Social

Mastodon

After a couple of weeks on Mastodon I’m cheering for its survival. That’s not correct, Mastodon is federated, so any single node (instance) is only part of the network. So maybe it’s better to say I’m cheering for whatever new thing gets us on the federated bandwagon. Right now Mastodon is the strongest contender.

I have accounts on three instances, and I’m using each of them differently.

The first is @jackbaty@mastodon.social. Since this is the flagship instance, and the first one I’d heard of, it’s where I first joined. They’ve since disallowed new signups and that’s probably a good thing. Best not to think of any particular instance as the One True Instance. I am not using this much yet. It was just about the only option so I made sure I registered my favorite username, is all.

The second is @jackbaty@mastodon.technology. This was one of the early “other” instances and, well, “technology”. I like the Home feed on this one as it’s fairly tech-focused. This is where I’m doing the things I would otherwise do on Twitter. (Note that most people on Mastodon refer to Twitter as “birdsite” which I refuse to do as it strikes me as insider nonsense.) If the instance stays up, I’ll likely focus there.

I began doubting the sysadmin chops of the person running mastodon.technology (which turned out to be entirely unfounded), I looked for an alternative. I noticed Leo Laporte posting on mastodon.network so that seemed as good as any. Plus, the instance was running on a couple of load-balanced servers which is a good sign. I’m now there as @jackbaty@mastodon.network. I’m using this one to post photos and other photography-related topics.

There’s no rhyme or reason to any of this yet, but I’m having fun figuring it out.

Mastodon

Also, timelines are chronological, as any user-respecting timeline should be.

Hope to see you there.

UPDATE 04/21/2017 “the person running mastodon.technology” is Ash Furrow (Ash Furrow) and while new to Mastodon hosting, he appears to be active, smart, and a fast learner. He’s also actively contributing to the community and the code. I’ve made Mastodon.technology my home and signed up as a Patron to help keep things running. Patreon/ashfurrow.

So Much Noise

While scrolling through Twitter today I realized that the signal-to-noise ratio on the internet has skewed way toward noise. It’s been this way for a while but today just seemed especially bad.

Occasionally I’ll become so frustrated that I quit social media. It never sticks. I find such wonderful things online. The people I follow on Twitter or Medium or RSS write or link to beautiful, smart, educational stuff. I love it.

What I don’t love is how long it’s been taking to find the interesting stuff. My nicely-curated streams have become floods of political complaints and outrage over everything. The complaints are valid and the outrage is necessary, but they’re not what I’m looking for and I have no idea how to fix any of it.

Social Is No Fun

I recently re-activated my Facebook account after a few months away. I missed seeing updates from family members and a few close friends. I also missed some of the topic-based “groups” I was part of.

I took a month or so off Twitter also, but now am back.

I’m finding that being on social media isn’t much fun anymore. I’ll stay for now, but the thrill is long gone.

A Short Break From Twitter

I haven’t been “on” Twitter since the first of the year. As of today that means it’s been a whole week. It sounds stupid just saying that, “A whole week.” Big deal. But, it’s been surprisingly difficult to stay away.

I realized that I was using Twitter as an excuse to do nothing useful. I’d scroll and click and scroll and click and I loved it. So what’s the problem? The problem is that I was always looking for something new to do, or more likely, just hoping to be entertained. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but I was doing it during every spare moment, and frequently in moments that I couldn’t spare. Not productive.

Too much of a good thing is a bad thing, so I’m taking a break. I don’t know how long it will last. It’s just an experiment.

  • I’d like to lose my pervasive fear of missing out.
  • I want to know if my background stress level changes.
  • I want to learn to seek things out deliberately rather than passively having everything streamed at me.
  • I want to reduce my intake of snark and false outrage.
  • One immediate side effect is that after one week without Twitter I’m already less angry at the world. That’s something worth pursuing.

In the meantime, I’ll be here at baty.net and probably more active on Instagram.

MLKSHK

I don’t know what to use mlkshk for, even though I’ve been a paid user for several years. What I do know is that Mlkshk is so quirky and different that I’m planning to find a place for it in 2017.

Here’s mine: http://mlkshk.com/user/jackbaty

Update 02/22/2017: This from MLKSHK today: “We are closing MLKSHK. 🙁 ”

I was mostly inactive, but still paid, user. I wanted them to succeed.

See You After the Election, Twitter

I’ve been doing my best to stay calm during the past few months of this insane election season. My Twitter feed is mostly filled with sensible people like me who believe Trump is nothing short of a threat to our existence. This is nice, but even the folks who agree with me are becoming harsh and angry and shallow.

It’s exhausting.

I’m going to bail on Twitter and other social media outlets until this is over. See you on the other side.

Twitter not considered harmful

I read things and wonder about them. For example, is Twitter a distraction that twitterI should jettison? Is it making me unhappy?

No.

I’m sure I would not be, as many seem to suggest, “happier” if I ignored Twitter. Twitter is fine. I spend less than an hour a day reading/posting. I follow people I enjoy. I’m endlessly amused by things people post. I get my news and can communicate with people it would be difficult to contact otherwise.

Please stop telling me that Twitter is too distracting. Or worse, harmful.

Tragedy of the Stream

Mike Caulfield

This is the Tragedy of the Stream, folks. The conversations of yesterday, which contain so much useful information, are locked into those conversations, frozen in time. To extract the useful information from them becomes an unrewarding and at times impossible endeavor. Few people, if any, stop to refactor, rearrange the resources, gloss or introduce them to outsiders. We don’t go back to old pieces to add links on them to the things we have learned since, or rewrite them for clarity or timelessness.

I worry about this. At Fusionary, we use Slack for nearly all internal communication. It’s fantastic, but important corporate knowledge becomes lost in the stream. It’s not just Slack. It’s email, JIRA, Basecamp, etc.

I sometimes make the effort to extract valuable information from Slack, etc. and refactor it in our Confluence wiki, but I’m the only person who does and it’s not enough.

Ello

Ello logo

Ello launched last year and of course I signed up as soon as I could. It was hyped at the time as the “anti-Facebook”. This appealed to me since I’m rather anti-Facebook myself.

But I was disappointed. I found the layout and typography to be a little too quirky, and it seemed there were more bugs than people. I posted a few things, followed a few people, and soon forgot about Ello.

As I become more privacy-aware, sites like Ello become more attractive. From Ello & Your Data:

Ello is a Public Benefit Corporation, with a legal obligation to never display paid third party advertising, sell user data to a third party, or sell our company to anyone that would ever do any of those things.

That seems like a good thing. The cynics among us respond with “But it’s a free service so they’ll have to sell ads eventually”. Perhaps, but at least Ello is trying to do the right thing. That’s a good start. Plus, the odd typographical and layout choices are beginning to grow on me. At first I thought it was simply a trying-too-hard attempt at being different. Now, I’m more inclined to simply enjoy the differences. It’s peaceful there.

I hope Ello survives because I think we can use a privacy-aware social network catering to the creative and other communities.

I’m @jackbaty on Ello.

Screen addiction (or why Grandma's sad) – Kottke

Kottke

People on smartphones are not anti-social. They’re super-social. Phones allow people to be with the people they love the most all the time, which is the way humans probably used to be, until technology allowed for greater freedom of movement around the globe. People spending time on their phones in the presence of others aren’t necessarily rude because rudeness is a social contract about appropriate behavior and, as Hermann points out, social norms can vary widely between age groups

Like Kottke, I am trying to believe this. It’s taking a long time but I’m getting there.

.@Twitter. Who Do You Think You Are? – NYTimes.com

.@Twitter. Who Do You Think You Are? – NYTimes.com

It’s utterly insane that you still need to put a period before a person’s Twitter handle, such as “.@twitter,” if you want everyone to see it. Could you imagine Facebook doing that? Twitter still uses “favorite” instead of the more universal “like.” And Twitter still expects people to use Boolean search commands.

Bilton describes all of the best things about Twitter as if they’re flaws.

Casting a wider social net

I thought I wanted to be the quiet guy in the corner. I’d like to just create things, post them without fanfare, and hey, if you find them you find them. Or maybe I should never post anything at all. I could just make stuff that ends up in a cardboard box in my basement until I’m dead. That would be neat, but it’s not likely. You see, I’ve fallen into the same trap as everyone else; I love validation. Even a simple but meaningless Facebook “Like” feels good and I’m just as vulnerable to that feeling as the rest of you. I certainly don’t want to be one of those hand-waving-look-at-me! types that are so common, but I don’t always enjoy sitting here talking to myself either.

I’ve tried not cross-posting to Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook but it’s more fun to share. This blog doesn’t get a lot of visitors, so if I want someone to read something I’ve written or see something I’ve photographed — and I do — it’s gotta get posted to other places. Bear with my while I work this all out.

Waffle on Social Media

Waffle on Social Media:

My blog’s older than Twitter and Facebook, and it will outlive them. It has seen Flickr explode and then fade. It’s seen Google Wave and Google Reader come and go, and it’ll still be here as Google Plus fades. When Medium and Tumblr are gone, my blog will be here.

(Via inessential.com)

This is exactly how I look at it. I started this blog in 1999 and although it has an audience of nearly zero, I find it invaluable as a public history of what I’ve been thinking about over time and it is owned by and depends on no one but me.

Cross Posting by Default

I usually dislike when people cross post blog entries to every social media network they’re on. With that in mind, I’ve decided to cross post blog entries to (nearly) every social media network I’m on.

For a while I maintained a separate Twitter account used only for links to things I’ve posted elsewhere. That would be useful if I had a ton of followers and posted stuff way more often than I do. I don’t and I don’t so I’m going to bundle it all together and see how that goes.

This way you’ll never miss out on any of the quality content I publish! Or photos of my dogs.

 

Unfollowed

Dear too many of you,

I don’t mind that we don’t agree. I’m pretty sure you’re wrong, but I’m willing to listen, so long as you’re willing to discuss things rationally. On the other hand, if you’re only capable of shouting opinions and quoting misguided “data” as facts without also considering (however critically) what I have to say… well then I must say goodbye.

And that’s a shame, because I believe you’re smart, concerned, and capable. Believe it or not, you’ll be missed.

Love,

Jack

Good News is Good

good-news

My Twitter stream was becoming so full of snark, entitlement, and whining that the two back-to-back local news updates above stood out and reminded me that there can also be good news and nice people.

I tire of listening to people making fun of everything, or bitching, or just being dicks all the time. When that happens I unfollow anyone who says anything remotely negative more than once in a 24-hour period. I end up following way fewer people, but I feel better. And I hope that feeling better helps me avoid being part of the problem.

App.net feels like zagging

App.net feels like zagging

I have a tendency to “zag” when everyone else is zigging. It’s a combination of a need to explore and my built-in contrarianism.

For example, everyone uses Twitter. Using Twitter is zigging. It’s the easy choice. App.net (specifically alpha.app.net) is the zag. It’s newer and, to the uninitiated, nothing more than a Twitter clone that no one uses. That’s really too bad. On the other hand it’s clean, useful, and quiet. Too quiet for some, maybe.

My annual App.net subscription is set to renew soon I thought I’d dive back in and see how it feels these days. Turns out it feels pretty good. It’s a smaller “audience” but it’s an interesting group.

Also, I didn’t know they introduced a simple App.net-based commenting system, so I added it here on my static, Tinderbox-based blog. It’s a one-liner so why not? Here’s the original blog post: What is the app.net comments widget? I like it.

I find that the App.net comments widget is much cleaner and simpler than the mess that is Disqus.

Under-sharing

Every so often I consider “going dark” on the Internet. Meaning I drop out of Twitter, Facebook, etc. just to get away from the noise for a while. It never lasts because I love sharing stuff Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr. Even so, I think it’s time to try staying away for a while.

I’ll be posting here at baty.net and probably the jackbaty.com blog but otherwise I hope to under-share on the usual sites for a while. Miss me!

UPDATE: That lasted like 4 hours. Shut up.

Twitter Stole Our Ideas

Twitter is obviously dicking around with their way of doing things and all my nerd friends are (rightly) miffed about it. Personally, Twitter is no longer an ally and I'll be jumping ship to App.net shortly. I'm not alone in this. Onward, right?

While watching so many people complain and explain why they're disappointed with Twitter, I've noticed something that confuses me. It runs something like, "Twitter is turning its back on those who made it popular and is stealing their ideas." Well no shit. There's like 12 of us compared to the masses of "normal" folks now using their service. I don't blame Twitter for catering that way. I don't like it, but they never asked me.

But the ideas? Users invented retweets and many other features and conventions now adopted by Twitter. Why shouldn't Twitter use those ideas? They were good ones. What us nerds seem to be angry about is the combination of changing the service to suit a different audience while still using the good ideas we had in the early days. Tough shit for us, really. Perhaps we should've patented our ideas instead of letting Twitter just use them however they want. Oh, that's right, software patents are evil.

Twitter hasn't done anything evil yet. My not agreeing with the direction they're taking doesn't make them wrong. As much as I'd like to think we all "made Twitter what it is today," they won't even notice when we leave.

I'm jackbaty over at App.net, by the way.

I need some new friends

A couple of years ago I said, in some meeting or another, that soon we would all be _required_ to log into Facebook regularly. I think I was right, but I’m not at all happy about it. Facebook sucks. Wait, let me rephrase that. Unless you’re 17 years old or completely fascinated by everyone’s latest list of 25 useless things or you’re trying to promote your new self-help program, Facebook sucks.

I hear the argument that it’s so great being able to keep in touch with all 1200 people from high school. Really? I never even go to the once-every-five-year reunions. I surely don’t need daily updates.

Maybe I’m just an anti-social dick. Or maybe I’m doing it wrong. Either way, I need some new friends soon or Facebook has gotta go.

In the meantime, see you on the rest of the internet. Oh, and [Twitter](http://twitter.com/jackbaty)