No matter where I go on the Internet, I feel like I am trapped in the “feed,” held down by algorithms that are like axes trying to make bespoke shirts out of silk. And no one illustrates it better than Facebook and Twitter, two more services that should know better, but they don’t. Fake news, unintelligent information and radically dumb statements are getting more attention than what matters. The likes, retweets, re-posts are nothing more than steroids for noise. Even when you are sarcastic in your retweets or re-shares, the system has the understanding of a one-year-old monkey baby: it is a vote on popularity.
It is common to refer to universally popular social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest as “walled gardens.” But they are not gardens; they are walled industrial sites, within which users, for no financial compensation, produce data which the owners of the factories sift and then sell. Some of these factories (Twitter, Tumblr, and more recently Instagram) have transparent walls, by which I mean that you need an account to post anything but can view what has been posted on the open Web; others (Facebook, Snapchat) keep their walls mostly or wholly opaque. But they all exercise the same disciplinary control over those who create or share content on their domain.
Professor Alan Jacobs makes the case for the indie web:
We need to revivify the open Web and teach others—especially those who have never known the open Web—to learn to live extramurally: outside the walls.
What do I mean by “the open Web”? I mean the World Wide Web as created by Tim Berners-Lee and extended by later coders. The open Web is effectively a set of protocols that allows the creating, sharing, and experiencing of text, sounds, and images on any computer that is connected to the Internet and has installed on it a browser that can interpret information encoded in conformity with these protocols.
This resonated strongly with me:
To teach children how to own their own domains and make their own websites might seem a small thing. In many cases it will be a small thing. Yet it serves as a reminder that the online world does not merely exist, but is built, and built to meet the desires of certain very powerful people—but could be built differently.
A good core experience is indicative of a well-structured web page, which, in turn, is usually a good sign for SEO and for accessibility. It’s usually a well designed web page, as the designer and developer have spent time and effort thinking about what’s truly core to the experience. Progressive enhancement means more robust experiences, with fewer bugs in production and fewer individual browser quirks, because we’re letting the platform do the job rather than trying to write it all from scratch.
Some colour palette inspiration from films.
Brendan shows how he uses IFTTT and a webhook to post to his own site from Instagram. I think I might set up something similar to post from Untappd to my own site.
If only our digital social networks were to exhibit this kind of faded grandeur when they no longer exist.
In the name of holy engagement, the native experience of products like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are moving away from giving people the ability to curate. They do this by taking control away from you, the user. By showing what other people liked, or by showing recommendations, without any way to turn it off, they prevent people from creating a better experience for themselves.
A beautiful piece of writing from Virginia Heffernan on how to cope with navigating the overwhelming tsunami of the network.
The trick is to read technology instead of being captured by it—to maintain the whip hand.
Jon’s been drawing a lunch note for his daughter every day since she was four years old. They are somewhat puntastic.
Jeffrey’s right. Instagram’s new deal with developers is openly hostile. It probably means the end of OwnYourGram in its current form …a service whose existence is frankly the only reason I’m able to use Instagram at all.
Jaime Caballero on Instagram: “Live blogging by @adactio. He almost didn’t make it for his 100 words challenge.”
When you’re out celebrating at the end of Responsive Day Out and realise it’s just a few minutes to midnight and you haven’t published your 100 words yet.
We got a sneak peak of this lovely little Instagram-powered projector from the guys at Mint Digital at last week’s Skillswap. “It’s not a wheel. It’s a carousel.”
Now you can back it on Kickstarter.
It’s all about the signalling.
A thoroughly addictive use of the Instagram API (along with Node.js and Socket.io): see a montage of images being taken in a city right now.
I like this simple idea, nicely executed: see Instagram photos taken near you.
I had exactly the same resistance to Instagram as Dan and I had exactly the same Yuletide conversion.
The world’s first mobile photography conference will take place in San Francisco on September 24th this year, featuring Dan Rubin, Jessica Zollman and more.
Jessica is gathering all her Instagram photos into one blog. She really has quite an incredible eye.