1. 140 character assassination
In the earliest days of the internet, we thought we had a pretty good idea of how openness, public discourse, and transparency would impact society. And, other than our prediction that cat photos would be a hit, we were pretty much wrong about everything. In the NYT, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams considers the gulf between what we expected and what we got: “The trouble with the internet, Mr. Williams says, is that it rewards extremes. Say you’re driving down the road and see a car crash. Of course you look. Everyone looks. The internet interprets behavior like this to mean everyone is asking for car crashes, so it tries to supply them.”
+ Williams even apologized for the role Twitter has had in enabling hate speech and potentially contributing to the results of the 2016 election: “It’s a very bad thing, Twitter’s role in that. If it’s true that he wouldn’t be president if it weren’t for Twitter, then yeah, I’m sorry.” I’m no tech apologist, but blaming Twitter for Donald Trump is like blaming the ocean for Jaws. Here’s my take: Don’t Blame Twitter.
+ The extent to which Facebook must police its content provides a troubling glimpse into the kinds of the things people choose to share. From The Guardian: Facebook’s internal rulebook on sex, terrorism and violence. (Content moderators even have guidelines on how to deal with posts related to cannibalism.)
+ “What really puts the lack of segregation on the internet in perspective is comparing it to segregation in other parts of our lives.” An interesting take from Seth Stephens-Davidowitz in Wired: Maybe the Internet Isn’t Tearing Us Apart After All.