Can “Indie” Social Media Save Us?

Cal Newport writes in The New Yorker:

Despite its advantages, however, I suspect that the IndieWeb will not succeed in replacing existing social-media platforms at their current scale. For one thing, the IndieWeb lacks the carefully engineered addictiveness that helped fuel the rise of services like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This addictiveness has kept people returning to their devices even when they know there are better uses for their time; remove the addiction, and you might lose the users.

I have not tried out any new IndieWeb social media platform simply because I still can’t get rid of Facebook. Twitter I can control, but Facebook is still addictive. I do lots of cross-posting on here and Facebook as well.

Digital Minimalism

Jia Tolentino writes in The New Yorker:

I also found myself feeling more grateful for my phone than ever. I had become more conscious of why I use technology, and how it meets my needs, as Newport recommended. It’s not nothing that I can text my friends whenever I think about them, or get on Viber and talk to my grandmother in the Philippines, or sit on the B54 bus and distract myself from the standstill traffic by looking up the Fermi paradox and listening to any A Tribe Called Quest song that I want to hear. All these capacities still feel like the stuff of science fiction, and none of them involve Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. It occurred to me that two of the most straightforwardly beloved digital technologies—podcasts and group texts—push against the attention economy’s worst characteristics. Podcasts often demand sustained listening, across hours and weeks, to a few human voices. Group texts are effectively the last noncommercialized social spaces on many millennials’ phones.

Good for her.

HTML & CSS Are All You Need

Meagan Fisher talked to Dan Cederholm on “Over Time” about her website and front-end development. She said:

I still haven’t bothered to learn JavaScript. There’s so many amazing front end developers out there that just knowing HTML and CSS has always been enough for me.

Meagan’s website is a perfect example of what you can accomplish with HTML and CSS. I concur with her. I only use JavaScript if I absolutely had to.

Fix the Broken Web

Jeffrey Zeldman calls for action on A List Apart:

On an individual and small collective basis, the IndieWeb already works. But does an IndieWeb approach scale to the general public? If it doesn’t scale yet, can we, who envision and design and build, create a new generation of tools that will help give birth to a flourishing, independent web? One that is as accessible to ordinary internet users as Twitter and Facebook and Instagram?


Blog trở lại

Nhạc sĩ Quốc Bảo viết trên trang blog của anh:

Thật sự thì blogging tự do và dễ chịu hơn mạng xã hội. Tự nhiên tôi lại thích viết blog, có thể vì đã ngấy Facebook, cũng có thể vì lâu nay tôi bỏ bê website/blog này, nay viết lại thấy vui. Một cái gì rất lạ lẫm, không chỉ do giao diện Dashboard đã đổi mà vì lâu nay có viết gì đâu. Bên Facebook không thể gọi là viết. Chỉ là gõ vài dòng, có khi chưa đầy một dòng, tức thời, thậm chí chưa kịp suy nghĩ.

Blogging thì khác. Dù vụn vặt, nó cũng phải được tổ chức đâu ra đó, chủ đề nào nằm ở đâu, cả lối viết cũng khác. Ôi sao tôi nhớ những năm tháng Yahoo! 360 thế nhỉ. Nó gọn gàng, nó thân mật, nó có tình. Thì cũng như ăn mặn bỗng thèm chay vậy mà.

Tôi thích đọc blog của anh. Hy vọng anh sẽ blog trên trang web của anh nhiều hơn viết trên Facebook.

Digesting Slower News

Michael Luo writes in The New Yorker:

Could journalism in general get slower? As I read about the Slow Media movement—which, so far, seems to be a mostly European phenomenon—I inevitably thought about trends in the magazine industry in the United States, where publications are experimenting with paywalls and churning out digital content. The appeal of Slow Media is that it pushes back against the technological pressures that are shaping journalism more broadly. (Newport advocates Slow Media in a section of his book, urging readers to join “the attention resistance.”) It is an attempt to take back control of the way we experience the news. It is also about relinquishing the illusion of knowledge that the passive consumption of news on social media facilitates and bringing our best selves to the act of becoming informed.

Reading printed books have helped me stayed away from online news. I am heading toward that direction.

Writing About Your Own Death

Anne Boyer writes in The New Yorker:

In a note about prospective titles for what would become “Illness as Metaphor,” Susan Sontag wrote, “To think only about oneself is to think of death.” Being a writer makes me a servant of sensory details, issuing forth page after page. I am certain that my illness would make a better story if it were someone else’s. Who would want to hear the hammer always complaining about its meeting with the nail? The slightly ill but undiagnosed are better narrators than the truly ill. Their suffering is not so overdetermined. They can be lavishly self-defined, poetic with the glamour of the sick person’s proximity to finality.

To write about oneself may be to write of death, but to write about death is to write of everyone. As Audre Lorde wrote, in “The Cancer Journals,” after she was given a diagnosis of breast cancer, at the age of forty-four, “I carry tattooed upon my heart a list of names of women who did not survive, and there is always a space left for one more, my own.”

Love this passage.

Adobe Transforms from Creativeness to Creepiness

Nico Grant writes in Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Adobe has been working full crank to track every interaction a consumer has with a brand: tallying her visits to a brick-and-mortar store and what she buys; using cookies to monitor her web activity and figure out how many devices she has; analyzing her interest in emails about sales or promotions; and incorporating social media monitoring to see what she says about a brand. Adobe can combine all of this with other companies’ data about a person’s income and demographics to try to predict the triggers that would make her buy a new phone or pair of shoes. In essence, Adobe is trying to know a consumer’s decision-making process better than she may know it herself.

Adobe is getting too big; therefore, it needs to grow beyond designers. It’s sad.

The Kit Kat Cult in Japan

Tejal Rao writes in The New York Times Magazine:

The Kit Kat, in Japan, pushes at every limit of its form: It is multicolored and multiflavored and sometimes as hard to find as a golden ticket in your foil wrapper. Flavors change constantly, with many appearing as limited-edition runs. They can be esoteric and so carefully tailored for a Japanese audience as to seem untranslatable to a global mass market, but the bars have fans all over the world. Kit Kat fixers buy up boxes and carry them back to devotees in the United States and Europe. All this helps the Kit Kat maintain a singular, cultlike status.

This article published last year, but I find it fascinating.