Well, I’m 42 now. Happy birthday to me. What have I been up to lately? It’s been a few months. The short version is: a fair bit of travel, work, and not much else concrete.Click for the longer version
The idea of an open web where actors use common standards to communicate is as old as, well, the web. “The dreams of the ’90s are alive in the Fediverse,” Lemmer-Webber told me.
In the late ’00s, there were more than enough siloed, incompatible networking and sharing systems like Boxee, Flickr, Brightkite, Last.fm, Flux, Ma.gnolia, Windows Live, Foursquare, Facebook, and many others we loved, hated, forgot about, or wish we could forget about. Various independent efforts to standardize interoperation across silos generally coalesced into the Activity Streams v1 standard.
Both the original Activity Streams standard, and the current W3C Activity Streams 2.0 standard used by Mastodon and friends, offer a grammar for expressing things a user might do, like “create a post” or “like👍 a post with a given ID” or “request to befriend a certain user.” The vocabulary one would use with this grammar is split into its own sub-standard, the Activity Vocabulary.
Surprising no one, I’m very in favor of moving back towards decentralization, open standards, and interoperability. Getting a few more high visibility projects would be a great step in the right direction.
Happy New Year and all that. It’s now 2023, arguably an auspicious year in Discordianism, and hopefully a good year for the rest of us as well. I’m currently in Palm Springs with Simone, having spent the past few days wandering around and enjoying the desert while it’s not quite so murderously hot. (It’s even raining! How novel!) We had a nice wander through Joshua Tree National Park yesterday, and are having a nice relaxing New Year’s Day.Continue reading “2023”
I dressed up as a consistent blogger for Halloween, and then let the site lay fallow for November (two posts! Or three, if I actually get this post out today). Sometimes that’s just how things roll. No shortage of things to talk about – it would’ve been easy to fill the blog just with posts about the continuing train wreck that is the Twitter acquisition, for instance. Life’s just been a little busy, between work and Thanksgiving and my girlfriend moving up to Portland (I’m actually in San Francisco right now, helping prep for the move).Here Be Rambles
Twitter is imploding currently, for a multitude of reasons. It’s been a while coming (I’ve talked about this several times before, for what it’s worth). I have a lot of mixed feeling about this: some schadenfreude, some grief at the disintegration of a service I’ve spent nearly 15 years on, some anger and disgust at how Muskrat has handled the entire situation. It’s a train wreck I’ve had a lot of trouble looking away from.
I suppose it’s worth clarifying: I realize the service itself is still technically functioning (there’s been some degradation in some areas, but the core service is marching along). But it feels… well:
That’s the vibe. In some ways the chaos is actually fun, but in a “last days of summer” sort of way.
SO, I’ve dusted off my Mastodon account, and have been using FediFinder to pull in as many people from my Twitter lists as I can. (It’s pretty straightforward: link your twitter account and your mastodon account, and then it searches your follows for mentions of their mastodon account, and builds a CSV file that Mastodon can then import automagically.)
Next steps is figuring out how to get everything hooked up so I can cross-post effectively, in a non-shitty way. I’m sure there are already plugins to do it, but figuring out which one to go with I suspect will be a little trial and error. Also: if you’ve got a mastodon account and I haven’t found you yet, please let me know! I’d be happy to follow and keep in touch.
Been pondering on a longer post, but in the meantime, I wanted to welcome the Nielsen Haydens back to the blogging fold. Theirs was always a thriving community above and beyond being a blog, and I’m glad to see them back. (Also, as mentioned in their post, and again here, if you have experience migrating a complex blog from old Movable Type system to something more modern like WordPress, do please reach out to them – they’re good folks.)
Ben Werdmuller put together a nice site laying out current tools for blogging, and why you might want to start. If you wanted a good summary of the state of things and what to try, it’s a good site to check out!
Not much to add in, other than that I agree, it’s nice to do and it’d be swell to see more folks blogging again. Do you run a blog? Let me know, I’d love to add it to my rss feeds!
John Green’s latest vlogbrothers video touches on something worth thinking about:
He’s talking about the low-calorie social media debates that drive what we call “engagement” – namely, more comments and likes or dislikes – which leads to increased view counts, and higher priority in algorithms (whether on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere). I’m calling it low-calorie social media because these sorts of debates are easy to have an opinion on, but they’re not substantive (and I’d argue, often not nutritious either).
Actual engagement – something more lasting and impactful than just a like or a passing comment – is hard. It’s hard to build, it’s hard to sustain, it’s often messy. But it’s more fulfilling. Even when it leads to challenging questions or work to be done, you can at least feel like you’re making some sort of progress on something that is meaningful, whether that’s some form of volunteering, philanthropy, or do-gooding, or if it’s just deepening connections with either individuals or a community.
I think John is right that there is a place for those “instantly debatable” questions and topics. But I think it’s a lot like junk food: it’s fine as a snack, but if that’s all you’re eating, it’s just going to make you sick.
Fun little concept, the “now” page. From their about page:
Most websites have a link that says “about”. It goes to a page that tells you something about the background of this person or business. For short, people just call it an “about page”.
Most websites have a link that says “contact”. It goes to a page that tells you how to contact this person or business. For short, people just call it a “contact page”.
So a website with a link that says “now” goes to a page that tells you what this person is focused on at this point in their life. For short, we call it a “now page”.
Maybe I should put together one of those. And of course, the name reminds me of the classic “when will then be now” scene from Spaceballs:
Via Neil Gaiman’s tumblr, Ezra at ghostonly has an excellent post explaining some simple steps you can take to get back to enjoying yourself on the internet. It’s a good list.
#4 – Learn to say, “It’s none of my business.”
Don’t understand someone’s desire to use neo pronouns? None of your business. Can’t understand why someone is a furry? None of your business. Curious about how someone who talks about being poor can have a Starbucks in that last selfie they posted? None of your damn business.
If you have genuine questions from a place of good faith (i.e. what inspired you to use neopronouns?/what do you pronouns mean to you?) Go for it. But if you’re only asking questions to draw negative attention to someone or make them feel bad or to other them, you’re just being a nosy asshole.
Minding your own business is also good for you because – and I mean this genuinely – feeling entitled and superior is fucking exhausting. I know, because I’ve been 20 before. You will have a way better time online if you just stop caring about shit that doesn’t concern you.
Go read it, I agree with the whole damn thing.