Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The price is that they get to watch

105 Responses

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  • Zach Bagnall,

    Existing Spotify subscribers don't have to link with Facebook.. yet. I've been a paid up subscriber for a year or so now. If they force me to link my account with Facebook (*), they're gone. That will make me sad and mad.

    Some big companies who should (ie. do) know better are pushing the envelope in an ugly direction. Taking advantage of users' naivety on privacy issues to push through app linkages without explaining the data sharing. It's practically malware. Here, read this guardian article but before you do just click this wee button first..

    Websites bend over backwards to explain cookie usage - and in the UK will soon be forced to make all cookies OPT-IN - but the privacy implications of agreeing to an "app" link in Facebook are pretty much swept under the carpet.

    * A friend of mine recently did enable the spotify-facebook link. it immediately flooded the facebook timeline with every single track he played/changed. How is that useful?? For a smart company spotify sure does some stupid things.

    London, UK • Since Nov 2006 • 30 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5058 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to James Butler,

    This from a software developer who specialises in machine learning and genetic algorithms. Not quite sure what to say to that.

    A girl after my own heart. I'm no Twitter lover, and had pretty much the same specialization as her.

    I guess if she's a fan, she's objecting to being forced to use a technological choice of yours to get what she was getting before perfectly adequately. It's similar to being annoyed at people who refuse to take phone calls, insisting you use Skype if you want to go voice. So they have to go into their office, find their head set, download and install Skype, send you a contact request, wait for the acceptance, then wait until they see you online, then have the conversation sitting in their office. This in preference to using the perfectly reliable POTS device that they have multiple instances of in many convenient locations around the house.

    I probably use Facebook more than Twitter, although I don't use either one very much - I thought I would, but find that I can't think of anything I'd want to write in there, and find the brief summary of people's daily communications in FB easier to use than scrolling through endless decontextualized tweets involving people having a private joking sessions about some snippet of news I've missed. I'll make comments on other people's posts, but practically the only thing I write in FB is amusing news about my kids, typically funny things they say.

    Neither site conduces to long form discussion, which is the kind of thing I actually want to engage in with most of the followers and friends I have, since a great many of them came from here. I don't have anything against all the chit-chat, but it's not for me. I see it as roughly as dangerous as getting deeply involved in another computer game, something that could eat up my life to no practical purpose, and quite possibly no net enjoyment either - this has happened before, and I'm like a reformed drunk - very wary of themselves around alcohol.

    Indeed, I often feel this way about my engagement here too. The place is addictive to me in the same way that most addictive things are addictive to their addicts. My only excuse to myself is that I've got a long-game going on, that I'm cultivating the art of expressing myself. That I have actually learned a great many things, and met good people, was an unexpected bonus. But the time spent has certainly been to the detriment of some other aspects of my life.

    However, it's an opt-in, just like the social media are, so I have no one to blame but myself if I become trapped in bad habits on the thing. Oh, and Russell, for having the gall to make something that I really like. I have similar feelings towards Zuckerberg - if you don't like his shit, don't use it - it really is that simple. It's popular because it provides something that countless millions of people want. It's always been fast and loose with privacy - that was actually a big part of the reason it took off - people found that social interaction was preferable to strong security settings, that their trivial details actually aren't that important to protect, compared to the chances of them having a good time with their mates. There was something that deeply clicked with the student population it was born into about how privacy violations can actually have really enjoyable outcomes for the violated, that hiding in a box and controlling everything about your life wasn't what they wanted after all. It was actually cool to have people randomly trying to hook up with you, on account of them discovering something that they liked about you that they perhaps shouldn't have.

    In a cross thread metaphor, I think Facebook felt like breaking the condom. You shouldn't like it, that's wrong and naughty and bad. But you fucking well do.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    I'm sorry Ben, but you've breached the 140-character limit.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18968 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Heh. There is an actual character limit here, though, seriously? I've hit it several times. By design?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    But seriously, I think this column by the Australian philosopher (not a Python joke) Damon Young on first impression of Twitter is really very perceptive and deserves the attention it’s getting this week.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18968 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    Heh. There is an actual character limit here, though, seriously? I’ve hit it several times. By design?

    Ooh! Really? I did not even know.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18968 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I may be the only person whose hit it regularly enough to realize that it's not just a random bug. It's pretty large, whatever it is - somwhere around 2 screenfuls. But you've answered my question - it's not by design, at least not your design. I expect it's an arbitrary setting, as computer programs are usually full of "How big should I make this buffer? Hmmm, 8KB should be enough, who writes more than 8KB in a single blog comment?".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to BenWilson,

    Hmmm, 8KB should be enough, who writes more than 8KB in a single blog comment?"

    Yeah, who would do that? ;-)

    ETA:

    According to The Wall Street Journal, there are 50 million regular twits.

    Isn't it great how they can say that and no one even blinks. Except I did.
    <Blink>

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2144 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    this column by the Australian philosopher (not a Python joke) Damon Young on first impression of Twitter is really very perceptive

    Yes, this is gold:

    Bad tweets are not criminal or immoral - they simply give red cordial to an antsy mind.

    It's perfect tweet length too.

    I actually like writing epigrams. But decontextualized, they're hollow, empty things. What does "honesty's praised, but honest men freeze", really mean on its own? Little. In the context of Juvenal's first tirade against the sinful city of Rome, it was a perfect summary of his feelings. I like context, so my epigrams are scattered through my writings, to form mental milestones for the reader. Twitter seems to be only milestones, the rest of the journey is an irrelevant blur, happening in another time or place. A Twitter thread is like hearing a summary of a party that you weren't at. You had to be there to really see why you all laughed so hard you wet your pants.

    Which is not to say that it's not a valuable and extremely entertaining thing for everyone who is at the party. But I can't get satisfaction from casual use, and don't feel I have the time for anything else.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to BenWilson,

    I feel like I should respond at length, but I'm at work. Which illustrates one of the two things I prefer about Twitter - it makes me spend more time thinking and less typing (although it does encourage my unfortunate tendency towards glibness). The other being that I can follow people on twitter whom I would feel creepy "friending" on Facebook.

    I use Twitter to connect with people I respect, Facebook to connect with people I know or have known, and PAS to connect with... PAS. But I only have the mental energy to regularly post my thoughts to one of them, and the new Facebook timeline was scrambling my tweets, so I dumped the feed.

    But I do value the conversations I have on Facebook, and I will endeavour to post there once in a while. Social media has been good to me, as I am an an insular bastard IRL and not fond of talking to strangers.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    who writes more than 8KB in a single blog comment?

    Pretty much the opposite of Twitter, eh.

    It's more of a wide-reaching human search engine than a place for complex philosophical insights. I don't put much weight on an Aussie philosopher complaining about that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to BenWilson,

    Twitter seems to be only milestones, the rest of the journey is an irrelevant blur, happening in another time or place. A Twitter thread is like hearing a summary of a party that you weren't at. You had to be there to really see why you all laughed so hard you wet your pants.

    Interesting thoughts. I find increasingly the inter-textuality and meta-fictive devices can develop within a twitter stream beyond what might be expected of 140 characters. The #thistweetreferstomyprevioustweet or #ttrtmpt is increasingly used to tie ideas together, and the dialogue can flow in ways normal conversation might struggle to. Partly because while it doesn't always seem so, people are constructing a response.

    Certainly at times you can feel like you came late to the party, have tried every tactic to break into a conversation and can sense the eye rolling and sideways glances. Then it can be fun just to watch from the corner.

    I'm surprised too by how compelling a trending topic can get, and the clever witticisms on display. Lets just say Gio, among others here, on a roll is fun to watch.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2144 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to JacksonP,

    I find increasingly the inter-textuality and meta-fictive devices can develop within a twitter stream beyond what might be expected of 140 characters.

    One of the reasons it was making less and less sense to post my tweets to Facebook.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    I don't put much weight on an Aussie philosopher complaining about that.

    I don't think he was complaining...just weighing up the pros and cons. He does say:

    It is a lesson in clarity of thought and brevity in language - exactly what many rambling, muddled boffins need. And everyone can use Twitter to sharpen their ideas.

    Good note to himself, and myself.

    Lets just say Gio, among others here, on a roll is fun to watch.

    I'll bet. Interestingly, on his blog, he claimed that he was going to only write one tweet per day, and follow no one. I can't find where, but remember it quite distinctly, thinking it a very interesting experiment. I presumed it must have failed, when I found him following me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to JacksonP,

    Interesting thoughts. I find increasingly the inter-textuality and meta-fictive devices can develop within a twitter stream beyond what might be expected of 140 characters.

    Those little flurries within a day, or an hour, do make me happy. I love the live-ness of it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18968 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    It is a lesson in clarity of thought and brevity in language – exactly what many rambling, muddled boffins need. And everyone can use Twitter to sharpen their ideas.

    Good note to himself, and myself.

    The mandated economy is a pleasant challenge -- I think it suits writers. It's friggin' hopeless for debating though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18968 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to BenWilson,

    I’ll bet. Interestingly, on his blog, he claimed that he was going to only write one tweet per day, and follow no one. I can’t find where, but remember it quite distinctly, thinking it a very interesting experiment. I presumed it must have failed, when I found him following me.

    He gave up on that a few weeks ago, after a slightly heated exchange where it turned out that he could DM his followers, but no-one could DM him back, I believe.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Just heard that Steve Jobs has died...
    sad day

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5058 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to James Butler,

    He gave up on that a few weeks ago, after a slightly heated exchange where it turned out that he could DM his followers, but no-one could DM him back, I believe.

    Actually I'd like to read a thesis on the experience he had as a one-sided tweeter.

    But first I have to reconcile the news of another person passing before their time from the big disease with an astrological name.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2144 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to James Butler,

    I feel like I should respond at length, but I'm at work.

    Don't do it on my account. I'm also at work.

    Which illustrates one of the two things I prefer about Twitter - it makes me spend more time thinking and less typing

    That is one thing I need like a hole in the head - more time thinking. If there was one thing about myself I could change, it would be an ability to turn off the god-damned thinking. That's probably why I prefer downers over uppers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to BenWilson,

    That's probably why I prefer downers over uppers.

    Oh, just try mixing them up together.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Does nothing! Wasteful!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    Directly apropos comic on google tracking you from
    toothpastefordinner

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I think this column by the Australian philosopher

    Took me to a Natalie Portman SNL rap, which is just f'ing brilliant.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1230 posts Report Reply

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