#the new inquiry
Every other time I go out to eat with a group, be it family, friends, or acquaintances of whatever age, conversation routinely plunges into a discussion of when it is appropriate to pull out a phone. People boast about their self-control over not checking their device, and the table usually reaches a self-congratulatory consensus that we should all just keep it in our pants. The pinnacle of such abstinence-only smartphone education is a game that is popular to talk about (though I’ve never actually seen it played) wherein the first person at the dinner table to pull out their device has to pay the tab. Everyone usually agrees this is awesome.
What a ridiculous state of affairs this is.
"The Facebook interface is filled with numbers. These numbers, or metrics, measure and present our social value and activity, enumerating friends, likes, comments, and more. Facebook Demetricator is a web browser addon that hides these metrics. No longer is the focus on how many friends you have or on how much they like your status, but on who they are and what they said. Friend counts disappear. ’16 people like this’ becomes ‘people like this’. Through changes like these, Demetricator invites Facebook’s users to try the system without the numbers, to see how their experience is changed by their absence. With this work I aim to disrupt the prescribed sociality these metrics produce, enabling a network society that isn’t dependent on quantification."
"Social (capital-S) is the fuel of Web 2.0, the so-called “participatory web” (as if ‘the web’ hasn’t always been participatory); it is a critical source of free labor, on which most social media business models depend. When so-called ‘friends’ converse or share content through social media platforms, they support a system that incentivizes other users to log in and participate as well. Each reciprocated and initiated piece of interaction prompts a user’s ‘friends’ to log in and respond, and thereby funnels free labor into an ever-expanding and potentially self-perpetuating supply of value-adding, business-sustaining new content. Critically, these Social interactions also generate the digital traces that make up social media’s Big Data, which many argue is the real product that social media companies produce."
Just look at that graph. On the one hand, you have all the social networks that you know. They’re about 43.5 percent of our social traffic. On the other, you have this previously unmeasured darknet that’s delivering 56.5 percent of people to individual stories. This is not a niche phenomenon! It’s more than 2.5x Facebook’s impact on the site.
Day after day, this continues to be true, though the individual numbers vary a lot, say, during a Reddit spike or if one of our stories gets sent out on a very big email list or what have you. Day after day, though, dark social is nearly always our top referral source.
This post. It is brilliant.
(via Dark Social: We Have the Whole History of the Web Wrong - Technology - The Atlantic)
"A person who is bored of Reddit, is a person who is bored of life."
So wrote Benji Lanyado in an email yesterday. His latest project, Reddit Edit, pulls the three most popular links from six of Reddit’s most popular sections (or Subreddits, as they’re called).
The Subreddits — Politics, Worldnews, Technology, Science, Pics and Reddit’s front page — each boast a large portion of the site’s community and, according to Lanyado, showcase the users’ extraordinary ability to discover news.
And that discovery is all Reddit Edit is — the articles, pictures, etc. that users are most interested in. The community is fueled by its discussion, but the discussion is about the incredible pieces that Reddit Edit gives you.
What differentiates Reddit from similar sharing hubs like, say, Twitter, is that links only become popular if they receive more upvotes than the rest of the flood. It has nothing to do with the uploader. It’s a user determined front page, and according to Benji:
The upvoting and downvoting means that a kind of natural selection happens on Reddit - you get a sense of what a large body of web consumers are interested in, rather than niche stories being pushed by individuals with large followings. On Reddit, all users are equal.
FJP: For another one of our talks with Benji, see here.
"If you don’t know the people, or don’t care, it’s probably not social media. It’s just media. It doesn’t matter if it’s created by an individual or a corporation."