Oh, I just realized I forgot to mention —
A little while ago Zack and I were honored to make a webcast for O’Reilly building off our well-regarded Strata talk.
It’s ello time. And now that we’re in day 2 of ello-mania, some smart articles are popping up.
My buddy Cayden has the so-far canonical synthesis of everything written so far, and he’s definitely on the right track in his analysis of ello:
With Ello positioned as the anti-Facebook, a door closes. Our imaginations are bound to the platform choices we’ve been presented with. We are locked into a politics of scarcity that is very unfamiliar to me on the internet. As I was remarking to a friend yesterday, the thing I’ve always loved about the internet was its anarchistic abundance, its sense of possibility. The thing that disturbs me the most deeply about positioning Ello versus Facebook is the way that abundance is foreclosed on.
This is all, obviously, striking a chord with me. And the whole facebook-exodus-in-a-teapot (I doubt many think this will lead to a real break on anyone’s part) raises the question: “Why not go back to the good old days of actual blogging?”
I sketched out a few ideas in my comment on the site, which I’m reproducing here:
Cayden, I think you’re on the right track on a lot of what you say. I especially like how you tied together the critique on funding (which should get a LOT more attention!), design, and privacy all together.
Your closing thought is also strong — wish you had taken a few more extra steps though! I wonder where you would have ended up.
As organizers, we are trained to think about power. When talking about the economy, when talking about interpersonal relationships, reading the news (“who benefits from this coming to light *now*?”), even when talking about literature or pop culture. That’s the mark of a good organizer — being able to see deeper. Yet when it comes to the ever-increasing part of our lives that is mediated through screens and processors, all too often we are faced with people’s tendency to shut down that part of their brain.
We know what the good solution to facebook would be — owning our own data. Writing comments directly on a blog post instead of on the facebook share linking to it. Placing our lives and content on servers and programs (wordpress, media goblin, rails, jekyll, etc) that we control. Shrinking the sphere of social media to sharing links to value instead of hosting value itself.
At least, that’s part of the solution. And something we can actually do now, without assuming a legion of technical help.
We do have the tools to break free. At least partially. Here’s hoping that Future Me spends more time over here, blogging in the independent democracy of Sahar’s Server, rather than over there, in the Facebook Fiefdom.
Right now I’m traveling the country, thinking about life, and doing a lot of blogging along the way.
You can find those posts at my tumblr: Persian Excursion — Sahar’s Adventure Log.
(If you’re visiting this from the future, this tag should cover the majority of the relevant posts: #PersianExcursion2014)
Clay Johnson wrote a small post introducing the concept of infoveganism a few years ago. I read it once. Then again. Then I talked a bunch about it with my friends. But I didn’t really take its advice.
The concept is pretty simple. If the information we consume was food, what would it be? Well, there’d be too much of it. And a lot would be crap. Instead, be picky! Reading “raw” (primary source) info, “healthy” (long-form, investigated pieces), etc. Also exercise by writing, videographing, etc.
The analogy is pretty good, as far as it goes. Not sure you can string that insight out to an entire book, but I haven’t read it, so who knows?
So, time to create! (Or, write about the intention to write. So meta-circular. Blech!)
I spread myself out over many blog-like services;
adding a new one here seems silly. EDIT: Oh wait I guess I’m blogging here too now.
Here are a few ways you can get a version of the Sahar blogging experience:
Twitter: One of the most unguarded places to find me – but also infrequently updated.
Facebook: Where I most frequently document my life as lived.
Tumblr – Sahar’s Adventure Log: The one place where I write whatever I want, without worrying about audience. Infrequently updated.
Google Plus is so new that I’m not sure how I will use it. Time will tell.
Innermost Parts: The Brandeis activist blog. I wrote there every day for years. I rarely hang out there any more, especially since graduation, but it has the most diversity, thoughtful moments, passionate writing, and sheer volume of any venue.
I also love Instapaper. I don’t know how to post a link to my account on Instapaper, but I’d love to be Instapaper friends with you.
So you can see why I do not intend to spend that much time writing on this, a sixth blog-like hangout. I hope this directory helped!
This whole website is an experiment. Can I use WordPress as a content-management system, instead of just a blogging platform?
Seems like it.
I’m not sure what sort of blog content to put here. Personal stuff? “Deep thoughts?”