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Facebook is predicting the end of the written word

Facebook’s video push threatens the edited TV news package as much as it threatens the written word. I’ve definitely noticed a difference in traffic when I post a YouTube video (which generally gets modest attention on FB but often accumulates views over time) vs when I post similar content directly within Facebook (which FB seems to promote more quickly, but which disappears into the memory hole about 24 hours later,…

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Gawker Media Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

This is fallout from losing an invasion of privacy lawsuit, filed in the name of wrestler Hulk Hogan and backed by tech investor Peter Thiel (co-founder of Paypal and an early investor and current board member for Facebook, and in his younger days also co-founder of the Stanford Review). Gawker slogan: “Today’s gossip is tomorrow’s news.” That’s from the <title> tag on the website — I’m not making some kind of…

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Why I Was Wrong About Liberal-Arts Majors

It’s a little bit shallow and solipsistic to say a liberal arts degree is valuable because it can make you a better Borg drone in the technohive, but this guy seems to mean well. Most liberal arts degrees encourage a well-rounded curriculum that can give students exposure to programming alongside the humanities. Philosophy, literature, art, history and language give students a thorough understanding of how people document the human experience.…

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Releasing a Tiny Game and Trying to Get Paid

[G]ames is a bit more financially brutal than either theatre or poetry, which is funny, because poetry is already financially brutal. It is harder to get people to pay for games than for any other artform I work in. I could make more money for less work elsewhere. That said, in both theatre and poetry most of my money comes not from sales but from commissions and public funding: trying…

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Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed [a Certain Political Slant] News

One day when I was an undergraduate working for one of two competing student papers, two rallies were held on opposite sides of the downtown mall. One group held signs like “Keep your laws off my body,” and “Keep abortion safe and legal,” and the other group held signs like “It’s a child, not a choice” and “Abortion stops a beating heart.” The student paper I did not work for ran…

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There is no cloud. It’s just someone else’s computer.

I have so far resisted the jump to streaming media. I do regularly by Kindle books, which Amazon can send down the memory hole without my permission . James Pinkstone gives me another reason to continue resisting. For about ten years, I’ve been warning people, “hang onto your media. One day… information will be a utility rather than a possession. Even information that you yourself have created will require unending, recurring payments just to…

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Facebook Hired Journalists to Train Its Trending Topics Algorithm

Recently I noticed an unusually incendiary phrase in the Facebook “trending” list, and noticed that several people in my feed were reacting strongly to that language. When I clicked the link, I was taken to a page that did not actually contain that phrase. When I searched news.google.com for the source of that phrase, the results came up nil. A few hours later, searched turned up bloggers who were angrily…