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Instagram Created a Monster: A No B.S. Guide to What's Really Going On
"Over the last few years Instagram became THE new way to advertise, and money got in the way, creating a toxic number game. Now getting our work seen without playing this game is becoming harder and harder. What once used to be about content and originality is now reduced to some meaningless algorithm dynamics, and whoever has the time and the cash to trick this system wins the game.

I’m sure many of you have no idea what goes on behind the scenes and I’m sure even fewer of you know that some of us are using Instagram as a business tool to help us make a living.

I’m writing this with a heavy heart, as I know I’m a huge hypocrite. I’ve been playing the game for the last 6 moths, and it made me miserable. I tried to play it as ethically as possible, but when you are pushed into a corner and gasping for air, sometimes you have to set ethical aside if you want to survive. But surviving doesn’t mean living, and the artist in me is desperate to feel alive again.

I still care about doing things right. So I think it’s time to stop the bulls**t, come clean, and tell you exactly what’s happening. I owe you that, because if I get to live the life I live today, if I get to do what I love the most — traveling, writing and making art — it’s also thanks to my followers!

So here’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth: a no bulls**t guide to what’s really going on!"



"Why Numbers Matter: Influencers and Advertising…

How It All Started…

How the Game is Played: Tricks to Get Followers and Engagement…
We Buy Followers, Likes, and Comments (I’m Not Guilty)…
We Follow/Unfollow, Like, and Comment on Random People (Partially Guilty)…
We Use Instagress and Co. (I’m Guilty)…
We Go to Instagram Spots (I’m Guilty)…
We Get Featured by Collective Accounts…
We Are Part of Comment Pods (I’m Guilty)…
The Best Kept Secret: The Instagram Mafia and Explorer Page (I’m Not Guilty)…"
instagram  algorithms  facebooks  2017  saramelotti  gamification  advertising  capitalism  latecapitalism  commerce  influence  popularity 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Uber’s ghost map and the meaning of greyballing | ROUGH TYPE
"The Uber map is a media production. It presents a little, animated entertainment in which you, the user, play the starring role. You are placed at the very center of things, wherever you happen to be, and you are surrounded by a pantomime of oversized automobiles poised to fulfill your desires, to respond immediately to your beckoning. It’s hard not to feel flattered by the illusion of power that the Uber map grants you. Every time you open the app, you become a miniature superhero on a city street. You send out a bat signal, and the batmobile speeds your way. By comparison, taking a bus or a subway, or just hoofing it, feels almost insulting.

In a similar way, a Google map also sets you in a fictionalized story about a place, whether you use the map for navigation or for searching. You are given a prominent position on the map, usually, again, at its very center, and around you a city personalized to your desires takes shape. Certain business establishments and landmarks are highlighted, while other ones are not. Certain blocks are highlighted as “areas of interest“; others are not. Sometimes the highlights are paid for, as advertising; other times they reflect Google’s assessment of you and your preferences. You’re not allowed to know precisely why your map looks the way it does. The script is written in secret.

It’s not only maps. The news and message feeds presented to you by Facebook, or Apple or Google or Twitter, are also stories about the world, fictional representations manufactured both to appeal to your desires and biases and to provide a compelling context for advertising. Mark Zuckerberg may wring his hands over “fake news,” but fake news is to the usual Facebook feed what the Greyball map is to the usual Uber map: an extreme example of the norm.

When I talk about “you,” I don’t really mean you. The “you” around which the map or the news feed or any other digitized representation of the world coalesces is itself a representation. As John Cheney-Lippold explains in his forthcoming book We Are Data, companies like Facebook and Google create digital versions of their users derived through an algorithmic analysis of the data they collect about their users. The companies rely on these necessarily fictionalized representations for both technical reasons (human beings can’t be computed; to be rendered computable, you have to be turned into a digital representation) and commercial reasons (a digital representation of a person can be bought and sold). The “you” on the Uber map or in the Facebook feed is a fake — a character in a story — but it’s a useful and a flattering fake, so you accept it as an accurate portrayal of yourself: an “I” for an I.

Greyballing is not an aberration of the virtual world. Greyballing is the essence of virtuality."

[via: https://tinyletter.com/audreywatters/letters/hewn-no-204 ]
mapping  maps  technology  self  simulacra  nicholascarr  via:audreywatters  greyballing  uber  ideology  fictions  data  algorithms  representation  news  facebooks  fakenews  cartography  business  capitalism  place  google 
march 2017 by robertogreco
Poe’s law explains why 2016 was so terrible.
"We will all remember 2016’s political theater for many reasons: for its exhausting, divisive election, for its memes both dank and dark, for the fact that the country’s first female presidential candidate won the popular vote by a margin of 2.8 million and still lost the election to an actual reality show villain.

But 2016 was also marked—besieged, even—by Poe’s law, a decade-old internet adage articulated by Nathan Poe, a commentator on a creationism discussion thread. Building on the observation that “real” creationists posting to the forum were often difficult to parse from those posing as creationists, Poe’s law stipulates that online, sincere expressions of extremism are often indistinguishable from satirical expressions of extremism.

A prominent example of Poe’s law in action is the March 2016 contest to name a British research vessel that cost almost $300 million. Participants railed—perhaps earnestly, perhaps jokingly—against the National Environment Research Council’s decision to reject the public’s overwhelming support for the name “Boaty McBoatface.” So too is the April spread of the “Trump Effect” Mass Effect 2 remix video, which resulted in then-candidate Donald Trump retweeting a video that may or may not have been a satirical effort to frame him as a xenophobic, fascist villain. June’s popular Harambe meme, in which a gorilla shot dead at the Cincinnati Zoo was embraced in the service of animal rights advocacy alongside Dadaist absurdity and straight-up racism, is another. In each case, earnest participation bled into playful participation, making it difficult to know exactly what was happening. A ridiculous joke? A pointed attack? A deliberate argument? Maybe all of the above?

The rise of the so-called alt-right—a loose amalgamation of white nationalists, misogynists, anti-Semites, and Islamophobes—provides a more sobering example of Poe’s law. White nationalist sentiments have metastasized into unequivocal expressions of hate in the wake of Trump’s electoral victory, but in the early days of the group, it was harder to tell. Participants even provided Poe’s law justifications when describing their behavior. A March 2016 Breitbart piece claimed the racism espoused by the “young meme brigades” swarming 4chan, Reddit, and Twitter was ironic play, nothing more, deployed solely to shock the “older generations” that encountered it. According to Breitbart, those propagating hate were no more genuinely bigoted than 1980s heavy metal fans genuinely worshiped Satan. The implication: First of all, shut up, everyone is overreacting, and simultaneously, do keep talking about us, because overreaction is precisely what we’re going for.

Perhaps the best illustration of this tension is Pepe the Frog, the anti-Semitic cartoon mascot of “hipster Nazi” white nationalism. The meme was ostensibly harnessed in an effort to create “meme magic” through pro-Trump “shitposting” (that is, to ensure a Trump victory by dredging up as much chaos and confusion as possible). But it communicated a very clear white supremacist message. The entire point was for it to be taken seriously as a hate symbol, even if the posters were, as they insisted, “just trolling”—a distinction we argue is ultimately irrelevant, since regardless of motivations, such messages communicate, amplify, and normalize bigotry. And normalized bigotry emboldens further bigotry, as Trump’s electoral victory has made painfully clear.

Poe’s law also played a prominent role in Facebook’s fake news problem, particularly in the spread of articles written with the cynical intention of duping Trump supporters through fabrication and misinformation. Readers may have passed these articles along as gospel because they really did believe, for example, that an FBI agent investigating Hillary Clinton’s private email server died mysteriously. Or maybe they didn’t believe it but wanted to perpetuate the falsehood for a laugh, out of boredom, or simply to watch the world burn. Each motive equally possible, each equally unverifiable, and each normalizing and incentivizing the spread of outright lies.

Hence the year’s plethora of outrageous election conspiracy theories—including the very false claim that Clinton was running a child sex trafficking ring out of Comet Ping Pong, a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant. Pizzagate, as the story came to be known, like so many of the stories animating this weirdest of all possible elections, has a direct link both to 4chan and r/The_Donald, another hotbed of highly ambivalent pro-Trump activity. It is therefore very likely that the conspiracy is yet another instance of pro-Trump shitposting. But even if some participants are “just trolling,” other participants may approach the story with deadly seriousness—seriousness that precipitated one Pizzagate crusader to travel from his home in North Carolina to Comet Ping Pong with an assault rifle in order to conduct his own investigation, by opening fire in the restaurant.

And then there was Trump himself, whose incessant provocations, insults, self-congratulations and straight-up, demonstrable lies have brought Poe’s law to the highest office of the land.

Take, for example, Trump’s incensed reactions to the casts of Hamilton and Saturday Night Live, his baseless assertion of widespread voter fraud (in an election he won), and his unconstitutional claim that flag-burners should be denaturalized or imprisoned. Are these outbursts designed to distract the press from his almost incomprehensibly tangled economic conflicts of interest? Is he just using Twitter to yell at the TV? Is he simply that unfamiliar with well-established constitutional precedent? Is he, and we say this with contempt, “just trolling”?

The same kinds of questions apply to Trump’s entrée into foreign policy issues. Did he honestly think the call he took from the president of Taiwan was nothing more than pleasantries? (His advisers certainly didn’t think so.) Does he sincerely not remember all the times Russian hacking was discussed—all the times he himself discussed the hacks—before the election? Does he truly believe the Russian hacking story is little more than a pro-Clinton conspiracy?

It’s unclear what the most distressing answers to these questions might be.

Poe’s law helps explain why “fuck 2016” is, at least according to the A.V. Club, this year’s “definitive meme.” Content subsumed by Poe’s law is inherently disorienting, not unlike trying to have an intense emotional conversation with someone wearing dark sunglasses. Not knowing exactly what you’re looking at, and therefore what to look out for, obscures how best to respond in a given moment. More vexingly, it obscures what the implications of that response might be.

Take Pizzagate. If proponents of the theory genuinely believe that Clinton is running an underage sex ring out of a Washington, D.C., pizza shop, it makes absolute sense to debunk the rumor, as often and as loudly as possible. On the other hand, if the story is a shitpost joke, even to just some of those perpetuating it, then amplification might ultimately benefit the instigators and further harm those caught in their crosshairs (in this case both literally and figuratively).

Further complicating this picture, each new instance of amplification online, regardless of who is doing the sharing, and regardless of what posters’ motivations might be, risks attracting a new wave of participants to a given story. Each of these participants will, in turn, have similarly inscrutable motives and through commenting on, remixing, or simply repeating a story might continue its spread in who knows what directions, to who knows what consequences.

As the above examples illustrate, the things people say and do online have indelible, flesh-and-blood implications (looking at you, Paul Ryan). Heading into 2017, it is critical to strategize ways of navigating a Poe’s law–riddled internet—particularly as PEOTUS mutates into POTUS.

One approach available to everyone is to forcefully reject the “just trolling,” “just joking,” and “just saying words” excuses so endemic in 2016. In a given context, you may be “just trolling,” “just joking,” or “just saying whatever,” because you have the profound luxury of dismissing the embodied impact of your words. It may also be the case that the people in your immediate circle might get the troll, or joke, or words, because they share your sense of humor and overall worldview.

But even if you and your immediate circle can decode your comments, your troll or joke or words can be swept into the service of something else entirely, for audiences who know nothing of the context and who have exactly zero interest in both your sense of humor and overall worldview.

In short, regardless of anyone’s self-satisfied “don’t blame me, I was just X-ing,” all actions online have consequences—at least the potential for consequences, intended or otherwise. So for god’s sake, take your own words seriously."
whitnetphillips  ryanmilner  fakenews  media  facebooks  google  extremism  nathanpoe  poe'slaw  creationism  satire  sarcasm  internet  memes  shitpoting  pepethefrog  conspiracytheories  conspiracy  discourse  twitter  socialmedia  news  newscycle  donaldtrump  2016 
january 2017 by robertogreco
No, You Don’t Have Free Speech Online - Pacific Standard
"The Sunlight Foundation’s “Politwoops” was one of the best things Twitter had going for it. The project scraped and archived Tweets posted by politicians who later deleted them, contending that these messages weren’t just in the public realm but were in the public interest (as statements made by elected officials). Despite running afoul of Twitter’s terms of service, the project ran for years until the social media company finally killed it last week.

Just a few weeks prior, right-wing blogger Chuck Johnson was booted from Twitter after months of sustained threats and harassment. While Johnson cried “free speech!,” Sunlight’s analysis was far more savvy.

“Our shared conversations are increasingly taking place in privately owned and managed walled gardens, which means that the politics that occur in such conversations are subject to private rules.”

“Twitter’s decision to pull the plug on Politwoops is a reminder of how the Internet isn’t truly a public square,” Sunlight Foundation president Christopher Gates wrote. “Our shared conversations are increasingly taking place in privately owned and managed walled gardens, which means that the politics that occur in such conversations are subject to private rules.”

[embedded tweet]

Despite the apparent obviousness of this, the “free speech” argument persists. So why won’t this die? Why won’t users on Twitter, Facebook, and other private platforms see that they’re hanging out in a business, not in a public square? Why don’t they want to?

When Facebook, Google, and others claimed to be free speech advocates after the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, their motivations were clear: It’s vital to their business models that we feel free, so that we give up as much personal data as possible. The survival of the social Web is predicated on ad sales organized around compiled user information, not on witty commentary. Twitter is an interesting place to talk about the news and receive rape threats between sponsored Gap ads, but it’s also a private place: It is only accountable to us insofar as we are its customers, and it doesn’t want (too many of) us to leave.

It’s vital to their business models that we feel free, so that we give up as much personal data as possible.

Did Twitter ban Chuck Johnson to better protect its other users? Maybe. Did Twitter ban Chuck Johnson because it was better for business than not banning Chuck Johnson? Definitely. When Twitter banned Sunlight’s Politwoops, it was also protecting a portion of its user base—one with more institutional power than Johnson’s victims.

We all seem to want it both ways. On one hand, we expect these walled gardens to protect us from invasive government spy programs, and we’re outraged when they don’t. On another, we expect them to act as a public utility, an arm of government, protecting our constitutional rights. But Twitter can ban whoever it wants. Twitter has no responsibility to free speech.

The libertarian spirit and ideology that founded and fostered the Internet is, in many ways, the same one that gave rise to its rapid commercialization. Private, user-friendly platforms are eating the open Internet—they’ve become synonymous with it, and, in some cases, even transcended it. They can be tremendous tools, but, as long as a bulk of our interpersonal communications are mediated by these businesses, our speech won’t be free. Laws protect platforms’ right to host or not to host our speech, whatever our speech may be. Ultimately, we’ve traded connectivity and convenience for the original populist promise of the Internet.

Now that we’ve entrusted our social contract to Twitter and Facebook, we are left without much recourse. We can complain. We can tell Twitter it is doing the wrong thing. We do this a lot. Maybe it will listen. But ultimately it’ll do the best thing for business. Enforcement in the walled gardens is capricious, but mostly it is capitalist.

Even libertarian Chuck Johnson doesn’t want to accept this. The “free speech” claims persist. And so I’ve started to read them less as a demand, and more as a dream. If Johnson and his supporters want Twitter to uphold “freedom of speech,” they should support turning it into an actual public utility—after all, we’re doing much to subsidize the industry as it is. I’d happily be a member of a nationalized Facebook, even if Chuck Johnson is there too."

[via: https://twitter.com/doingitwrong/status/609125305899425792

in response to my tweeting: “all social media tech converging on multi-media messaging (1to1, group, broadcast) aspiring to be *the* monopoly, resisting interoperability. time to declare social media as a utility (like phone lines), set standards, remove the data/phone distinction from mobile connections? This is surely not a novel idea, so any pointers to writing about this?” ]
internet  facebooks  walledgardens  internetasutiity  freespeech  proprietaryspaces  publicspace  commons  web  online  twitter  commercialization  publicgood  2015  susiecagle 
june 2015 by robertogreco
You Can't Fuck the System If You've Never Met One by Casey A. Gollan
"Part of the reason systems are hard to see is because they're an abstraction. They don't really exist until you articulate them.

And any two things don't make a system, even where there are strong correlations. Towns with more trees have lower divorce rates, for example, but you'd be hard-pressed to go anywhere with that.

However, if you can manage to divine the secret connections and interdependencies between things, it's like putting on glasses for the first time. Your headache goes away and you can focus on how you want to change things.

I learned that in systems analysis — if you'd like to change the world — there is a sweet spot between low and high level thinking. In this space you are not dumbfoundedly adjusting variables…nor are you contemplating the void.

In the same way that systems don't exist until you point them out…"

"This is probably a built up series of misunderstandings. I look forward to revising these ideas."

[Now here: http://caseyagollan.com/systems/
http://caseyagollan.com/systems/read/ ]
color  cooperunion  awareness  systemsawareness  binary  processing  alexandergalloway  nilsaallbarricelli  willwright  pets  superpokepets  superpoke  juliandibbell  dna  simulations  trust  hyper-educated  consulting  genetics  power  richarddawkins  generalizations  capitalism  systemsdesign  relationships  ownership  privacy  identity  cities  socialgovernment  government  thesims  sims  google  politics  facebooks  donatellameadows  sherryturkle  emotions  human  patterns  patternrecognition  systemsthinking  systems  2012  caseygollan  donellameadows 
march 2012 by robertogreco
Love in the time of Twitter « Snarkmarket
"there’s a rea­son why he called it the “Happy Days” era: the past he’s describ­ing isn’t really the past, but a 70s-era TV ver­sion of the past. Not even the past’s rep­re­sen­ta­tion of itself! For that, you’d have to see On the Water­front...It’s mem­ory as ide­ol­ogy, cre­ated...to sur­rep­ti­tiously win argu­ments about the present, espe­cially about social morés & gen­er­a­tional change. & the Happy Days era — the real one...reflected in the TV show like a fun­house mir­ror — was dri­ven by tech­no­log­i­cal & social change, too!"
change  generations  davidbrooks  tv  television  memory  revolution  technology  society  timcarmody  snarkmarket  teens  youth  facebooks  twitter  socialnetworking 
november 2009 by robertogreco

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