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Amateur research librarians

[...] Myspace. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest, of all things. Today these social publishing tools are beginning to buck reverse chronological sort; they’re introducing algorithm sort, to surface content not by time posted but by popularity, or expected interactions, based on individual and group history. There is even less control than ever before.

[...]

There are no more amateur research librarians.


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Matt Webb’s “Social Attention” prototype

Right now the web is either fully social, like when you’re collaborating in Google Docs, or it’s a solitary experience. There’s very little between. Yes you do sometimes get moments that are almost social, like when you read a product review on Amazon or a comment on a blog post, but it’s like walking into a room that somebody’s just left: there’s a note on the table, and the door on the far end is closing shut.

[...]

And yes, I know that Medium and Amazon Kindle share text highlights, but that happens only once it has been highlighted – I want something that lets you see life on the other side of the screen. Especially because it becomes suddenly more useful when you’re coordinating with someone else in a different channel. And, yes, of course there are more fully transparent systems like live cursors or annotations… but this is a blog and not a chatroom. I want the patina of fingerprints, the quiet and comfortable background hum of a library.


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The internet sucks

The internet sucks because people keep pretending that it's a vital utility that supports all government, industry and commerce instead of a place to make silly jokes and argue and make web pages about things you like. The internet was a nice little house party with you and two dozen friends and cool acquaintances. The air and the vibes had that quality to it that anything could happen. An orgy. An indie film. Getting hammered and doing insane stunts. Something magical. And then government agents busted in and jumped up on the tables demanding people use coasters and kept changing the playlist under gunpoint and media companies flooded it with shills trying to get people to try their products or sign up for horrible subscriptions and take pictures of everyone all the time. And then they started bussing everyone's parents in. And grandparents. And your boss. And then they locked the doors. That's the internet.

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