Too Much Music: A Failed Experiment In Dedicated Listening – NPR

James Jackson Toth (NPR):

Missing from a larger discussion is the radical idea that maybe it is the consumers who are being done the greatest disservice, and that this access-bonanza may be cheapening the listening experience by transforming fans into file clerks and experts into dilettantes. I don’t want my musical discoveries dictated by a series of intuitive algorithms any more than I want to experience Jamaica via an all-inclusive trip to Sandals.

Fine, call it nostalgia but I am firmly in the access-to-music-is-too-easy-to-appriciate-properly camp, even though Toth discovers something a bit different here. I suspect his experiment was flawed.

Oh good, another “I’m quitting _______” post

I want to love Instagram. Really. It’s the least toxic of the big social networks and it’s mostly photography-centric. My problem with Instagram isn’t the content. My problem is with the feed. I don’t like it. In fact I don’t like it to the point of quitting the whole thing.

I get it, we’re beyond the halcyon days of reverse-chronological timelines on any significant social network, but good grief I can’t make heads or tails of what Instagram is feeding me (see this article for a few examples.)

They also seem to have ramped up the number of ads to every-half-dozen-posts-is-an-ad levels.

And their API is still read-only so you can get stuff out but can’t put stuff in via any method other than their own tools (with exceptions).

I’m out.

I know, I know, this has happened before but I’m doing it (and writing it down) anyway. After all, it’s not like I don’t have any perfectly fine image sharing options. Let’s see…

You get the idea.

It’s hard to not be where everyone else is, so who knows how long this will last, but it’s worth another attempt so here we go.

Lost in Translation (why smart speakers are often more useful than the assistant built into your phone) – BirchTree

Matt Birchler:

Meanwhile, a stationary voice assistant is always in the same place and is always ready to respond to requests. There is no extra thought that needs to go into a request like this, you just ask away. It’s easy.

This is exactly why I prefer the Echo-on-a-shelf to Siri-on-a-device in every case except when I’m not at home. I just ask a question and get an answer.

Friends vs Followers on Micro.blog

If I’m honest, the reason I originally backed and then joined Micro.blog by Manton Reese is that I enjoy tinkering with new platforms and social networks. I try them all. Manton’s ideas about “owning your content” and the hooks into IndieWeb ideas were just icing.

I came for the novelty, but stayed because it’s become my favorite place to be.

@Smokey’s recent post, Two Weeks with Micro.blog, had me nodding in agreement throughout. He lists some great reasons to enjoy being part of the Micro.blog community.

Beyond Smokey’s spot-on list, I’d like to point out a feature of Micro.blog that is so small it’s easy to overlook; There’s no way to know how many followers other people have. This may seem trivial, or even an oversight, but I’m convinced that it’s a critical component of Micro.blog. It is for me, anyway.

Years ago on Twitter, I would use follower counts as an indicator of authority or perhaps as a way to gauge someone’s impact on a community or topic. With so many followers, he or she must have useful or interesting things to say, right? That probably wasn’t a great way to think about follower counts even then, but it worked as often as not.

Today however, it’s become about gaming the system. High follower counts on social networks only demonstrate an ability to gain followers. Not useful. This leads to replies on Twitter feeling like nothing more than desperate grabs for attention.

On Micro.blog, replies feel like a conversation with a person. Imagine that.

I check Micro.blog many times a day, but not for entertainment or to see how many faves I’ve gotten. I do it to see what my friends are up to.

It may be presumptuous to call the people I follow on Micro.blog “friends”, since I don’t actually know any of them, but I can’t think of a better word. I certainly don’t call them “followers”.

I’m not leaving Twitter – yet

Om Malik, “The Internet of Love”:

I share these stories, not to laud these individuals, but as a way to remind us that the web we had before the madness and monetization of relationships began, is still around. We don’t need to focus on the negative, and instead try to use the social web, by being accountable to each other. All it takes is one to focus on how to be good to each other on the Internet – not by shouting, but by helping and encouraging absolute strangers.

And earlier:

The random acts of kindness that made Internet so beautiful and magical still exist.

I know I’m supposed to hate Twitter–and some days I do–but mostly I love Twitter. I have whittled down the people and companies I follow to those who generally share positive, funny, interesting, or useful things. My follower count is low enough that I’m not terribly susceptible to trolls.

As it stands my experience on Twitter is mostly positive as long as I don’t wander too far into the weeds. I understand that as a white male my odds of being piled on or harassed is drastically lower than for many others.

So, as someone who seems to have finally found a balance and uses Twitter for discovery, entertainment, and local news, should I delete Twitter on principal? Am I being insensitive or selfish by “perpetuating an atmosphere of harassment and hate”? Am I simply rationalizing an addiction? Can I quit any time I want?

I don’t know. I’m just thinking out loud here.

If I listen to people on non-Twitter (or more accurately, anti-Twitter) social networks, I’m part of the problem by simply having an account. That feels unfair. I’ve made a concerted effort to be positive and helpful whenever I post something. One could argue that I’m protesting by “being the change I want to see in the world” but that’s probably stretching it a bit.

I hate that Twitter has become such a garbage pile for so many. It’s terrible what people are subjected to for just voicing an opinion. It’s scary that it’s being used by buffoons in a way that puts us at risk of nuclear war. It’s disappointing that Twitter’s leadership seems to be flailing about, unable or unwilling to fix the most serious problems.

Yet, I continue to learn, discover, laugh, share, and interact with interesting and generally wonderful people on Twitter every day.

There may come a time, possibly soon, when it’s no longer sustainable for me to remain a participant. I admit that there is a certain amount of guilt and anger associated with Twitter. But now that I’ve curated things sufficiently and cut back my time there dramatically, these feelings remain mostly at a low level. Background noise.

I like the idea of quitting Twitter. Quite often I consider quitting on principle alone. There are times I think I’m simply addicted to the stream of new stuff that keeps me from having to do real things.

On the other hand, for me, the beauty and magic Om mentions is still there. I’ll be staying. For now.