Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Facebook is killing the open web?

Hossein Derakshan says Facebook and Instagram are creating bubbles of personal comfort:
Zuckerberg killed links (and the web) because he has created a space that is more like the future of television rather than the internet. Unlike what he preaches, Facebook has divided us into small personal bubbles of comfort. We don’t need to do anything, but to swipe with our thumbs (soon even that wouldn’t be necessary with eyeball detection systems).
All the videos, images, and articles we see in our newsfeeds are picked for us based on our habits, based on our previous likes and reshares, which have taught Facebook about our preferences. Naturally, most of us only like what or who we agree with, and Facebook therefore rarely upsets, challenges, or surprises us.
While Zuckerberg laments at walls and admires bridges, the fact is that his Facebook algorithms have created billions of these comfort bubbles that are even more isolating than walls. Also, he has destroyed the most powerful bridges that perhaps ever existed in the human history, the hyperlinks.
Remember AOL, Compuserve, and Prodigy? Those services dominated the internet back in the early 90's. You paid a monthly subscription fee, and they provided internet access along with their own content feeds: news, stocks, weather, forums, etc. You could reach the early Web, but only after passing their portals.

Two things changed that: the spread of local ISP's, and the Netscape browser. ISP competition lowered subscription prices and increased innovation. Having a cheap browser meant people could break away from the big ISP's portals. They could go anywhere on the Web (even AOL's and Compuserve's sites).

That's about the time that content creation took off as well.

I agree with Derakshan that Facebook is a bad deal, for many of the same reasons those early service providers were a bad deal. But Facebook has something they didn't: networking.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Stunning Stupidity from Salon

How deep in the echo chamber do you have to be to publish this? Unbelievable.

Note: that tweet from Salon was published Dec 16, a full five weeks before President-Elect Trump will be inaugurated.

When Limbaugh, Hannity, etc. say something stupid, you file it away and remember. Then when they say or write something that you're inclined to agree with, you remember the stupid things they've said and you pause to reflect. You take time to examine what's been said, to make sure it really is good and that you really do agree with it.

Or you don't, and you go ahead and pass on whatever stupid nonsense you encounter. Like Salon.

Hat tip Instapundit.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Trump Talks to Celebrities

President-Elect Trump is talking to lots of celebrities. What's that about?

If attention is what Trump wants, it’s certainly what he’s getting. None of these people are experts in the fields he’s asked them to speak on, but they’re sure bets as far as drumming up news posts. The media is much more eager to cover Trump’s transition activities when they involve celebrities — a simple Google search for “Trump Kanye” will pull up hundreds of news articles from just the last few hours. Perhaps the closest a political meeting has come to the media frenzy of celeb spottings is former Vice President Al Gore, who fittingly will debut a sequel to his climate change documentary at Sundance next month.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Laugh Out Loud, Soulless Hacks Edition

Ryan Cooper writes (The Week) that Democrats need fewer soulless hacks and more true believers:
The narrowness of Hillary Clinton's stunning loss to Donald Trump — especially given the fact that she actually won the popular vote by 2.5 million and rising — has led many liberals to conclude that the Democratic Party only needs a slight adjustment to win future presidential elections. A better candidate, a more competent campaign, or a more credible message on economic issues — any one of them might have kept the presidency in Democratic hands.
There are many things the party must do to rebuild. Here's one more to add to the growing list: The Democrats need a better breed of operative. 
He goes on to describe how Rahm Emanuel and David Brock have abandoned liberal principles in favor of soulless political partisanship. True enough, but then goes on to say this about Terry McAuliffe, Governor of Virginia and close Clinton confidante:
This is a guy so obsessed with party politics that he once left his wife and hours-old infant in the car while he dropped in on a fundraiser. (He's also got a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease.) Yet as governor, he has worked diligently to get ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion in his state, and more importantly, used his pardon power to restore voting rights to 13,000 ex-felons...[H]e is one of only a handful of the Democratic old guard who seems to grasp that sometimes doing the morally right thing (on the advice of left-wing activists, no less) is also smart tactics. Re-enfranchising felons not only guarantees Democrats several thousand votes come election time, it also lends the party extra credibility among black voters (Virginia is 20 percent black) on the most pressing racial justice issue of the day, and among white liberals in the D.C. suburbs. 
Hang on: leaving your family for a fundraiser makes you a true liberal? And enfranchising felons so they'll vote Democrat, that's a liberal principle too? And McAuliffe, a bought and paid for Clinton partisan, is supposed to be a true believer? In what?!

Remember when liberals cared more about people than politics? Yeah, me neither.