Twitter is all but dead for me now, I’ve been fed up and rarely even look at it. However over the last week, the API change just put the last nail in the coffin for me. Last time they did similar I was close to leaving back then.
Its clear the owner and business model has decimated this microblogging platform and its time to leave it alone. Decided not to leave only because like a few other web platform, I hold on to the user cubicgarden and ianforrester just incase.
Ian thinks: The problems with GDP are well known but I certainly like this video by the Economist which makes the urgency a lot clearer. Can money stop deforestation? Not while we look quarter to quarter.
Ian thinks: I found this conversation with David Zipper fascinating from a public service point of view. All the hype and funding going into autonomous cars isn’t making our streets safer for the public, and David has some very clear points demonstrating this. Worth reading this Time piece too.
Ian thinks: A bit of a history lesson of where microblogging came from and where it splintered. Blaine Cook’s instinct for this space has been spot on and with him throwing some weight behind the fediverse
Ian thinks: Umair makes a lot of good points, comparing the way Twitter was made to work with authoritarian countries. A real taste of whats to come if the public service internet isn’t fully realised.
Ian thinks: I actually chuckle at the #askfirefox videos but this video makes good points about buying a surveillance device for friends and family this festive holiday. Shop smart with Mozilla’s privacy not included.
Ian thinks: Its good to see this discussion at this level but am concerned there isn’t more focus beyond broadcasting. Public service is much bigger and its time to bring what makes public service unique to this space.
Ian thinks: Mozilla although well know in certain circles, has been losing a lot of market share. However has good plans to build on its community roots for a bright and sustainable future. Don’t forget the Mozilla festival’s call for proposals ends Dec 16th
Ian thinks: Interesting points made and worthy of listening to in full. Likewise this small panel with the folks from Bluesky, Manyverse and others exploring the possibilities way beyond what’s currently available.
Ian thinks: This is great news Automattic (WordPress) are once again supporting the standard ActivityPub and joining the large open network of the fediverse. How Tumblr will work on the Fediverse is another question.
Mastodon is part of the Fediverse, the fediverse is a number of different interlinking services using the W3C’s ActivityPub as the interlinking protocol. There has been a bunch of news stories which have highlighted this which is good, but too few are and think of Mastodon as a straight replacement without all the things which make it different.
I have seen a bunch of complaints including too much choice in which instance to join. There is a bunch of reasons why this makes sense including more robustness to take over, but I’m more interested in the fact there is friction.
Friction to encourage people to slow down, think and act with some agency. Yes its painful when you are use to frictionless centralised services which happily lead you down a path which suits their business model. Having to actually read the rules of the instances/servers, what’s not/allowed, whats the manners, etc. Is important and makes for a better solution than everyone must abide by one rules. We already know scale is the enemy of humanity (well thats my thoughts) and the fediverse allows for things I personally find vaguer and distasteful if you look for it. But also delightful things which can be joyful if you look for it.
Verification is free but you need to do some work, each instance and service will have different ways to support this. For example some of the scholar ones require you to link to different papers you have written. Others might need much more. Generally its done via the Microformats & W3C’s rel=”me”.
Get use to the email like username, its super clear who you mean. Get out of the twitter mindset.
Ian thinks: Ransomware is awful and is such a big problem. Interpol and others decided to do something about it, to encourage victims from paying out. The 1.5 million victims helped in a short time is impressive
Ian thinks: I’m not usually a reader of Sci-Fi but now Black Mirror is cancelled, I am looking out for the audiobook of this book. Interesting short stories about the future we are slowly walking towards.
Ian thinks: This talk from the Thinking Digital Conference in Newcastle, made me chuckle but highlights a lot of the problems with the future dreams of robots around the home. Its worth checking out the rest of the conference videos too.
Ian thinks: I am still fascinated and still impressed the podcasting industry is holding tight against the larger players. Innovating together and for the benefit of all, a great example of the public focused future.
Ian thinks: For a long time, I have thought about a term which sums up the downsides of social media/networking. In the book Social Warming: The dangerous and polarising effects of social media, I feel Charles Arthur has found the perfect term.
Ian thinks: This reminds me of the community WiFi initiatives, which filled in the gaps of big internet companies which refused to support smaller communities. However I can see these growing, with the backlash against generic speedy delivery systems.
Ian thinks: Not my usual interest but shrinking fast fashion’s carbon footprint is interesting. However its the community focus and peer 2 peer model which elevates it into this line up this month. Expect this business model to be duplicated over and over again.
Ian thinks: Much has been written about the recent announcement to sell off Channel 4 but the misunderstanding of the business model of Channel 4 isn’t just embarrassing but shocking that people assume the model is one way.
Ian thinks: The joy of tinkering, making, and sharing is part of the human condition. In modern times, this creative freedom too often is stifled by secrecy as a means of monetization – from non-compete laws to quashing people’s right to repair the products they’ve already paid for.
Ian thinks: Understanding the ethical dilemmas we face every day online has always been difficult to explain the harm. Putting them into physical spaces really brings home the dilemma. If you are in Manchester in late April, grab a free ticket and join us.
Ian thinks: Reading this piece, I couldn’t help but think about the digital realm with the ever growing divide between rich/poor. Not only with money but time and knowledge The digital divide is live and sadly growing..
Ian thinks: The EU’s Digital Markets Act is a very bold legal policy which could have the similar impact to GDPR? Although people can’t stop talking about opening Apple’s iMessage, its worth remembering the DMA hasn’t been fully drafted yet!
Ian thinks: A lot is covered in a short amount of time. However they both settle on the practical problems of the current and future internet. The legal battles, societal frameworks and the web3 bubble is used to chill what the future internet could be.
After the long wait and some wonder if anything was going to happen. On Monday I got my invite to join a very small number of people on Beeper.
I am impressed…
I thought I had a blog post about Beeper but I didn’t write one. So in short this picture sums up Beeper in one go.
Imagine if you could use one client to access all these different networks, but unlike pidgin or trillian which needs software plugins to connect to them all. Beeper is actually a Matrix client which connects to specific Matrix bridges (server based, instead of client based) to other messaging networks.
Matrix is open source and you can run it on your own infrastructure (we will get back to that soon). You can even install your own bridges.
In short Beeper is the Matrix dream in a managed service which you pay $10 a month. You can self host it and its something I may do after a while but right now I’m happy to give some money to get use to things
First thing I did is install the appimage for Linux, set it up using the code I had received via email. Then setup a few networks. Within a few minutes I was replying to friends
I tested Slack using Storyteller United and was quite impressed, although I ended up disabling it due to the amount of channels and how busy the slack can be.
I may enable it again for a few slacks I am part of but don’t want the whole of slack on. Currently I have the Slack app on my laptop and work phone but I like the idea of the messaging parts without the heavy slack app.
I noticed you can input Gifs, emoji’s, attachments, etc in almost every single message in a unified way. I haven’t hooked up my SMS yet (mainly because there is no RCS bridge yet which I would miss). I also would like to see scheduling as I’m so use to it now.
Of course the phone interface for beeper is similar, Gif and all. You can use the unified inbox which puts everything in one timeline. The spaces cuts everything by network.
To be frank, Beeper is impressive and if I could change a few things they would be.the ability to have multiple accounts. For example I would love to be able to finally have one client for the multiple Signal accounts (I have one for my personal and work mobiles). This might be a limitation of Signal, but it would be great if I could spin up 2 bridges. I say this as I added 2 slack accounts and could add more with ease.
Right now Beeper is very much work in progress, but its got most of the key features. I don’t feel like I have fully added the networks yet as I hold on to apps like Android messages due to RCS and scheduled messages. I could add Twitter and Discord but I’m quite happy with my Mastodon clients and cross posting to Twitter. Although I might hook up my ianforrester account on twitter just to see what its like in beeper. I even consider setting up Telegram, i-message, etc accounts just because I can now without the stress.
, meaning when I finally hooked up Android messages, I can still send scheduled messages and RCS from the app. But reply and send general messages from Beeper.
The network diagram at the very top is actually slight wrong because Beeper sits within the Matrix network and once I understood this via the support channel. It became clear I could easily share things between all my mobiles and laptop with ease. Bit like how I use Signal’s personal space/notes to yourself. I haven’t tried connecting to any of the Matrix systems I’m part of like publicspaces, sdeps or redecentralise. But I’ll give it a try over the next few days.
I like Beeper, but do long to setup my own bridges in a docker container or rasberrypi in the near future. Is 10$ a month quite a bit expensive for this? Maybe but only because I am still getting use to it and not fully using it. I think if I was using it for everything, 10$ a month would great value. Its a good business model, as most won’t or can’t run their own bridge server. (I have already looked to see if Yuno host has support or not)
I look forward to the regular updates and seeing it mature into something unique.
Funny enough I heard Beeper on Twit.TV’s all about android too. The person who wrote in didn’t blur any of his conversations and contacts which I would say is super brave or not thinking things fully through? However its interesting to see someone else also using Beeper and the reaction to it from people not fully aware of
Ian thinks: Reading this, I can’t really take Techcrunch seriously, because for every one of these startups focused on privacy and security. Theres at least 20 more startups covered the opposite. Maybe its just me?
Ian thinks: This interview with Ethan Zuckerman is full of some great points to get you thinking, I find it hard to disagree with Ethan especially around using affordances and setting up small town based on Mastodon.
Ian thinks: Its always interesting to hear from experts in the space, on the work you are involved in. Its a really good read especially if you haven’t come across the Human Values, which also has new podcast interviews.
We are trying to do our part by funding an initiative around an open decentralized standard for social media. Our goal is to be a client of that standard for the public conversation layer of the internet. We call it @bluesky: https://t.co/51or6OuNNv
Researchers involved with bluesky reveal to TechCrunch an initiative still in its earliest stages that could fundamentally shift the power dynamics of the social web.
Bluesky is aiming to build a “durable” web standard that will ultimately ensure that platforms like Twitter have less centralized responsibility in deciding which users and communities have a voice on the internet. While this could protect speech from marginalized groups, it may also upend modern moderation techniques and efforts to prevent online radicalization.
So my question is what difference does it make over what already exists?
I get if twitter was to be a client of the protocol that would be generally a good thing and I imagine the publicity for decentralised systems would be welcomed but beyond that? Will their business model change? Will anything change? I guess does anything need to change from Twitter’s point of view?
On top of this all, will all the efforts before hand be forgotten now Twitter throws their hat into the ring? That would be awful for all the hard work others have put in for years and years.
I have to say its actually very well produced and gets the points across in a way which I feel might actually cause some thought. We have heard this before in many different places but I liked the family story which gave it some well needed context. Although it does go maybe a bit too far in the story. Heck I was wondering if the son was about to get himself a gun…
My only really issue is its very American focused except Myanmar which received a short segment. The insiders don’t reflect the diversity of wider society but of course that speaks volume. But Cathy O’Neil said it best,
Do we really want to hand this problem over to technologists who helped create this problem?
Unfortunately that kind includes the well meaning Tristan Harris and many others on the documentary. Its interesting who isn’t in the documentary, such as people like Douglas Rushkoff, Doc Searls, Clay Shirky, etc.
Is it the business model, is it the economic model, shareholder value, lack of governmental pressure, legal regulation, monopolistic practices, undemocratic markets? Or is it actually a bit of all of them?
Would anyone want to use the @techforgoodlive podcast platform for #BlackLivesMatter? Is there a pod you want to make about being black and working in tech? About bias in AI? Whatever you want, it's yours. We can help if you're new to podcasting. Is this a good idea? DM me
After a while we finally got talking agreed a schedule and I went about getting people to join me on the agreed 3 podcasts. I won’t lie, getting time with busy people in the middle of lockdown was difficult but I managed.