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Business Social Media Tech

‘Everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance’

An illustration of data passing through the web

“Another flaw in human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance,” said Kurt Vonnegut.

Everybody’s wants to start something, but rarely do they want to maintain it.

The problem in growing at no costs is that it obviates purpose and integrity. Instead of leading by example, the race to the bottom unearths the highest greed. Few win, more lose.

That’s the lesson of Facebook, the so-called ‘behavior modification empire.

The social network cut corners on data collection to make another buck. No Facebook: We will not answer any more questions “to help people get to know us.” Just replace the word “people” with the attention merchants.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal was the nudge Facebook needed to become more accountable. Seizing the data of others and building on top of it contorts the machinery of morality. 

The selfish reason to be ethical is that it attracts the other ethical people in the network.

Naval Ravikant

So now Facebook is all about the privacy game because it’s good for business. But just wait until Instagram becomes the victim of data exploitation.

Sometimes the genie of innovation requires that the master purveyor gets slapped again and again until it gets it right.

The seesaw tilts back to the morals of vision over avarice, eventually.

gif by Matthew Butler

Categories
Life & Philosophy Social Media Tech Video

Slow appeal 🐢

Conventional wisdom says that we should emphasize speed over power. After all, he who runs the fastest wins the race.

But life is a marathon, not a sprint. Malcolm Gladwell once said proper books should take at least two years to write: “We need to be a little bit more tortoise-y and a little less hare-ish.”

“We need to be a little bit more tortoise-y and a little less hare-ish.”

Malcolm Gladwell

The era of ‘move fast and break things’ has led to a poor product. Once the darling of Silicon Valley, Facebook transformed a nemesis of democracy for permitting fake news to spread between echo chambers and the darkest of tribes.

What if instead of rushing to the finish and shipping clickbait disguised as a morally inferior product, we thought through the ramifications of greed-inspired releases. The reality is that a good consumer-friendly product takes time to build.

Testing and learning are indispensable. The extra time also allows ideas to simmer, to attract feedback, and to be revised all the while moving forward in progression.

The principle of do small things, slowly is best illustrated in the video below. The aim is consistency and experience, not the 100-meter dash.

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Cool Products Productivity & Work Tech

Firing Table: Grow your Instagram account organically

firing-table-logo-vector-09
$29.95 per month gets you your own Instagram account management

Instagram users spend as much time on the app as they do on Facebook. Some even predict that Instagram will be as big as Facebook in the next five years with over 2 billion users.

If you’re a business, an influencer, or just want to get your work seen, you need to be actively publishing and engaging on Instagram. But if you’re like me, you either don’t have the time nor want to waste all your energy poking at the mobile screen while your primary focus should be scheduling awesome content. That’s why I recommend outsourcing that labor, not to bots, but to real people.

Firing Table is a service that grows Instagram accounts quickly and organically. They interact within designated parameters 24 hours a day on behalf of their clients. This constant interaction leads to more exposure and in turn more followers and interaction for businesses. And they do all of this based on information given to us at signup so the users that are seeing your account are relevant.

Customers can grow accounts by up to 100 followers per day. These are all real people who choose to follow and interact.

The service is $29.95 per month and customers can cancel anytime you want. Don’t buy Instagram followers. Grow your account organically instead.

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE SEE THE DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

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Social Media Tech

ORCAA, a logo to certify organic algorithms

Her latest project ORCAA, O’Neil Risk Consulting and Algorithmic Auditing, offers services to companies that promise to maintain a more honest algorithm that unlike Facebook, doesn't sacrifice private data to maximize revenue.

“The internet is a propaganda machine,” writes author Cathy O’Neil in her book Weapons of Math Destruction where she criticizes the algorithms which have come to disrupt society and politics.

Her latest project ORCAA, O’Neil Risk Consulting and Algorithmic Auditing, offers services to companies that promise to maintain a more honest algorithm that unlike Facebook, doesn’t sacrifice private data to maximize revenue.

“People don’t really check that things are working,” she tell Fast Company. “They don’t even know how to ask the question.”

For the logo, Cathy O’Neil requested the designer Katie Falkenberg make it look “fat and fierce.” I think they just about nailed it.

Right now, the seal is a simple ring design with ORCAA’s killer whale logo and text that reads, “Algorithm audited for accuracy, bias, and fairness,” with the date. Falkenberg hopes to one day update it so it gets timestamped from the date it’s uploaded to a company’s website. Because algorithms are constantly changing, Falkenberg wants the seal to let users know when an algorithm was last certified. O’Neil says algorithms should be regularly audited–perhaps once every two years or so, depending on the complexity of the code. Falkenberg also hopes to link the seal to O’Neil’s website so users can understand exactly what it means when they see it.

Categories
Social Media Tech

One giant leak

gif via konczakowski/giphy

We are lemmings with big network effects. As products, we exchange our data for lost attention, down into a rabbit hole of distraction.

Are we not plankton?

Like plankton, we are the source of food advertisers thrive on. The ocean and other animals reap all the profit. No quid pro quo, a fat frenzy.

Social media has the power to cut through the rational person by spamming their emotions. Weak ties, we are suckers for false news because it’s more exciting and shareable.

We never worry about privacy until it’s too late. The dopamine of messages, likes, and ads are damn too intoxicating.

Categories
Tech Video

Zeynep Tufekci: We’re building a dystopia just to make people click on ads

Are we selling our souls for ads?

Technosociologist Zeynep Tufecki seems to think so. The Cambridge Analytica-Facebook debacle demonstrates the Wild West of data exploitation.

Facebook can’t pin the blame on the machine-optimizing algorithms. It’s humans who are responsible for managing the equations and policing validity.  A recent study also proved that it is humans, not bots, that spread fake news.

Data is the new oil

Even worse, says Tufecki, the precedent sets the stage for those in power to leverage data to their own advantage:

We’re building this infrastructure of surveillance authoritarianism merely to get people to click on ads. And this won’t be Orwell’s authoritarianism. This isn’t [easyazon_link identifier=”0452284236″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]”1984.”[/easyazon_link] Now, if authoritarianism is using overt fear to terrorize us, we’ll all be scared, but we’ll know it, we’ll hate it and we’ll resist it.

But if the people in power are using these algorithms to quietly watch us, to judge us and to nudge us, to predict and identify the troublemakers and the rebels, to deploy persuasion architectures at scale and to manipulate individuals one by one using their personal, individual weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and if they’re doing it at scale through our private screens so that we don’t even know what our fellow citizens and neighbors are seeing, that authoritarianism will envelop us like a spider’s web and we may not even know we’re in it.

Tufecki paints the picture of a haunting dystopia at our doorstep. And it’s the social networks, which started off so benign that may be opening the maw of hell.