MOOs in their early days. All of a sudden, people found out you could do nasty things to other peoples on them. "A Rape in Cyberspace," it's a famous article, I remember when it first came out. As an introvert with some basic shyness (*), yes, I know what cyberspace does for me. I saw one sign at the Women's March the other day that made me chuckle -- "It's so bad, even introverts are here".

I think there are plenty of positive uses for social media and I agree organizing people is one. Putting out information from your organization is another. I find limitations in using it for long-form political discussion but I'll freely admit this may just be a personal hangup, and not a dictum I want to make for other users. Message boards remind me of Usenet and BBSes, which is where I first got into online discussion "back in the day".

So ... here's the way I look at it. Yeah, people are using social media for anti-social purposes. Death threats, harassment, cyber-stalking, malicious pranking. I think we need to have a discussion on two fronts. Perhaps the people running those platforms need to think of them as less a free-for-all and more a controlled space. Let's face it. You may go to hang out with people in your favorite cafes IRL. If somebody came and started slapping you or yelling and screaming at you and throwing things, the proprietor would put a stop to it. This is why message boards have moderators. Secondly, maybe we need to stop hanging on to this libertarian fantasy of cyberspace having to be a wild west without any external regulation. The usual thing people will say is "it's virtual" but let's get real ... people have committed suicide over the stuff people do to them online. That means the consequences are real. All I would say is social media, and other cyber places, may need greater internal and external regulation, it's time for the wild wild west era to end. That's even before we get to how Russian troll farms may be taking advantage during elections.

The commercialization aspect will get worse post-net neutrality. It's why I think it needs to be restored. I think the Internet is a very important part of what some people call in our culture "third space" or let's just say "civil society". A way to interact with people outside of sharing a workspace. We used to do this through salons (hence salon.com) but let's face it - the Net lets us interact with people beyond those who just live locally nearby, and that's something great - I think. There is always pressure to monetize this and make it into part of the private for-profit sector. It needs to be resisted. We need to continue to have great good places that are not just toll-blocked parts of the private sector.

(*) I'm not shy about telling people what I think as you may have noticed :D , but I am shy about approaching people I don't know and striking conversations. It's why I've never been good at this "go approach people in crowds" stuff in politics. Now, give me 50 students who are forced to listen to me rant, heck even paid me to do it... :twisted: ... I kid, but as I told the kernel, I don't indoctrinate in the classroom. I never gave a student a D for being a Republican. Don't work that way. But that doesn't mean if what we're discussing relates to current events, I won't point it out. I do. If we're talking about the history of nativism in this country, I won't ignore nativist policies being enacted today. After all, I kind of do think studying the history of those policies is to help illuminate what's going on today.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:11 pm 
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:!: :?: Where do you guys get these ideas about social media?

Yes, plenty of people have a poor experience on certain platforms, then write off all 100 platforms because of it. It's not anti-social, either. Especially not for those people with mobility or communicative disabilities who use it as assistive communications technology. It's also quite good for introverts, or at least it can be.

Trans, intersex, and a whole host of young people post-LGBTQ sexualities have really found their voice via social media. Those kids aren't going back in the closet, not for any money. This is a good societal development.

What's happened to social media is another element of what has happened to the internet in the past 25 years, including the web and email: commercialization and the money-making factor. And we'll see what happens to the web, social media, and email in the age of post-net neutrality. That is, if Congress doesn't make a law (I doubt they will.)

As I said earlier, it's good for keeping family and friends informed on you life, and vice versa, especially when you are geographically separated from them. The problem I have with social media is we've gone from a face-to-face presence to a virtual presence. It's when we use the virtual presence we don't see the people we're communicating with as actual people but more of "video game" personas that we have to dominate or eliminate and therefore we remove the behavior filters we would normally use in a face-to-face meeting.

I agree, social media can be used to organize like minded people into action or to provide an outlet for them to discuss issues common to them. The difference between this type of social media and individual use of social media is the former is organized and controlled whereas the later isn't. One has rules and the other has little to no rules.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:52 pm 
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As I said earlier, it's good for keeping family and friends informed on you life, and vice versa, especially when you are geographically separated from them. The problem I have with social media is we've gone from a face-to-face presence to a virtual presence. It's when we use the virtual presence we don't see the people we're communicating with as actual people but more of "video game" personas that we have to dominate or eliminate and therefore we remove the behavior filters we would normally use in a face-to-face meeting.


Except that's not what's happened at all. People use social media with and while interacting with in-person people. The get-off-my-lawn complaint is that all these people are on their phones instead of interacting with each other. Whereas the reality may be that somembody's checking in on somebody else, or filling a prescription for the person they are a caretaker for, or finding a snapchat video of the baby for grandma, or all manner of "social" things.

Can't tell from lookin'. But then, offline, people make the same judgments of others.

This idea that online life is not "real" life or that "virtual" things aren't "real" are false ones and imo somewhat dangerous ones because it's not realistic. It may be that 25 years of the internet as we know it and social media as we know it, we're still learning how to manage it. That does not make online life any less real.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:05 pm 
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I'm not in a place to reject social media as a failed experiment.

I am in a place to reject its commercialization. The most lucrative ways to do it combine the old-skool demographic marketing used by TV and movie companies with the new-skool surveillance and analysis technology also used by government intelligence agencies.

That is obnoxious, but it's not the worst problem with it. The problem is that, as someone said, half the time you are communicating with bots, paid trolls, corporate social media departments, intelligence ops, sex predators, political dirty tricksters, cyberbully networks, and various other entities posing as normal users. If you're lucky, you just get rickrolled. If you're unlucky, you get your life ruined and kill yourself.

You can get some real communication, if you keep your wits about you, stay aware of your surroundings, and know what you are doing. If this sounds like the same drill as walking city streets at night... well it is.

I've made a lot of friends in foreign countries over social media. They are basically pen pals, but it is more immediate. One recently schooled me on what's going on with the German government. The situation there is interesting, and in some ways it's caused by working through the same problems we're having with xenophobia, foreign meddling, economic differences between regions, and such.

Also it's a good networking tool for creative people. It can get you out of those slumps that everyone gets where they're sick of their own work.

Also I have indeed noticed that groups like autistics, transgender, etc have formed networks and in general benefited from the technology. Currently the Resistance has found some success overcoming the disunity problem, though a couple of persuasive infiltrators have sown discord.

You won't see pictures of my lunch, though.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:11 pm 
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I guess my position is just that it does remind me a bit of MUDs and MOOs in their early days. All of a sudden, people found out you could do nasty things to other peoples on them. "A Rape in Cyberspace," it's a famous article, I remember when it first came out.


I remember it well. And the freakouts Sherry Turkle is still having about it in some form or another :problem: . Interesting you'd bring it up because I thought of it recently while reading an article about #metoo and Silly/Conned Valley sex parties, and how that culture affects tech women in the VC set. How far we haven't come, I thought. :problem:

These platforms come and go and others are going to take their place. Facebook and Twitter have endured, but the young people don't even use those, at least not in the US. What frustrates me is that people content to misapprehend FB and Twitter as subliminal message conspiracies have little chance of understanding their grandkids and great grandkids, and consign themselves to being clueless about the future of what this nation is going to look like. Maybe they're fine with that, dunno.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:43 pm 
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I'm not in a place to reject social media as a failed experiment.

I am in a place to reject its commercialization. The most lucrative ways to do it combine the old-skool demographic marketing used by TV and movie companies with the new-skool surveillance and analysis technology also used by government intelligence agencies.

That is obnoxious, but it's not the worst problem with it. The problem is that, as someone said, half the time you are communicating with bots, paid trolls, corporate social media departments, intelligence ops, sex predators, political dirty tricksters, cyberbully networks, and various other entities posing as normal users. If you're lucky, you just get rickrolled. If you're unlucky, you get your life ruined and kill yourself.

You can get some real communication, if you keep your wits about you, stay aware of your surroundings, and know what you are doing. If this sounds like the same drill as walking city streets at night... well it is.

I've made a lot of friends in foreign countries over social media. They are basically pen pals, but it is more immediate. One recently schooled me on what's going on with the German government. The situation there is interesting, and in some ways it's caused by working through the same problems we're having with xenophobia, foreign meddling, economic differences between regions, and such.

Also it's a good networking tool for creative people. It can get you out of those slumps that everyone gets where they're sick of their own work.

Also I have indeed noticed that groups like autistics, transgender, etc have formed networks and in general benefited from the technology. Currently the Resistance has found some success overcoming the disunity problem, though a couple of persuasive infiltrators have sown discord.

You won't see pictures of my lunch, though.


I know what you mean. It really is. It has also put me in touch with people I used to think of as "big name" people, certain acadmics I used to read in school, some high-profile clergy, etc. I find myself PMing the head of this denomination, or joking about music or bands with people I used to utterly idolize. In some ways it can end up being a great equalizer, if they show up in something you post and then so does Aunt Patty the Rightwinger, taking issue with them & having no idea who they "are" insofar as they "are" somebody. It can be as funny as it can be nervewracking.

I've also seen somewhat random posts by semi-public figure friends of mine (2 cases I'm thinking of) get troll-swarmed in this newish algorithm-based way. I monitored the post with her, which got 1200 comments (she typically gets 20 comments at the most.) One of the two people recently told us that she won't let that happen again, though the first time she found it more amusing than anything, because it's such a waste of everyone's time. Plus, it can be dangerous; the potential for doxxing and real, credible death threats from these alt-right clowns is quite real.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:01 pm 
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Death threats and bomb threats. Plus one known tactic is to hack the account of someone the perp is targeting for whatever reason, and make the threats from that account so the account's user gets in trouble. The LAPD is onto that one.

Certain formulas exist to spot twitter bots and paid Russian trolls, though common sense works about as well. Botting goes back at least to IRC, when it would get you banned from most servers. Trolling, IIRC, came from USENET where people would "troll" through alt groups looking to start flame wars that they could then watch from afar. Bots/trolls are, as I understand, something of a problem for authors, noted academics, and similar semi-famous people.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:21 am 
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The AAUP is finally fighting back. They've been generally supportive of profs who get targeted and then punished by admin. Now they have some guidelines for profs.

TAKE A STAND AGAINST HARASSMENT OF FACULTY

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Over the last year, targeted online harassment of faculty has emerged as a significant threat to academic freedom. Fueled by websites such as Professor Watchlist, Campus Reform, and College Fix, campaigns of threats and harassment are directed against faculty members for what they are reported to have said in the classroom or posted on social media.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:09 am 
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Huh. And some folks wonder why some faculty still prefer anonymous messaging systems. ;)

Let me put it this way. I don't consider anything I post all that controversial. :mrgreen: When I look at other faculty who got in trouble, I often have that "what were they thinking" moment. Did they really stop and think about what they were posting under their own name when they hit "Send"? And look, if they're retweeting notorious anti-Semites infamous for blood libels, it is hard for me to be sympathetic. Anyway, of course, even folks with tenure are not immune to firing (contrary to what people think), but university profs are increasingly made up of people without tenure protections. I know some quite well. ;)

Academic freedom isn't supposed to protect what you do outside the classroom, at least not if it's not academic publishing or conferencing. You know that, we've had this discussion. But yeah, that doesn't mean you should get harassed or get death threats for everything on social media, either - hence AAUP taking action.

"Watch what you say in the classroom!" though. There was that time one student told me she was going to report me to the Objectivist club on campus for nasty things I said about Ayn Rand. Oooh. That had me quaking in my boots. All 3 of them might do something. :rw)

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