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The Silence of the Algorithm

While I doubt that my own Twitter and Facebook experiences were/are general, I have periods of fascination with the way social media systems eventually failed me. I keep trying to look ahead to the near-future of digital social connection (without separating it out into an other thing from general social connection, even while I develop the creeping feeling that digital duality may not be a thing in cities but may be in sleepy seaside towns) — and I wonder if attempts at inclusion by algorithm aren’t just locking people in soundproofed boxes.

These are all part-formed thoughts I’m working through, but it strikes me this morning that Twitter going algo would break a (perhaps unspoken) promise made in an earlier age of the internet: that, like FB, it would become a heavily managed means of communication, with arcane rules of entry, that would have its own opinions on whether you get to speak or listen. Warren Ellis, The Silence of the Algorithm

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Online Psychotherapy May Be More Effective

Psychotherapy Via Internet as Good as If Not Better Than Face-To-Face Consultations: I think this is fascinating, and look forward to seeing more research into this going forward. (I’d like to see the experiment replicated as well as a more thorough tear down of the paper, but I appreciate the research nonetheless.)

“In the medium term, online psychotherapy even yields better results. Our study is evidence that psychotherapeutic services on the internet are an effective supplement to therapeutic care.”

I’m both pleased and unsurprised by the findings, when you take into consideration some prior research that’s been done (thinking about some of the comments in the IRC Francais paper published back in 2002: I think it allowed us to get to know each other better. […] You learn about [the others] as people. We would talk about relationships and all kinds of things that you wouldn’t talk about in class.). It helps validate my feeling that online interaction and community serve very real, very valid roles, in ways that can be just as effective (or more) as in-person interaction. That’s not to say there aren’t issues that also need to be taken into account, but there IS value there.