Greg Morris

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    🔗 Bowing To Social Media Convention

    Matt Birchler defending the like button:

    I think of likes on social media kind of like non-verbal responses in the real world.

    I agree with the statements Matt makes (or made a while ago) because they are accurate to social media convention. Most people won’t reply, nor will the author get as much affirmation back to their post. But to that, I push back and say it doesn’t matter.

    We’ve convinced ourselves to do things for likes and clicks. Posting for the sweet dopamine that comes from peoples responses when we shouldn’t care. As if posting to the internet is some kind of performative act.

    I say shouldn’t because I get it, we all like likes, but we shouldn’t do. A like online is the social media version of “lol” to a text message. It means I’ve seen this, and I want to avoid appearing rude, so heres a button click.

    In many ways, it’s worse. Even if, as Matt points out, the replies are mostly “cool” and other derivatives, at least the person took some time to do it. They didn’t fall down, responding with anything besides a button click. But pressing like makes you and the person on the other end feel good, so there’s no immediate downside, really.

    It’s the long-term effects that cause the issues. Even though it may not apply to you, a huge proportion of people get self-worth from likes. They have become a yard stick that people measure themselves against, and have removed a lot of interaction. Not all interaction is verbal, I get it, but I also don’t have a counter next to the number of people that’s smiled at me today.

    🔗 Good luck convincing average people to use Mastodon

    Manuel Moreale on internet silos:

    fundamentally people are, when it comes to the internet, lazy. And gathering where everyone else is definitely seems easier. It’s also easier to delegate the job of moderating and policing to someone else, and so as a result people will inevitably cluster around a few big websites, regardless of what infrastructure we build.

    I think this post is spot on. These people hanging around on mastodon, and other ActivityPub supporting platforms, are a tiny minority. Most people don’t want to think about servers, moderation, or anything. They will just go where everyone else is.

    Why do you think people hold on to horrible places like Instagram for far too long? They are lazy, unmotivated and insulated by a herd. It’s a nice idea, and a wonderful place to be, but it’s never going to be mainstream…..but that’s totally OK.

    Can We Try To Remember How To Disagree Please?

    It would appear that the author of the linked post has some very wrong ideas of his own. I think my post still stands up as I took the linked article at face value. However given the informtion that I now know the post could be seen in a completely different light. I did not know this at the time of writing and will not be linking to this person again. For more infromation see here.

    Jesse Singal urging us to Rediscover Wrongness

    People can usually believe wrong things without being dangerous, and in fact billions of people do hold religious beliefs that make no logical sense without becoming violent zealots.

    I am wrong, what feels like hundreds of times a day, some days. Occasionally, it’s small things that I didn’t think though correctly and guessed. Sporadically, it is matters I didn’t really understand or misinterpreted the information I had at hand. And every so often I just choose wrong, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this.

    Don’t get me wrong I am right a lot of the time too, I’m not ready for life help yet, but I am not doing anyone any harm. There’s no malice in a lot of the things I believe in that could be wrong, I am just wrong and that should be OK. I’m fine with being wrong, finding out that I am wrong and then changing my world view, but many people seem to have forgotten this skill altogether.

    The issue comes when someone that another thinks is incorrect is painted as a harmful, and often portrayed in an exaggerated way. The other side of a disagreement isn’t evil or trying to trick you, they just see the world differently to you and make decisions based on their experiences. As Jesse points out in the linked article, “If everything is dangerous or violent, then nothing is”.

    The notion in the article of much of this constant state of angriness is due to the attention economy is correct. The more exaggerated the accusations and finger pointing, the more attention is gained. No-one believes that having a wrong idea about the way the Pyramids are built is harmful, as the author well knows, but that doesn’t get clicks, does it.

    There is also a real issue of the bubbles we all live in now. Social media algorithms creates a space where we see posts and updates that we agree with. YouTube and Netflix force content on us that we will like, and issues arise when we bump up against the edges. We, the people, need to learn how to disagree with someone but still appreciate them as a person. To smile and shake your head at the conspiracy theorist next door, but still stop and talk to them whenever you can.

    The lines of politics have never been this rigid before, and it’s pathetic. I know we can get back to being OK with this. I was brought up with a friend group that was as diverse as it comes, and with an ingrained bullshit detector that was sharpened in a school without internet access. We learnt to fall out, make up again, argue and bicker but still get along together.

    I know this ability is in all of us. One wish for 2023, now the walls of large social media are at least a bit broken, can we re-learn to disagree politely, please? To take criticism, embrace other view points and not worry about it. You might actually learn something too.

    🔗 I Really Want To Keep A Bullet Journal But ...

    Jon Porter writing in The Verge about his move back to apps rather than a physical journal via Robert Rackley:

    Having to write each task out manually turned a to-do from something I could just file away in an app and forget about into something that I had to manage on a daily basis.

    I have tried manual task lists about as often as I try physical journaling. It falls down when I begin to forget to carry the book around, or I start missing things because I forgot to write it down. However, there is not doubting the physical act of having to sort tasks manually each day helps you get things done.

    As Jon covers in the excellent article, just the process of bringing tasks to your attention means that “you get around to doing a non-urgent task after forcing yourself to write it out every day for a week”. This timescale also tracks with me and the point at which I would complete a task I would rather not do just to stop having to write it out. 5–7 days is also the point that I would hold on to a task and perhaps decide it didn’t need doing for the very same reason.

    This perhaps make you think poorly of bullet journaling, but the same applies to all the fancy apps on the market.

    It’s easy to think that an app or to-do list service will take you by the hand and organise your life for you, but if you’re not careful, it can just become an infinite digital locker with a messy collection of notes filed under “forget.”

    If you don’t put the work in and review your tasks periodically no app will save you from reaching the very same dead end.

    The biggest reason I can’t get on with journaling, bar having to carry around a book, is the fact I can’t make it look as nice as I think I should look. My book is utilitarian rather than filled with delightful sketches and perfect handwriting you see from advocates. The embarrassment of my book is enough to keep it hidden away rather than front and centre like it should be. Thus killing any notion of using a physical book or bullet journaling dead on arrival.

    🔗 No Social in media any more

    Sarah Frier pointing out that DJ Khaled is not your friend:

    This year, social media mostly stopped offering a window into the lives of our loved ones. It turns out that the social part of social media, which helped shape human behavior online and off for more than a decade, is proving to be something of a fad.

    This tracks with almost every other news story about social media that doesn’t involve Musk. Social media companies are trapped in a loop that limits friends posts reach to prioritise viral content, leading to less posts by friends, thus less posts to show you.

    As they all scrabble for your attention the only winners are advertisers, and those aiming for maximum attention. When there is no social in the networks anymore they just become a media channel.

    🔗 Mastodon Isn’t Just A Replacement For Twitter

    Nathan Schneider for Norma mag:

    Scalability explains a lot of what seems wrong with social media. Content moderation at scale needs to be semi-automated, which often means applying universal rules without context or nuance. And when abuse, harassment and misinformation drive engagement, the incentive is to address it in a way that doesn’t threaten business.

    There have been many words written about how large scale social media doesn’t really have an incentive to get rid of hate. The reality is that if engagement is the measurement of income, then moderation decisions all of a sudden become much more complicated so as not to harm the bottom line. Nowhere more apt is the adage “if you’re not paying for the product…” become more appropriate than a social media platform that has harassment problems.

    The fediverse opens new doors. It allows us the possibility to collectively own and more fully self-govern the online communities we participate in.

    What is attractive, and also a little worrisome to those on gigantic instances, is the idea that in the fediverse you can self govern. You as a user have a choice to own the things you see online and the people you interact with. If you don’t like the way something goes, you can move your experience quickly and easily.

    Just like on the rest of the internet, anyone, from violent extremists to people with uncommon hobbies, can use the available tools to create siloed spaces. The difference with the fediverse is that it facilitates a structure of relationships between communities.

    I truly believe that as long as what you post online isn’t illegal, you should be allowed to do so. What Mastodon and the larger fediverse allowed users to do is to find a place where they can self express themselves, but also shield themselves from expression that they don’t want to see.

    The idea that the fediverse is like your neighbourhood and your instance is your house works well here. If your neighbours do not behave in a way that you think is appropriate, you as an individual can choose to no longer allow interaction. Your neighbourhood also has the power to remove said house, or indeed the house can move to a neighbourhood that better fits its identity.

    Currently, many servers appear to be run top-down by people who have the technical skills to set them up, but not necessarily with the social and economic capacity to foster and sustain community self-governance and address online harm.

    I hope that enough people and communities build up the knowledge and funding to move into smaller instances where they can self govern. Currently, too many users fleeing Twitter are on large-scale servers controlled by individuals or small groups.

    If the venture capital model were unleashed on the fediverse, the democratic potential of software like Mastodon would likely be lost.

    My biggest worry, and what I fear is inevitable, is that someone like Google creates or purchases a multimillion user instance and starts wielding too much power. This would destroy everything that is good about the fediverse.

    Twitter pulls Spaces

    After being pressed by journalists over some of his inconsistencies, Musk abruptly left the conversation, and shortly after the entire Spaces feature itself started playing up. At the time of writing, it’s not possible to start a new Spaces conversation or join an existing one,

    Jesus Christ what a man child

    🔗 Twitter was special. But it's time to leave

    Matt Tait in Pwnallthethings hitting the nail on the head more than once, but the real sticking take away was this:

    Some people will love Trump’s tweets. Others will hate them. But Elon doesn’t really care so long as you pay to talk about it and watch ads as you do.

    I’ve heard take after take after take on Twitter and what’s happening, but this sums it up perfectly. The game to boost engagement is to have the best and worst things on the platform, and Twitter has been too cleaned up for Elons liking.

    He does care who you like or don’t like. I have no doubt that half the things he says he doesn’t mean, but he is stuck with a $44bn bill to pay that increases at more than $1bn a year.

    There is only one way to pay for this. The more people that use Twitter for talking about Twitter, the more ads are shown. Elon doesn’t care if you like or hate the tweets, as long as you are talking about them on Twitter. The best thing you can do right now is just leave and never go back. Nothing that you get from the service has got to be worth this, surely?

    Buddhism at War

    On reflection, I would have to conclude that the ethics of early Buddhism do not offer blanket solutions to all the complex predicaments of the human situation. Perhaps that was never their intention—perhaps their intention was to issue guidelines rather than proclaim moral absolutes, to posit ideals even for those who cannot perfectly fulfill them. Nevertheless, the complexity of the human condition inevitably confronts us with circumstances in which moral obligations run at crosscurrents.

    🔗 How platforms turn boring

    Russell Brandom for The Verge:

    I call it the Bootleg Ratio: the delicate balance between A) content created by users specifically for the platform and B) semi-anonymous clout-chasing accounts drafting off the audience. Any platform will have both, but as B starts to overtake A, users will have less and less reason to visit and creators will have less and less reason to post. In short, it’s a sign that the interesting stuff about the platform is starting to die out.

    This is a fascinating point and one that is further expanded to partially explain the inability of Vine to cash in on its network. There’s a slow change in the way people relate to their social network of choice, they all start out small and lovely places to be, but once they get to a tipping point it’s all downhill. What was once a space for sharing becomes yet another avenue to distribute on, and becomes less and less unique.

    Instagram has gone through several cycles of this and seems to be on its way down again, whereas it hasn’t really stuck on Twitter. As Russel points out, “What’s left is often depressing and unpleasant, but it’s uniquely Twitter” — and if that isn’t a perfect description, I don’t know what is.

    🔗 It’s just not that good

    Seth Godin writing about things being good:

    Not that good for who? If you mean to say, “I don’t like it, it doesn’t appeal to me,” then that’s what you should say.

    If, on the other hand, you have enough expertise and domain knowledge to say, “I understand what has appealed to the audience you’re trying to serve, and this isn’t going to work.”

    Weird that this post should come up when I am consuming more tech reviews than I think I have ever done. Of course, the vast number of reviews come away with no conclusion and tell you everything is great, but a good number of them draw conclusions based on their very limited and niche usage.

    The decision on a product or service is good or bad is based on your experience. Some reviewers can think about how more general users would feel about things, but many do not. They extrapolate from their opinion, which is often clouded with other factors, and draw conclusions based solely on themselves. Using this to influence purchases from other people.

    🔗 The iPhone Isn’t Cool

    Damon Beres writing for The Atlantic:

    In a market generally defined by boring hunks of plastic, Apple gained an edge through impeccable design that was actually less functional than most of the competition.

    The iPhone got its foot hood in the market because it was Apple. They designed and presented it in a way that was theirs, and no one else could come close to the pull they had. It wasn’t the best, didn’t have all the features that everyone else did, but it was exciting and new.

    The iPhone 14, meanwhile, with a suite of incremental and frankly boring improvements, is the iPhone that will change nothing.

    It’s a bit steep to say nothing, but it doesn’t change much. The rate of change is so small now that new releases are boiled down to a few words. Even the marketing is clutching at straws and the presentations are filled with things that the old model could do, or can now do with the software update launched with the new phone.

    Where the iPhone once symbolised verve, it now evokes crushing inevitability. The company will produce, the people will consume, and the waste will pile up (and up and up).

    Apple doesn’t even need to try to sell phones. Users buy the version newer than the one they have and continue to do so. Complacency is nothing to fear when your market is this dominant and if you sell a few less, you spent less in developing it, so what does it matter.

    Phone Size Thoughts

    Bigger phones are popular mostly because they are a computer replacement for a lot of people. As we do more and more on these devices a lot people want the biggest screen they can afford but there will always be those that just want something manageable (to them). - Lee Peterson

    Lee gets it spot on here, for a lot of people there only device is a smartphone and it makes perfect sense to have the biggest and best you can use. However there are a lot of people, myself and Lee included, that just want a device that gets out the way.

    For a long time I have thought the perfect screen size was around 5”, or a device around the size and weight of the iPhone 7. However people like myself have to accept that the world wants bigger whereas I’d rather put some barriers in the way to my screen time.

    Open Plan Sucks

    Mike Elgin on the hopeful demise of open plan offices:

    The open-plan office obsession, which probably peaked around ten years ago, was based on what I’ve called “collaboration bias” — the under-examined assumption that ad-hoc social encounters are more valuable for business, creativity, and productivity than un-interrupted “deep work.”

    The amount of time wasted in stupid takes should be enough for companies to realise. Yet the insistence of all being together and maximising collaboration is based on lack of trust.

    No one trusts their staff and fail to understand the true importance of deep work.

    My Trust In Reviews

    Chris Wilson on How do you know if they’re a good app reviewer?

    Would you more trust a reviewer who jumps apps as often as they change clothes or one who hasn’t changed app in years? The one who always changes probably is probably too interested in novelty over real usefulness, but the long term user might be too stuck in their ways.

    I have been thinking a lot about reviews lately as I dive back into cameras and lust after about a million different lenses. Over the past year I have begun to have a thick layer of distrust against almost anyone doing reviews. YouTube especially has gone from being an invaluable resource when researching into a purchase, to something that provides very little value.

    This isn’t just tech. It’s cameras, cars, days out, almost every company trying to sell you stuff has infiltrated the world of online reviews and it’s a pain. Unless I know the reviewer or the person making the video I find myself having to watch multiple people saying almost exactly the same thing until I switch off. I get the need for income if you want to ‘make it big’ and I know a lot of people watch these kinds of videos as entertainment, but when I am trying to research something now I am a bit stuck.

    Social Media And Depression

    Tracy Brower wrote

    Social media use also has an opportunity cost. If we’re at home snapping our friends on Snapchat or posting photos on Instagram, we’re not connecting with them in person. Even if we are with people in person, being heads-down on a device means that we miss out on meaningful interactions.

    I feel very mixed on social media, in one respect it has put me in touch with some people that I hoLd very dear in my life. People that I would never have met in ‘real life’ including my podcast co-host Nati who lives in Israel. But when I say social media I mean Twitter, because all others seem much more closed off.

    On the other hand there is a huge amount of resentment I have towards platforms. I found myself being much less active and pretty passive now in terms of sharing things, simply because the culture at large is hugely negative when compared to a few years ago.