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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

Death by a Thousand Twits


After a pair of incarnations spanning seven or so years, my sense is that the terminal phase of this application is at hand.

Many millions of users have now acclimated to the deluge of data drops like teens hitting the flumes at a bar-mitzvah waterpark afterparty, and it's made the ride so snide, so baked with innuendo and hyperbole, so locked and loaded, so half-cocked, so hyper, so meta, anticipatory as the storied pisstape, it's nigh impossible now to sift the once tasty nectars from its stem.

More than many never got it…”What do I wanna do spend my day hearing about an anime gecko’s lunch strategy and calorie totals?”. Or something to that effect.

For any of us who have gotten it, meaning signed-up and tarried, the experience is singular and potentially all consuming. An endless ticker-tape parade of inchoate confusion, red alerts, red herrings, curated cornucopias of corporate goods and soporific wisdom. It’s the first light at dawn, the canary in the once vanished but now back with a vengeance coal mine, the echo chamber of the echo chamber, judge and jury of the juste bon mot, thrust of the jester.

There are as many approaches and strategies as accounts. Little birds, avis who come from little eggs as fully formed personas mostly, many with preset followings. Then there’s verified, the sought after, the sucked up to, the famers and flamers, the follow swallowing whales, who during the Ur days signified system failure. One can't help but think that that whale is circling in nearby waters, set to breach, maybe more likely to beach itself, its sonar overrun by the cacophony of dirge.

Saying nothing, not even a word on the word mangling and prodigious presidential proclivity, with world benumbing and news neutering aspect.

There is more than a bit of leading bleeding edge of the Eschaton on Twitter.  I miss the mundane and quotidian about it. Even if props of prophesy are self-assumed it’s hard to be on there and not buy in. It’s formidable now, that’s for sure. Maybe also formaldahydable. I should drop it, or at least get off until this Imperial tempest blows over....As neat as that sounds, I know America is logged on for the long haul. The character limit is set but expression is instant and infinite. Yet a definite concrescence is occuring. And as with all things, there’s slack until there isn’t.

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I'm not even going to pretend

...that this world makes sense, any more than this essay makes "sense," as sense is typically defined. I've long since dropped the news as a source of anything other than "what the media want(s) us to think now." I read top headlines once a day, usually by proxy because the news sites are such relentless data suckers.

I hate that the Internet snatches all your data and then does whatever it/they want with it -- file and profile, monitor and market -- and that nobody seems to care. Uck to that. No dicey if I can avoid it.

But then why, why bother? What difference does it make? (dangerous meme to let loose in the world but by closing off all avenues of escape, we foster it.) Are fairytales like "a better world" plausible in this world today? Based on what?

If all we do is look at the tiny screens on our phones following social media feeds, do we even need bodies? We could be matricized! I saw a picture of some kids looking at a tiger in a cage and every single one of them was looking at it through the "viewfinder" of their phone. None were actually looking at the tiger itself, only a digital representation of it. Is that weird? Why is the screen better.

I too spend a lot of time looking at screens and I feel their addictive qualities (Netflix, anyone?) I worry about group think and wasting time. It's all too much, and at the same time, so little. And also (probably) too late.

 
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Wetlands

I saw the pitfalls of social media earlier on and denied myself the displeasure of being logged on for longer than I intended. Avoiding the lair of the hydraheaded social problem is like swimming against the tide. I knew the dissonance in the tower would be no gentle babbling brook. Like the Whetstone, you can choose the wide gapped noisy rocky rapids under Main Street or the tinkling sparkle farther north beyond Melrose. There is no coalescence or confluence of the watery parts to unite a series of lifetimes. You have to take them one at a time.

Penthouse says they are committed to getting the story right and will pay a lot for the fetish “tape” of our (your) august elect. It’s all part of the intractable mess of being stied in.

When Wally the Pig fell off the truck he was one of the lucky ones. No end of days for him with an apple in his mouth. Even then, he was too guardedly smart to follow the trail of milk bones.

 
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"ADS - antisocial data collection, how may we not help?"

Facebook was created when Walmart mated with a pile of AOL discs under the watchful eye of spy agencies. It's creepy and ugly and not on your side. Ever.

...
Questions to ponder before signing up:

Which antisocial data collection service do I prefer?

Which corporation should know more about me that anyone I know?

Which antisocial data collection service should earn profits off my activity, and not share those profits with me?

Which antisocial data collection service should I silo myself into, as to never see or hear from anyone who fails to follow me behind that wall?

Which antisocial data collection service should trail me if I leave their site, and watch over me, taking notes, wherever I go?

....

I use in-person meetings and email to do most everything.

I use twitter for business promotion, a few times a day, but never weekends.

I used Facebook for a moment then shut it down and never returned years ago. I don't hate many things, but I hate Facebook. If an advertiser tells me "visit us on Facebook" I think less of the company for being so naive and dangerous as to make customers use them and give up privacy. And anyone who says "it is on my Facebook" is saying to me "I gave it to a large company and you won't see it."

Nothing makes me happier than people saying they quit FB. But no one does. So I"m never happy about this. : )

I stopped using Google when Snowden leaked about the NSA, though I am forced to write to people with gmail accounts so my messages get read by Google's bots. They also own YouTube, which is harder for me to avoid, which also watches what you watch, and keeps notes.

Even if one avoids all of this, "friends" will tell the antisocial data collection forms about you one day. They can't resist. They will put your photo up for facial recognition companies to harvest. They will tell corporations about important private dates like birthdays and weddings. They want to help you - person without an account - but don't ask or respect your privacy.

...
Not using the popular services causes one to be an outcast. We're the weirdo's for not providing updates to the data collection company. We're strange for not wanting to be tracked by strangers.

Pretty soon workplaces will make those without accounts go stand outside to talk, like smokers. We'll probably find a way to tax them extra, too.
...

Lately we've been hired more and more to straighten out mistakes with places like Google. For example, Google was generating their own "helpful" business listing for one client doing high-end professional work, but was showing a Google map photo of a run-down shack, in the wrong location, with wrong info.

It took us multiple calls, plus confirmations by US mail, plus more calls, then questions about lawsuits before it was bumped up high enough to get their attention for a fix. That's us working with a client, spending hours fixing a problem Google created on their own, and would not fix without hoops to jump through.

Then there was another client - medical - and Google decided to mark their search listing as "might be hacked, don't trust" . That took a week to clear up, with Google admitting that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the site in question. They were warning people away from an emergency resource for no reason.

That's two "local" Google search results that were completely inaccurate, that would not have ever been fixed if someone hadn't noticed and taken action. Just think of how much other incorrect, distracting information their automated systems generate every day. Take their results with a big grain of salt. Or use a different search engine entirely.

..

And this is from the cheery people who are about to celebrate 20 years of our web design business. Maybe we're a bit too close to it all, or maybe we just remember when it wasn't like this.

You'll notice iBrattleboro is the opposite of the silo sites. We encourage everyone to share the same pages and space, and everyone can see everything even if they don't register with us. We don't care to limit your characters, and prefer fuller thoughts. We don't track you when you leave and go to other sites, nor do we sell any data about you to anyone. It's true! We're not wealthy! We won't even use ad services that track you. Just local ads. To real places. In town. That you go to in person. : )

Maybe we need a night out again soon.

 
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The tension between commercial interests and strategic security

The unmistakable lesson of recent years is that the Internet is a double-edged sword. Despite enormous benefits — instant access to huge quantities of information, the proliferation of new forms of businesses, communications and entertainment — it also encourages crime, global conflict and economic disruption. The drift seems ominous.

We are dangerously dependent on Internet-based systems. All these incidents threatened the social fabric of the victimized societies. The trouble is that we are aiding and abetting our adversaries. We are addicted to the Internet and refuse to recognize how our addiction subtracts from our security. The more we connect our devices and instruments to the Internet, the more we create paths for others to use against us, either by shutting down websites or by controlling what they do.

The technologies to promote the Internet and protect it are one and the same. We need to consider our addiction in all its aspects, even the disagreeable. But we are in denial.

Text: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/americas-dangerous-internet-delu...

 
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FOMO

A new study says that Instagram is the worst social media network for young people's mental health, according to a new report by the Royal Society for Public Health in the U.K. And Snapchat is the second worst.

"FOMO" — aka the fear of missing out — may not be listed in the American Psychiatric Association's manual of mental disorders, but users who spent more than two hours a day on social media are more likely to report poor mental health and symptoms of anxiety and depression, says the study. Seeing endless pictures of friends on fun outings can also promote a "compare and despair" attitude among users, the report said.

Text: http://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/instagram-ranked-worst-young-pe...

 

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