Why a code of conduct matters

Paul Irwin at Thinking Digital 2018

I was at the excellent thinking digital conference yesterday when Paul Irwin from trylife took to the stage. Ironically he followed a excellent talk from Tatiana Simonian who made a clear call for more diversity and inclusion within the digital sector.

Sat in the 2nd row with my Nikon camera I was enjoying the story of his life and trylife (I was planning on talking to him afterwards) but I was caught in a state of flux. The words (ones which were not swear words) coming out of his mouth and seemed mismatched with his tshirt or choice of tshirt.

From my view it was a young female adult with a breast on show. Ok from my point of view quite tasteless but certainly something I can’t really imagine someone wearing at a professional conference. And I say that haven given talks about dating, love, sex and hookup culture. I was always sure to make my slides acceptable for a general audience. There is no way, even if I owned such clothes would I wear them on stage. This is all before I even looked at the conference code of conduct.

The last few conferences I have spoke at, I had needed to sign or least explicitly agree to the code of conduct in some way. I hadn’t really considered exactly why the speakers would need to do this, as the speakers should be onboard with this anyway? But now I totally get it.

I hasn’t noticed Thayer had already left for reasons I was still juggling in my mind.

Things got really concrete in my mind as Paul started talking about how he was helping young girls in trylife. I kept thinking how are you helping by wearing that tshirt? Did you not look in the mirror and think? Don’t you see the paradox which you have created?

This is when I started looking at the hashtag #tdc18 to see what others thought. This is when I saw Thayer’s tweets then I saw Christian’s one.

I was struck because she was right and I was a fool to sit there wondering about this paradox which was opening up in front of me. Heck I even gave Paul a token finger clap (indicating how I was feeling at the time) while others cheered around me.

Some people will argue that Mr Bingo’s talk was even more sexualised and he did use the words “fuck it” but the context was very different. The actions, words and clothes of Mr Bingo were not mismatched, like Paul.

The message he delivered was truly soiled by his choice of t-shirt. The swearing I could put up with as it wasn’t aggressive (although also against the code of conduct) and but I couldn’t take him serious, and I know thats on me. But his choice of a sexualised t-shirt reflected badly on him and a great conference; and thats not good!

After the break Herb Kim apologized to everyone on stage and later on twitter.

Someone close to me described it something like this…

People actions should equal what they say, especially on a stage.

What happened next is difficult to say as I wasn’t witness to any of it. But I heard clearly aggressive threatening behaviour from one of Paul’s friends at Thayer when she approached him to talk through things. The best thing he could have done was be understanding about things but judging by his twitter this was the last thing on his mind…

Thayer you have my total support and I’m sorry I didn’t join you when you stood up and left.

Updated – 25th May

Herb the founder of Thinking Digital has issued a statement on his medium to what happened at Thinking Digital 2018. It includes a apology from Paul Irwin about what happened on the day.

Updated – 30th May

Great news.

Why oh why Vero?

Mastodon

Something is rising in the public consciousness around the social network apps we are using. Be it due to the changes in Snapchat, the massive turd which is facebook messenger (I’m using the lite version with locked down permissions) or Instagram algorithm changes.

There was a opportunity to move people away from these networks (at least in mobile) but what happened? The media and people started suggesting the use of another proprietary closed sourced startup app… this one called Vero.

I’m unsure like a lot of people, what pushed Vero to the forth front at the right time but i have to give them some credit with picking the right moment?

Ideally I’d like to see systems like Mastodon pushed forward but I think there are lessons which can be learned from Vero’s push into the limelight. Because although Vero’s end user licence looks barely reasonable right now, you have no idea when it will change or/and it will be come a roach motel just like the ones people are unhappy with now…

Maybe its not too late… ? Or its time to start thinking about the next opportunity? I certainly think it can be done, you only have to look at the way the Mastodon community made it easy for avid twitter users to shift over. Whats needed now is user experience expertise around the apps to expose the advantage of Mastodon to the user without over-loading or intimating. Aral talks about the lack of focus on the user experience and in this case, he’s dead right.

Its all for the taking; expose the natural benefits of Mastodon to the user and make them a key part of the experience.

I wonder about the effect of Instagram on our minds

I have been having a discussion with Tim about Instagram recently. Interestingly its also the launch of Ingrid Goes West.

From tmdb

Ingrid becomes obsessed with a social network star named Taylor Sloane who seemingly has a perfect life. But when Ingrid decides to drop everything and move west to be Taylor’s friend, her behaviour turns unsettling and dangerous.

It doesn’t sound great, something like Friend Request and Unfriended.

Anyway…

I don’t use it because I have issues with the whole setup of instagram. Without going into too much detail, here’s the main points.

  1. I don’t agree with Instagram’s end user licence, which includes using your photos in almost anyway they like.
  2. I don’t like the creation of instagrams is all within the same app (for example I use a Plume on Android and Corebird on Ubuntu) to access Twiter and I create, edit and post to twitter not within twitter (it a important distinction)
  3. I don’t like the fact Instagram isn’t really public, indexable or accessible unless you are on instagram.
  4. I have a problem with filtered views of real life. Its bad enough that every photo you see has been doctored/photoshopped/filtered/algorithmicilly messed. But I don’t want to see them everyday.

Photoshopping

And the last point is a key one, as its clear there are serious problems with seeing this level of fakeness everywhere. Like it or not, it becomes normalised.

I hear some of you say this is no more than what Twitter or Facebook do/enable? and I would somewhat agree… but I have built ways to deal with this partly due to being able to use other apps or types of behaviours which run against the way it was engineered.

For example I don’t really look at the Facebook timeline, as I know its trying to lock me into a filter bubble, somewhat of my own making. Yes I could do a Robert Scoble and manage it into a better bubble, but I just don’t think its worthy of attention; plus Facebook doesn’t share this data in their data portability exports meaning all that work isn’t transferable at all. I know being without Facebook makes things very tricky but I can manage my activity within it right now, this might change of course as FB gets more greedy

Its easy to blame Instagram for all types of ills but its not solely them. Its a combination of Instagram and its share holders, the silicon valley push for winner takes all adoption of everything (dare I say anything about Uber in London) but most of all; ourselves for being suckers to peer pressure, advertising and patterns which are so established others are telling us exactly how they work!

We blindly follow suit without thinking about the long term effects. Mark Manson suggests the smartphone is going to be this generations cigarettes. When thinking about most peoples experience of the smartphone with Instagram, Facebook and Whatsapp preloaded, I can’t help but think actually he’s got a good point. Its the perfect Black Mirror episode, total fantasy as Rachel said!

Black MIrror s3ep1

We seem to be playing with fire without a true understanding of the consequences. Even if we do, how do you make this clear to others who are suckered in? How do you make this clear in the face of peer & social pressure? How do we make this clear to the next generation, the ones born with visions of a unattainable perfection all around them?

I’m not a sucker and won’t be joining to be a poster or lurker just so I can scroll through my friends fake reality pictures.

Using Twitter in online dating….

I was reading about Loveflutter Relaunches With A Surprising New Way To Meet Your Match: Twitter.

Once upon a time, the world’s great lovers wooed with songs and sonnets. Today, we express our deepest feelings in 140 characters or less.

Or at least you do if you’re on Loveflutter, a dating service that has partnered with Twitter to prove social media feeds are the new windows to the soul.

Originally founded in 2013, London-based Loveflutter relaunched this May with an updated approach to modern matchmaking. Like other popular dating apps, users swipe left or right on candidates in hopes of scoring a mutual match. But unlike the competition, where singles pay attention to little more than looks, Loveflutter takes appearance out of the equation.

Images on Loveflutter are blurred until you click on them. Instead, users are invited to swipe left or right based on each other’s 10 latest tweets.

Its a interesting idea and similar to some of my thoughts way back when… Soon as heard this I thought about Tweetfoxxy, which is the thing I was trying to find on the tram wifi last week.

I joined mastodon microbloging service, not the rock band!

mastodonI have always been a big fan of Jabber, Laconi.ca and Status.net. All are federated services which go well beyond the centralised and even decentralised ideas. But they all were second fiddle to the centralised services like Twitter mainly down to user experience.

So I’m wondering if Mastondon will be any different? Of course theres only one way to find out, and thats to try it out.

So I am… but what is it?

Mastodon is a fast-growing Twitter-like social network that seeks to re-create the service’s best parts while eliminating its whale-sized problems. The distributed, open-source platform offers better tools for privacy and fighting harassment than Twitter does, but it also comes with a learning curve. Mastodon’s federated nature means there’s no single website to use, and learning how to wade through its timeline of tweets (which it calls toots) takes some time to adjust to.

But for anyone who misses “the old Twitter” — the days of purely chronological timelines, no ads, and an inescapable flood of harassment — Mastodon can feel like a haven

Old twitter was great I’ll be honest but its not that I long for the old days of twitter. Its just I can feel the their business model imposed from their backers/investors infringing on why I originally used twitter. There is a blog drafted which is all about how business models imposed by VC/backers/etc ruins services/products. For example Pebble, Evernote, Twitter, etc.

So I’m cubicgarden on mastodon.cloud, which should federate across to other Mastondon server instances. Feel free to say hi…

Seems even at 36000ft you can’t escape?

At 36,000 feet you can't escape me?

I always knew Horizon was syndicated widely but seeing it on a plane is kind of insane. a Thanks to Claire for the very freaky tweet.

I did say in reply, its a good thing it wasn’t undressed!

I’ll have to give something to the person who happens to watch season 1 episode 9 of undressed on a plane, using the in flight system and then grabs a snap… What exactly is uncertain but I’ll think of something.

Scary stuff eh!

The Favourite sofa sitting positions of idiots?

It was Chris who retweeted this and I instantly thought hey, I don’t sit like this bloody Ian idiot. Mainly the “thats better” one of course and maybe a little “Sidelean” when alone on my own sofa – Only!

Facebook is the village campfire?

M. Night Shyamalan's Village
M. Night Shyamalan may have lost his movie mojo but the village is a apt example.

Got to love Oli… He wrote about his return to Facebook and yes I did reply to his thoughts in a blog. To which he replied to in a new blog, stipulating Facebook is the campfire

Imagine living in a village, in your own cottage, doing your own thing. You wave to your neighbors, see them at the odd social event and maybe gossip when you meet. Nice huh? One night somebody builds a fire and a few people drift out and sit round the fire, singing songs, telling tales, toasting marshmallows, all the stuff you’ve seen in American summer camps that probably never actually happens.

Over time, more people join in the evenings, and the quality of the chat drops off a bit, and a few people are a bit arsey, but it’s nice, warm and social. You don’t have to do much if you don’t want, but you’ll get the odd beer or marshmallow and hear the little bits of news, a pregnancy, a holiday, who’s been snogging who etc etc. There are claps on the back when you crack a joke. Everybody faces into the fire.

Not going out to that fire is tough. It’s not that people forgot about you, or don’t want to see you or hear your news, but they do forgot that they haven’t seen you, or told you their news. They shared it round the campfire after all. You might still have people round to tea occasionally, or pick up the phone to speak to them but that easy comradery is missing. That warm glow doesn’t reach far either, in fact it’s very much a walled garden.

When I think of the campfire, I think little village and nice for a while but then its time to get out. Time to leave, explore and move forward. Maybe thats what bugs me a lot about using Facebook. Its all people I know and its too comfortable. I can talk about the filter bubble and data ethics and facebook messing with the news feed. But its all too comfortable. Theres nothing challenging your views, nothing making you explore (except the occasional event).

I would go as far as to say Facebook is making you a boring old sod. Remember, when I wrote how to be interesting ages ago. I wrote…

Talk to someone new at least every week

Good luck doing that on Facebook…  Even with a massive number of friends on Facebook, Facebook will filter out most of them. Yes welcome to the village campfire.

As I said above, M. Night Shyamalan may have lost his movie mojo but the village is a perfect example.

The population of a small, isolated countryside village believe that their alliance with the mysterious creatures that inhabit the forest around them is coming to an end.

If you not seen the film, you are not missing anything and I’m going to kind of spoil it for you right now for you. The mysterious creatures are other people and they exist in the outside world of the internet. That campfire keeps pulling you back but sometimes you just need to get out discover the milestones of freedom by getting out of the village and that super comfortable campfire.

Its nice to visit every once in a while, catchup, get warm and decide to leave. Do you want to hangout there and be known as the one who never leaves?

I thought not… Moderation Oli, limit your time at the Facebook campfire!

 

 

5 years ago, The best Hello world message

While on the mend, I finally wrote my first blog to the world via dictation to my family. I remember saying the words with tears in my eyes. Of course it had to be Hello World, as there was nothing more fitting. The joke about hospital food was my injection of humour, although I have to say the hospital kitchen/restaurant really looked after me while I was there. I was given quite plain food but they kept checking about my allergies all the time. Actually far more than the doctors (as you will see in the next week)

It was great being able to talk again although I still have the trach scar, which will never go away now. I couldn’t explain how much the cards and comments meant to me and my family. I was kind of overwhelmed to know I had touched so many peoples lives and they in turned felt it was worth reaching back.

I was looking forward to moving out of ICU because this about the time when I started really getting better really fast. It was like my body was just repairing its self at a rate the hospital had never seen before. Amazing when you consider the life expectancy of people who have bleed on the brain

If subarachnoid hemorrhage from aneurysm, about 50% die within the first few days in hospital. If intracranial bleed, with/without stroke, the death rate within year one approaches 60%. Figures have remained constant for years.

I am one of the very few lucky ones and believe me don’t I know it, and there is no way I will forget it


 

[Message below was dictated by Ian this evening, no internet connection in hospital]

Ian says:

‘Hello world!  Thank you very much for taking the time to find out how I am doing.  I am doing okay.  I am still in hospital, but making a positive recovery.  Thank you to everybody who has written to me and my family and thanks for writing such amazing things.

The trach tube is out and I can speak again.  The feeding tube is also out.  I had solid food for the first time yesterday–it was horrible!  Of course it was hospital food.

Thank you for all the messages to my family.  I’m on the way to recovery.’

[Ian is due to be moved out of ICU and on to the ward as soon as a bed becomes available.]


Ian is continuing to do well and they are hoping to move him out of ICU and on to the ward soon (possibly this weekend).  He was a bit tired today and slept more, but he did spend most of yesterday out of bed and sitting up.

Ian’s flatmate Tim brought his laptop in for him, but there is not a wireless connection to use so Ian will not be online yet.

Unfortunately Ian missed some visitors today because he was sleeping.  For anyone else who is visiting, please be aware you might not get to see him if he is tired, but we do appreciate you coming to visit!

They hope to put some sort of valve into the trach tube that will make it possible for Ian to speak, but I am not sure when they’ll do this.


At the moment Ian is still in the ICU.  They had thought they were going to move him to the H.D. unit, but there wasn’t a bed available, so for now the plan is for him to stay in ICU until he is ready to move to the ward.

Ian is ready to have visitors now, but in ICU this is limited to two people at a time.  If you want to come visit, please leave a message in the guestbook letting us know what day and time you plan to come (and please leave a contact number in case we need to reach you).  Visiting hours are from 1pm-9pm daily.  They are quite strict about what can be brought into the ICU due to infection control.

Ian still cannot talk due to the trach tube so it can be difficult to communicate with him.  He is finding it frustrating, but appreciates visitors coming as he is getting bored.

5 years ago… my BBC colleagues wrote

@jas's picture of Herbkim

In my last post I wanted to include this picture of Herb Kim talking about me at Thinking Digital 2010. Still not heard what he actually said (could have been slagging me off or something *joke*) but I’m thankful for what he did do, as I was due to close down BBC Backstage on stage.

It of course never happened till much later of course.

Looking at the work/BBC angle was quite interesting. I have always said my work, personal and play lives are intermixed, and I like/prefer it that way. What happened while I was gaining consciousness says it all…

I saw this blog a long while later after I came out of hospital. I hadn’t realised the open and close battle (best word I can think of) which was kind of happening.

My parents once they received the call from Adrian came straight up to be with me. But my dad kept returning to Bristol for a house move was being finalised. So my mum reached out to Sarah (ex-wife) who recently moved near Manchester. She helped setup the carringbridge site after using it with her brother when he had fallen off something in 2009. Sarah was so supportive and contacted all of my old friends she still had emails for to tell them what had happened.

While this was happening Adrian, Tim and others were trying to keep things quiet by only telling people that needed to know. To be fair I would have done the same and they had no idea about Sarah and my mum spreading the word. The hodge also setup a form to collect responses from friends which was lovely and I thank him for doing so…

but this was trumped by the Carringbridge site Sarah and my parents setup.

I gather looking at the Twitter responses, there was a lot of wonder and doubt about what had happened. With information circulating from my mum and Sarah. I guess it became clear that the BBC needed to say something more official than tweets. I gather this isn’t normal but hey nothing about me and what happened is business as usual.

Adrian/Ant wrote…

This is just to let you know that unfortunately Ian Forrester, Senior Development Producer of BBC Backstage was taken ill last week and is now recuperating in Hope Hospital in Salford.

At the moment he is in a serious but stable condition and is being well cared for by the staff at Hope and his family.

For those who want to pass on their messages the Message for Ian Google form is here.

[Edit 04/06/10] Now that Ian’s family have set up the Caring Bridge site we’re recommending that people wanting to drop him a line use that channel instead.

Flowers aren’t allowed in ICU, but cards are, and can be sent to:

Ian Forrester
c/o Intensive Care Unit
Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
Stott Avenue
Salford
M6 8HD

We will keep you updated when we hear anything more but until then we hope that you can have Ian in your thoughts and let his other close friends know.

Dr Adrian Woolard

[In Ian’s hopefully short absence I’ll be looking after this blog- Ant Miller]

Back to instant messaging

instant messaging sites

I bet the figure above has changed in recent times, as everybody turned back to messaging it would seem. Maybe realising that using social networks as a way to do instant messages is a bad idea (not judging, as I have been lured into a one 2 one conversation quite a few times over twitter).

I use to be a jabber/xmpp fan and when GTalk adopted xmpp, I was pretty happy. However over time the xmpp standard was built upon and in the end removed. I was one of those people who ran a client (pidgin) which supported multiple im protocols.

I considered installing pidgin again but I thought I’d give the alternatives a try. However Josh tweeted something which I wanted to consider when choosing a client and protocol.

Looking at the list I decided to try Silent Text/Phone from Silent Circle and Telegram. Telegram has clients across operating systems and devices, while silent text/phone is mainly mobile. Telegram also has the option of working within Pidgin if I decide to switch back.

For me its not that I actively want to hide secret messages, I just want the option to flex my privacy. Instant messenger for me is more private than social broadcasting platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Do I trust facebook messenger? Do I heck! I actively don’t have it on my phone along with the Facebook app.

I know theres rumors twitter are due to spin out their direct messaging part but looking at the rest of the crowd, are we really expecting twitter to adopt a secure and private system? Their track record hasn’t be bad. Actually there are twitter direct messaging clients which is cool but how many times has twitter changed the rules of the system, how long till direct messages are treated differently?

Consequence or Inception of connecting people

I saw the below tweet and felt like it needed to be not just retweeted but also blogged…

Help this teacher make a great point to her students about the consequences of social network use. Please RT widely

From Twitter

It says…

I want to illustrate to my junior high students (grade 7-9) how fast a photo can be shared on the internet. Please “Like” and “Share” this image to help me teach caution and discernment to the students in my classes.

Although a great idea and I’m not against teaching and eduction, but its worth pointing out the incredible power this also brings to each and everyone of us. Empowerment should also be taught in the same lesson. Never has there been a way to connect a mass audience at such low cost and such speed. The inception of the internet and social media is a great thing too. And its too easy to teach the negative. The internet and social media isn’t something which should be feared, rather taught how to responsibly participate in.

 

Umairh says… Its not Sci-Fi

_T5P1197

After yesterday’s lists from Umair Haque, who I had the pleasure of meeting once a long while ago. I thought I’d share a couple more of his lists of Twitter knowledge.  Here a couple which caught my eye and had me retweeting earlier in the week.

I’m going to do five quick points on stuff many Americans think is science fiction, but isn’t 🙂 17:13:23
  1. In London, I can walk down the street, visit the doctor, and get healthcare. Free!! It’s not science fiction 🙂
  2. In Europe, I can take trains across the continent, that are effectively faster than taking planes. Cheap!! It’s not science fiction.
  3. In Australia, I can go take a walk and see happy people. Smiling!! Having fun!! Because they have nice lives. It’s not sci-fi 🙂
  4. In Paris, I can hit the bistro on nearly any corner, get a nice meal, and a bottle of wine. That won’t kill me! It’s not sci-fi.
  5. In Scandinavia, if I’m homeless, I probably won’t die. I’ll get a place to live and an income. It’s not science fiction.
  6. In London, in the summer, people leave the office at 5. And sit outside and have beer until the sun goes down. It’s not sci-fi.
  7. There’s more to life than work. If you’re spending yours on the bullshit of bosses, meetings, and powerpoints, you’re wasting it.

From a few of the questions I use to get when in the states, I can imagine these questions and thoughts will be like sci-fi to some parts of america. Specially like the health care one and of course the beer after work. Very much part of the UK culture which takes some time to adjust and understand. Of course number 7 is great and reminds me of this next list.

I’m going to do five quick bits of life advice. Enjoy 😉 08-23-2013 17:14:52
  1. The point of life is love.
  2. You can spend much of your life running away from the fact that the point of life is love. Many people do 🙂
  3. It takes courage, determination, and a lot of reflection to live the life you want.
  4. Don’t accept mediocrity. Be awesome.
  5. Everybody needs to change the world a little bit. Why do you think Bill Gates isn’t golfing all day?
  6. You can do it. But you have to start 😉

Reflection is something I’ve already starting doing and Adrian did suggest updating my grassroots innovation blog one day soon.