As social sites have increasingly deployed cute algorithms to feed us what they want us to see (as opposed to what we actually asked for), it’s become almost essential for the serious reader to adopt a more proactive approach than the simple policy of ‘follow and wait’.
The online advertiser’s Holy Grail is to make us think we’re reading what we personally selected, whilst actually feeding us a substantial mix of ‘recommendations’ and ads. Some companies are better at this than others. Google does it best, keeping the consumer feeling free and unmanipulated. Twitter definitely does not yet have the art that conceals the art. If you let Twitter into the driving seat, it’ll probably take you to Hell. But if you seize the controls, you can get just as insightful an experience from Twitter as you can from Google. Twitter’s real user controls lie in its search capability. Continue reading Reliable Ways To Cut Out Link Spam in a Twitter Search
It’s a testament to Yahoo!/Oath’s running of Flickr in recent times, that it took an official email notification of SmugMug’s new acquisition to remind me that Flickr still existed. For reasons I outlined in the recent Oath/Tumblr post, businesses such as Oath do not inspire great confidence in creative people. But unlike Oath, SmugMug is not a portal-wielding bait-baron obsessed with trite, populist news and cheesily-executed ad campaigns. It’s a photo-sharing business. So, has Flickr been saved? Continue reading Will SmugMug Keep Flickr Free To Use?
When I received news from Yahoo! that in continuing to use its services, I would in fact be dealing with an organisation called ‘Oath’, I immediately feared for Tumblr’s welfare. I mean, what sort of brainstorming session results in a company name like ‘Oath’? Then I discovered that the new collective business also involved AOL, and thought: “Yep, that’s probably that for Tumblr”.
Yesterday, my fears were realised, as a peep at my Tumblr blog stats, in Google Analytics, showed a catastrophic drop in visits from search engines. There was a rise in referrals from Tumblr (you’ll see why in a moment), but overall, the page visits were significantly down. Continue reading Has Oath Killed Tumblr?
Have you ever wondered how many of the men who use a smile emoticon at the end of an electronic message were actually smiling when they typed it? If your guess falls somewhere below three percent, join the club.
There are a numerous things I find profoundly annoying on the social web. But the worst of the very worst of them, I would suggest, is men trying to look cute. Not inadvertently just being cute. I’m talking about men who deliberately try to look cute, in a bid to manipulate or self-serve. Before anyone accuses me of sexism, I know that women try to look cute on the Internet too, and I’m not saying I find that particularly attractive. Indeed, women who sing in a deliberately cute, babyish, contrived voice on Soundcloud make me want to cut the plug off my speakers. But there’s something about men trying to be cute that’s just… worse. Continue reading Online Intolerables: Men Trying To Look Cute
After my crit observing the ‘manosphere’s distorted vision of women, I thought I should write a searching piece about the ‘manosphere’s arch enemy – just to balance things up.
There’s a perception, among an apparently burgeoning male group, that men are being demonised by women. Excluded, purely on the basis that they were born with a penis. Made to feel that whatever they say or do, it will automatically be bad, because they’re a man, and men are bad. Faced with a choice of either being publicly ashamed of their gender, or being lambasted as “part of the problem”. Victims, of sexism. I decided I was going to explore this issue, and concisely wrap it up in a blog post. Continue reading The Demonisation of Man
Meet Astrid Clarke-Nicholson, Calum Fossil, Shandi Beever and Victoria Druggs. None of them exist in real life. They’ve all fronted fake Twitter accounts at one point or another, and a couple of them are still there. But their faces were created with digital imaging software, and their names are pure fiction. Continue reading How to Make a Fake Twitter Account
At the time, I imagined that Medium’s most likely means of financing its existence would be increasingly heavy advertising. But this year, the platform switched to a subscription model in which users pay to read the site’s best content. Well, in theory the best, although that does depend on whether the best writers choose to lock their content behind the site’s optional paywall. If Medium’s best writers opt to keep their feed open to the wider Internet, in practice the best content will still be free. Continue reading Has Medium.com Fixed Broken Publishing?