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Communicating and marketing online

Tips, tools, and insights into
blogs, social media (Facebook, Google, Twitter),
cloud computing, podcasts, ezines, survey tools and online games

Social media, generally
***Social media giants as monopolies--er, superpowers

Social media groups for writers, editors, journalists, etc.
Bots, trolls, and fake news, likes, followers, and inflluencers, etc.

Artificial intelligence, ChatGPT 

Alexa, Echo, and other intelligent voice control system (IVCSs)
Blogs and blogging, resources for
Blogging platforms
Blogging effectively
Cloud computing and cloud services
Content management systems and software (CMS)
Content marketing, native advertising, sponsored posts, etc.
Content curators and content aggregators (pro and con)
Designing a better user experience (UX)
Facebook 101
The Facebook Papers
"Free internet" means what?
Games (and puzzles) to play online
Google (see several entries below)
LinkedIn's power
Making money doing podcasts
Mastodon (an alternative to Twitter?)
Open source intelligence (OSINT)
Podcasts and podcasting
RSS readers, feed aggregators & other devices for keeping track of favorite blogs etc.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Social networking platforms (alternatives to Twitter)
Spotify and subscription models, music, podcasts, live audio, ads
Twitter (now known as X)
Video essays
Web 2.0 Top Tools and Resources
(browse through this very miscellaneous section)

See also
Newsletters to grow your audience
Really good talk shows
The good radio talk shows and podcasts
Great search links
Search Engines, Tools, and Indexes
Making the most of Google searches
Browsers and search engines, explained
Library sites and portals
Fact-checking sites
Marketing, Publicity, and Promotion (the "advanced" section)
Book news, reviews, and author interviews
Books for writers and editors
Social networking for book lovers
Google, Facebook, Apple, and BookBub ads
Google book settlement

"Each time we dispatch an email in one way or another, we feel a sense of accomplishment, and our brain gets a dollop of reward hormones telling us we accomplished something . . . But remember, it is the dumb, novelty-seeking portion of the brain driving the limbic system that induces this feeling of pleasure, not the planning, scheduling, higher-level thought centers in the prefrontal cortex."

~Daniel J. Levitin in The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload

To those of us who have made a living doing traditional reporting, writing, or editing, this whole new world of marketing "content" rather than "writing" sometimes feels like crass commercialism. One of the easiest passive ways of making money online, for example, is affiliate programs, where if I send a potential buyer to your site, and they buy, you give me a commission on the sale. This opens up whole new ethical dilemmas for reviewers: Do I recommend X, which is excellent, or Y, from which I get a cut, or Z, which offers a bigger cut? Egads. Do I send a potential book buyer to the local independent bookstore, which is struggling to survive and deserves every author's support? Or to Amazon.com (from which I get a few cents for providing a link to a book that gets purchased, and which has mastered fulfillment, and which has a super database--but is behaving like a greedy gorilla in the marketplace)? Or to the author's website, whether or not the author is offering an affiliate fee, because the author will make more selling the book directly than from collecting royalties? Or just provide the name and let the book buyer google for a provider? For writers, who are not usually good marketing people, the options are mind-boggling. What would James Joyce do? And that's just with books, which may be disappearing anyway, as us old book lovers die off.

Here are some links to resources or explanations. For example, if you want to sell a PDF version of your very useful "100 ways to salvage your burnt dinner," you might check out eSellerate or Clickbank, who can handle sales and send you a check every now and then.

The survey and scheduling tools are particularly useful, and for small groups are usually free. With Doodle, for example, you can ask a group of 60 to indicate which of five dates would best suit them for a meeting (plus other kinds of choices). The free basic version of survey software such as SurveyMonkey and Zoomerang typically allows you to create a survey with a few questions and (say) no more than 100 responses, and view the results for a short time. You could use this to collect course evaluations, among other possibilities. For more questions, more complex sorting of results, and the ability to export results and add your own branding, you pay.  There's also a new section on helpful artificial intelligence (AI) tools.

Tell me your experiences with these vendors and ways of making money online, and let me know of anyone or anything useful I've left out. I'm going to take recommendations here not from vendors but from writers and editors who have actually used these tools or resources and find them worth considering.

-- Pat McNees (email pat at patmcnees dot com) or leave a message at Contact (above).

 Artificial intelligence and ChatGPT
and Dall-E and ?

Where are we taking them? Where are they taking us?


AI is shorthand for Artificial intelligence

GPT stands for "generative pre-trained transformer"


OSINT is open source intelligence

See mini-section for OSINT, below.

Websites to Keep Up with AI News! (Novak, Medium)

Top websites for cutting-edge AI news and insights. Click here for brief reviews of the following:
---AI News
---MIT Technology Review
---IEEE Spectrum
---AI Business
---VentureBeat AI
---AI Weekly

A few more places to read about advances in artificial intelligence:
Spotlight on Artificial Intelligence (NY Times stories)

• ""The human mind is not, like ChatGPT and its ilk, a lumbering statistical engine for pattern matching, gorging on hundreds of terabytes of data and extrapolating the most likely conversational response or most probable answer to a scientific question."

   "Let's stop calling it Artificial Intelligence and call it what it is: sophisticated high-tech plagiarism...glorified autofill."

   "It doesn't create anything, just copies existing works from artists and alters them sufficiently to escape copyright laws. It's the largest theft of property since Native American lands by European settlers. " ~ Noam Chomsky, YouTube video, Noam Chomsky Says ChatGPT Is a Form of “High-Tech Plagiarism” (Jessica Stewart, My Modern Met) and Noam Chomsky: The False Promise of ChatGPT (NY Times, 3-8-23)
The latest developments in AI, simplified. (Morning Brew; subscribe, free) Summarizes the most important stories across AI, tech, & business in a quick, digestible newsletter.

ChatGPT Tutorial – A Crash Course on Chat GPT for Beginners (Adrian Twarog, 35-minute video). Excellent overview.
5 Things To Know About ChatGPT (The Center for Teaching and Learning, Generative AI Tools and Resources, University of Texas at Austin) What is ChatGPT? How does it work? Why is ChatGPT significant? What are the downsides? Where is ChatGPT going? What are the implications for instructors?

In the age of AI, computer science is no longer the safe major.
The Listener’s Bill of Rights in the Age of AI (Masters of Scale) A proposed industry guide for AI in audio. Four main principles:
     The right to know when a host’s or guest’s voice has been synthesized or cloned using AI tools.
     The right to know when a speaker’s words have been altered using AI tools, for clarity and accuracy.
     The right to know when a large language model (LLM) such as ChatGPT has been used to generate a significant portion of a podcast script.
     The right to know when any voice heard in the content of a podcast does not come from the human associated with it, but has been generated using a text-to-voice or voice-to-voice AI platform.
Your newsroom needs an AI ethics policy. Start here. (Kelly McBride, Poynter, 3-25-24) Until we create standards around artificial intelligence — even though it’s early in the game — we are holding back innovation
--- Template for a basic newsroom generative AI policy (Poynter)
Insight - Amazon scraps secret AI recruiting tool that showed bias against women (Jeffrey Dastin, Reuters, 10-10-18)
Google apologizes for ‘missing the mark’ after Gemini generated racially diverse Nazis (The Verge, 2-21-24) Generative AI has a history of amplifying racial and gender stereotypes — but Google’s apparent attempts to subvert that are causing problems, too.

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OpenAI plans to announce Google search competitor on Monday, sources say (Anna Tong, Reuters, 5-10-24) Bloomberg and the Information have reported that Microsoft (MSFT.O)-backed OpenAI is working on a search product to potentially compete with Alphabet's (GOOGL.O) Google, and with Perplexity, a well-funded AI search startup.
The Intelligence Illusion: A practical guide to the business risks of Generative AI a Kindle book by Baldur Bjarnason. Dave Kramer: "Accessible for anyone who’s spent more than 15 minutes with a clueless executive or myopic developer (or, frankly, engaged with any of the technological “disruptions” of the past two decades), Bjarnason rigorously unpacks the many risks involved with the most popular use cases being promoted by unscrupulous executives. He brings plenty of receipts to support his observations, too, while also spotlighting areas where this technology might have legitimate potential for good. Highly recommended!"
The possibilities and perils of AI in the health insurance industry: An explainer and research roundup (Rachel Layne, Journalist's Resource, 6-4-24) US states are starting to form policy rules for the use of AI among health insurers. We’ve created this guide to help journalists understand the nascent regulatory landscape. Meanwhile, major health insurers Humana, Cigna, and UnitedHealth all face lawsuits alleging that the companies improperly developed algorithms that guided AI programs to deny health care. The suit against Cigna followed a ProPublica story revealing

---How Cigna Saves Millions by Having Its Doctors Reject Claims Without Reading Them (Patrick Rucker, The Capitol Forum, and Maya Miller and David Armstrong, ProPublica, 3-25-23) The class action suits against United Health and Humana followed an investigative series by STAT, in which reporters revealed that multiple major health insurers had used secret internal rules and flawed algorithms to deny care.
---Research: Artificial intelligence can fuel racial bias in health care, but can mitigate it, too (Julia Sklar, Journalist's Resource, 7-11-22) While some algorithms do indeed exacerbate inequitable medical care, other algorithms can actually close such gaps, a growing body of research shows.
The Generative AI Copyright Fight Is Just Getting Started (Gregory Barber, Wired, 12-7-23) The Authors Guild and other artists’ groups say that it's unfair to train AI algorithms on their work without permission. Tech companies generally argue that it counts as “fair use.” Book authors, artists, and coders are challenging the practice of teaching AI models to replicate their skills using  their own work as a training manual.
      "The debate centers on the billions of works underpinning the impressive wordsmithery of tools like ChatGPT, the coding prowess of Github’s Copilot, and artistic flair of image generators like that of startup Midjourney. Most of the works used to train the underlying algorithms were created by people, and many of them are protected by copyright."
Sam Altman Is Full Of S--t (Ed Zitron's Where's Your Ed At, 5-21-24) Read about the recent drama involving Sam Altman, OpenAI, and actress Scarlett Johansson. Given OpenAI’s willingness to steal content from the wider web to train its AIs, for which it’s currently facing multiple lawsuits from individual authors and media conglomerates alike, it’s hardly a giant leap to assume that they'd steal a person’s voice, which seems to be what it did when OpenAI debuted a voice assistant inspired — or not, as the case may be — by Scarlett Johansson in the movie Her, where she voiced an AI.    

     Do read the story. On Monday,"The Verge reported that OpenAI had been 'in conversations' with Johansson's representatives. Yet a mere half an hour later, Johansson told NPR in a statement that she'd been solicited twice — once in September, and once two days before the announcement — to bring her voice to ChatGPT, something she'd declined to do, and on hearing the demo, she chose to retain legal counsel and forced Altman and OpenAI to pull down the voice."

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Franzen, Grisham and Other Prominent Authors Sue OpenAI (Alexandra Alter and Elizabeth A. Harris, NY Times, 9-20-23) The suit, filed with the Authors Guild, accuses the A.I. company of infringing on authors’ copyrights, claiming it used their books to train its ChatGPT chatbot. More than a dozen authors, including John Grisham, Jonathan Franzen and Elin Hilderbrand, filed a lawsuit against OpenAI, accusing the company, which has been backed with billions of dollars in investment from Microsoft, of infringing on their copyrights by using their books to train its popular ChatGPT chatbot.

      “The success and profitability of OpenAI are predicated on mass copyright infringement without a word of permission from or a nickel of compensation to copyright owners,” the complaint said.
Every Elephant Has Its Own Name, Study Suggests (Kate Golembiewski, NY Times, 6-10-24) An analysis of elephant calls using an artificial intelligence tool suggests that the animals may use and respond to individualized rumbles.
Tracking AI-enabled Misinformation: 957 ‘Unreliable AI-Generated News’ Websites (and Counting), Plus the Top False Narratives Generated by Artificial Intelligence Tools (McKenzie Sadeghi, Lorenzo Arvanitis, Virginia Padovese, Giulia Pozzi, Sara Badilini, Chiara Vercellone, Macrina Wang, Jack Brewster, Natalie Huet, Zack Fishman, Leonie Pfaller, and Natalie Adams, NewsGuard, 6-10-24) NewsGuard has so far identified 957 AI-generated news and information sites operating with little to no human oversight, and is tracking false narratives produced by artificial intelligence tools. Links to various reports.
The Authors Guild, John Grisham, Jodi Picoult, David Baldacci, George R.R. Martin, and 13 Other Authors File Class-Action Suit Against OpenAI (Press release, 9-20-23) This suit highlights the particularly egregious harm to the fiction market. For fiction writers, OpenAI’s unauthorized use of their work is identity theft on a grand scale. Fiction authors create entirely new worlds from their imaginations—they create the places, the people, and the events in their stories.
WildChat The WildChat Dataset is a corpus of 1 million real-world user-ChatGPT interactions, characterized by a wide range of languages and a diversity of user prompts. It was constructed by offering free access to ChatGPT and GPT-4 in exchange for consensual chat history collection.
AG Recommends Clause in Publishing and Distribution Agreements Prohibiting AI Training Uses (Authors Guild, 3-1-23) The Authors Guild has drafted a new model clause to prohibit the use of an author’s work for training artificial intelligence technologies without the author’s express permission. Authors and agents can request this clause be added to their contracts. See also AI Best Practices for Authors (Authors Guild, 2-28-24)

‘The Godfather of A.I.’ Leaves Google and Warns of Danger Ahead (Cade Metz, NY Times, 5-1-23) For half a century, Geoffrey Hinton nurtured the technology at the heart of chatbots like ChatGPT. Now he worries it will cause serious harm.The tech giants Google and Microsoft are locked in a competition that might be impossible to stop. Metz spells out what some fear might happen.
A.I. Poses ‘Risk of Extinction,’ Industry Leaders Warn (Kevin Roose, NY Times, 5-30-23) Leaders from OpenAI, Google DeepMind, Anthropic and other A.I. labs warn that future systems could be as deadly as pandemics and nuclear weapons.

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AI Is Coming for Hollywood's Jobs (Peter Suderman, Reason, 5-25-24) But so is everyone else."AI threatens to upend just about every aspect of cinematic production, not just writing and acting. Animation, special effects work, makeup, costuming, lighting, photography, and set and production design are all likely headed for some form of disruption as generative AI tools make it possible for ordinary people without specific training to conjure up and manipulate high-quality audio and video."
AI took their jobs. Now they get paid to make it sound human (Thomas Germain, BBC, 6-12-24) A new type of gig is emerging: fixing the robots' shoddy writing. "We're adding the human touch, but that often requires a deep, developmental edit on a piece of writing," says copywriter Catrina Cowart, a copywriter who's done work editing AI text."The grammar and word choice just sound weird. You're always cutting out flowery words like 'therefore' and 'nevertheless' that don't fit in casual writing. Plus, you have to fact-check the whole thing because AI just makes things up, which takes forever because it's not just big ideas. AI hallucinates these flippant little things in throwaway lines that you'd never notice."
Amazon Kindle Lock Screens Are Showing Ads for AI-Generated Books (Futurism) "I've never minded the ads on them... until they became flooded with AI-generated books."
Inside the Music Industry’s High-Stakes A.I. Experiments (John Seabrook, Annals of Music, New Yorker, 1-29-24) Lucian Grainge, the chairman of Universal Music Group (UMG), has helped record labels rake in billions of dollars from streaming. Can he do the same with generative artificial intelligence? [Read this whole piece if you're studying or worried about A.I.'s effects on copyright.] 'Grainge was curious how the technology could be used to create new iterations of hit songs which would be sung in different languages by A.I.-generated versions of the artists’ voices. In the U.S., artists own their voices and likenesses, which are protected not by copyright but by the “right of publicity.”

     After Fake Drake appeared, last April, people were using services like Voicify to flood streaming platforms with tracks that replicated artists’ voices and songwriting styles without permission. UMG issued thousands of takedown notices, but efforts were complicated because right-of-publicity statutes exist only at the state level. UMG has lobbied Congress for a federal right of publicity, and a recent bipartisan bill, the No AI Fraud Act, aims to protect artists’ voices under federal intellectual-property law.

      “I personally think legislation is critical,” Grainge told me. He sees the unlicensed use of A.I.-generated voices and styles “as a form of identity theft.” It’s “immoral,” he said.' 'The larger question of whether copyrighted material can be used as training data for A.I. is far from settled. In October, Universal Music Publishing Group and other prominent publishers sued the A.I. company Anthropic—the creator of Claude, a “next generation AI assistant for your tasks, no matter the scale”—for systematic and widespread infringement of copyrighted material in the training of Claude and in its potential output. Both sides submitted written responses to the U.S. Copyright Office on several topics, including fair use and copyright. Anthropic maintains that its A.I. uses a vast body of work, of which lyrics are one small element, to build a statistical model of the way language functions.'

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Situational Awareness: The Decade Ahead (Leopold Aschenbrenner, June 2024)  The AGI race has begun. We are building machines that can think and reason. By 2025/26, these machines will outpace many college graduates. By the end of the decade, they will be smarter than you or I. The smartest people I have ever met "are building this technology. Perhaps they will be an odd footnote in history, or perhaps they will go down in history like Szilard and Oppenheimer and Teller. If they are seeing the future even close to correctly, we are in for a wild ride."
---Situational Awareness: The Full Series (a PDF document) From GPT-4 to AGI: Counting the OOMs. From AGI to Superintelligence: the Intelligence Explosion. Racing to the Trillion-Dollar Cluster. Lock Down the Labs: Security for AGI. Superalignment. The Free World Must Prevail. The Project. Parting Thoughts
---Artificial general intelligence (AGI) Wikipedia page. Artificial general intelligence (AGI) is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that matches or surpasses human capabilities across a wide range of cognitive tasks. This is in contrast to narrow AI, which is designed for specific tasks. AGI is considered one of various definitions of strong AI.
New Recall AI on Windows 11 Will Record Every Move You Make On Your PC (Abhijith N Arjunan, Techworm, 5-21-24) Microsoft has launched Recall, an AI feature that allows exploring everything you have seen and done on your Copilot Plus PC.

Zoom's Updated Terms of Service Permit Training AI on User Content Without Opt-Out (Alex Ivanovs, Stackdiary, 8-8-23) "Zoom Video Communications, Inc. recently updated its Terms of Service to encompass what some critics are calling a significant invasion of user privacy.... What raises alarm is the explicit mention of the company's right to use this data for machine learning and artificial intelligence, including training and tuning of algorithms and models. This effectively allows Zoom to train its AI on customer content without providing an opt-out option, a decision that is likely to spark significant debate about user privacy and consent." See Zoom blog (item on AI)

---ChatGPT (OpenAI)
---Github's Copilot (coding: The world's most widely adopted AI developer tool)
---Midjourney MUSE AI's Midjourney AI Art Generator--"a text-to-image AI where your imagination is the only limit."
Artificial intelligence (AI) What problems does it bring? solve? What the heck is a bot?  (blog post on this website)

Visualizing the deep learning revolution (Richard Ngo) To highlight how absurd the rate of progress in AI has been: about half of AI breakthroughs mentioned in this article happened in 2022 alone.
So Much for ‘Learn to Code’ (Kelli María Korducki, The Atlantic, 9-26-23)

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Artificial intelligence: revolution or arms race?

    "Before we work on artificial intelligence, why don't we do something about natural stupidity?"

      ~ Sign in shopping mall

It Looked Like a Reliable News Site. It Was an A.I. Chop Shop. (Kashmir Hill and Tiffany Hsu, NY Times, 6-6-24) BNN Breaking had millions of readers, an international team of journalists and a publishing deal with Microsoft. But it was full of error-ridden content. The fly-by-night journalism outlet  had used an A.I. chatbot to paraphrase an article from another news site, according to a BNN employee. BNN added Mr. Fanning to the mix by including a photo of a “prominent Irish broadcaster.” The story was then promoted by MSN, a web portal owned by Microsoft. The story was deleted from the internet a day later, but the damage to Mr. Fanning’s reputation was not so easily undone, he said in a defamation lawsuit filed in Ireland against Microsoft and BNN Breaking
The AI Revolution and Writing, Art, and Business (Facebook discussion group) H/T Gini Graham Scott

    Join the Facebook group to keep up with the great links.
Ego, Fear and Money: How the A.I. Fuse Was Lit (Cade Metz, Karen Weise, Nico Grant and Mike Isaac, NY Times, 12-3-23) The people who were most afraid of the risks of artificial intelligence decided they should be the ones to build it. Then distrust fueled a spiraling competition. The first article in a series about the AI race
---Inside the A.I. Arms Race That Changed Silicon Valley Forever (Karen Weise, Cade Metz, Nico Grant and Mike Isaac, NY Times, 12-5-23) ChatGPT’s release a year ago triggered a desperate scramble among tech companies and alarm from some of the people who helped invent it.
• **** SAG / VFX / Generative AI - A discussion (YouTube) Replay of the non-partisan discussion of VFX, CGI and AI/GAI with David Arthur Clark, Robert Nederhorst, and Bob Glouberman (11-20-23). Deep Dive into VFX vs CGI vs GenAI. Important discussion that explains the nuts and bolts of how AI is currently used in film and TV and what the differences are between AI, VFX, CGI, and MoCAP. Listen to the discussion, and read the comments.
---A continuation of the discussion More about background actors, digital doubles, etc. More details and visual aids. They discuss the process and work through some examples live with Generative AI.
AI Misinformation Is World’s Biggest Short-Term Threat, WEF Report Warns (Kelvin Chan, AP/Time, 1-10-24) False and misleading information supercharged with cutting-edge artificial intelligence that threatens to erode democracy and polarize society is the top immediate risk to the global economy, the World Economic Forum said in its latest Global Risks Report. The authors worry that the boom in generative AI chatbots like ChatGPT means that creating sophisticated synthetic content that can be used to manipulate groups of people won't be limited any longer to those with specialized skills. “You can leverage AI to do deepfakes and to really impact large groups, which really drives misinformation,” said one risk management leader. With AI, “you don’t need to be the sharpest tool in the shed to be a malicious actor,” Klint said.
A.I. Belongs to the Capitalists Now (Kevin Roose, Technology, NY Times, 11-22-23) The fight over OpenAI was at least partly about dueling visions of artificial intelligence. One side clearly won out.
GPTZero, a tool that identifies text produced by large language models, is geared to AI detection. Given a sample of text, it is trained to detect material produced by ChatGPT, GPT4, Bard, LLaMa, and other AI models. See this story: He Died in a Tragic Accident. Why Did the Internet Say He Was Murdered? (Andrew Keh and Stuart A. Thompson, NY Times, 1-25-24) Within a day of the death of Matthew Sachman, 19, on New York City subway tracks, so-called obituary pirates had flooded search results with false information.
If Nvidia Keeps Rising Like This, It Will Be Bigger Than the Global Economy (Jeff Sommer, NY Times, 3-15-24) Nvidia designs the chips that make artificial intelligence work, and because A.I. is being hailed as the most important technological development since the internet, Nvidia shares have been rocketing since last year. Our columnist asked A.I. chatbots how big Nvidia would become if it kept growing as fast as it had over the past year.
Should A.I. Accelerate? Decelerate? The Answer Is Both. (De Kai, Opinion Today newsletter, NY Times, 12-10-23) A.I.s are manipulating humanity. Yet “speed versus safety” is not the only red herring that obscures the real threats that loom before us. What we in the A.I. research community too often overlook are the existential risks that arise from the way A.I. interacts with the complex dynamics of humanity’s messy psychological, social, cultural, political and emotional factors. Which are not cleanly packaged into some simple mathematical function.
Silicon Valley’s Big, Bold Sci-Fi Bet on the Device That Comes After the Smartphone (Erin Griffith, Tripp Mickle with photos and videos by Kelsey McClellan, NY Times, 11-9-23) Listen (a video) and read. Humane, a company started by two former Apple employees, says its new artificial intelligence pin (the AI pin) can stop all the scrolling. Can it live up to the hype? This new AI invention is a device that can be controlled by speaking, touching a touch pad, or projecting a laser display onto the palm of a hand. Then the virtual assistant can do all kinds of things, such as send a text message, play a song, snap a photo, make a call, translate a conversation into another language. Fidelity is one issue. Cost is another. Learn about digital doubles and going into a movie.
‘A.I. Obama’ and Fake Newscasters: How A.I. Audio Is Swarming TikTok (Stuart A. Thompson and Sapna Maheshwari, NY Times, 10-12=23) TikTok accounts are spreading falsehoods with help from A.I.-generated voices.In a slickly produced TikTok video, former President Barack Obama — or a voice eerily like his — can be heard defending himself against an explosive new conspiracy theory about the sudden death of his former chef.
20 jobs are in jeopardy over the next 5 years due to AI, according to a new study (Facebook entry)
Inside OpenAI’s Crisis Over the Future of Artificial Intelligence (Tripp Mickle, Cade Metz, Mike Isaac and Karen Weise, NY Times, 12-9-23) Split over the leadership of Sam Altman, board members and executives turned on one another. Their brawl exposed the cracks at the heart of the A.I. movement.
Dominion Over the Machines (David August, DataDrivenInvestor, Medium, 11-28-23) Wouldn't it be great to be able to bargain with an employer over if or how a machine does your work?
The Race to Dominate A.I. (Karen Weise and Cade Metz, The Morning newsletter, NY Times, 12-8-23) A.I. systems are advancing so rapidly and unpredictably that even on the rare occasions lawmakers and regulators have tried to tackle them, their proposals quickly become obsolete. The absence of rules has left a vacuum. European regulators this week are in marathon sessions to write the world’s strictest A.I. regulations, and they will be worth watching. In the meantime, companies continue to push ahead. On Wednesday, Google demonstrated a powerful new A.I. system called Gemini Ultra, even though Google hasn’t yet completed its customary safety testing.
Google’s Woke AI Wasn’t a Mistake. We Know. We Were There. (Francesca Block and Olivia Reingold, The Free Press, 3-19-24) Google's AI leans left.
Europe reaches a deal on the world’s first comprehensive AI rules (Kelvin Chan, AP News, 12-8-23)
OpenAI’s Board Pushes Out Sam Altman, Its High-Profile C.E.O. (Cade Metz, NY Times, 11-17-23) A longtime tech entrepreneur, Mr. Altman helped found OpenAI with the financial backing of Elon Musk in 2015. Sam Altman, the high-profile chief executive of OpenAI, who became the face of the tech industry’s artificial intelligence boom, was pushed out of the company by its board of directors. The move set off a reshuffling at OpenAI, a groundbreaking A.I. company and the maker of the popular chatbot ChatGPT. Mira Murati, who previously served as chief technology officer, has been named interim chief executive.
In Regulating A.I., We May Be Doing Too Much. And Too Little. (Tim Wu, NY Times, 11-7-23) "In devoting so much effort to the issue of A.I., the White House is rightly determined to avoid the disastrous failure to meaningfully regulate social media in the 2010s. With government sitting on the sidelines, social media technology evolved from a seemingly innocent tool for sharing personal updates among friends to a large-scale psychological manipulation, complete with a privacy-invasive business model and a disturbing record of harming teenagers, fostering misinformation and facilitating the spread of propaganda."


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 • Generative AI is experimental, it's fast, it's untrustworthy (it can't really "think").

     (H/T Lenore Hart and others in an Authors Guild discussion)

The software presents made-up and synthesized information as factual and reliable, it makes up citations of books and articles that don't exist, and conceivably it could wreak havoc on employment, social systems, and governance. 

      To cast AI as simply "a tool" is either disingenuous or misinformed—an unfounded optimism that will eventually bite us all in the ass, frankly. It's not comparable to existing dedicated tools like Spell Check, grammar programs, or Photoshop. Spell Check will offer you corrected or alternate spellings for words in your manuscript, allowing you to decide whether using the standard or alternate spelling is warranted or not.'

     Those software applications will not suggest that you divorce your spouse, or tell one of their developers to kill themselves. Over half of AI creators are begging Congress to quickly develop rules and regulations to control AI "before it's too late." The most damning indictment of how dangerous it COULD be is that those who made it don't really understand its capabilities and are to some extent already afraid of it themselves. And it is learning more all the time. 

       There is a reason writing unions and professional organizations around the world are demanding regulation of the AI industry. They already know that AI creators stole massive amounts of copyrighted material and used it to train their new creation, without asking permission or even attempting to offer copyright-holding authors any remuneration. 

     Another downside to AI: As Elon Musk recently said, "computers, intelligent machines, and robots seem like the workforce of the future...and as more and more jobs are replaced by technology, people will have less work to do and ultimately will be sustained by payments from the government." In the EU, several countries have been already trying out minimum guaranteed income—as Ireland has been doing right now, specifically for its writers. How likely is the U.S. to do so?
These 183,000 books are fueling the biggest fight in publishing and tech (Alex Reisner, The Atlantic, 9-25-23) Yes, ChatGPT and other models are trained on pirated books. This was already known to some extent, but this article puts it all in black and white. Use this new search tool to see which authors have been used to train the machines.


Why I Don't Use LLM's In My Work (Wes Cowley, Words By Wes, 5-5-23)

Inside the secret list of websites that make AI like ChatGPT sound smart ( Kevin Schaul, Szu Yu Chen, and Nitasha Tiku, Washington Post, 4-19-23)
Testing ChatGPT against an editor’s rewrite (Cybertext Newsletter, 12-11-22) "My task was to edit what was there, not add more information to the author’s original text, which is likely why mine is much shorter. However, mine took a few minutes to edit, whereas ChatGPT’s took less than 20 seconds." Interesting and it generated comments.
ChatGPT: Some uses for editors (CyberText Newsletter, 1-21-23)
Get the Best From ChatGPT With These Golden Prompts (Brian X. Chen, On Tech: A.I. newsletter, New York Times, 5-25-23) One example: “Tell me what else you need to do this.” To get results that are more personalized — for example, health advice for your specific body type or medical conditions — invite the bot to request more information.
A year after launching, ChatGPT is already changing medicine (Tina Reed, Axios, 11-29-23) It's passed medical licensing exams. It's advanced how researchers develop new medicines and cut down on doctors' hefty paperwork. And it's nudged health care closer to a world where AI can offer diagnoses. One year after OpenAI's ChatGPT exploded onto the scene, the generative AI model is already upending health care — an industry not exactly known for its speedy adoption of tech — while accelerating questions about AI's promises and limitations. Some experts predict that the unprecedented hype around how AI may change health care will begin to quiet down over the next few months as the industry races to get a better handle on what the technology can and can't do.
How doctors are using AI to diagnose a hidden heart condition in kids (Mark Johnson, WaPo, 1-16-24) Researchers at Children’s National have developed a new AI-powered tool for diagnosing rheumatic heart disease long before a patient needs surgery.
How generative AI will supercharge productivity (James Currier, Fast Company)
The Brilliant Math Coach Teaching America’s Kids to Outsmart AI (José A. Alvarado Jr., Wall Street Journal, 5-25-23) ' "Think about what makes humans human,” Po-Shen Loh said, “and lean into that as hard as possible.” Loh asked ChatGPT to find the largest fraction less than ½ with a numerator and denominator that are positive integers less than or equal to 10,000. It was a question that it almost certainly hadn’t seen before—and it flubbed the answer. (It’s 4,999/9,999.) This might sound familiar to anyone who has spent enough time with a chatbot that has a nasty habit of being confidently wrong: It made up a bunch of nonsense and apologized for its errors.'


Bard AI
4 new ways to use Bard AI (Jeremy Caplan, Wonder Tools, 9-28-23) Google’s Bard is improving as an alternative to ChatGPT. Read on for Bard’s best new tricks and its limitations. Plus: what each of the leading AI tools does best.
Google’s Bard Just Got More Powerful. It’s Still Erratic. (Kevin Roose, NY Times, 9-20-23) Bard — Google’s competitor to ChatGPT — got an upgrade. One new feature, Bard Extensions, allows the artificial intelligence chatbot to connect to a user’s Gmail, Google Docs and Google Drive accounts.The chatbot now pulls information from a user’s Gmail, Google Docs and Google Drive accounts. The feature leaves a lot to be desired.

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Tipsheet: Holding Algorithms Accountable Through Collaboration (Garance Burke from Associated Press, Gabriel Geiger from Lighthouse Reports and Lam Thuy Vo from The Markup, Tip Sheets and Slide Decks from the Global Investigative Journalism Network’s conference in Gothenburg, Sweden, 9-26-23) Loaded with valuable explanations and further links for investigative or data journalists. It covers how AI systems work, methods for getting data about AI systems, and reporting tips. (H/T Craig Silverman.) To begin with, defines AI, algorithms, machine learning, training data, large language model, generative AI. A thorough set of links and explanations, from which the following is a sample:
---A People's Guide to Artificial Intelligence (Mimi Onuoha and Mother Cyborg, Allied Media, 9-20) A primer on how AI works in plain language
---AI guidance, terms added to AP Stylebook Terms added to AP Stylebook Online. See also
---Art-ificial intelligence, explained (Today, Explained podcast, 12-22)
---Inside the Suspicion Machine (Wired, 3-6-23) Obscure government algorithms are making life-changing decisions about millions of people around the world. Here, for the first time, we reveal how one of these systems works.
---This Algorithm Could Ruin Your Life (Wired, 6-3-23) A system used by the Dutch city of Rotterdam attempted to rank people based on their risk of fraud. The results were troubling.
---Police seize on COVID-19 tech to expand global surveillance (AP, Morning News, 12-20-22)
---ChatGPT And More: Large Scale AI Models Entrench Big Tech Power (AI Now Institute, 4-11-23) Industry is attempting to stave off regulation, but large-scale AI needs more scrutiny, not less. ChatGPT and how it works

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As AI enters newsrooms, unions push for worker protections (Angela Fu, Poynter, 9-18-23) Journalists are fighting to ensure that AI won't replace their jobs and that content produced with the help of AI tools meets journalistic standards
Revealed: The Authors Whose Pirated Books Are Powering Generative AI (Alex Reisner, The Atlantic 8-19-23) Stephen King, Zadie Smith, and Michael Pollan are among thousands of writers whose copyrighted works are being used to train large language models. “Pirated books are being used as inputs for computer programs that are changing how we read, learn, and communicate. The future promised by AI is written with stolen words.”

 'BookCorpus was stolen from Smashwords authors. Books3 is a body of between 150,000 and 190,000 books from established publishers and authors."
Publishers are already using way too much AI. (James Folta, LitHub, 5-24-24) The dryly titled “State of Play: Exploring Generative AI‘s Transformative Effects on the Media & Entertainment Industry” was commissioned by Bertelsmann, a giant German media conglomerate with a grim history that includes slave labor and Napster. The report examines how AI is already being used in broadcasting, entertainment, news, music, marketing, and publishing, and where those partnerships may be headed.This report is fawning and unskeptical, and the introduction makes clear the writers have drunk the Kool-Aid. Many publishers are already using generative tools for content creation. Penguin Random House has an automated ad tool it’s using. Hachette put out a gimmicky book of poetry written by an OpenAI generator. Amazon is of course up to no good... As always, all this stuff is best seen as a labor issue."
AI Editing Tools and Multi-Tasking in ChatGPT-4 (Journalist's Toolbox) Headline Hero suggests headlines based on story copy you paste into its web-based interfact. It lets you plug in the story copy and settings, and presto! You have headlines. Built by Newsifier, a specialized and AI-powered CMS for news publishers, the tool includes scaled hosting and updated front-end design.
---Quillbot Paraphraser, another AI editing tool, "lets journalists rephrase any text while ensuring that content retains the correct vocabulary, tone and style. It includes a grammar checker, plagiarism checker and summarizer."
---Hemingway Editor is a free, AI-based web tool that grades your writing, makes suggestions to improve for clarity, can be useful for tightening sentences and catching passive voice you might have missed. It’s useful for one “final pass” in the editing process to see what you've missed.
---Thsrs, "the shorter Thesaurus," a data-base driven tool, not AI.
---Journalist's Toolbox section on AI writing tools
AI Fact-Checking Tools (Journalist's Toolbox)
AI for Local Newsrooms (Journalist's Toollbox) Excellent resources.
Neal Stephenson’s Most Stunning Prediction (Matteo Wong, The Atlantic, 2-6-24) Perhaps no writer has been more clairvoyant about our current technological age than Neal Stephenson. His novels coined the term metaverse, laid the conceptual groundwork for cryptocurrency, and imagined a geoengineered planet. And nearly three decades before the release of ChatGPT, he presaged the current AI revolution. “A chatbot is not an oracle,” he told me over Zoom last Friday. “It’s a statistics engine that creates sentences that sound accurate.”
    "...today, those language models, which fundamentally predict words in a sequence, are being applied to many areas where they have no specialized abilities—GPT-4 for medical diagnosis, Google Bard as a tutor. That reminds me of a term used in the book instead of artificial intelligence, pseudo-intelligence, which many critics of the technology might appreciate today.


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Microsoft AI Employee Accidentally Leaks 38TB of Data (Michael Kan, PC Mag, 9-18-23) A software repository on GitHub dedicated to supplying open-source code and AI models for image recognition was left open to manipulation by bad actors thanks to an insecure URL.On the affected GitHub page, a Microsoft employee had created a URL enabling visitors to the software repository to download AI models from an Azure storage container. “However, this URL allowed access to more than just open-source models. It was configured to grant permissions on the entire storage account, exposing additional private data by mistake.”

How artificial intelligence can revolutionise science (The Economist, 9-14-23) Consider the historical precedents. In 1665, during a period of rapid scientific progress, Robert Hooke, an English polymath, described the advent of new scientific instruments such as the microscope and telescope as “the adding of artificial organs to the natural”....For Hooke’s modern-day successors, the adding of artificial intelligence to the scientific toolkit is poised to do the same in the coming years—with similarly world-changing results."
I Would Rather See My Books Get Pirated Than This (Or: Why Goodreads and Amazon Are Becoming Dumpster Fires) (Jane Friedman, 8-7-23) "Garbage books getting uploaded to Amazon where my name is credited as the author. Whoever’s doing this is obviously preying on writers who trust my name and think I’ve actually written these books. I have not. Most likely they’ve been generated by AI."
     "Hours after this post was published, my Goodreads profile was cleaned of the offending titles. However, the garbage books remain available for sale at Amazon with my name attached."
Fabrication and errors in the bibliographic citations generated by ChatGPT (William H. Walters & Esther Isabelle Wilder, Nature, 9-7-23) "Why does ChatGPT generate fabricated citations at all? Bhattacharyya et al. assert that the difficulty is inherent in large language models, which 'use deep neural networks to predict the next word in a sequence of text and provide responses based on statistical patterns learned during training.. As such, ChatGPT cannot distinguish between accurate and false information.'
     "ChatGPT is 'confidently wrong' in its incorrect assertions. This may be because ChatGPT is fundamentally a text transformer--not an information retrieval system--and because it is designed to repeat behaviors that result in favorable human feedback. Humans are more likely to be satisfied with confident responses, so the [artificial intelligence] provides confident responses, correct or otherwise."
The Chatbots Are Here, and the Internet Industry Is in a Tizzy (Tripp Mickle, Cade Metz and Nico Grant, NY Times, 3-8-23) The new technology could upend many online businesses. But for companies that figure out how to work with it, A.I. could be a boon. "Chatbots have ignited a scramble to determine whether their technology could upend the economics of the internet, turn today’s powerhouses into has-beens or create the industry’s next giants."

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Why Professors Are Polarized on AI (Susan D’Agostino, Inside Higher Ed, 9-13-23) Academics who perceive threats to education from AI band together as a survival mechanism. The resulting alliances echo divisions formed during online learning’s emergence.
Risks and Rewards as Higher Ed Invests in an AI Future (Lauren Coffey, Inside Higher Ed, 9-5-23) Experts urge both action and caution as institutions pour millions into artificial intelligence, making big bets that artificial intelligence will be as universal and disruptive as the internet. “It’s risky not to study it,” said Darrell West, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute. “AI is going to be an important part of everyone’s life … It’s a matter of time before it becomes the mainstream; we’re years from it happening, but there won’t be a higher ed where AI won’t be incorporated.”

Media execs haven’t learned a thing from these AI tests (Mia Sato, The Verge, 7-14-23) Media bosses keep promising AI will benefit journalists. But who’s actually using the tools — and to what end? "Most of the media outlets that dove head first into publishing AI-generated content now have egg on their face."
Preparing Students for the AI-Enhanced Workforce (Ray Schroeder, Inside Higher Ed, 9-15-23) Our graduating and certificate-completing students need documented generative AI skills, and they need them now.

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Why to be cautious:
‘Life or Death:’ AI-Generated Mushroom Foraging Books Are All Over Amazon (Samantha Cole, 404 Media, 8-29-23) Experts are worried that books produced by ChatGPT for sale on Amazon, which target beginner foragers, could end up killing someone. A genre of AI-generated books on Amazon is scaring foragers and mycologists: cookbooks and identification guides for mushrooms aimed at beginners.

Speech in the Machine: Generative AI's Implications for Free Expression (Summer Lopez, Nadine Farid Johnson, and Nadine Farid Johnson, PEN America, 7-31-23) See also PEN's Twitter feed

"We cannot anticipate exactly how these technologies will be used or the magnitude of the risks."

      "In the hands of bad actors—whether public or private—generative AI tools can supercharge existing threats to free expression. If machines increasingly displace writers and creators, that poses a threat not only to those creative artists, but to the public as a whole. The scope of inspiration from which truly new creative works draw may be narrowed, undermining the power of literature, television, and film to catalyze innovative ways of thinking.
       "Generative AI tools have democratized and simplified the creation of all types of content, including false and misleading information; now they are poised to catapult disinformation to new levels, requiring new thinking about how to counter the negative effects without infringing on free expression. Without further attention to the ways in which generative AI could potentially escalate the threat of online abuse, those targeted may be more likely to leave online spaces, and those at risk of being targeted might be more likely to self–censor to avoid the threat.
      "The use of generative AI in targeted political ads and campaign materials could make those messages even more effective, further hardening existing divides and making constructive discourse across political lines even more challenging. Because generative AI tools are trained on bodies of content, they can easily reproduce patterns of either deliberate censorship or unconscious bias. The use of generative AI in creative fields could produce works that are less rich or reflective of the expansive nuances of human experience and expression. . . [These] tools could be wielded—or weaponized—to manipulate opinions and skew public discourse via subtle forms of influence on their users."

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PEN's Recommendations for Government:
Pass long overdue, foundational legislation.
Establish and maintain multi-stakeholder policymaking processes
Ground regulatory frameworks in fundamental rights
Engage in policymaking that is measured and iterative
Build flexibility into regulatory schemes
Emphasize and operationalize transparency

PEN's Recommendations for Industry:
Promote fair and equitable use:
Facilitate secure and privacy–protecting use
Emphasize and operationalize transparency
Provide appeals and remedy options
Consider revenue models
Safeguard the ownership rights of writers, artists, and other content owners.

Thousands of authors urge AI companies to stop using work without permission (Chloe Veltman, Morning Edition, NPR, 7-17-23) "Thousands of writers including Nora Roberts, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Michael Chabon and Margaret Atwood have signed a letter asking artificial intelligence companies like OpenAI and Meta to stop using their work without permission or compensation. It's the latest in a volley of counter-offensives the literary world has launched in recent weeks against AI. But protecting writers from the negative impacts of these technologies is not an easy proposition. Alexander Chee, the bestselling author of novels like Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night, is among the nearly 8,000 authors who just signed a letter addressed to the leaders of six AI companies including OpenAI, Alphabet and Meta.

• What are the Open AI companies? Amazon, Anthropic, Google, Inflection, Meta, Microsoft and OpenAI.

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Authors Guild Recommends Clause in Publishing and Distribution Agreements Prohibiting AI Training Uses (3-1-23)
Authors Sue OpenAI Claiming Mass Copyright Infringement of Hundreds of Thousands of Novels (Winston Cho, Hollywood Reporter, 6-29-23) Courts are wrestling with the legality of using copyrighted works to train AI systems. The proposed class action filed in San Francisco federal court on Wednesday alleges that OpenAI “relied on harvesting mass quantities” of copyright-protected works “without consent, without credit, and without compensation.”
---AI is the wild card in Hollywood's strikes. Here's an explanation of its unsettling role (Andrew Dalton, ABC News, 7-21-23) Getting control of the use of artificial intelligence is a central issue in the current strikes of Hollywood's actors and writers. As the technology to create without creators emerges, star actors fear they will lose control of their lucrative likenesses. Unknown actors fear they’ll be replaced altogether. Writers fear they’ll have to share credit or lose credit to machines.
     "It may be fitting that "voice" comes first on that list. While many viewers still cringe at the visual avatars of actors like Hamill and Jackson, the aural tech feels further along.
      "The voices of the late Anthony Bourdain and the late Andy Warhol have both been recreated for recent documentaries.
       "Union members who make a living doing voiceovers have taken note."
---SAG-AFTRA Agreement Establishes Important Safeguards for Actors Around AI Use (Authors Guild)"Recognizing that “we’re fighting for the survival of our profession,” the actors’ union viewed AI as a direct threat to the livelihoods of working performers that would likely replace human performances with other technology. Hollywood studios wanted to scan the image of background performers, pay them for half a day’s work, and then use that collected replica for any purpose (including the training of generative AI systems without the performer’s consent). The union pressed for a “comprehensive set of provisions to grant informed consent and fair compensation when a ‘digital replica’ is made, or a performance is changed using AI.”
---A.I. Needs an International Watchdog, ChatGPT Creators Say (Gregory Schmidt, NY Times, 5-24-23)

"To regulate the risks of A.I. systems, there should be an international watchdog, similar to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the organization that promotes the peaceful use of nuclear energy, OpenAI's founders, Greg Brockman and Ilya Sutskever, and its chief executive, Sam Altman, wrote in a note posted Monday on the company's website."
---A.I. Poses ‘Risk of Extinction,’ Industry Leaders Warn (Kevin Roose, NY Times, 5-30-23) Leaders from OpenAI, Google DeepMind, Anthropic and other A.I. labs warn that future systems could be as deadly as pandemics and nuclear weapons.

---The future of intellectual property law in the era of artificial intelligence (Wisconsin Law Journal, 4-3-23) "Another challenge is how to protect intellectual property rights in the face of AI-enabled infringement. AI systems can be used to create counterfeit goods, to automate the process of copyright infringement, and to even generate fake news. This makes it more difficult for creators to protect their work and to enforce their intellectual property rights.The rise of AI also raises questions about the future of patent law."
What is generative AI? Everything you need to know (George Lawton, Tech Target) Scroll down for interesting timeline of Generative AI's Evolution. Transformers, large language models (LLMs), innovations in multimodal AI, etc. "Recent progress in transformers such as Google's Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT), OpenAI's GPT and Google AlphaFold have also resulted in neural networks that can not only encode language, images and proteins but also generate new content."

How GPT works: A Metaphoric Explanation of Key, Value, Query in Attention, using a Tale of Potion (Lili Jiang, Towards Data Science, 6-17-23. Not for beginners!) "The backbone of ChatGPT is the GPT model, which is built using the Transformer architecture. The backbone of Transformer is the Attention mechanism. The hardest concept to grok in Attention for many is Key, Value, and Query. In this post, I will use an analogy of potion to internalize these concepts. Even if you already understand the maths of transformer mechanically, I hope by the end of this post, you can develop a more intuitive understanding of the inner workings of GPT from end to end.

     [When I talk about “attention”, I exclusively mean “self-attention”, as that is what’s behind GPT. But the same analogy explains the general concept of “attention” just as well.]
     "This explanation requires no maths background. For the technically inclined, I add more technical explanations in […]. You can also safely skip notes in [brackets] and side notes in quote blocks like this one. Throughout my writing, I make up some human-readable interpretation of the intermediary states of the transformer model to aid the explanation, but GPT doesn’t think exactly like that."

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AI Is About to Turn Book Publishing Upside-Down (Thad McIlroy, PW, 6-2-23) At last fall’s PageBreak conference, Tim O’Reilly, discussing GPTs, said we’re at a point that’s “very similar to how I felt when we discovered the World Wide Web in 1992,” and followed that bold statement with “this is as transformative as VisiCalc, the PC, and the web browser.”

      "AI is going to enable books to morph into additional revenue-producing mediums, in ways we've never seen before." Bottom line: most readers will be fine with books for which AI has played a major role in editing, design, and production. [Those who value copyright, watch out!]
JournalistsToolbox.ai Scrape data, analyze it, and create stunning visualizations with AI tools and plug-ins. Links to a whole new world of tools, only a few of which I link to here. Check it out!
AI Snake Oil (Sayash Kapoor and Arvind Narayanan) A sneak peek into the book:  What makes AI click, what makes certain problems resistant to AI, and how to tell the difference.

• Quantifying ChatGPT's Gender Bias (Sayash Kapoor and Arvind Narayanan, AI Snake Oil, 4-26-23) What causes biases and what can be done about it.
How to Use Adobe Firefly for Illustrations (Mike Reilley, JournalistsToolbox.ai, 7-25-23)  Try what Reilley suggests and see for yourself how it works.
AI writing tools for journalists (Journalists Toolbox)

    A few examples:
---Notion An "efficient choice for writing using AI"
---Text Blaze Tool and Chrome extension offers easy-to-use templates with endless customizability and powerful automation.
---Canva Docs a competitor for Google Docs. 'It includes a few AI tools, including the “Magic” tool that lets you type in a topic and it gives you some text related to that topic.'
---Tldv.io Takes meeting notes while you run the meeting. And many more examples

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ChatGPT: US lawyer admits using AI for case research (BBC News, 5-27-23) A New York lawyer is facing a court hearing of his own after his firm used AI tool ChatGPT for legal research. The lawyer told the court he was "unaware that its content could be false."

      "Six of the submitted cases appear to be bogus judicial decisions with bogus quotes and bogus internal citations," Judge Castel wrote in an order demanding the man's legal team explain itself.
'People Hire Phone Bots to Torture Telemarketers Until They Give Up' (Robert McMillan, Wall Street Journal, 6-29-23) After answering the phone, Jolly Roger keeps callers engaged with preset expressions from chatbots, such as “There’s a bee on my arm, but keep talking.” Chatbots also grunt or say “uh-huh” to keep things going. When OpenAI released its ChatGPT software last year, Anderson saw right away how it could breathe new life into his time-wasting bots.
Patents and AI inventions: Recent court rulings and broader policy questions (John Villasenor, Brookings, 8-25-22) Can an artificial intelligence (AI) system be a named inventor on a United States patent? No, says a federal appeals court in a decision (Thaler v. Thaler) issued earlier this month. The court ruled against Thaler, citing “the overwhelming evidence that Congress intended to limit the definition of ‘inventor’ to natural persons.”

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Sudowrite Isn’t Evil, But It's Not Harmless (Tyler King, 5-22-23) Sudowrite's Story Engine writes longform stories using AI. "Simply plugging in a logline, genre, and a few basic details won’t have Story Engine spit out a masterpiece. Rather something the user can tinker with and edit to eventually arrive at something they like."
How to Make Productive Use of ChatGPT: Q&A with Elisa Lorello (Kristen Tsetsi on Jane Friedman's blog, 4-19-23) Author Elisa Lorello’s exploratory dive into ChatGPT led her to discover its usefulness—rather than threat—to fiction and nonfiction writers. ChatGPT’s value in generating story outlines was one of the game-changers for her.
The Creator of ChatGPT on the Rise of Artificial Intelligence (podcast, David Remnick, The Political Scene, New Yorker, 6-5-23) Sam Altman, the C.E.O. of OpenAI, discusses the surge of A.I. tools, such as ChatGPT, explaining their applications, limitations, and the need for government regulation. (You can sign up to receive links to this series of podcasts)
Hundreds of AI-written books flood Amazon (Anthony Cuthbertson, Independent UK, 2-22-23) ChatGPT listed as author on titles ranging from self-help to children’s fiction. Close to 300 books written or co-written by OpenAI’s AI software were listed on the online retailer on Wednesday, 22 February, ranging from fantasy fiction to self-help and non-fiction.
The Future of Writing Is a Lot Like Hip-Hop (Stephen Marche, The Atlantic, 5-9-23) Marche used AI to write an entire detective novel. In this essay he suggests that, like AI, and like Hip Hop music, much of popular writing is derivative, formulaic. He's not so much pro-AI as curious about what a writer can do with it. Will a new kind of literary curation be the defining skill for the next era of human creativity?
I Hired ChatGPT As My Writing Coach (Audrey Kalman on Jane Friedman's blog, 6-13-23) ChatGPT is good at listening and reflecting, making guided suggestions based on stored knowledge, and responding without an agenda. But it lacks some important qualities good human coaches have, like intuition, reading between the lines, and having a feel for pacing and cadence.
Publishers’ group warns that generative AI content could violate copyright law (Ryan Barwick, Marketing Brew, 6-5-23) A group whose members include the New York Times and the Washington Post has advice on how to navigate concerns surrounding AI.
Copyright and AI (U.S. Copyright Office) Watch this space.
Artificial Intelligence (The Verge) From Google and Facebook’s use of machine learning to rule the web, to cutting-edge research and why Alexa still sucks at conversation. We want to dispel the hype of AI and distill what it is you need to know.
Can ChatGPT rewrite your next scientific paper? (Karen L McKee, YouTube video, 17 min.) Uses some real-world examples of what it’s good at and where it falls down.

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Media braces for the robot era (Sarah Fischer, Axios, 2-7-23) The rapid rise of generative AI tools like ChatGPT could displace dozens of media companies if they don't move quickly to adapt to a new internet reality....The content that has done well on search, such as evergreen articles that help people answer questions or provide recommendations, is poised to be challenged by artificial intelligence... As search-based content becomes more commoditized, media brands will need to pivot towards serving specific audiences, rather than the masses."

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ChatGPT’s arrival accelerates lifestyle publishers’ move away from SEO-driven content (Sara Guaglione, Digiday, 2-22-23) Generative chat bots that answer simple questions like what time the Super Bowl is airing and how long it takes to cook pasta noodles by taking away some of publishers’ search-driven traffic, with their ability to generate answers to prompts without requiring a user to click through to an article. So 'lifestyle publishers like Bustle Digital Group and Leaf Group are moving resources away from SEO-driven content and into original stories and personal takes. BDG’s editorial shift will also prioritize original visual content, especially “relatable, humorous, shared experiences [and] advice” stories.' De-emphasizing search-driven content is picking up speed as publishers try to build direct relationships with their audiences with subscriptions to newsletters. Lifestyle publishers’ “most valuable assets are their photography and visuals that they may bring to a piece of content.”
How AI Tools Both Help and Hinder Equity (Susan D’Agostino, Inside Higher Ed, 6-5-23) The technology promises to assist students with disadvantages in developing skills needed for success. But AI also threatens to widen the education gap like no tech before it. “Somebody who knows what they’re doing can really make this thing sing, and those who don’t know how to use it are kind of left in the dust.”
ChatGPT Is a Blurry JPEG of the Web (Ted Chiang, New Yorker, 2-9-23) OpenAI’s chatbot offers paraphrases, whereas Google offers quotes. Which do we prefer? This article starts with an explanation of how each time a photocopier reproduces an image, it shrinks it somewhat, so it's not accurate.

      "Compressing a file requires two steps: first, the encoding, during which the file is converted into a more compact format, and then the decoding, whereby the process is reversed. If the restored file is identical to the original, then the compression process is described as lossless: no information has been discarded. By contrast, if the restored file is only an approximation of the original, the compression is described as lossy: some information has been discarded and is now unrecoverable.

       "Lossless compression is what’s typically used for text files and computer programs, because those are domains in which even a single incorrect character has the potential to be disastrous. Lossy compression is often used for photos, audio, and video in situations in which absolute accuracy isn’t essential. Most of the time, we don’t notice if a picture, song, or movie isn’t perfectly reproduced."

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We Expect Humans To Be Accountable. We Should Expect No Less Of AI (Greg Satell, Medium, 6-17-23) In the age of AI, our success will rely not only on our ability to learn new skills and work in new ways, but the extent to which we are able to trust our machine collaborators. To reach its potential, AI will need to become accountable. Machines, just like humans, need to be held accountable. Their decisions and insights can’t be a “black box.
A Conversation With Bing’s Chatbot Left Me Deeply Unsettled (Kevin Roose, The Shift, NY Times, 2-16-23) A very strange conversation with the chatbot built into Microsoft’s search engine led to it declaring its love for me.
ChatGPT proves AI is finally mainstream — and things are only going to get weirder (James Vincent, Artificial Intelligence, The Verge, 12-8-22) Tools like ChatGPT have made AI publicly accessible like never before.Researchers talk about the ‘capability overhang,’ or hidden skills and dangers, of artificial intelligence. As the technology goes mainstream, we’re going to discover a lot of new things about them. Check out the comments and see links to more of Vincent's coverage of machines with brains
How Kindle novelists are using ChatGPT (Josh Dzieza, The Verge, 12-24-22) A tool called Sudowrite—designed by developers turned sci-fi authors Amit Gupta and James Yu—is one of many AI writing programs built on OpenAI’s language model GPT-3 that have launched since it was opened to developers last year.

     ...Ultimately, GPT-3’s entire world is words or, to be precise, mathematical representations of common sequences of characters called tokens — and that can cause it to behave strangely. It might happen to give sensible responses when asked about something people have written abundantly and correctly about. But ask which is heavier, a goldfish or a whale, and it will tell you a goldfish."

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• Joanne Penn, "an independent novelist and one of the most outspoken proponents of AI writing, launched her online class last fall to acquaint writers with the growing suite of AI tools at their disposal. She introduces students to AI that will analyze their plot’s structure and recommend changes, AI editors, and other services."
ChatGPT is not the only AI writing tool (CyberText Newsletter, 1-21-23)
Why AI won’t replace human editors—and AI agrees (Hazel Bird, Wordstitch Editorial)
Introducing SSP’s AI in Scholarly Publishing Community of Interest (CoIN) ( Chhavi Chauhan, Chirag Jay Patel, Scholarly Kitchen,12-15-23) With the mainstream adoption of large language models (LLMs) like Chat-GPT in the last year, there has been tremendous chatter about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the scholarly publishing industry. Discussions have ranged from basic introductions to innovation showcases demoing how to leverage AI in your publishing workflows to concerns surrounding publication ethics, research integrity, copyright infringement, and job displacement. In the past month itself, TSK has featured posts on the need for “deleting the garbage” from the increasing amount of content, the impact of two disrupters — open research and artificial intelligence, and responses from Copyright Clearance Center to US copyright office notice of inquiry on AI. In fact, the last session of the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) Annual Meeting in Portland, OR, concluded with a full fledged debate on this topic, which was eloquently covered in this TSK post:
---SSP Conference Debate: AI and the Integrity of Scholarly Publishing (Rick Anderson, Tim Vines, Jessica Miles, Scholarly Kitchen, 6-27-23) A closing plenary session was a formal debate on the proposition “Resolved: Artificial intelligence will fatally undermine the integrity of scholarly publishing.” Arguing in favor of the proposition was Tim Vines, founder of DataSeer and a Scholarly Kitchen Chef. Arguing against was Jessica Miles, Vice President for Strategy and Investments at Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. Read their opening statements and responses.
ChatGPT versus a human editor (Harriet Power, CIEP blog)
Air Canada Has to Honor a Refund Policy Its Chatbot Made Up (Ashley Belanger, Ars Technica, Wired, 2-17-24) The airline tried to argue that it shouldn't be liable for anything its chatbot says.
Editor Vs AI: Common Grammar Mistakes (SciEditor, 1-23)
Editor vs AI: Is editing a dead career? (Adrienne Montgomerie)
"We’ve trained a model called ChatGPT which interacts in a conversational way. The dialogue format makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer followup questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests. ChatGPT is a sibling model to InstructGPT, which is trained to follow an instruction in a prompt and provide a detailed response."
ChatGPT (Wikipedia's entry)

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ChatGPT: What is the new free AI chatbot? - explainer ( Aaron Reich, Jerusalem Post, 12-27-22) Released as a free prototype by OpenAI, which also made DALL-E, ChatGPT AI chatbot has taken the world by storm. Here is what we think you need to know.
DALL-E (Wikipedia entry has many links to articles about it.)
ChatGPT (Wikipedia entry) Again, packed with interesting info.
The Internet’s New Favorite AI Proposes Torturing Iranians and Surveilling Mosques (Sam Biddle, The Intercept, 12-8-22) ChatGPT, the latest novelty from OpenAI, replicates the ugliest war on terror-style racism.
ChatGPT: Some uses for editors (CyberText Newsletter, 1-21-23)
ChatGPT is not the only AI writing tool (CyberText Newsletter, 1-21-23)
Thoughts on AI’s Impact on Scholarly Communications? An Interview with ChatGPT (Todd A Carpenter, Scholarly Kitchen, 1-11-23)
Chat GPT: The Dark Side of (AI) Artificial Intelligence: Abuse of Chat GPT or Artificial Intelligence: Weapons of Mass Destruction, Privacy Compromised by Ivan Venyamin. Be aware of artificial intelligence's darker side


See also Artificial intelligence (AI): What problems does it bring? solve? What the heck is a bot? 

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OSINT (open source intelligence)

• Open Source Intelligence Tools (OSINT) Open-source intelligence (OSINT) is the practice of collecting information from published or otherwise publicly available sources. It is primarily used in national security, law enforcement, and business intelligence functions and is of value to analysts who use non-sensitive intelligence in answering classified, unclassified, or proprietary questions. [This section is less a guide to tools you might want to use, and more a heads-up on a tool/skill/practice you might not be aware of.]
OSINT: What is open source intelligence and how is it used? (Stephen Pritchard, The Daily Swing [Cybersecurity News and Views], 11-19-20)
Long favored by spooks and spies, OSINT is also a powerful weapon in the security pro’s armory. "OSINT is intelligence “drawn from publicly available material”, according to the CIA. Most intelligence experts extend that definition to mean information intended for public consumption.
     "OSINT is information that can be accessed without specialist skills or tools, although it can include sources only available to subscribers, such as newspaper content behind a paywall, or subscription journals.
     "OSINT does not require its exponents to hack into systems or use private credentials to access data. Viewing someone’s public profile on social media is OSINT; using their login details to unearth private information is not. In intelligence agency terms, OSINT is also information drawn from non-classified sources."
15 top open-source intelligence tools (CSO Online, 8-25-23) Find sensitive public info before the bad guys do.

    "Open-source intelligence (OSINT) is the practice of collecting information from published or otherwise publicly available sources. OSINT operations, whether practiced by IT security pros, malicious hackers, or state-sanctioned intelligence operatives, use advanced techniques to search through the vast haystack of visible data to find the needles they’re looking for to achieve their goals.

     "OSINT is in many ways the mirror image of operational security (OPSEC), which is the security process by which organizations protect public data about themselves that could, if properly analyzed, reveal damaging truths. In-house security teams perform OSINT operations on their own organizations to shore up operational security."
CSO Resources Online
•   From Zero to Google Dorking Hero: Enhancing Your OSINT Arsenal (Ron Kaminsky, OSINT Team, 8-13-23) OSINT=Open Source Intelligence.
---Investigative journalism and algorithmic fairness (Michele Loi, Algorithm Watch blog, 4-20-23) Investigating systems that make decisions about humans, often termed algorithmic accountability reporting, is becoming ever more important. To do it right, reporters need to understand concepts of fairness and bias – and work in teams. A primer.

SANS Summit Presentations Presentations on open source intelligence (OSINT)
---The Puzzle Palace Model in OSINT Analytic Mindset: Navigating the Unknown with Critical Thinking and Creativity (Patrick Rus, SANS Open-Source Intelligence Summit 2023, 9-22-23) Plus "related content."
---OSINT Live 2023 Recap: Top Takeaways
---Tips and Tricks for Digital Dumpster Diving (Steven Harris), OSINT 2023
The Growth of Global Election Disinformation: The Role and Methodology of Government-linked Cyber Actors (Sandra Quincoses, SANS keynote, 9-22-23)
A Visual Summary of SANS OSINT (Check out these graphics summarizing the OSINT 2023 talks created in real-time.)


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Social media superpowers under the microscope

Manipulation, copyright violation, clickbait, blockchains,
Section 230, Section 702, and other issues with the Internet "monopolies"
(often having to do with "monetizing" their sites)
Facebook, Meta, Google, Apple, Amazon, YouTube, Netflix, TikTok, and Twitter/X

Currently starring TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter

(with appearances by Paypal, Microsoft, Roku, Wayfair Salesforce)

The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed.” -- William Gibson

The People Deliberately Killing Facebook (Edward Zitron, Where's Your Ed At?, 5-20-24) "Over the last decade, few platforms have declined quite as rapidly and visibly as Facebook and Instagram. What used to be apps for catching up with your friends and family are now algorithmic nightmares that constantly interrupt you with suggested content and advertisements that consistently outweigh the content of people that you choose to follow.
     "Conversely, those running Facebook groups routinely find that their content isn’t even being shown to those who choose to follow them thanks to Meta’s outright abusive approach to social media where the customer is not only wrong, but should ideally have little control over what they see.

     "Over the next two newsletters, I’m going to walk you through the decline of Facebook and Instagram...

     " ...Every single terrible thing you see on Facebook — be it some sort of horrible right wing nonsense or a confusing and annoying product decision — is made in pursuit of growth. Every bit of damage that Meta has caused to the world has been either an act of ignorance or deliberate harm, at many times tweaking the product to make it harder or more annoying to use so that you will log onto Facebook or Instagram multiple times a day and spend as much time on there as possible."
---We're Watching Facebook Die (Edward Zitron, 5-28-24) Today, Facebook is an example of everything wrong with the internet — an algorithmic iron maiden that nakedly cons users on a minute-by-minute basis, a parasitic entity that deprives creators of their audiences and users of their industry. It has no principles or backbone, and it’s no longer a reliable tool for connecting people, as it was during the wave of pro-democracy protests that swept the Middle East and North Africa in 2011. Whereas once you could have made a plausible case that Facebook, even if deeply flawed, had at least an ember of morality at its core, that’s no longer a coherent position.
America Lost the Plot With TikTok (Albert Fox Cahn, The Atlantic, 4-29-24) Section 702 is the "sweeping, George W. Bush–era mandate [that] gives intelligence agencies the authority to track online communication, such as text messages, emails, and Facebook posts. Legally, Americans aren’t supposed to be surveilled through this law. But from 2020 to 2021, the FBI misused Section 702 data more than 278,000 times, including to surveil Americans linked to the January 6 riot and Black Lives Matter protests.
      "The contradiction between TikTok and Section 702 is maddening, but it points to lawmakers’ continued failure to wrestle with the most basic questions of how to protect the American public in the algorithmic age. It’s quite fair to worry, as Congress does, that TikTok’s mass collection of personal data can pose a threat to our data. Yet Meta, X, Google, Amazon, and nearly every other popular platform also suck up our personal data. And while the fear around foreign meddling that has animated the TikTok ban has largely rested on hypotheticals, there is plenty of evidence demonstrating that Facebook, at least, has effectively operated as a kind of “hostile foreign power,” as The Atlantic’s Adrienne LaFrance put it, with “its single-minded focus on its own expansion; its immunity to any sense of civic obligation; its record of facilitating the undermining of elections; its antipathy toward the free press; its rulers’ callousness and hubris; and its indifference to the endurance of American democracy.”

     Do read the whole article.
The Junkification of Amazon, Part 172 (Ken White, SSuSH, 6-7-24) "For decades, it offered the best selection of merchandise at the best prices with unprecedented convenience—one-click purchases and free one-day or two-day delivery....Recent surveys show the company still well below its customer-satisfaction peak.
      "The heart of the matter seems to be Amazon’s decision to let third-party sellers of varying reliability have free run of the platform. Third-party sellers are good for profits, but they’ve been distorting search results with often dodgy product backed by big advertising budgets (which adds more profit)....When “the everything store” carries literally everything, the shopping experience deteriorates.
      "The book-buying experience on Amazon has sucked for some time. The platform gives precedence to its preferred product (high-margin audiobooks and ebooks) over the customer’s preferred product (hardcovers and paperbacks) and it clutters the display page with third-party offers, new and used."

     Do read the article.
When It Comes to Ketamine, Meta’s Posting Policy Is No Party to Decipher (Darius Tahir, KFF Health News, 3-7-24)

"Despite growing awareness that the party drug KETAMINE is dangerous, the social media company Facebook is open to promotion of the drug in treating mental health. "The drug has become a favorite of celebrities, billionaires, and ordinary patients, many of whom view it as a potential miracle drug for depression and other mental health conditions.
      "Whether on Facebook or Instagram, patients and clinics alike are giddy about the possibilities. But it is a drug that can be abused and can be deadly."
The people who ruined the internet (Amanda Chicago Lewis, The Verge, 11-1-23) As the public begins to believe Google isn’t as useful anymore, what happens to the cottage industry of search engine optimization experts who struck content oil and smeared it all over the web? Well, they find a new way to get rich and keep the party going.
---What happens when Google Search doesn’t have the answers? (Nilay Patel, 5-8-23) After controlling how information has been distributed for the past 25 years, Google Search faces a set of challenges that will change the company — and the internet — forever.
---Who killed Google Reader? (David Pierce, 6-30-23) Ten years after its untimely death, the team that built the much-beloved feed reader reflects on what went wrong and what could have been.
---The end of the Googleverse (Ryan Broderick, 8-28-23) For two decades, Google Search was the invisible force that determined the ebb and flow of online content. Now, for the first time, its cultural relevance is in question.
---The restaurant nearest Google (Mia Sato, 10-26-23) Thai Food Near Me, Dentist Near Me, Notary Near Me, Plumber Near Me — businesses across the country picked names meant to outsmart Google Search. Does it actually work?
Elizabeth Warren and Lindsey Graham want a new agency to regulate tech (Brian Fung, CNN, 7-27-23) Two US senators are calling for the creation of a new federal agency to regulate tech companies such as Amazon, Google and Meta, in the latest push by members of Congress to clamp down on Big Tech.
Can He Save Google? (Jasmine Wu,Laura Batchelor, and Deirdre Bosa, CNBC video, 5-10-24) Google’s fate hinges on this man: Demis Hassabis
Amazon is filled with garbage ebooks. Here’s how they get made. (Constance Grady, Vox, 4-16-24) It’s partly AI, partly a get-rich-quick scheme, and entirely bad for confused consumers. "The scammy underbelly of online self-publishing: 'These days, the trash ebook publishing landscape is fully saturated with grifters. There are blogs that talk about the industry, but they tend to be clickbait sites riddled with SEO keywords and affiliate links back and forth between each other. Virtually every single part of the self-publishing grift world that can be automated or monetized has been automated and monetized."
Amazon's tools: One Pager, Six Pager, and Backwards Press Release (LinkedIn article) Emphasizing brevity and clarity, the concise One Pager forces teams to focus on what truly matters, omitting unnecessary details and buzzwords. This approach encourages critical thinking and precision in articulating the core value of a project.

      The Amazon Six Pager conveys essential information in a way that ensures a thorough understanding of the proposal. Ist must stand on its own, being written in a way that allows anyone, even people unfamiliar with the subject, to know what is going on without additional research.

      The Backwards Press Release "shifts the focus from internal company processes to the ultimate customer experience....By crafting the press release first, Amazon ensures that teams align their efforts with the core value proposition and customer benefits."
The Anatomy of an Amazon 6-pager (Jesse Freeman, Writing Cooperative, 7-16-20) A deep dive into writing detailed planning docs from one of the most successful companies in the world.
Google’s Top Search Result? Surprise: It's Google! (Adrianne Jeffries and Leon Yin, The Markup, 7-28-20) The search engine dedicated almost half of the first page of results in our test to its own products, which dominated the coveted top of the page. [Which is why I go past that part, to find non-google-oriented results.] Read How We Analyzed Google’s Search Results

      Under their proposal, "Congress would establish a new regulatory body with the power to sue platforms — or even force them to stop operating — in response to various potential harms to customers, rivals and the general public, including anticompetitive practices, violations of consumer privacy and the spread of harmful online content."

      “For too long, giant tech companies have exploited consumers’ data, invaded Americans’ privacy, threatened our national security, and stomped out competition in our economy,” Warren said in a statement.

      "The legislation would also ban certain practices outright and direct the new agency to police any violations. For example, companies such as Google would not be able to prioritize its own apps and services at the top of search results or use noncompete agreements to block employees from going to work for a rival startup.

       "Companies covered by the legislation would also face restrictions on how they can use Americans’ personal information for targeted advertising, in a privacy-focused move."
How Elon Musk fired Twitter staff and broke nothing (Megan McArdle, WaPo, 2-19-23) Elon Musk laid off 50 percent of Twitter's workforce when he bought Twitter, and "if there has been an outflow of users (hard to say, now that Twitter is private), it seems to be driven by political objections to Musk, rather than a decline in the technical quality of service. Which raises a question: If Twitter can get by for three months on a fraction of its staff, how many of those folks were actually necessary?"...
       "That’s also a question for a lot of other tech firms, many of which have announced major layoffs.In November, payments giant Stripe and Meta, Facebook’s parent, each announced they would let go 13 to 14 percent of their workforces. In January, both Amazon and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, announced cuts of roughly 6 percent. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos personally owns The Washington Post.) The list goes on, filled with names you’ve heard: PayPal, Microsoft, Netflix, Roku, Wayfair, Salesforce....And this is happening in the context of a strong jobs market.
     "I doubt the decline of easy money is a major issue at companies like Google and Meta, which don’t have huge debt loads. For them, I suspect the problem is even larger: the companies themselves have long been money-printing machines — and the machines are at risk of breaking down."
Amazon's Dark Secret: It Has Failed to Protect Your Data (Will Evans, Wired, 11-18-21) Voyeurs. Sabotaged accounts. Backdoor schemes. "For years, the retail giant has handled your information less carefully than it handles your packages. In the name of speedy customer service, unbridled growth, and rapid-fire “invention on behalf of customers”—in the name of delighting you—Amazon had given broad swathes of its global workforce extraordinary latitude to tap into customer data at will. It was, as former Amazon chief information security officer Gary Gagnon calls it, a “free-for-all” of internal access to customer information. And as information security leaders warned, that free-for-all left the company wide open to “internal threat actors” while simultaneously making it inordinately difficult to track where all of Amazon's data was flowing."
The ‘Enshittification’ of TikTok Or how, exactly, platforms die. (Corey Doctorow, Wired, 1-23-23) "Don't be put off by the strange headline; this is an astute analysis of the life cycle of internet platforms. At first, the aim is to provide value to users, probably while operating at a loss. Then the priority is business users, in the hope of breaking even. Finally, all users are betrayed by the platform as it attempts to make a profit. Nobody is served, the experience is ruined, and the platform dies."~The Browser

   First, how Amazon sucked us all in with Prime, getting us to pre-pay a year of shipping costs in advance, while advertising "free shipping." Then how Facebook did it. Then TikTok.
The Junkification of Amazon, Why does it feel like the company is making itself worse? (John Herrman, Intelligencer, 1-30-23) "Of the 81 clickable, buyable products on my first page of search results for “spatula” — product listings, banners, and recommendation modules — 29, or  more than a third, were some form of ad.)"
      "There’s a good chance, however, that it won’t actually be sold by Amazon but rather by a third-party seller that has spent months or years and many thousands of dollars hustling for search placement on the platform — its “store,” to use Amazon’s term, is where you will have technically bought this spatula...But, at the core of that experience, something has become unignorably worse. More products are junk."
Who's Afraid of Section 230? (Susan Benkelman, Opinion, WaPo, 4-28-19) A review of The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet by Jeff Kosseff. The 26 words: "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider." In other words, it lets the internet platforms off the hook.

The obscure law that explains why Google backs climate deniers (Stephanie Kirchgaessner, The Guardian, 10-11-19)  "Google wants to curry favour with conservatives to protect its ‘section 230’ legal immunity. For Google, providing financial backing to groups such as CEI and the Cato Institute – staunch free marketeers – has nothing to do with climate science, and everything to do with its effort to curry favour with conservatives on its most pressing issue in Washington: protecting an obscure section of the US law that is worth billions of dollars to the company. The law – known as section 230 of the Communications Decency Act – was established in the 1990s, at a time when the internet was in its infancy, and helped to give rise to internet giants, from Google to Facebook, by offering legal immunity to the companies for third party comments, in effect treating them as distributors of content and not publishers. Section 230, in effect, allowed Google and Facebook to be shielded from the kinds of libel laws that can ensnare other companies, such as newspapers."

The law that made the Internet what it is today (Susan Benkelman, Opinion, WaPo, 4-28-19) A review of The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet by Jeff Kosseff. Few anticipated the consequences of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Ron 'Wyden acknowledged to Kosseff that although he knew that Section 230 was going to be important, he “never thought that its reach would be this dramatic.” Nor could he possibly have foreseen platforms whose algorithms would help surface and amplify conspiracies, fake images and news stories, and even depictions of violence online, creating the distorted-mirror effect that is so prevalent and troubling today. Now something needs to change, whether it is the law or the companies’ behavior. Section 230 may have created the mirror of society that the Internet represents. But the tech companies now hold it in their hands, which means they may want to move more aggressively to remove its distortions — before the government tries to do it for them.'

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Porn, Privacy Fraud: What Lurks Inside Google’s Black Box Ad Empire (Craig Silverman and Ruth Talbot, ProPublica and Business Ethics, 12-23-22) Google’s ad business hides nearly all publishers it works with and where billions of ad dollars flow. Google’s embrace of publisher confidentiality means roughly 1 million publishers can remain anonymous to companies and individuals who buy ads on its network to reach customers. This opens the door to a range of abuses and schemes that steal potentially billions of dollars a year and put lives and livelihoods at risk due to dangerous disinformation, fraud and scams. Google’s ad business helps fund dangerous disinformation that puts public health and democracy at risk around the world, earns money from millions of gun ads while publicly claiming to block them, and allowed a sanctioned Russian ad tech company to harvest data on potentially millions of people, including possibly those in Ukraine, putting their security and privacy at risk.
---Breaking Bads: How Advertiser-Supported Piracy Helps Fuel a Booming Multi-Billion Dollar Illegal Market (White Bullet, Digital Citizens Alliance, August 2021) You can read this for free on the Internet. Just click on the link. This report is the result of a year of investigation of the content theft business model and how it generates advertising revenues.
---Investigating Google's Ad Business (Craig Silverman, Digital Investigations, 2-1-23)
---How Google’s Ad Business Funds Disinformation Around the World (Craig Silverman, Ruth Talbot, Jeff Kao and Anna Klühspies, ProPublica, 10-29-22)
---How We Determined Which Disinformation Publishers Profit From Google’s Ad Systems (Ruth Talbot, Jeff Kao, Craig Silverman and Anna Klühspies, ProPublica, 10-29-22) We identified websites that collected Google ad revenue despite publishing false claims about COVID-19, climate change and other issues in apparent violation of Google policies.
---Google Says It Bans Gun Ads. It Actually Makes Money From Them. (Craig Silverman and Ruth Talbot, ProPublica, 6-14-22)
---Google Allowed a Sanctioned Russian Ad Company to Harvest User Data for Months (Craig Silverman, ProPublica, 7-1-22) The internet giant may have provided Sberbank-owned RuTarget with unique mobile phone IDs, IP addresses, location information and details about users’ interests and online activity.
---A Case Study in Monetizing Piracy: MangaOwl and Chessmoba.us (Rocky Moss and Antonio Torres, DeepSee, 2022) Ad fraud is serious business.
---Justice Department Sues Monopolist Google For Violating Antitrust Laws (U.S. Dept. of Justice, 10-20-20) "Google has foreclosed any meaningful search competitor from gaining vital distribution and scale, eliminating competition for a majority of search queries in the United States. By restricting competition in search, Google’s conduct has harmed consumers by reducing the quality of search (including on dimensions such as privacy, data protection, and use of consumer data), lessening choice in search, and impeding innovation. By suppressing competition in advertising, Google has the power to charge advertisers more than it could in a competitive market and to reduce the quality of the services it provides them."
Business Musings: Amazon: Year in Review Part 5 (Kristine Kathryn Rusch, 12-21-22) An important piece: Amazon may be losing its grip on publishing sales. "I’m not saying it’s time to leave Amazon. I’m saying it’s time to go wide. To make Amazon part of your publishing portfolio, not all of your publishing portfolio."
How to Use Google Privacy Settings (Thomas Germain, Consumer Reports, 10-11-22) These controls and techniques will help you limit the personal data Google collects for advertising and other purposes
Google's reincarnation as Meta "The metaverse may be virtual, but the impact will be real." Much more visual than old Google, and includes ads (from which guess who benefits).
Twitter Still Taking Broad Rights to Your Photos under New Terms of Service (David Walker, Photo District News,12-4-19) The language of Twitter’s new terms of service say that copyright holders won’t be paid for the content they post, but now explain why: “Such additional uses by Twitter, or other companies, organizations or individuals, is made with no compensation paid to you…as the use of the Services by you is hereby agreed as being sufficient compensation for the Content and grant of rights herein.”
     While granting unfettered rights to its users’ intellectual property, Twitter is protecting its own copyright in no uncertain terms.
How We Determined Which Disinformation Publishers Profit From Google’s Ad Systems (Ruth Talbot, Jeff Kao, Craig Silverman and Anna Klühspies, ProPublica, 10-29-22) We identified websites that collected Google ad revenue despite publishing false claims about COVID-19, climate change and other issues in apparent violation of Google policies.
How Google’s Ad Business Funds Disinformation Around the World (Craig Silverman, Ruth Talbot, Jeff Kao and Anna Klühspies, ProPublica, 10-29-22) The largest-ever analysis of Google’s ad practices on non-English-language websites reveals how the tech giant makes disinformation profitable. Google regularly places ads, including those from major brands, on articles that appear to violate its own policy barring the placement of ads on content that makes unreliable or harmful claims on a range of issues, including health, climate, elections and democracy.
How a news investigation shed light on potential patient privacy violations (Karen Blum, Covering Health, AHCJ, 9-24-22) An investigative story published in June by nonprofit news organization The Markup, in partnership with STAT, describing how Facebook receives sensitive medical information from hospital websites. In a new “How I Did It,” Simon Fondrie-Teitler and Todd Feathers, two of the team members that worked on the investigation, spoke with AHCJ about how the story came about and what journalists can learn from the process. Check out this story: Facebook Is Receiving Sensitive Medical Information from Hospital Websites (Todd Feathers, Simon Fondrie-Teitler, Angie Waller, and Surya Mattu,The Markup, 6-16-22) Experts say some hospitals’ use of an ad tracking tool may violate a federal law protecting health information. "The Markup tested the websites of Newsweek’s top 100 hospitals in America. On 33 of them we found the tracker, called the Meta Pixel, sending Facebook a packet of data whenever a person clicked a button to schedule a doctor’s appointment. The Markup identified seven health systems that had installed pixels inside their password-protected patient portals. For more stories in the series, check out

---Pixel Hunt: Online Abortion Pill Provider Hey Jane Used Tracking Tools That Sent Visitor Data to Meta, Google, and Others;

---Facebook and Anti-Abortion Clinics Are Collecting Highly Sensitive Info on Would-Be Patients;

---Applied for Student Aid Online? Facebook Saw You

---Meta Faces Mounting Questions from Congress on Health Data Privacy As Hospitals Remove Facebook Tracker and several others. 
A new road map for reining in social media companies is gaining steam (Cristiano Lima and Aaron Schaffer, Washington Post, 2-23-22) For years, U.S. policymakers have been railing against social media companies for allegedly stoking divisions and facilitating the spread of noxious content on their sites, with little to show for it. These efforts have largely taken the form of proposals to roll back the protections that shield tech companies from lawsuits over their users’ posts, known as Section 230.

      But there are signs of growing momentum for focusing instead on channeling regulators’ consumer protection powers--in an effort to “finally bring social media platforms’ broken promises and black box practices to light.” New York University adjunct law professor Paul Barrett argued that expanding regulators’ powers to crack down on consumer protection harms on social media could offer a more comprehensive solution than revamping Section 230.

Pirated books thrive on Amazon — and authors say web giant ignores fraud (Theo Wayt, NY Post 7-31-22) Forgeries sold by third parties through Amazon range from e-books to hardcovers and fiction to non-fiction — but the issue is especially widespread for textbooks, whose sky-high sticker prices draw in scammers...
From Amazon to Apple, tech giants turn to old-school union-busting(Nitasha Tiku, Reed Albergotti, Greg Jaffe, and Rachel Lerman, Washington Post, 4-24-22) At a Staten Island warehouse set to start its vote on unionizing Monday, Amazon has hired consultants to union-bust, mandated classes to discourage organizing and threatened to arrest union leaders for trespassing. In the tech industry, giants such as Amazon, Google and Apple have long warded off worker activism with a mix of tools, including high pay, plentiful employee perks, beloved consumer brands and core missions that made their workforces feel they were making the world a better place. But blue-collar (hourly wage) workers undergird the tech industry — they aren't part of the tech elite and often don’t have access to the benefits of the corporate jobs. Amazon, the country’s second-largest private employer, has more than 1 million employees in the United States, many of them at warehouses. Apple has more than 200 retail stores in the country, and Google’s shadow workforce of contractors and temporary workers has exceeded its 156,500 employees since 2018.
Degenerative AI (Ed Z, Where's Your Ed At?, 2-16-23) In an attempt to catch up with Google, a company that has successfully destroyed its popular search product through sheer force of greed, Microsoft invested a further $10 billion in ChatGPT creator OpenAI (six days after laying off 10,000 people), hoping to make its own search engine Bing better, or more popular, but certainly not more profitable. The net result is a search engine with narcissistic personality disorder, responding to user queries with emotionally manipulative and outright false claims.
The Rot Economy (Ed Zitron's Where's Your Ed At?, 2-9-23) 'When "growth" is "more."

      'In the public markets, that means companies like Google, Meta, and Microsoft were rewarded for having unfocused, capital-intensive businesses that required mass layoffs when times got tough, because the market loved the idea that they’d found a way to save money. They weren’t punished for their poor planning, their stagnating products, their mismanagement of human capital, or their general lack of any real innovation because the numbers kept going up....

      [We see] 'vast oscillations of hiring and firing - because these companies are never, ever punished for failing to operate their businesses in a sustainable way, or even with a view for the future, particularly when it comes to macroeconomic trends that literally everyone else saw coming.

     'The markets do not react when they are mass-hiring people to capture consumer demand. They do not react to the fact that Microsoft, for example, seems to be laying off people almost every year. In 2020, CEO Satya Nadella called for a “referendum on capitalism,” telling businesses to start to grade themselves on the “wider economic benefits they bring to society, rather than profits.” To be clear, this was four months after Microsoft laid off 1000 people, one year before they hired 23,000 people, and a few months after which they laid off 10,000 people to “deliver results on an ongoing basis, while investing in [their] long-term opportunity.” '
Amazon Sues Administrators of More Than 10,000 Facebook Groups Over Fake Reviews (Newley Purnell, WSJ, 7-19-22) Amazon Inc. said it filed a lawsuit against the administrators of what it says are more than 10,000 Facebook groups used to coordinate fake reviews of Amazon products. Those in charge of the Facebook groups used the groups to solicit and coordinate reviews for items ranging from camera tripods to car stereos in exchange for free products or money.
Who Wins The Battle Of Walmart Vs. Amazon? (Blake Morgan, Forbes,6-14-21) An interesting comparison, and search for "Walmart vs. Amazon" to find similar stories elsewhere.
Facebook paid GOP firm to malign TikTok (Taylor Lorenz and Drew Harwell, Washington Post, 3-30-22) The firm, Targeted Victory, pushed local operatives across the country to boost messages calling TikTok a threat to American children. “Dream would be to get stories with headlines like ‘From dances to danger,’ ” 'The emails, which have not been previously reported, show the extent to which Meta and its partners will use opposition-research tactics on the Chinese-owned, multibillion-dollar rival that has become one of the most downloaded apps in the world, often outranking even Meta’s popular Facebook and Instagram apps. In an internal report last year leaked by the whistleblower Frances Haugen, Facebook researchers said teens were spending “2-3X more time” on TikTok than Instagram, and that Facebook’s popularity among young people had plummeted.'
      See also Local news outlets were targeted in Facebook’s smear campaign against TikTok (Sarah Scire, Nieman Lab, 3-30-22) "The secret campaign specifically targeted local reporters to help amplify questionable claims about the platform. It seems many local outlets couldn’t resist the bait." Scire shows how the campaign worked and how people reacted--e.g., "Incredible story, what seems particularly curious is the way they targeted local news specifically to plant boomer-bait satanic-panic type stories about Tiktok causing teens to be naughty."

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Inside Facebook’s Data Wars (Kevin Roose, NY Times, 7-14-21) Executives at the social network have battled internally over transparency and have clashed in particular over CrowdTangle, a Facebook-owned data tool that revealed users’ high engagement levels with right-wing media sources. CrowdTangle, which had been running quasi-independently inside Facebook since being acquired in 2016, was being moved under the social network’s integrity team, the group trying to rid the platform of misinformation and hate speech. The announcement, which left CrowdTangle’s employees in stunned silence, was the result of a yearlong battle among Facebook executives over data transparency, and how much the social network should reveal about its inner workings.
Everything platforms know about the war but won't tell us (Casey Newton, Platformer, 3-10-22) CrowdTangle co-founder Brandon Silverman on social networks' responsibility to open up. We’re seeing exactly how important it is to have platforms working alongside the rest of civil society to respond to moments like this. For instance, we’re seeing the open-source intelligence community, as well as visual forensics teams at news outlets, do incredible work using social media data to help verify posts from on the ground in Ukraine. We’re also seeing journalists and researchers do their best to uncover misinformation and disinformation on social media. They’re regularly finding examples that have been viewed by millions of people, including repurposed video game footage pretending to be real, coordinated Russian disinformation among TikTok influencers, and fake fact-checks on social media that make their way onto television.” How platform researchers convinced the Senate (Casey Newton, Platformer, 5-4-22) The Platform Transparency and Accountability Act was introduced in December by (an ever-so-slightly) bipartisan group of senators. “Above all else, the single biggest challenge is that in the industry right now, you can simply get away without doing any transparency at all,” said Brandon Silverman, who left the company now known as Meta in October. “YouTube, TikTok, Telegram, and Snapchat represent some of the largest and most influential platforms in the United States, and they provide almost no functional transparency into their systems. And as a result, they avoid nearly all of the scrutiny and criticism that comes with it....That reality has industry-wide implications, and it frequently led to conversations inside Facebook about whether or not it was better to simply do nothing, since you could easily get away with it.”
How Social Media Exploits Our Loneliness (Anthony Silard, Psychology Today, 6-14-21) Does social media manipulate our feelings to create its own demand? Social media capitalizes on isolation by "separating" us from friends, then making us want to check on what these friends are doing. Connecting on social media creates more disconnection. And being on social media actually isolates us from our real-life networks.

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A Valentine’s P.S.A.: Instagram Is Not Your Friend Today (Margaret Renkl, NY Times, 2-14-22) There are many reasons to hate Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram: its predatory business model, its role in spreading false election information and false vaccine information,its exacerbation of political polarization, sucking up the details of our personal lives and turning them into a commodity.
---States appeal a judge’s decision to throw out their Facebook antitrust case. (Cecilia Kang, NY Times, 1-14-22) The states’ central claim is that Facebook acquired competitors — particularly Misinformation on Facebook got six times more clicks than factual news during the 2020 election, study says.
---Misinformation on Facebook got six times more clicks than factual news during the 2020 election, study says (Elizabeth Dwoskin, Washington Post, 9-3-21) Right-leaning pages also produce more misinformation, the forthcoming study found.
---Facebook failing to protect users from Covid misinformation, says monitor (Dan Milmo, The Guardian, 11-2-21) Twenty accounts and groups tracked by NewsGuard gained more than 370,000 followers over past year
---A new NYU report finds that Facebook is part of the polarization problem, but not all of it (Joshua Benton, Nieman Lab, 9-13-21) But its recommendations to reduce polarization don’t target the people who might have the most direct influence.
---Facebook Algorithms and Personal Data (Paul Hitlin and Lee Rainie, Pew Research, 1-16-19) About half of Facebook users say they are not comfortable when they see how the platform categorizes them, and 27% maintain the site's classifications do not accurately represent them

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Infiltrating Amazon: What I learned going undercover at the corporate giant (Mostafa Henaway, Breach, 11-27-21) Organizing for workers’ rights will require confronting Amazon’s powerful blend of surveillance, exploitation and company benefits. "Insider's account of working the night shift at an Amazon delivery station. Full of intriguing detail." H/T The Browser
How to Lose Tens of Thousands of Dollars on Amazon (Alana Semuels, The Atlantic, 1-2-19) A growing number of self-proclaimed experts promise they can teach anyone how to make a passive income selling cheap Chinese goods in the internet's largest store. Not everyone’s getting rich quick.
Facebook Has a Superuser-Supremacy Problem (Matthew Hindman, Nathaniel Lubin, and Trevor Davis, The Atlantic, 2-10-22) Most public activity on the platform comes from a tiny, hyperactive group of abusive users. Facebook relies on them to decide what everyone sees. "Allowing a small set of people who behave horribly to dominate the platform is Facebook’s choice, not an inevitability. If each of Facebook’s 15,000 U.S. moderators aggressively reviewed several dozen of the most active users and permanently removed those guilty of repeated violations, abuse on Facebook would drop drastically within days. But so would overall user engagement."
Google accused of tracking users without permission in lawsuits (Max Knoblauch, Data Privacy, Morning Brew, 1-24-22) Google's ongoing corporate mission to dominate the National Geography Bee finally has some states fed up. Texas, Indiana, Washington state, and Washington, DC, "sued the company alleging in separate lawsuits that—from at least 2014 to 2019—the company deceived users about when it was tracking their location.The lawsuits allege that although users were able to “turn off” their location history, Google continued tracking their movements through other means and employed several tactics to pressure consumers into granting the company more access."

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How Instagram, Fed Ex, and Wordle Hook You (an episode of the podcast ‘Sway’ 2-27-22) Designer and podcaster Debbie Millman in this conversation with Kara Swisher discusses the impact — and limits — of brands in shaping our lives and what that means in an age where people increasingly refer to themselves as brands.
Why Facebook won’t let you control your own news feed (Will Oremus, WaPo, 10-14-21) Lawmakers want social networks to offer users a chronological timeline. Leaked documents help to explain why Facebook doesn’t. Whistleblower Frances Haugen has pointed to Facebook's "algorithm as central to the social network’s problems, arguing that it systematically amplifies and rewards hateful, divisive, misleading and sometimes outright false content by putting it at the top of users’ feeds. And previously reported internal documents, which Haugen provided to regulators and media outlets...have shown how Facebook crafts its ranking system to keep users hooked, sometimes at the cost of angering or misinforming them."
A New Search Engine Worth Trying: Neeva (James Fallows, Breaking the News, 11-4-21)
Facebook Isn’t Telling You How Popular Right-Wing Content Is on the Platform (Corin Faife, Citizen Browser, The Markup, 11-18-21) Facebook insists that mainstream news sites perform the best on its platform. But by other measures, sensationalist, partisan content reigns.
The Micro-Propaganda Machine (Jonathan Albright, Medium, 11-4-18) Jonathan Albright explores the fascinating — and sometimes troubling — issues at the interface of platforms, propaganda, and politics. Facebook and the 2018 Midterms.

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Don’t blame the election on fake news. Blame it on the media. (Duncan J. Watts and David M. Rothschild, Columbia Journalism Review, 12-5-17) Since the 2016 presidential election, an increasingly familiar narrative has emerged concerning the unexpected victory of Donald Trump. Fake news, much of it produced by Russian sources, was amplified on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, generating millions of views among a segment of the electorate eager to hear stories about Hillary Clinton’s untrustworthiness, unlikeability, and possibly even criminality. “Alt-right” news sites like Breitbart and The Daily Caller supplemented the outright manufactured information with highly slanted and misleading coverage of their own.
--- Misinfluencers, Inc.: How Fake News Is Reaching Millions Using Verified Facebook Accounts (Snopes, 9-29-17)
--- RT, Sputnik and Russia’s New Theory of War (NY Times, 9-13-17) How the Kremlin built one of the most powerful information weapons of the 21st century — and why it may be impossible to stop.
--- What Facebook Did to American Democracy
--- (Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, Oct. 2017)
--- Down the Breitbart Hole (NY Times, 8-16-17) Steve Bannon once said it was the platform for the alt-right. Its current editors disagree. Is the incendiary media company at the nerve center of Donald Trump’s America simply provocative — or dangerous?
--- Your Filter Bubble is Destroying Democracy (Mostafa M. El-Bermawy, Opinion, Wired,11-18-16) Rarely will our Facebook comfort zones expose us to opposing views, and as a result we eventually become victims to our own biases.
--- Forget Politics: Why 'Fake News' Should Infuriate You (Tim Bajarin, PC, 10-16-17) An outside force like Russia hijacking the democratic process should infuriate people. Yet many embrace 'fake' stories that back up preconceived notions.
--- Silicon Valley Is Not Your Friend (Noam Cohen, NY Times, 10-13-17) We are beginning to understand that tech companies don’t have our best interests at heart. Did they ever?
--- Facebook Hands Over Data to Congress and Promises Better Disclosure on Political Ads (Brian Feldman, Intelligencer, New York, 9-21-17)
--- Facebook will help investigators release Russia ads, Sandberg tells Axios (Dustin Volz, Reuters) "Knowing who’s behind the things you’re seeing on Facebook, and what they’re telling other people, is a good way to rupture the filter bubbles that were exploited by malicious (and greedy) actors last year. The dark age of online political advertising, aggressively concentrated around Facebook, appears to be at an end."

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The Global Drive to Control Big Tech (Adrian Shahbaz and Allie Funk, Freedom on the Net 2021, Freedom House) In the high-stakes battle between states and technology companies, the rights of internet users have become the main casualties. Key Findings: Global internet freedom declined for the 11th consecutive year. Governments clashed with technology companies on users’ rights. Free expression online is under unprecedented strain. China ranks as the worst environment for internet freedom for the seventh year in a row. The United States’ score declined for the fifth consecutive year. State intervention must protect human rights online and preserve an open internet.
Twitter gets its hands dirty (Casey Newton, 8-4-22) Two years after closing its PAC, the company has quietly begun giving away money again. Twitter donated $25,000 to the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), an organization that is soliciting funds to "combat the Democrats' pro-abortion agenda and stand tall for life." Twitter's donation comes as RAGA is deploying its resources to elect attorneys general that will enforce abortion bans in states where reproductive rights remain unsettled, including Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, Ohio, and Florida.
How does Google’s monopoly hurt you? Try these searches. (Geoffrey A. Fowler, WashPost, 10-20-20) Right under our noses, the Internet’s most-used website has been getting worse. Is the first thing you see a search result? I’m not talking about the stuff labeled Ads or Maps. On my screen, the actual result is not in the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh or even eighth row of stuff. It’s buried on row nine.
A cheat sheet to all of the antitrust cases against Big Tech in 2021 (Nicolás Rivero, Quartz, 9-29-21) Anti-monopoly enforcement is in vogue once again around the world. After two decades of virtually unchecked growth from the world’s biggest tech companies—particularly, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple—regulators and politicians are rediscovering their zeal for reining in corporate power.
The Facebook Papers: ‘History Will Not Judge Us Kindly’ (Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic, 10-25-21) "Thousands of pages of internal documents offer the clearest picture yet of how Facebook endangers American democracy—and show that the company's own employees know it....Again and again, the Facebook Papers show staffers sounding alarms about the dangers posed by the platform—how Facebook amplifies extremism and misinformation, how it incites violence, how it encourages radicalization and political polarization. Again and again, staffers reckon with the ways in which Facebook's decisions stoke these harms, and they plead with leadership to do more."

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Amazon copies items, rigs search: Rpt (Report, LinkedIn) The tech giant has engaged in "a systematic campaign" in India to create copycat goods while manipulating search results to promote its products, according to a Reuters investigation. Reuters' investigation also found at least two executives reviewed the India strategy, one of whom is still at Amazon.(I noticed that Amazon copied those big yellow legal pads with fine lines that I used to buy at Staples. Amazon has its own exactly alike brand.)

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Why these Facebook research scandals are different (Casey Newton, Platformer, 9-22-21) According to Wall Street Journal stories in a series called The Facebook Files, "Facebook Inc. knows, in acute detail, that its platforms are riddled with flaws that cause harm, often in ways only the company fully understands. platforms are riddled with flaws that cause harm, often in ways only the company fully understands." detail an opaque, separate system of governance for elite users known as Xcheck....Facebook says its rules apply to all. Company documents reveal a secret elite that's exempt." For instance, writes Newton, "The MIT Tech Review found that despite Facebook’s significant investment in security, by October 2019, Eastern European troll farms reached 140 million people a month with propaganda — and 75 percent of those users saw it not because they followed a page but because Facebook’s recommendation engine served it to them." One example among many in a long story worth reading.
Platformer (Casey Newton, Welcome to Platformer, 9-23-20) Platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok offer us convenient places to talk, work, and entertain ourselves online. Lawmakers are now investigating tech companies’ size, power, and business practices. But because Big Tech is run by a small handful of people, some of whom have near-total control over their businesses, public pressure is often the only immediate lever that society has to push them to do the right thing. Scroll down particularly for "The Ratio": Today in news that could change public perception of the big tech companies.

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Cancel Amazon Prime (Ellen Cushing, The Atlantic, 6-22-21) The subscription service is Amazon’s greatest—and most terrifying—invention: a product whose value proposition is to help you buy more products. With 200 million subscribers worldwide, it is the second-most-popular subscription service on Earth, poised to overtake Netflix in the not-so-distant future. When you subscribe to Prime, you’re paying to pledge your fealty to a single company’s ecosystem so that Amazon can use that information to sell you, and people like you, more goods.
#Make Amazon Pay "We are warehouse workers, climate activists, and citizens around the world, taking on the world's richest man and the multinational corporation behind him. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Amazon became a trillion dollar corporation, with CEO Jeff Bezos becoming the first person in history to amass $200 billion in personal wealth. Meanwhile, Amazon warehouse workers risked their lives as essential workers, and faced threats and intimidation if they spoke out for their rights to a fair wage."
The Amazon That Customers Don’t See (Jodi Kantor, Karen Weise and Grace Ashford, NY Times interactive, 6-15-21) Each year, hundreds of thousands of workers churn through a vast mechanism that hires and monitors, disciplines and fires. Amid the pandemic, the already strained system lurched. What happened inside shows how Jeff Bezos created the workplace of the future and pulled off the impossible during the pandemic — but also reveals what’s standing in the way of his promise to do better by his employees." It's great on logistical planning, not so good on fairly (or humanely) treating humans.

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Salesforce, Google, Facebook. How Big Tech Undermines California’s Public Health System. (Angela Hart, KHN, 5-6-21) California Gov. Gavin Newsom has outsourced his way through the covid-19 pandemic, tasking his private-sector allies in Silicon Valley and the health care industry with fundamental public health duties such as testing, tracing and vaccination. Among the losers: the state’s weakened public health system.
Facebook Says Its Rules Apply to All. Company Documents Reveal a Secret Elite That’s Exempt. (Jeff Horwitz, Wall Street Journal, 9-13-21) A program known as XCheck has given millions of celebrities, politicians and other high-profile users special treatment, a privilege many abuse.“We are not actually doing what we say we do publicly.” “Facebook routinely makes exceptions for powerful actors.” “This problem is pervasive, touching almost every area of the company.”
The Follower Factory (Nicholas Confessore, Gabriel J.X. Dance, Richard Harris, and Mark Hansen, NY Times, 1-27-18) Everyone wants to be popular online. Some even pay for it. Inside social media’s black market: Celebrities, athletes, pundits and politicians have millions of fake followers.
Google's Docs dilemma (Casey Newton, Platformer, 5-18-21) Why the biggest improvements in years might not be enough. "Docs is competing against Notion, Bear and (more recently) Substack." Newton writes of the "relative stagnation of Docs in a rapidly evolving world of productivity tools... On one side you have Microsoft, the original target that the products once called G Suite were designed to antagonize. (That project was a tremendous success, and ultimately dropkicked Microsoft into cloud-based subscriptions for Office five years later.) A huge part of Google’s attention remains occupied by the picayune needs of current and former Office users, and can enforce a kind of slow, linear progression in the product roadmap....[and Google faces]  the upstarts: beautiful, feature-rich, fast-iterating products like Notion, Coda, and Airtable. What these products lack in the lowest-common-denominator simplicity of Google Workspace is more than made up for in power and flexibility." See also Google Workspace turns to ‘smart chips’ to weave Docs, Tasks, and Meet together (Dieter Bohn, The Verge, 5-18-21) and Google Docs will be migrating slowly from HTML to canvas based rendering over the course of the next several months.

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Facebook and the Normalization of Deviance (Sue Halpern, New Yorker, 5-2-21) " Consider Facebook: for years, its leadership has known that the social network has abetted political polarization, social unrest, and even ethnic cleansing. More recently, it has been aware that its algorithms have promoted misinformation and disinformation campaigns about COVID-19 and vaccines. Over the past year, the company made piecemeal attempts to remove false information about the pandemic, issuing its most comprehensive ban in February. An analysis last month by the nonprofit group First Draft, however, found that at least thirty-two hundred posts making unfounded claims about COVID-19 vaccines had been posted after the February ban. Two weeks ago, the top post on Facebook about the vaccines was of Tucker Carlson, on Fox News, “explaining” that they don’t work." Deeply interesting, unnerving.
Spotify wants to become the go-to for podcasts. Creators and audiences should worry. (Hank Green, Washington Post, 5-27-2020) "Spotify wants to become to podcasts what YouTube is for video: simply, the default platform for both listeners and creators. And that should worry people in both of those groups....In the ecosystem of YouTube, which Google owns, tens of thousands of small businesses depend on the whims of one of the largest companies in the world for both audience and revenue. Like Facebook with Instagram, Google’s YouTube stands between content creators and their audiences, extracting value and exercising control in a near monopoly....If Spotify can leverage cheap capital to lock a large audience into its ecosystem, podcasts would need to go there. And if the company gives some kind of preference (whether revenue-sharing, promotion or both) to podcasts that are exclusive to its platform (which would be perfectly legal), then listeners would be locked into their ecosystems as well."
Here are Apple’s and Epic’s full slideshows arguing why they should win at trial (Mitchell Clark, The Verge, 5-3-21) "The lawsuit started when Apple removed Epic Games’ Fortnite from the App Store after Epic bypassed Apple’s system for in-app purchases. But it’s turned into a much deeper examination of Apple’s walled-garden approach to technology, and whether some of the walls the company puts up might violate antitrust law. See also Epic Games v. Apple: the fight for the future of the App Store Follow all the updates.
Apple robbed the mob’s bank (Eric Benjamin Seufert, Mobile Dev Memo, 5-10-21) Apple’s “privacy” updates make it difficult for apps to share data with each other in order to target ads. But Apple plans to harvest this same data for its own advertising products. Apple routinely places restrictions on app developers and then doesn't apply those restrictions to its own products, thereby giving Apple products an unfair advantage. (H/T Simon Owens)
“Newsworthiness,” Trump, and the Facebook Oversight Board (Renee DiResta and Matt DeButts, CJR, 4-26-21) "At a minimum, the newsworthiness exemption at Facebook and on other social media platforms ought to be reevaluated for the digital age. Internet virality means that elites no longer decide what is news. The idea of “newsworthiness” as we once conceived it is either anachronistic or largely synonymous with virality. In either case, we ought to reconsider how we apply it. Anything else means relying on social media companies to determine its usage for themselves. This year’s insurrection, among other things, has demonstrated the risks of that approach."
Information Overload Helps Fake News Spread, and Social Media Knows It (Filippo Menczer and Thomas Hills, Scientific American) Understanding how algorithm manipulators exploit our cognitive vulnerabilities empowers us to fight back.
Spies, Lies, and Stonewalling: What It’s Like to Report on Facebook (Jacob Silverman, CJR, 7-1-20) "It can feel impossible to comprehend Facebook’s total influence—or to overstate its impact on journalism....Facebook has erected a vigorous security apparatus and modified its internal culture to one defined by secrecy and a loose-lips-sink-ships attitude....What Facebook has become is the press’s assignment editor, its distribution network, its great antagonist, devourer of its ad revenue, and, through corporate secrecy, a massive block to journalism’s core mission of democratic accountability."

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Twitter, the Intimacy Machine (C. Thi Nguyen,The Raven, Fall 2021) The platform invites intimate, high-context speech. Then it gives us the perfect tool to crush that intimacy. A good tweet plucks at pre-existing strings.Twitter’s basic structure—its shortness, the promise of connection with strangers—draws out of us these vulnerable, context-dependent stabs at intimacy. Twitter is built to reward us for these risky, high-wire walks on the thin strand of shared context. But the platform makes it easy for any user to rip something out of context and activate the pleasures of another kind of intimate connection—the gratifications of shared outrage, the intimacy of collective dunking.
Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America (Alec MacGillis) We have "entered the age of one-click America―and as the coronavirus makes Americans more dependent on online shopping, its sway will only intensify....Amazon’s sprawling network of delivery hubs, data centers, and corporate campuses epitomizes a land where winner and loser cities and regions are drifting steadily apart, the civic fabric is unraveling, and work has become increasingly rudimentary and isolated."

     "Alec MacGillis takes the ubiquity of [Amazon] and blows it up into something on the scale of Homer’s Odyssey in his new book . . MacGillis’s story is as emotional as it is analytical ― he visits characters and industries affected by Amazon, demonstrating over and over again that the empire is irreparably changing every aspect of American life as we know it . . . Sometimes the things we see every day become invisible. MacGillis asks us to look closer." ―Amy Pedulla, The Boston Globe
Inside the Making of Facebook’s Supreme Court (Kate Klonick, New Yorker, 2-12-21) The company has created a board to make decisions about free speech on the platform--that could overrule even Mark Zuckerberg. Soon it will decide whether to allow Trump back on Facebook.
Want to borrow that e-book from the library? Sorry, Amazon won’t let you. (Geoffrey A. Fowler, Washington Post, 3-10-21) Its monopoly is stopping public libraries from lending e-books and audiobooks from Mindy Kaling, Dean Koontz, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Trevor Noah, Andy Weir, Michael Pollan and a whole lot more.
Facebook Cuts Off News in Australia in Fight Over Payments (Gerry Smith, Kurt Wagner, and Angus Whitley, Bloomberg, 2-17-21) Facebook Inc. has started restricting the sharing of news on its service in Australia, defying a controversial proposed law that would require technology companies to pay publishers when their articles are posted by users. The potential fallout from the spat goes far beyond Australia for Facd Google, whose dominance of global advertising has made it a target for watchdogs worldwide. Facebook had threatened to block people and publishers in Australia from sharing news on its main social network and Instagram if the legislation were to become law. Facebook tried to draw a contrast with Google, arguing that publishers don’t voluntarily provide articles that appear in Google search results, while they willingly post news on Facebook, which helps them reach a larger audience. See also Life Without Google: Australia Is Now Facing the Unthinkable (Angus Whitley and Georgina McKay, 2-11-21) But disabling what is arguably the world’s most famous website would hand all of Australia to rivals, including Microsoft Corp.’s Bing and DuckDuckGo, which have failed to dislodge Google as the gateway to the web. These search-engine competitors would suddenly have a playground for development and a foothold to advance on the global stage.
The Constitution of Knowledge (Jonathan Rauch, National Affairs, Fall 2018) “Unlike ordinary lies and propaganda, which try to make you believe something, disinformation tries to make you disbelieve everything.” Understandably disoriented, many people conclude they might as well believe what they prefer to believe....Although disinformation is old, it has recently cross-pollinated with the internet to produce something new: the decentralized, swarm-based version of disinformation that has come to be known as trolling....the clickbait economy created a business model. Disinformation went from vandalistic to profitable. Google Ads and Facebook (among others) monetized page views, thereby monetizing anything that generates clicks, regardless of truth value."

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Hyperpartisan Facebook Pages Are Publishing False And Misleading Information At An Alarming Rate (Craig Silverman, Lauren Strapagiel, Hamza Shaban, Ellie Hall,and Jeremy Singer-Vine, Buzzfeed News, 10-20-16) A BuzzFeed News analysis found that three big right-wing Facebook pages published false or misleading information 38% of the time during the period analyzed, and three large left-wing pages did so in nearly 20% of posts.
How Australia May Have Just Saved Journalism From Big Tech (Whitehead, Time, 2-23-21) On Feb. 18, Australians woke up to find that all the local news stories that they had shared on Facebook had abruptly disappeared. Facebook claimed it had no choice in the face of a proposed media law that would force tech giants to pay for the use of local media content. Both Google and Facebook opposed the new law. This article explains the power struggle that ensued, ending in a win for small newspapers, as the two tech giants agreed to pay for using their news.
Capitol Riot Puts Spotlight on ‘Apocalyptically Minded’ Global Far Right (Katrin Bennhold and Michael Schwirtz, NY Times, 1-24-21) Leaderless but united by racist ideology that has been supercharged by social media, extremists have built a web of real and online connections that worries officials. '“Far-right extremists, corona skeptics and neo-Nazis are feeling restless,” said Stephan Kramer, the head of domestic intelligence for the eastern German state of Thuringia. There is a dangerous mix of elation that the rioters made it as far as they did and frustration that it didn’t lead to a civil war or coup, he said.'
Trump’s Been Unplugged. Now What? (Anna Wiener, New Yorker, 1-13-21) The platforms have acted, raising hard questions about technology and democracy. The removal of an American President from social-media sites marks a turn in the relationship between the tech industry and the public.
Consumer Groups Target Amazon Prime’s Cancellation Process (Isabella Kwai, NY Times, 1-14-2021) "Those who have tried ending a membership in Amazon Prime, the technology giant’s digital subscription service, may be familiar with the multi-click process: warnings that cancellation will mean losing “exclusive benefits,” and prompts to reverse course, or switch to an annual membership instead.... A Norwegian group filed a complaint with regulators, saying Amazon had deliberately made it difficult to end memberships to its Prime service. Groups in Europe and the U.S. back the effort."
The Subtle Tricks Shopping Sites Use to Make You Spend More (Louise Matsakis, Wired, 8-6-2020) Through deceptive designs known as “dark patterns,” online retailers try to nudge you toward purchases you wouldn’t otherwise make. It can be hard to determine the line between clever marketing and outright deception.

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Facebook Is a Doomsday Machine (Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic, 12-15-2020) Facebook's 'early mission was to “give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” Instead, it took the concept of “community” and sapped it of all moral meaning. The rise of QAnon, for example, is one of the social web’s logical conclusions. That’s because Facebook—along with Google and YouTube—is perfect for amplifying and spreading disinformation at lightning speed to global audiences. Facebook is an agent of government propaganda, targeted harassment, terrorist recruitment, emotional manipulation, and genocide—a world-historic weapon that lives not underground, but in a Disneyland-inspired campus in Menlo Park, California.'
Facebook Knew It Was Fueling QAnon (David Gilbert, Vice News, 10-5-21) "The shocking revelations about how Facebook mishandled the rise of QAnon—as well as other militarized social movements—are revealed in one of eight whistleblower complaints filed by former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week and published by CBS on Monday evening. The revelation about how quickly new accounts can become radicalized is contained in a complaint focusing on Facebook’s role in the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But the complaint reveals much more about how Facebook failed to recognize the threat posed by QAnon on its platform. It also reveals that employees were exasperated by the company’s continued failure to act on that threat."
Don’t Let Amazon Get Any Bigger (Stacy Mitchell, Opinion, NY Times, 10-8-2020) A damning congressional report about Big Tech helps make the case to break up Jeff Bezos’ empire. "While the report concludes that Apple, Facebook and Google are also abusing their monopoly power, its findings about Amazon deserve our special attention. Through its marketplace, cloud division and voice interface, Amazon functions as essential infrastructure for an astonishing array of companies and industries. This gives it an extraordinary view into the activities of other businesses and an unparalleled ability to manipulate markets to its own advantage."

     "Amazon used to rely on other carriers. Today it controls a major share of the logistics industry. It's now delivering two-thirds of the items ordered on its website and a growing share of those purchased on other sites, such as eBay. Analysts expect Amazon to surpass UPS and FedEx in total package volume by 2022. It's also rapidly gaining on the Postal Service, which saw its parcel volume shrink last year, in part because of Amazon's inroads."
“Trumpcare” Does Not Exist. Nevertheless Facebook and Google Cash In on Misleading Ads for “Garbage” Health Insurance. Jeremy B. Merrill and Marshall Allen, ProPublica, 10-15-2020) The thousands of “Trumpcare” ads Facebook and Google have published show that the shadowy “lead generation” economy has a happy home on the platforms — and even big names like UnitedHealthcare take part.

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AG, AAP, and ABA’s Joint Letter to Congress Raises Concerns About Amazon’s Power and Business Practices (Authors Guild “Amazon controls more than 80 percent of online book sales,” said Authors Guild president Doug Preston. “Their escalating demands on publishers for more money is a major reason why America’s authors have seen their incomes plummet, on average, by almost half in ten years. This makes it harder for authors to write the sorts of books that our democracy needs now. Even more dangerous is Amazon's practice of arbitrarily promoting certain books, while all but hiding other books. The time has come for our law enforcers to enforce the law."
     "Specifically, the letter asks for reforms that would prohibit Amazon from

i) leveraging data from its online platform to subdue competitors,

ii) tying its distribution services to its advertising services,

iii) imposing MFNs, and

iv) using a “loss-leader” pricing strategy (selling products below cost to undercut competition) to corner the market. These and other reforms are urgently needed to ensure that the book industry remains competitive, diverse, and resourceful enough to welcome new voices." There's a link to download the full letter.

Zuckerberg Goes Off-Script, Blasts Apple, Google In Anti-Trust Hearing (Kurt Wagner, Alex Webb, Bloomberg, via NDTV, 7-30-2020) Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg isn't hesitating to use some sharp elbows, pointing out that Amazon is the fastest-growing advertising platform and Google is the biggest. "The most popular messaging service in the U.S. is iMessage. The fastest growing app is TikTok. The most popular app for video is YouTube. The fastest growing ads platform is Amazon. The largest ads platform is Google. And for every dollar spent on advertising in the U.S., less than ten cents is spent with us."
Did Apple Fix E-Book Prices for the Greater Good? (Vauhini Vara, New Yorker, 12-16-14) "As Apple prepared to launch the iPad, it offered a deal to the six biggest publishers in the U.S. The publishers could set the retail prices of e-books sold by Apple, up to a cap of $14.99, and they would get seventy per cent of the sale price. But if any other retailer was selling a given e-book at a lower price than the one a publisher had set, Apple could match it." They "wanted a significant number of publishers to sign on to their deal before they would commit to an e-book marketplace."
Firm Behind Apple E-books Case Now Suing Amazon for Price Fixing (Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly, 3-23-2020) Lawyers at Hagens Berman allege a massive price-fixing conspiracy involving Amazon and its two million third-party sellers. They accuse Amazon of using a form of most favored nation clause (which Amazon calls its “fair pricing” provision) to effect a horizontal price fixing scheme involving the platform's two million third-party sellers.
Google will start paying some publishers for news articles (Jon Porter, The Verge, 6-25-2020) Including publishers in Germany, Australia, and Brazil. In some cases, Google says it could offer free access to paywalled articles by paying content owners on the user’s behalf.
Google emerges as target of a new state attorneys general antitrust probe (Tony Romm, Washington Post, 9-319) “Over the past year, regulators around the country have grown increasingly wary of the power wielded by Silicon Valley, questioning whether the industry’s access to vast amounts of proprietary data—and deep pockets—allow companies to gobble up rivals and maintain their dominance to the detriment of consumers.”
Amazon is delivering nearly two-thirds of its own packages as e-commerce continues pandemic boom (Frank Holland, CNBC, 8-13-2020) One industry expert predicts Amazon will deliver 80 percent of their own packages by next year.

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Amazon makes it harder for sellers to avoid shipping service (Spencer Soper, Bloomberg, 8-18-2020) Amazon.com Inc. plans to make it harder for merchants to ship products themselves, meaning they’ll be more likely to pay the company to handle the task. New shipping performance requirements, announced in an email to merchants Tuesday, will require third-party sellers to make deliveries on Saturdays and meet new one- and two-day delivery pledges starting in February. The move has potential antitrust implications because merchants could be forced to raise product prices if using Amazon logistics costs more than paying United Parcel Service Inc., FedEx Corp. or the U.S. Postal Service.
Is Amazon Unstoppable? (Charles Duhigg, A Reporter at Large, The New Yorker, 10-10-19) Politicians want to rein in the retail giant. But Jeff Bezos, the master of cutthroat capitalism, is ready to fight back.
What a Tour of an Amazon Fulfillment Center Reveals (Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, 11-4-19) "From its strips of perfectly measured packing tape to the minute-long breaks it metes out to its workers, the company operates with unprecedented efficiency. It would be wonderful if Amazon didn’t fight worker efforts to unionize, or increased their hourly pay, or consumed less energy, or better moderated its marketplace. But that version of Amazon could only exist if the company revised its core values: speed, frugality, optimization, and an “obsession” with the customer."
When Amazon Leaves Your Town (Land of the Giants podcast, 8-6-19) In 1999, Amazon opened one of its first warehouses in the small town of Coffeyville, Kansas. Fifteen years later, it closed. We visit Coffeyville to learn what Amazon can bring and what it can take away, and what lessons Coffeyville might have for a community that’s just getting started with an Amazon warehouse: Staten Island, New York. Check out the whole season: Land of the Giants (Recode and Vox Media, 7-22-19) Episodes: The Rise of Amazon; Why You'll Never Quit Amazon Prime; Alexa, What's Amazon Doing Inside My Home?; Why the Robot Revolution Is Our Fault; How Amazon Charmed Wall Street; Is Amazon Too Big? We Ask Its Sellers; 'I love Amazon. Let's break it up.' Amazon's Middlewoman.

Don’t Let Amazon Get Any Bigger (Stacy Mitchell, Opinion, NY Times, 10-8-2020) A damning congressional report about Big Tech helps make the case to break up Jeff Bezos’ empire. "While the report concludes that Apple, Facebook and Google are also abusing their monopoly power, its findings about Amazon deserve our special attention. Through its marketplace, cloud division and voice interface, Amazon functions as essential infrastructure for an astonishing array of companies and industries. This gives it an extraordinary view into the activities of other businesses and an unparalleled ability to manipulate markets to its own advantage."

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The withering email that got an ethical AI researcher fired at Google (Casey Newton, Platformer,12-3-20) A brief story about the struggles Timnit Gebru experienced as a Black leader working on ethics research within the company, which presents a bleak view of the path forward for underrepresented minorities at the company.
The Great Hack review – searing exposé of the Cambridge Analytica scandal (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 7-23-19) This chilling documentary lays bare the cynicism and chaos surrounding the data research company that harvested information from millions of Facebook users. Among other things, about how the Trump campaign in 2016, "put this gigantic database to lucrative work with machine-tooled marketing campaigns for Trump and the Brexiters....Trump and Brexit won on a knife edge and Cambridge Analytica’s triumph was to identify the wobblers, the undecideds, the could-go-either-way-ers in the middle: the “persuadables”. This narrow band of voter opinion in the centre is all-important, like the “tipping point” Malcolm Gladwell identified as the key moment in a viral phenomenon, or that stage in a game of blackjack that card-counters recognise is their moment to bet 10 times their usual stake and beat the house." See trailer for 'The Great Hack' (YouTube, Netflix) "The Great Hack uncovers the dark world of data exploitation through the compelling personal journeys of players on different sides of the explosive Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data scandal."
A Complete Taxonomy of Internet Chum )(John Mahoney, The Awl, 6-4-15) A chumbox is a variation on the banner ad which takes the form of a grid of advertisements that sits at the bottom of a web page underneath the main content. Chumvendors — Taboola, Outbrain, RevContent, Adblade, and Content.ad design them to seamlessly slip into a particular design convention. Clicking on a chumlink  is a guaranteed way to find more, weirder, grosser chum--they're daisy-chained together in an increasingly cynical, gross funnel. A prime example: A mysterious gut doctor is begging Americans to throw out “this vegetable” now. But, like, which? (Kaitlyn Tiffany, Vox, 5-8-19) A journey through internet garbage. Chumboxes are the boxes at the bottom of the page that have several pieces of clickbaity “sponsored content” or “suggested reading.” The mysterious vegetable is corn. There, you know it, so you don't have to sit through the whole spiel within a spiel within a spiel.
Taboola, Outbrain and the Chum Supply Chain (Ranjan Roy, Margins, 5-3-19) The dark underbelly of ad-tech. Roy identifies five types of chumbox links based on the strategy they use to generate money: Search links (ads with titles like “New research about early symptoms of Hepatitis C”), affiliate marketing (ads that use your IP address to target location-specific ads and then redirect you), slideshow links, real ads, and hidden content ("ads redirect someplace totally unexpected, a website unrelated in any obvious way to what you originally clicked, and lead you on a wild goose chase between loosely connected sites that are also littered with ads").

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Google and Facebook are strangling the free press to death. Democracy is the loser (Barry Lynn, The Guardian, 7-26-18) As gatekeepers to the news, Google and Facebook pose dangers to even the most successful outlets. Legislators need to speed the process of bringing them to heel. Open Markets Barry Lynn talks about the dangers of allowing Facebook and Google to remain gatekeepers of the news. “Thus far, regulators in Europe and the United States have entirely failed to apply such traditional anti-monopoly rules to Google and Facebook. This has left them free both to strip ad revenue from trustworthy publishers and to steer readers to and from publications almost at will.”
Is Amazon Unstoppable? (Charles Duhigg, New Yorker, 10-10-19) Amazon is now America’s second-largest private employer. (Walmart is the largest.) Politicians want to rein in the retail giant. But Jeff Bezos, the master of cutthroat capitalism, is ready to fight back.
Amazon employees launch mass defiance of company communications policy in support of colleagues (Jay Greene, WaPo, 1-27-2020) More than 350 Amazon staffers publicly called out the company for its climate policy, its work with federal agencies and its attempts to stifle dissent. “While the company has publicly announced measures to reduce emissions and impacts in the coming years, it does not add up with its ongoing support to oil and gas industries and its efforts to silence employees who speak out.”
The Endless, Invisible Persuasion Tactics of the Internet (Sidney Fussell, The Atlantic, 8-2-19) " Dark patterns are the often unseen web-design choices that trick users into handing over more time, money, or attention than they realize. A team of Princeton researchers is cataloging these deceptive techniques, using data pulled from 11,000 shopping sites, to identify 15 ways sites subtly game our cognition to control us....It's not just the numbers that are fake—the shoppers are, too."
What It Takes to Put Your Phone Away (Jia Tolentino, New Yorker, 4-22-19) "But it is not only journalists who are struggling to escape from the endless loop of flattery, anxiety, and distraction that social media provides....These platforms encourage compulsive use by offering forms of social approval—likes on Facebook and Instagram, retweets on Twitter—that are intermittent and unpredictable, as though you’re playing a slot machine that tells you whether or not people love you..."[Odell] believes that, by constantly disclosing our needs and desires to tech companies that sift through our selfhood in search of profit opportunities, we are neglecting, even losing, our mysterious, murky depths—the parts of us that don’t serve an ulterior purpose but exist merely to exist."
AAP Urges FTC to Scrutinize 'Dominant Online Platforms' (Jim Milliot, PW, 6-27-19) 'In its 12-page filing, the AAP pointed to the fact that Amazon is not only the dominant retailer in the industry, it's also a major publisher, printer, self-publisher, review hub, and textbook supplier. It's also a platform for third-party sellers and resellers, the owner of a growing a chain of bricks-and-mortar stores, and the owner of the most dominant audio platform and audiobook retailer (in Audible). "The problems with such a concentration of market power in the hands of a single entity are manifold," the AAP stated. “No publisher can avoid distributing through Amazon and, for all intents and purposes, Amazon dictates the economic terms, with publishers paying more for Amazon’s services each year and receiving less in return.”'

     See also The Amazon Publishing Juggernaut (Blake Montgomery, The Atlantic, 8-8-19) What does the e-commerce giant want with the notoriously fickle world of publishing? To own your every reading decision. Prime Reading is far from Amazon’s only reading subscription service. Kindle Unlimited, a similar program, costs an extra $9.99 and offers a wider selection of millions of titles.** The Prime Book Box for children includes a selection of age-appropriate books delivered regularly for $19.99. Amazon First Reads allows members to download a book a month earlier than the unsubscribed public for no extra cost. "Book readers are the same. Content is the hook; commerce is the goal. If users join Prime for early access to a new title by their favorite author, rather than buying a one-off copy of the book, they become much more likely to purchase other things on Amazon—couches, clothes, cutlery, etc.—to take advantage of the membership."
Apple is reducing the cut it takes from most news publishers' subscriptions(Joshua Benton, NiemanLab, 11-18-2020) Instead of taking 30% of new subscribers’ payments, it’ll take 15%. This is welcome, but also a reminder of how little control publishers have over the terms they get from tech giants. This standard is why, for example, Amazon doesn’t sell ebooks inside the Kindle app and instead forces customers to purchase directly through the Amazon website. "At issue, really, was whether or not Apple’s 30% tax on everything flowing through its payment system was an abuse of its monopoly over installing software on iPhones and iPads. (The same, roughly speaking, applies to Google’s control of its Android app store.) The two tech giants were suddenly under increased pressure — from developers, regulators, and potentially courts — to seem less, er, extractive."

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Plagiarism in the Age of Self-Publishing (Joy Lanzendorfer, The Atlantic, 6-5-16) Many authors who sell their work directly on platforms like Amazon are having their stories plagiarized, which can take an emotional and financial toll. An anonymous stranger steals a book, changes it superficially, and passes it off as her own work. "Some books are copied word-for-word while others are tinkered with just enough to make it tough for an automated plagiarism-checker to flag them....A traditional publisher is liable if it puts out a book that violates copyright. But Amazon is protected from the same fate by federal law as long as it removes the offending content....However, it can take a while for the company to respond to complaints, which can be maddening for authors...[Kobe and others are also used, but] Amazon has the biggest chunk of the self-published ebook market, with some estimates putting it at 85 percent. Without Amazon, few authors could make a living self publishing."
What Happens After Amazon’s Domination Is Complete? Its Bookstore Offers Clues (David Streitfeld, NY Times, 6-25-19) Scammers are selling counterfeit books through Amazon, using print on demand (POD) technology. Details of the scam vary, but one major case is a small publisher whose books have been scanned (poorly), and the scans used to sell fake POD editions. The publisher bought 34 copies of one book on Amazon and 30 of them were poor counterfeits. "And when someone buys a counterfeit, Mr. Hunt added, the real author may get cheated but Amazon still makes a sale. “You could ask, What’s their incentive to do something?”" Lawmakers in the House are scrutinizing Amazon's anti-competitive behavior and its overly relaxed attitude toward abusive practices via Amazon. "Amazon takes a hands-off approach to what goes on in its bookstore, never checking the authenticity, much less the quality, of what it sells. It does not oversee the sellers who have flocked to its site in any organized way." What was Amazon's response when a reporter was able to order, via Amazon, numerous illegitimate editions of George Orwell’s books, which are still under copyright protection in the US? "There is no single source of truth for the copyright status of every book in every country that retailers could use to check copyright status." Ya gotta be kidding. You can read Amazon's response to the Times article here. More stories on Amazon and counterfeit books here. The title to Publishers' Lunch's reaction: Amazon Admits They Are Unable and/or Unwilling to Prevent Counterfeit and Infringing Books.
EU Launches Anti-trust Probe into Amazon's Use of Retailers' Data (Katie Mansfield, The Bookseller, 7-17-19) “Amazon is facing a European Commission (EC) anti-trust investigation into how it uses sensitive data from independent retailers who sell on its marketplace, as the Booksellers Association (BA) says the probe ‘signals an appetite for a curbing of the relentless power of the online giants.’”
Amazon site awash with counterfeit goods despite crackdown (Alex Hern, The Guardian, 4-27-18) Guardian investigation finds knockoff items and used goods sold as new on Marketplace.
Bring Back the Golden Age of Broadcast Regulation (April Glaser, Slate, 9-6-19) "For decades, radio and television followed regulations—hardly heavy-handed ones—meant to ensure they served the information needs of their audiences and did not actively harm political discourse. The public may not own the internet the way it does the airwaves, but they’re not completely dissimilar. The internet is a resource that was built by government researchers. Thinking about the largest internet platforms as a kind of infrastructure is a useful place to start considering what light-touch regulation over their broadcasting functions might look like. Social media platforms impact the public interest. And so they should serve it."

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Fake Amazon reviews draw fraud charges in groundbreaking FTC case (Nick Statt, The Verge, 2-26-19) A supplement company paid a third-party website to write misleading reviews about a weight-loss drug. It's the first time the FTC has cracked down on a company buying fake Amazon reviews. “People rely on reviews when they’re shopping online,” Andrew Smith, the FTC’s director of consumer protection, said in a statement. “When a company buys fake reviews to inflate its Amazon ratings, it hurts both shoppers and companies that play by the rules.”
Who owns digital stories? (Guy Gadney, The Bookseller, 7-10-19) Google planned to scan 130 million books (its democratization project) when an Authors Guild lawsuit slowed down that plan, but Google won the lawsuit, and "Google is using scanned copyrighted material to build its current and future products, and as far as we can tell from the settlement with the [Authors] Guild seven years ago, without any reference to authors being compensated for the use of their work....Google is a search and advertising company. Its primary profits come from its unparalleled ability to tailor advertising to an individual segment of one – you. And the advertising it displays is the trade-off that allows you to see its search results, its YouTube videos and its maps for free. As you use its services, it builds up a profile of you, which it sells to advertisers." The creators of the material it searches lose. [Emphasis added.]

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The Amazon Diaries: Whole Foods Worker: “Mid-level People… Don’t Trust Whole Foods Corporate Anymore.” (Brendan O'Connor, The Amazon Diaries, OneZero, 3-18-19) "Even before the Amazon acquisition, he says, things at the company began to change: stores had less autonomy in what to stock and how to stock it, hours were cut, and teams consolidated. ...the news that the newly acquired Whole Foods would cease its practice of profit sharing with lower-level workers....it’s a self-organizing network of workers across the country, commiserating over shared experiences, swapping gossip and information, and strategizing over how to respond to labor cuts, layoffs, and meddling from Whole Foods Corporate." When Costco and Walmart started stocking organics, Whole Foods lost its edge.
The People Who Hated the Web Even Before Facebook (Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, 3-15-19) As the World Wide Web turns 30, a look back at its early skeptics. "The internet upended industry after industry, paving the way for the tech leviathans—such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google—that have been the subject of much public scorn of late. But even before these companies became so large and powerful, when the web was being widely heralded for its democratizing potential, there were prescient skeptics of the societal changes that it would bring about."
The Coalition Out to Kill Tech as We Know It (Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, 6-4-19) After disrupting so many industries and creating so many enemies in consolidating control of the internet, it’s going to be difficult for tech companies to find friends. Among their enemies (with explanations for each): angry conservatives,disillusioned tech luminaries, antitrust theoreticians, Democratic presidential candidates, rank-and-file tech workers, traditional Democratic corporate reformers, privacy advocates, European regulators, the media and telecom industries,scholarly tech critics, Apple, Oracle and other business-software companies, Yelp and other consumer-protection organizations, and the Chinese internet industry.
Google Ads Targeted at Literally One Person Could Be the Future of Doxxing (Patrick Berlinquette, OneZero, Medium, 1-31-2020) It’s easy for anyone to disaggregate your data, and use it against you.

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Minnesota Amazon Workers Walk Off the Job Over Speed-Up (Joe DeManuelle-Hall, LaborNotes, 3-22-19) The March 7 walkout at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Shakopee, Minnesota, was these workers’ second job action in three months. Racing against a literal countdown clock, stowers have to find vacant space for incoming merchandise throughout the 850,000-square-foot warehouse. Hanging over the heads of stowers are twin standards: “rate” and “errors.” Stowers are expected to keep up a standard of 240-250 tasks an hour. Any downtime, such as time spent drinking water or using the bathroom, is counted against productive time. Errors is a measure of accuracy in scanning and placing items. Since 2017, the number of acceptable errors has been reduced from one in 1,000 items to one in 2,200 items. If workers make errors on two separate occasions, they can be terminated. “The pace of work is inhumane,” said one of the strikers.
• Nicholas Carr, Google in the Middle, Rough Cuts blog. "We were misinformed. The Web didn't kill mediators. It made them stronger. The way a company makes big money on the Web is by skimming little bits of money off a huge number of transactions, with each click counting as a transaction. (Think trillions of transactions.) The reality of the web is hypermediation, and Google, with its search and search-ad monopolies, is the king of the hypermediators....

"Google's algorithm is based on reading 'links' as votes for content. Every time a website links to another website, Google reads that link as a vote.
      The brilliance of the Google algorithm is its ability to figure out which votes should count more. But without those links, without those 'votes,'Google has nothing. What Google 'steals' from every website isn't the content - it's the links."

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A former social media evangelist unfriends Facebook (Evgeny Morozov, Outlook, WaPo, 2-14-19) In a review of Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe by Roger McNamee, Morozov writes: It turns out that "“engagement” — tech speak for getting users trapped inside digital platforms...is just one of Facebook’s bland euphemisms for getting users addicted to its services; its sinister aim is to produce “behavior modification that makes advertising more valuable.” ...From misinformation to psychological dependencies, from cyberbullying to ethnic cleansing, the occasional byproducts of connecting humanity by means of advertising can no longer be dismissed....Facebook, with its clever but ruthless tactics of initially handing its advertising customers free promotional tools, only to withdraw and charge for them later, resembles a drug syndicate." McNamee's proposals for fixing Big Tech include "restoring the power of antitrust and applying it more vigorously to break up digital platforms" and "turning data portability into a right so that we can take the “social graph” of all our friends if we move away from Facebook..." May Zucked provoke debate!
Why Amazon’s Search for a Second Headquarters Backfired (Louise Matsakis, Wired, 11-14-18) "Over the course of Amazon’s year-long pursuit of new offices, researchers and journalists intensified their examination of not just the money Amazon might receive, but also what it has collected already. The company regularly receives public incentives to open facilities like warehouses and data centers, which Good Jobs First estimates have totaled $1.6 billion. An investigation from the nonprofit New Food Economy found that some Amazon warehouse workers are paid so little that they often qualify for another type of public benefit: food stamps. In some cases, taxpayers may even be subsidizing Amazon’s electricity costs, according to a Bloomberg report from August. Amazon is far from the only company to receive enormous public handouts in exchange for promising to create new jobs. Apple was awarded over $1 billion to open a data center in Iowa last year. That same year, Foxconn received over $4 billion to open a manufacturing plant in Wisconsin; the Verge recently reported how the company has changed its plans for the location, and many doubt the project will pay back the state. In 2014, Tesla orchestrated a public bidding war similar to Amazon’s, which netted the company $1.3 billion." See Amazon Publishing Turns 10 (Jim Milliot, PW, 5-17-19) for a snapshot of Amazon's growing power in book publishing (especially with commercial fiction).
The Know-It-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball by Noam Cohen.

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Facebook Does Have to Respect Civil-Rights Legislation, After All (Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, 3-20-19) A landmark case forces Facebook to comply with civil-rights law. The social-media giant has long let users create ads—including for homes, loans, and jobs—targeted toward people of certain races and excluding others. After the practice came to light in 2016, advocates argued it was a violation of fair-housing laws. Yesterday, multiple plaintiffs reached a settlement with the company that will force it to create a new system for selling certain ads. Silicon Valley has long skirted scrutiny and regulation from governments and advocacy groups. That might now be changing.
How Facebook’s Ad Tool Fails to Protect Civil Rights (Gillian B. White, The Atlantic, 10-28-16) The company’s platform lets advertisers exclude people of certain races from seeing their content. That’s a serious problem when it comes to promotions such as housing, credit, and jobs.

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How Tech Companies Manipulate Our Personal Data (Jacob Silverman, NY Times, 1-18-19) Shoshana Zuboff, author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, "has emerged as the leading explicator of surveillance capitalism." We 'have to learn what surveillance capitalism is, as we come to terms with the novel form of economic and social power represented by Facebook, Google and a handful of other tech behemoths privy to our every click and utterance....surveillance capitalism distinguishes itself from its industrial forebear as “a new economic order that claims human experience as a free source of raw material.” We are the resource to be mined; the billion-dollar profits of Facebook and Google are built on a general accounting of our lives and everyday behavior....there is potentially no end to a surveillance capitalist’s extractive appetite, which is why — in the name of more efficient services and relevant ads — companies are constantly pursuing new, more granular data streams in our homes, workplaces and bodies. Unlike oil, to which it’s often compared, personal data is potentially limitless, but its extraction and consumption may be just as toxic, as we’re only beginning to understand.' See also You Are Now Remotely Controlled (Zuboff, Opinion, NY Times, 1-24-2020) Surveillance capitalists control the science and the scientists, the secrets and the truth. "Privacy is not private, because the effectiveness of these and other private or public surveillance and control systems depends upon the pieces of ourselves that we give up — or that are secretly stolen from us."
The Electronics Industry Sees Money in Your Health (Eric Taub, KHN, 1-16-19) Apple Watch has kicked off a rush by high-tech companies to capitalize on people’s worries about their health. With Y-Brush, you can cut down that onerous two-minute recommended time to 10 seconds, and supposedly still get your teeth cleaner. DFree, a sensor worn a half-inch above the pubis bone, predicts when an individual will have to urinate, giving the wearer a chance to gauge how long they can be away from a toilet. Etc.
Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis (Sheera Frenkel, Nicholas Confessore, Cecilia Kang, Matthew Rosenberg and Jack Nicas, NY Times, 11-14-18) "But as evidence accumulated that Facebook’s power could also be exploited to disrupt elections, broadcast viral propaganda and inspire deadly campaigns of hate around the globe, Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg stumbled. Bent on growth, the pair ignored warning signs and then sought to conceal them from public view....Facebook employed a Republican opposition-research firm to discredit activist protesters, in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros. It also tapped its business relationships, lobbying a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic....But as Facebook grew, so did the hate speech, bullying and other toxic content on the platform. When researchers and activists in Myanmar, India, Germany and elsewhere warned that Facebook had become an instrument of government propaganda and ethnic cleansing, the company largely ignored them. Facebook had positioned itself as a platform, not a publisher. Taking responsibility for what users posted, or acting to censor it, was expensive and complicated. Many Facebook executives worried that any such efforts would backfire." Donald Trump used the platform to call ' for a “total and complete shutdown” on Muslims entering the United States. Mr. Trump’s call to arms — widely condemned by Democrats and some prominent Republicans — was shared more than 15,000 times on Facebook, an illustration of the site’s power to spread racist sentiment."

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Google suspends transcriptions of recordings from its voice assistant in Europe (Jennifer Elias, CNBC, 8-1-19) The voluntary action comes weeks after the company admitted some private conversations were available to contractors who evaluated the accuracy of Google Assistant’s speech recognition. The company admitted in mid-July that partners who work to analyze voice snippets from the Assistant leaked more than 1,000 private conversations to a Belgian news outlet. Some of those messages revealed sensitive information such as medical conditions and customer addresses.
Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas. An insider's groundbreaking investigation of how the global elite's efforts to "change the world" preserve the status quo and obscure their role in causing the problems they later seek to solve. "That’s how billionaires like Bill Gates end up leading educational reform, albeit with mixed results. But its also how many companies in Silicon Valley try to define their own for-profit global missions, which is the rhetoric that Facebook and Google trot out when facing public backlash: When you’re a service that trumpets how you make humanity feel more connected, or offer search as a benevolent path to knowledge, people might seem less outraged that your tool was used to disrupt an election or might enable continuing government censorship in China."--The rich want to use money to solve problems, except the problems that made them rich (Ben Paynter, Fast Company, 9-13-18)
New York Should Say No to Amazon (Ron Kim and Zephyr Teachout, Opinion, NY Times, 11-9-18) "A city that thrives on the energy of its neighborhood merchants should not offer incentives and giveaways to an internet giant . . . so closely identified with squashing small merchants, stifling workers’ rights and undermining the publishing and ideas industry."

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Future of digital journalism in question as BuzzFeed and HuffPost lay off 1,000 (Edward Helmore, The Guardian, 1-27-19) Built on the expectation of fast growth in advertising sales, companies like BuzzFeed and Vox Media have instead found that Facebook and Google – “the duopoly” – have simply tightened their grip on digital advertising revenue. Revenue-per-click, the business strategy that has informed digital publishers for years, was effectively pronounced DOA this week as leading players in a sector once viewed as the future of journalism announced deep cuts. Publishing as a whole had already shrunk sharply. By some estimates the shift to digital has resulted in an overall reduction in the business of 50% to 80%. Verizon said it would trim 7% of headcount, about 800 people, from its media unit, which includes HuffPost, Yahoo and AOL.
How badly is Google Books search broken, and why? (Sapping Attention blog, 2-19) Google Books has failed to live up to its promise as the company has moved away from its original mission of organizing information for people. But the particular ways that it has actually eroded....? I suspect that the reasons have to do with the way the Google books project has become a sort of Herculaneum-on-the-Web, frozen in time at the moment that anti-Books lawsuits erupted in earnest 11 years ago. The site is still littered with pre-2012 branding and icons, and the still-live "project history." One thing you WON'T get with a Google books search is a complete list of books on a particular subject in as particular time range.
Your TV Is Now a Computer, but Not in a Good Way (Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, 1-24-19) Your TV is so cheap (if Samsung) because it sells "bits of data and access to your TV after you purchase it...'post-purchase monetization'" and installs unasked-for apps that may interfere with your experience, and which (Samsung, or whoever) doesn't take responsibility for.

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How social media took us from Tahrir Square to Donald Trump (Zeynep Tufekci, MIT Technology Review, 8-14-18) How did digital technologies go from empowering citizens and toppling dictators to being used as tools of oppression and discord? There are several key lessons. To understand how digital technologies went from instruments for spreading democracy to weapons for attacking it, you have to look beyond the technologies themselves. A must-read article.
The Era of Misinformation Is Here To Stay (The Interpreter, ) “The problem is that when we encounter opposing views in the age and context of social media, it’s not like reading them in a newspaper while sitting alone,” the sociologist Zeynep Tufekci wrote [link above]... “It’s like hearing them from the opposing team while sitting with our fellow fans in a football stadium. Online, we’re connected with our communities, and we seek approval from our like-minded peers. We bond with our team by yelling at the fans of the other one.” In an ecosystem where that sense of identity conflict is all-consuming, she wrote, “belonging is stronger than facts.”

When Fact-Checking Becomes Censorship (Mark Joseph Stern, Slate, 9-11-18) Facebook has empowered a conservative magazine to suppress liberal viewpoints. " Four of Facebook’s chosen fact-checkers—the Associated Press, Factcheck.org, PolitiFact, and Snopes—are widely trusted and nonpartisan. The fifth, the Weekly Standard, has generally high-quality editorial content with a conservative ideological bent. This week, the Weekly Standard used its gatekeeping role in an incredibly troubling way, declaring that a story written by Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress was false, essentially preventing Facebook users from accessing the article. ThinkProgress is as liberal as the Weekly Standard is conservative." See Censorship, free speech, and freedom of expression for more examples of political correctness and censorship.
Facebook, Twitter Turn to Right-Leaning Groups to Help Referee Political Speech ( Kirsten Grind and John D. McKinnon, Tech, Wall Street Journal, 1-9-19) Advisers on touchy issues include Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform and, on the left, the Southern Poverty Law Center. "...in many cases, posts that are hateful to one group are considered fair game—or even uncomfortable truths—to others on the opposite end of the spectrum, opening a whole new arena to continue the political and ideological fights that are often a staple of social media."
Samsung Phone Users Perturbed to Find They Can't Delete Facebook (Sarah Frier, Bloomberg, 1-8-19) Customers have been annoyed by Samsung's deal to pre-install Facebook on devices, including Galaxy phones, because the app can only be disabled, not deleted. Pre-install deals are common, but privacy concerns are rising. By contrast, Apple says it’s banning Facebook’s research app that collects users’ personal information (Kurt Wagner, Recode, 1-30-19) Facebook will stop its “market research” program that was paying users in exchange for their mobile data.

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A 1970s Essay Predicted Silicon Valley's High-Minded Tyranny (Noam Cohen, Wired, 11-15-18) Jo Freeman and the Tyranny of Structurelessness. 'In Freeman’s unstinting language, this rhetoric of openness “becomes a smokescreen for the strong or the lucky to establish unquestioned hegemony over others.” Because “Tyranny” explains how things work, as opposed to how people say things work, it has become a touchstone for social critics of all stripes. During the Occupy movement, Freeman’s essay was on the organizers’ minds when they sought to eliminate hierarchy without introducing a hidden hierarchy. The essay is cited in hundreds of academic papers and books to explain the history of the Vatican, or the women’s movement in Iceland, or the Walmart workforce. But digital culture is where Freeman’s work has the most currency these days....For the left-wing author and documentarian Astra Taylor, “Tyranny” was a healthy reminder that Silicon Valley’s rhetoric of openness and meritocracy doesn’t match the reality....“How do you explain inequalities in a system where explicit discrimination doesn’t exist? How do you make sense of homogeneity when there’s no sign on the door excluding different types of people?”...There may be particular reasons why Silicon Valley leaders have an aversion to outside authority and rules, but mainly she thinks they embody the excessive enthusiasm of any group who gains a foothold in a new field—whether in oil exploration or railroads or the internet—and decides they are uniquely fit to hold that powerful position.'

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You Don’t Own the Music, Movies or Ebooks You ‘Buy’ on Amazon or iTunes (David Pandagriff, Two Cents, The Passive Voice, 9-15-18) "When you purchase music, movies or books from Amazon or Apple’s iTunes store, you might be under the impression that that material is yours to enjoy forever; that’s how CDs and paper books work, after all....But you’d be mistaken. Anything digital is temporary, even if you clicked “purchase” rather than “rent.” One unfortunate side effect of that you won’t experience with a physical book or record: Your purchases may just disappear if licensing agreements change."
Amazon made me a victim of tax fraud (Patrick Reames, CTRM Center, 2-20-18) Someone set up a CreateSpace account in his name, with his Social Security number, and he got a 1099 for tens of thousands of dollars in 2017--money he never got for sales he never made. Someone use "selling" books for several hundred dollars each as a way of money laundering. Amazon agreed that it was fraud, but was NOT forthcoming with the information he requested.
How an Amazon Self-Published Book May Be the Latest Money Laundering Scam (Aaron Pressman, Fortune, 2-22-18) Crooks have used everything from cash real estate purchases to bottles of Tide detergent to Bitcoin to launder ill-gotten gains. Now it's books.

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Did The Washington Post pull its punches on Amazon and USPS? (Mathew Ingram, The New Gatekeepers series, Columbia Journalism Review, 12-20-18) We compared a WaPo story about Amazon to a WSJ story about the same topic. We noticed something.
Female Nobel prize winner deemed not important enough for Wikipedia entry (Leyland Cecco, The Guardian, 10-3-18) "Until around an hour and a half after the award was announced on Tuesday, the Canadian physicist Donna Strickland was not deemed significant enough to merit her own page on the user-edited encyclopedia. The oversight has once again highlighted the marginalization of women in science and gender bias at Wikipedia."
Google is quietly infiltrating medicine — but what rules will it play by? (Michael L. Millenson, STAT News, 1-3-19) With nearly 80 percent of internet users searching online for health-related information, it’s no wonder the catchphrase “Dr. Google” has caught on, to the delight of many searchers and the dismay of many real doctors.What’s received little attention from physicians or the public is the company’s quiet metamorphosis into a powerhouse focused on the actual practice of medicine. If “data is the new oil,” as the internet meme has it, Google and its Big Tech brethren could become the new OPEC. Search is only the start for Google and its parent company, Alphabet. Their involvement in health care can continue through a doctor’s diagnosis and even into monitoring a patient’s chronic condition for, essentially, forever.

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Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy by Jonathan Taplin

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Facebook and the newsroom: 6 questions for Siva Vaidhyanathan (Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalist's Resource, interviews the author of Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy Media scholar Siva Vaidhyanathan argues that “no company has contributed more to the global collapse of basic tenets of deliberation and democracy....Even when reporters have the best possible news judgment as their primary motivator, they can’t help but be affected by the draw of click-bait: the sense that some stories, some words and some images are going to attract more attention on Facebook. And they’re quickly told by editors how well their articles or videos moved around Facebook. In many newsrooms, there is a scoreboard posted in the middle of the newsroom with the social media impacts of certain stories … You can’t help but be obsessed by [the editorial analytics platforms] Chartbeat or Parse.ly — those are the big ones. “Facebook forces journalists to be more sensational, because the key to winning the Facebook game is to create conversations about a piece — and that usually means an argument.”
Authors Guild Comments to FTC on Internet Monopolies’ Impact on Creators. The Guild has "studied and discussed with regulators over the last several years how the unregulated and unchecked growth of the major internet monopolies has squeezed the publishing and news industries, resulting in lower pay for authors and journalists. We have also fought against the epidemic of online piracy facilitated by certain internet platforms, which they have allowed to flourish despite having the means to control it. Under Reagan-era interpretations of antitrust laws, regulators have been disinclined to interfere as long as prices to consumers remain low.
"Now the Federal Trade Commission is finally starting to consider whether we need to take a fresh look at our competition laws. Starting this fall, the FTC will hold hearings on “Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century.” As a foundation for the hearings and to better define the issues, the FTC requested public comments in response to a series of questions concerning the effectiveness of the current antitrust framework to competition and consumer welfare today." Click on link at bottom of selection to download the Guild statement.

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The Follower Factory (Nicholas Confessore, Gabriel J.X. Dance, Richard Harris, and Mark Hansen, NY Times, 1-27-18) Everyone wants to be popular online. Some even pay for it. Inside social media’s black market.
This is what happens when speech gets outsourced to Twitter and Facebook (Mathew Ingram, CJR, 6-21-18) "The reality of the internet as it exists right now is that several large platforms effectively control speech in a much more dramatic and far-reaching way than was ever possible in the past. Google, Facebook, and Twitter are like shopping malls, where the mall owner gets to control the speech of anyone who enters, but these malls include literally billions people all across the globe, and the speech that occurs there—including journalism—has very real social consequences. The algorithms these companies are using to curb certain kinds of speech, meanwhile, tend to be both erratic and clumsy. Can the platforms find a way out of this Catch 22 without stomping all over publishers and users?"
No Space to Be Human (Alex Press, The Nation, 12-20-18) Heike Geissler's account of working at Amazon in Germany, from the book Seasonal Associate by Heike Geissler (translated by Kate Derbyshire) From review in Harper's Magazine: "...chillingly effective, not least for its accumulation of details, which seem both aggressively banal and freighted with an excess of symbolic meaning....The ubiquitous linguistic debasement and corporate doublespeak is made strange and new again, the small humiliations and injustices pile up along with their psychological and social consequences." Moira Weigel: "The recent wave of uprisings at Amazon fulfillment centers across Europe make this book even more timely than when it first appeared. But the reasons to read it will last well beyond this news cycle. Heike Geissler has sharp eyes and ears for the absurd indignities that contemporary capitalism inflicts on most people―and how it afflicts women, in particular."

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Does a ‘universal attention token’ sound good? Then you’re going to love the blockchain (Mathew Ingram, The New Gatekeeper,s CJR, 9-4-18) 'The idea that your thoughtful perusal of a news story or touching human-interest tale will be converted into “attention tokens” is just the beginning. The whole thing feels like an exercise in commodification. According to SocialFlow’s white paper, readers would earn tokens by consuming content (including ads) and then be able to use those tokens to pay for paywall access and other features....they are primarily designed by software engineers, who are used to seeing people, or people’s data, as inputs. But it does give the whole enterprise a soul-less quality. You know who else sees people primarily as inputs? Facebook."

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Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy by George Gilder
What is Blockchain Technology? A Step-by-Step Guide For Beginners (Blockgeeks) See also Everything you need to know about the blockchain (Arjun Kharpal, CNBC.com, 6-18-18)

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Major Internet Companies as News Editors (A Gallup/Knight Foundation Survey) "Americans are concerned that major internet companies varying content for users can give people a biased picture of the news, restrict expression and increase the influence of news that benefits the internet company....If Americans seem uncomfortable with major internet companies providing tailored content to users, they are even more uncomfortable with these companies varying the news stories they show people....Americans believe that the primary reasons for showing tailored content include those that help the company's bottom line."
The Unlikely Activists Who Took On Silicon Valley — and Won (Nicholas Confessore, NY Times Magazine, 8-14-18) Facebook and Google made billions mining personal data, and fought off anyone who threatened to stop them. Then came a challenge in their own backyard. "Advertisers and their partners in Silicon Valley were collecting, selling or trading every quantum of Mactaggart’s self that could be conveyed through the click of a mouse or the contents of his online shopping carts....A website might quote him a higher price for a hair dryer if he lived in a particular neighborhood, or less if he lived near a competitor’s store. Advertisers could buy thousands of data points on virtually every adult in America....And no one knew more about what people did or were going to do than Facebook and Google, whose free social and search products provided each company with enormous repositories of intimate personal data....To Silicon Valley, personal information had become a kind of limitless natural deposit, formed in the digital ether by ordinary people as they browsed, used apps and messaged their friends. Like the oil barons before them, they had collected and refined that resource to build some of the most valuable companies in the world, including Facebook and Google, an emerging duopoly that today controls more than half of the worldwide market in online advertising. But the entire business model — what the philosopher and business theorist Shoshana Zuboff calls 'surveillance capitalism' — rests on untrammeled access to your personal data."

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Bernie vs. Bezos: Amazon and Sanders are duking it out over warehouse working conditions (Abha Bhattarai, WaPo, 8-29-18). Related post: Thousands of Amazon workers receive food stamps. Now Bernie Sanders wants the company to pay up. (Abha Bhattarai, WaPo, 8-23-18)
How Social-Media Trolls Turned U.C. Berkeley Into a Free-Speech Circus (Andrew Marantz, New Yorker, 7-2-18) Public universities have no choice but to welcome far-right speakers seeking self-promotion. Should the First Amendment be reinterpreted for the digital age? 'In 2014, at a teach-in commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, Wendy Brown spoke against trigger warnings and in favor of exposing students to new ideas. “When we demand, from the right or the left, that universities be cleansed of what’s disturbing,” she said, “we are complicit with the neoliberal destruction of the university.” Back then, Milo Yiannopoulos was still an obscure opinion journalist, and Donald Trump was still a reality-show magnate. “I haven’t radically shifted my position, but it’s fair to say that I’ve shifted my emphasis,” Brown told me. “I’ve become newly attuned to how free speech can be used as cover for larger political projects that have little to do with airing ideas.”'
Fakes, frauds, and 'review bombs': How TripAdvisor changed travel (Linda Kinstler, The Guardian, A long read, 8-17-18) The world’s biggest travel site has turned the industry upside down – but now it is struggling to deal with the same kinds of problems that are vexing other tech giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter. It replaced "expert review" with crowdsourced reviews, earning "$ per click" for sites listed, and grew more popular than professional reviews; now it's dealing with paid-for "fake reviews," SLAPP suits (for honest warnings in negative reviews), and backlash when they withhold negative reviews.

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Can We Be Saved From Facebook? (Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, 4-3-18) "We've reached a moment in history where many companies are more powerful than even major industrialized nations, and in some cases have essentially replaced governments as de facto regulators and overseers. But some of those companies suck just a little too badly at the governing part, leaving us staring into a paradox. The Russians call this situation a sobaka na sene, a dog on the hay. Asleep in the manger, the dog itself won't eat the hay. But it won't let you eat it either....The firm was said to have overreacted to conservative criticism some years back and gone too far the other way in an ill-fated search for "balance," inadvertently handing Trump the White House in the process. Facebook was also rocked by recent revelations that Cambridge Analytica, a firm partly owned by the same conservative Mercer family that became a primary sponsor of Donald Trump's foundering campaign in the summer of 2016, may have used personal information from 50 million Facebook users to deliver targeted ads to likely Trump voters." Do read the whole article. Scary.
Mark Zuckerberg Doesn’t Understand Journalism (Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic, 5-1-18) Either that, or he doesn’t care. Facebook wants its users to see less news on its platform these days, and most publishers are feeling the pain. The latest algorithm tweaks were meant to prioritize information posted by users’ friends and family—community! common ground!—rather than by professional news outlets.

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Facebook’s troublesome local media tactics (Marie C. Baca, CJR, 6-18-18) What should journalists make of Facebook’s efforts to shape access? ...It’s a question reporters ought to ask themselves in each of the 50 cities where the social media giant is launching Community Boost, a multi-day conference marketed as digital skills training for small businesses. (The majority of the sessions are about how to use Facebook and Instagram.)...to what extent will journalists in those communities push back on the attempts to control and perhaps harvest information—especially if it means risking access to one of the most powerful technology companies in the world?"
Senator wants Google, Facebook to pony up for local news (Kate Cox, Ars Technica, 10-27-2020) The decimation of local media is by now a sad, familiar tale experienced by tens of millions of Americans all over the country. A report from the Senate Commerce Committee's top Democrat is laying blame for the bloodbath squarely at the feet of Google and Facebook, claiming the companies have participated in destroying local news in the pursuit of monopolizing monetization. What ad revenue still exists is going to platforms, not outlets, Sen. Cantwell writes.
Shoptalk: If Social Media Sites Acted Like Publishers, Fake News Would Vanish ( Randolph D. Brandt, Editor & Publisher) How the Communications Decency Act turned the internet into a Wild West of fake news and propaganda. The 1992 law was supposed to effectively ban obscenity and pornography from websites. "The main intent of the law obviously failed, as any cursory search for porn on the web can attest. What did work was the unintended consequences of another provision of the 1992 act, which declared internet web platforms free of the rational restraints that editors and publishers bring to more conventional print platforms, such as magazines and newspapers. Specifically, operators of internet services were not to be construed as publishers, thus not legally responsible for the posts of third parties who used their services....With no fear of libel or slander or other constraints on the public’s discourse, website operators could collect all the advertising revenue their sites would generate, but without the responsibility of legal and social norms that hitherto balanced First Amendment freedom of speech with professional editing of the content."

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Are Google and Facebook Responsible for the Medical Quackery They Host? (Michael Schulson, Undark, 6-6-18) Social media algorithms help charlatans spread autism cures, a nonmedical cure for diabetes, vaccine disinformation, and AIDS denialism through online videos. Who’s really to blame? The digital platforms that host such material and conversations aren’t always passive participants in the recruitment process. Their algorithms, after all, are trained to give visitors more of the kind of content that they like — whatever that might be. If you watch one AIDS denialism video on YouTube, the site suggests other denialist videos, "essentially serving up content to keep me on the site longer."
Amazon Under Fire As QAnon Book Climbs Best-Seller List (NBC News, 3-5-19) The online retailer is now facing controversy over whether algorithms built by tech companies are unintentionally pushing conspiracy theories on customers.

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Laying the Pipes of a Post-Advertising World (Andre Redelinghuys, NewCoShift, 5-31-18) The shift from brands and advertising to pipes and subscriptions is inevitable — and well underway. Want proof? Look to Disney. Soon they will launch their subscription video competitor to Netflix. With a lot on the line, a transformation of epic proportions lies ahead. Whether it’s successful or not, it speaks volumes that the owner of the most magical brands in the world is entering the pipe race.
World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech by Franklin Foer. "We shop with Amazon; socialize on Facebook; turn to Apple for entertainment; and rely on Google for information. These firms sell their efficiency and purport to make the world a better place, but what they have done instead is to enable an intoxicating level of daily convenience. As these companies have expanded, marketing themselves as champions of individuality and pluralism, their algorithms have pressed us into conformity and laid waste to privacy.” “The tech companies are destroying something precious. . . . They have eroded the integrity of institutions—media, publishing—that supply the intellectual material that provokes thought and guides democracy. Their most precious asset is our most precious asset, our attention, and they have abused it.”
The Largest Autocracy on Earth (Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic, 9-27-21) "Facebook is not merely a website, or a platform, or a publisher, or a social network, or an online directory, or a corporation, or a utility. It is all of these things. But Facebook is also, effectively, a hostile foreign power. This is plain to see in its single-minded focus on its own expansion; its immunity to any sense of civic obligation; its record of facilitating the undermining of elections; its antipathy toward the free press; its rulers’ callousness and hubris; and its indifference to the endurance of American democracy."

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• The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU. It is possible the U.S. will follow the EU's lead, especially considering the glaring data breaches surfacing in the United States.
GDPR in Context: 6 Key Data Protection Principles (Finextdra, 5-3-18) (Finextra is an independent newswire and information source for the worldwide financial technology community). "GDPR outlines six principles that organizations need to abide by. These principles aren't new - they were already outlined in the 1995 directive, but GDPR has revised them slightly." There is a paragraph about each of them in
1. Lawfulness, fairness and transparency
2. Purpose limitation.
3. Data minimization
4. Accuracy
5. Storage limitation
6. Integrity and confidentiality.

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AI reveals potential Amazon, Facebook GDPR problems to regulators (Sean Keane, C/Net, 7-5-18) "AI [artificial intelligence] software reportedly uncovered suspected GDPR breaches by Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook. The software — created by EU Institute researchers and a consumer group — looked at the privacy policies of 14 major technology businesses in June, the month after the EU’s new data privacy laws went into effect, according to Bloomberg. Researchers named the software “Claudette” — short for automated clause detecter — and Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Amazon and Facebook were among the companies whose policies were under the AI microscope....The EU has been enforcing the General Data Protection Regulation since May 25 and the law requires the companies adopt greater openness about data they have on EU residents, as well as with whom they share the data."
Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends (Gabriel J.X. Dance, Nicholas Confessore, and Michael LaForgia, NY Times, 6-3-18) The company formed data-sharing partnerships with Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft, Samsung and dozens of other device makers, raising new concerns about its privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission.

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Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Noble
---Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O'Neil
---Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech by Sara Wachter-Boettcher. “Recommended for all readers interested in the intersection of technology and social justice.” ~ Library Journal
---Rage Inside the Machine: The Prejudice of Algorithms, and How to Stop the Internet Making Bigots of Us All by Robert Elliott Smith. "Incomprehensibly complex data driven systems are not easily corrected, and can make major mistakes.”
A Tiny Screw Shows Why iPhones Won’t Be ‘Assembled in U.S.A.’ (Jack Nicas, NY Times, 1-28-19) 'Despite a trade war between the United States and China and past admonishments from President Trump “to start building their damn computers and things in this country,” Apple is unlikely to bring its manufacturing closer to home....Apple contracted much of the work to enormous factories in China, some stretching miles and employing hundreds of thousands of people who assemble, test and package Apple products. That assembly includes parts made around the world — from Norway to the Philippines to Pocatello, Idaho — that are shipped to China. The final assembly is the most labor-intensive part of building the iPhone, and its location often determines a product’s country of origin for tariffs. “China is not just cheap. It’s a place where, because it’s an authoritarian government, you can marshal 100,000 people to work all night for you,” said Susan Helper, an economics professor at Case Western Reserve University...'

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What happens when two companies journalists love to hate are also handing out cash for journalism? (Laura Hazard Owen, NiemanLab, 5-17-18)
The platform patrons: How Facebook and Google became two of the biggest funders of journalism in the world (Mathew Ingram, Columbia Journalism Review, 5-16-18) "Taken together, Facebook and Google have now committed more than half a billion dollars to various journalistic programs and media partnerships over the past three years, not including the money spent internally on developing media-focused products like Facebook’s Instant Articles and Google’s competing AMP mobile project. The result: These mega-platforms are now two of the largest funders of journalism in the world.
"The irony is hard to miss. The dismantling of the traditional advertising model—largely at the hands of the social networks, which have siphoned away the majority of industry ad revenue—has left many media companies and journalistic institutions in desperate need of a lifeline. Google and Facebook, meanwhile, are happy to oblige, flush with cash from their ongoing dominance of the digital ad market....
"In the case of Google’s original News Innovation Fund, for example, the more than $100 million that has been doled out since 2015 has funded a wide range of startups, prototypes, and other experimental projects in more than 25 countries. The way that the fund is currently structured, it does two rounds a year, in which it pays out up to $60,000 for early-stage projects, up to $350,000 for medium-sized projects, and as much as $1.2 million for larger ventures." A mere sample from a long and thoughtful article.
How ProPublica Became Big Tech’s Scariest Watchdog (Katharine Schwab, Co.Design, 2-16-18) The nonprofit is fighting fire with fire, developing algorithms and bots that hold Facebook and Amazon accountable. Reporter Julia Angwin’s team specializes in investigating algorithms that affect people’s lives, from the Facebook News Feed to Amazon’s pricing models to the software determining people’s car insurance payments and even who goes to prison and for how long. To investigate algorithms, they’ve developed a new approach to investigative reporting that uses technology like machine learning and chatbots."

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Amazon Makes $1 Billion Splash in Health Care, Buying PillPack (Robert Langreth and Zachary Tracer, Bloomberg, 6-28-18) Amazon agrees to buy PillPack, an online pharmacy that offers pre-sorted doses of medications and home delivery, Bloomberg News reports. Deal likely to hasten wider shakeout in the drug supply chain--accelerating the threat posed to entrenched retailers, suppliers and middlemen.
How Facebook let a friend pass my data to Cambridge Analytica (Timothy Revell, New Scientist, 4-16-18) Among other practical tips in this useful piece: "Last week it released a tool that lets people check if their data was involved – you can look for yourself here. I used it and found, to my surprise, that a friend has used the app." In other words, even if you didn't sign into "This is my digital life," if a friend of yours did, they can grab your basic info (date of birth, etc.). Or if you decide to grab an app by logging in with Facebook, the app can grab your info. Those private messages to friends? They grabbed those too. And so on.
Facebook Fined in U.K. Over Cambridge Analytica Leak (Adam Satariano and Sheera Frenkel, NY Times, 7-10-18) "Facebook was hit with the maximum possible fine in Britain for allowing the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to harvest the information of millions of people without their consent, in what amounts to the social network’s first financial penalty since the data leak was revealed. The fine of 500,000 pounds, or about $660,000, represents a tiny sum for Facebook, which brings in billions of dollars in revenue every year....The fine is the first punitive action against Facebook since the reports about Cambridge Analytica surfaced. Since the revelations, Facebook has grappled with regulatory scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic."
Can the Government Keep Up with the Pace of Tech? (Tam Harbert, Techonomy, 11-11-18) '“In the same way that government doesn’t know what it doesn’t know about technology, the tech sector doesn’t know what it doesn’t know about government,” says Travis Moore, former legislative director for Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) who has created fellowships for congressional offices to help bridge the divide....The need for common cause has never been greater; technology is upending every corner of society, for both good and bad, and a new wave of revolutionary innovations is poised to change the world and every industry. At the same time, a handful of monopolistic tech giants operate with impunity and sometimes heedlessness, crisscrossing national borders. Compounding the challenge of bridging the gaps, public trust of both groups has never been lower.' Read this, everyone!

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How to Download and View the Massive Amount of Information Facebook Stores About You (Douglas Charles, Brobible, 3-26-18)
2017 was a year of scrutiny for social media and other tech (PBS NewsHour, 12-27-17) Technology in 2017 may have inspired more skepticism than the awe or optimism it has in the past. Such defining moments, from harassment allegations to hacking exploits, may have cast the tech industry in a much harsher light. Hari Sreenivasan takes a look back at the year's major tech stories with Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times and David Kirkpatrick of Techonomy. Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, initially doubted that the platform could have influenced the election, but later pledged to make political advertising more transparent. A small group of tech companies (Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc.) are essentially today's gatekeepers to communication, and they are more focused on drawing attention (because "eyeballs" equals ad money) than they are on doing the right thing, but they'd better try doing something right if they want to avoid regulation.
Google seeks to limit ‘right to be forgotten’ by claiming it’s journalistic (Chava Gourarie, CJR, 4-6-18) In the first "right to be forgotten" case to reach England’s High Court, two men are fighting to keep their past crimes out of Google’s search results, and the tech giant is fighting back by claiming it’s “journalistic.” In 2014, Europe’s top court ruled that a right to be forgotten existed under the EU’s Data Protection Directive, instituted in 1995. The court ordered Google to give Europeans the option of requesting to remove search results for their own names, if the information is “inadequate, irrelevant or excessive in relation to the purposes of the processing.”

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Saying “I can just Google it” and then actually Googling it are two different things (Christine Schmidt, NiemanLab, 4-23-18) "News avoiders" tend to have confidence that they can stay on top of what's happening in the world through social media. They fall into three categories of "folk theory": (1) "News finds me. (2) "The information is out there." (Saying "I can just Google it" is different from actually googling things.) (3) "I don't know what to believe." (Especially when Mr. Trump keeps shouting "fake news" about facts he objects to.)
Where Countries Are Tinderboxes and Facebook Is a Match (Amanda Taub and Max Fisher, NY Times, 4-21-18) False rumors set Buddhist against Muslim in Sri Lanka, the most recent in a global spate of violence fanned by social media.A reconstruction of Sri Lanka’s descent into violence found that Facebook’s newsfeed played a central role in nearly every step from rumor to killing.
How YouTube's algorithm distorts reality (Video, Guardian News, 2-2-18) A Guardian investigation shows that under the algorithm YouTube was using during the 2016 election, for people who searched for either Trump or Hillary Clinton in the week before the election, 86 percent of the videos that appeared in the list of recommended videos along the right side of the one showing were either pro Trump or damaging to Hillary's campaign. It quotes Trump as saying "If I didn't have social media, I wouldn't be standing here." The YouTube compilation algorithm in the week before the election was heavy in "disinformation, conspiracy theories, and fake news, many from the notorious site Anonymous." Many of them belonged to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Many claimed links to the anarchist collective, Anonymous. Some appealed to evangelical voters. Others "questioned Clinton's sexuality, health, and even accuse her of pedophilia."

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Can Facebook beat back the fake news in Ireland’s upcoming vote on abortion? (Laura Hazard Owen, Nieman Lab, 4-20-18) Facebook ad transparency ahead of Ireland's abortion referendum.'On May 25, Irish citizens will vote on whether to end the country’s abortion ban. In advance of the referendum, CNN’s Ivana Kottasová reports, Facebook is rolling out a new tool that will “give users more information about political advertisements and sponsored posts in their News Feeds.” It’s already been tested in Canada and will roll out globally before the U.S. midterms.' A turnaround from: Facebook Is Ignoring Anti-Abortion Fake News (Rossalyn Warren, NY Times, 11-10-17)
New Facebook Policy Sparks Fears of Sex Talk Crackdown (Michael Kan, PC, 12-5-18) The updated content policy specifically bans 'sexual slang,' hints of 'sexual roles, positions or fetish scenarios,' and erotic art when mentioned with a sex act. Facebook added the policy to stop sexual solicitation, but critics fear it'll censor legitimate content.
EFF and Coalition Partners Push Tech Companies to Be More Transparent and Accountable About Censoring User Content(EFF press release, 5-7-18) Groups Release Specific Guidelines Addressing Shoddy, Opaque Private Censorship

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Is the post office making or losing money delivering Amazon packages? (Steven Pearlstein, WashPost, 4-9-18). The facts, instead of speculation.
Fake books sold on Amazon could be used for money laundering (Alison Flood, The Guardian, 4-27-18) Counterfeit books (and not good copies) are listed on Amazon.com for thousands of dollars, with one author claiming his name was used to send almost $24,000 to a fraudulent seller. Amazon’s self-publishing arm CreateSpace makes it relatively straightforward to publish a title that contains any text, provided that this isn’t “placeholder” or dummy text, and allowing fake books to be sold on the Amazon website at a price chosen by the seller. For a highly priced title, the author can earn royalties of up to 60% for a paperback, or 70% for an ebook.
Money Laundering Via Author Impersonation on Amazon? KrebsonSecurity, 2-18) Patrick Reames had no idea why Amazon.com sent him a 1099 form saying he’d made almost $24,000 selling books via Createspace, the company’s on-demand publishing arm. That is, until he searched the site for his name and discovered someone has been using it to peddle a $555 book that’s full of nothing but gibberish.
Coders of the world, unite: can Silicon Valley workers curb the power of Big Tech? (Moira Weigel, The Guardian, 10-31-17) For decades, tech companies promised to make the world better. As that dream falls apart, disillusioned insiders are trying to take back control. "The Californian Ideology, as two British media theorists dubbed it in the 1990s, combined personal liberty with market deregulation. A core tenet was that platforms such as Google and Facebook were politically neutral. They were tools for political expression but had no politics themselves. They would increase voting, but not affect it. Industry leaders espoused values that anyone could embrace: sharing, connection, community, openness, expression....They convinced politicians to privatise public goods – starting with the internet itself. In the 1990s, a network created largely by government researchers and public money was delivered into private hands and protected from regulation. Built on this enclosed ground, a company like Facebook could turn formerly non-economic activities – chatting with a friend, or showing her a picture of your kid or crush – into a source of seemingly endless profit. Not by chance, the values that these companies touted as intrinsic goods – openness, connectivity, deregulation – were also the operating principles that made their owners rich." And they have been used to influence elections.

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"Big Brother" issues
Jeffrey Bezos of Amazon apologized for remotely deleting digital editions of George Orwell's 1984 from customers' Kindle reading devices after a copyright dispute, writes Brad Stone in Amazon Faces a Fight Over Its E-Books (NY Times 7-26-09). Stone quotes some critics on the advantages of such "tethered systems"--for example, for restoring content customers inadvertently lose, or for helping companies enforce copyright laws. "But critics say that any device capable of interfering with how its owner uses media is potentially dangerous. 'I worry that systems like these tethered appliances are gifts to regulators,' said Jonathan Zittrain, a professor at Harvard Law School and author of the book, The Future of the Internet — and How to Stop It. Mr. Zittrain predicts that governments in some parts of the world will want to use it 'like a line item veto for content,' removing objectionable sentences or chapters in some books."
Cambridge Analytica Scandal Becomes Data’s Watershed Moment (Jon Gingerich, O'Dwyer's: The Inside News of PR & Marketing Communications, 3-23-18) For the second time in the last year, Facebook has found itself in the reputational crosshairs after it was revealed that data analysis and political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had improperly collected the private data of 50 million of the site’s users without their permission, once again positioning the social media giant in the unwitting role of disinformation specialist...a decisive turning point for Facebook but for conversations regarding data security in the U.S. as well....The underlying message is clear: Facebook has lost control of its platform.

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Cambridge Analytica: What The Media Won’t Tell You (Trent Lapinski, Hacker Noon, 3-20-18) " It wasn’t the Russians, it was our own social media companies who sold our data to the Trump campaign which they then likely used to convince liberals not to vote in swing states.""Facebook is basically responsible for feeding the analytics system that enabled Cambridge Analytica and the Trump campaign to be so targeted and effective with a minimal budget. They ultimately won Donald Trump the swing states and the election. As well as subverted democracy, and likely made Facebook a bunch of money."
How activists of color lose battles against Facebook’s moderator army (Aaron Sankin, Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting, 8-17-17) As Facebook is under the microscope for failing to stop harassment and the spread of fake news, it also faces another problem: The social media giant’s reporting policies punish minority users in a variety of ways.
Newsonomics: Will Facebook’s troubles finally cure publishers of platformitis? (Ken Doctor, Nieman Lab, 3-27-18) The Cambridge Analytica story is a reminder of the value of a trusted, direct connection between publisher and consumer. Building more of them is the news industry’s best strategy available. "It’s easier to see that now, to understand that Facebook is really just another advertising company — one grown beyond anyone’s imagination (except Google). But what can be done about it? Facebook is social crack, fostering a dependence that has made easy to swallow its monetization of our attention. Now that the extent of what it knows and how that knowledge can be used is clear, what are we going to do?"
Facebook's rallying cry: Billionaires to the barricades (Washington Examiner, 3-22-18) "When a big business starts helping build regulatory barricades, we shouldn’t applaud. Regulation, by raising costs, acts as a barrier to entry. It rewards those who, like Microsoft and Goldman Sachs today, have the best lobbyists and the most access to power. In so doing, it protects monopolies and oligopolies."

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Electronics-Recycling Innovator Going to Prison for Extending Computers’ Lives A renowned e-waste innovator is going to prison for producing 25-cent discs that could’ve saved thousands of computers from the landfill. Eric Lundgren built the first “electronic hybrid recycling” facility in the United States, which turns discarded cellphones and other electronics into functional devices. Microsoft’s lawyers valued the discs at $25 each and said they represent $700,000 in potential sales. The real loss to Microsoft was in the potential sale of new computers and new software licenses. A federal appeals court sentenced Lundgren to a 15-month prison term and a $50,000 fine on April 11.

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Facebook Stalking Now Riskier Than Ever Thanks To New Feature (Nicola Rossi, Brain Sharper, 7-17-17) "Facebook has quietly introduced a new feature, particularly prominent on the mobile version of the site, and it makes stalking on the social media platform a slightly riskier affair. The Facebook Hello feature is essentially Poke under a new name, but its placement on people’s profile pages is proving to be problematic. If you visit a friend’s profile, you’ll find a waving hand icon, carefully captioned ‘Hello,’ at the top of the page. If you click the button, that person will receive a notification letting them know that you’ve waved to them. However, here’s where things can get tricky
Facebook and Google Helped Anti-Refugee Campaign in Swing States (Ben Elgin and Vernon Silver, Bloomberg Technology, 10-18-17) The big tech companies worked closely with Secure America Now to target an audience the group felt could be swayed by the message.

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Inside the Two Years that Shook Facebook—and the World (Nicholas Thompson and Fred Vogelstein, Wired, 2-12-18) How a confused, defensive social media giant steered itself into a disaster, and how Mark Zuckerberg is trying to fix it all. First came an article: "'Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News.' The piece suggested that Facebook’s Trending team worked like a Fox News fever dream, with a bunch of biased curators “injecting” liberal stories and “blacklisting” conservative ones." That set the stage for the most tumultuous two years of Facebook’s existence—triggering a chain of events that would distract and confuse the company while larger disasters began to engulf it. Fascinating and important story. "It appears that Facebook did not, however, carefully think through the implications of becoming the dominant force in the news industry....Facebook hired few journalists and spent little time discussing the big questions that bedevil the media industry. What is fair? What is a fact? How do you signal the difference between news, analysis, satire, and opinion?...Facebook’s move into news set off yet another explosion of ways that people could connect...."While Facebook grappled internally with what it was becoming—a company that dominated media but didn’t want to be a media company—Donald Trump’s presidential campaign staff faced no such confusion....Facebook was the way to run the most effective direct-­marketing political operation in history.....Numerous security researchers express consternation that it took Facebook so long to realize how the Russian troll farm was exploiting the platform....When Facebook finally did find the Russian propaganda on its platform, the discovery set off a crisis, a scramble, and a great deal of confusion." And so on!
Social Media Has Not Destroyed A Generation (Lydia Denworth, Scientific American, Nov. 2019) New findings suggest the angst over social media is misplaced.“It’s ironic that in the end the real danger is not smartphones—it’s the level of misinformation that’s being directed at the public and at parents,” Odgers says. “It’s consuming so much of the airtime that it’s causing us to miss potentially some of the real threats and problems around digital spaces.”
"We're building a dystopic just to make people click on ads" (Zeynep Tufekci's TED Talk, Sept. 2017) We're building an artificial intelligence-powered dystopia, one click at a time, says techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci. In an eye-opening talk, she details how the same algorithms companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon use to get you to click on ads are also used to organize your access to political and social information. And the machines aren't even the real threat. What we need to understand is how the powerful might use AI to control us -- and what we can do in response."
I Found Work on an Amazon Website. I Made 97 Cents an Hour. (Andy Newman, NY Times, 11-15-19) Inside the weird, wild, low-wage world of Mechanical Turk. On Mechanical Turk — named for a chess-playing “machine” from the 18th century that concealed a living chess master — scores of thousands of humans earn pennies or dollars doing tasks that computers cannot yet easily do.


Further dark sides of social media

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Social media (generally)


Is social media following the 80/20 rule: 80% of your content should be of value to your audience, while 20% might be of value to you?

Social Media Resources (KOKEdit, Katharine O'Moore-Klopf) Links to useful articles/explainers for Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Glossary of Social Media Terms (Carly Williams, HubSpot, 6-23-23) A to Z.
Social Media and the Workplace (Common Craft)
Building a Solid Social Media Strategy for Government Agencies (Smarsh)
What’s More Important: Author Websites or Social Media? (Jane Friedman, 9-11-17) Book authors MUST READ this.

Remember What Spotify Did to the Music Industry? Books Are Next. (Kim Scott, Opinion, NY Times, 12-13-23) Spotify may have made it easier than ever for us to listen to an enormous trove of music, but it extracted so much money in doing so that it impoverished musicians. Now the company is turning its attention to books with a new offering. It will do the same thing to writers, whose audiobooks Spotify has begun streaming in a new and more damaging way.... In 2020, 90 percent of the royalties Spotify paid out went to the top 0.8 percent of artists, according to an analysis by Rolling Stone.That leaves a vast majority — including many within even that small group — struggling to earn a living.... This is why regulation is so crucial."

The Age of Social Media Is Ending (Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, 11-10-22) I'm quoting more than "fair use" would allow, but really recommend you read this article:

      "A long time ago, many social networks walked the Earth. Six Degrees launched in 1997, named after a Pulitzer-nominated play based on a psychological experiment. It shut down soon after the dot-com crash of 2000—the world wasn’t ready yet. Friendster arose from its ashes in 2002, followed by MySpace and LinkedIn the next year, then Hi5 and Facebook in 2004, the latter for students at select colleges and universities. That year also saw the arrival of Orkut, made and operated by Google. Bebo launched in 2005; eventually both AOL and Amazon would own it. Google Buzz and Google+ were born and then killed. You’ve probably never heard of some of these, but before Facebook was everywhere, many of these services were immensely popular.
      "Content-sharing sites also acted as de facto social networks, allowing people to see material posted mostly by people they knew or knew of, rather than from across the entire world. Flickr, the photo-sharing site, was one; YouTube—once seen as Flickr for video—was another. Blogs (and bloglike services, such as Tumblr) raced alongside them, hosting “musings” seen by few and engaged by fewer. In 2008, the Dutch media theorist Geert Lovink published a book about blogs and social networks whose title summarized their average reach: Zero Comments.

      "Twitter, which launched in 2006, was probably the first true social-media site, even if nobody called it that at the time. Instead of focusing on connecting people, the site amounted to a giant, asynchronous chat room for the world. Twitter was for talking to everyone—which is perhaps one of the reasons journalists have flocked to it....

     "Other services arrived or evolved in this vein, among them Reddit, Snapchat, and WhatsApp, all far more popular than Twitter. Social networks, once latent routes for possible contact, became superhighways of constant content...."

     "The ensuing disaster was multipart. For one, social-media operators discovered that the more emotionally charged the content, the better it spread across its users’ networks. Polarizing, offensive, or just plain fraudulent information was optimized for distribution. By the time the platforms realized and the public revolted, it was too late to turn off these feedback loops."
Mastodon "Social networking that's not for sale." "Your home feed should be filled with what matters to you most, not what a corporation thinks you should see. Radically different social media, back in the hands of the people."

‘All We Want Is Revenge’: How Social Media Fuels Gun Violence Among Teens (Liz Szabo, KFF Health News, 8-25-23) The U.S. surgeon general last month issued a call to action about social media’s corrosive effects on child and adolescent mental health, warning of the “profound risk of harm” to young people, who can spend hours a day on their phones. The 25-page report highlighted the risks of cyberbullying and sexual exploitation. It failed to mention social media’s role in escalating gun violence.
     “What used to be communicated on the street or in graffiti or tagging or rumors from one person to another, it’s now being distributed and amplified on social media,” he said. “It’s meant to embarrass and humiliate others.”
      Many disputes stem from perceived disrespect among insecure young adults who may lack impulse control and conflict-management skills, said LJ Punch, a trauma surgeon and director of the Bullet-Related Injury Clinic in St. Louis.
      “Social media is an extremely powerful tool for metastasizing disrespect,” Punch said. And of all the causes of gun violence, social media-fueled grudges are “the most impenetrable.”

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The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet by Jeff Kosseff (Brian Fung, CNN Business, 2-25-2020) 

       These 26 words 'created the internet.' The US government is coming for them": "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

       For decades, many of the biggest names in tech have leaned on a little-known law to avoid being held responsible for some of the most controversial content on their platforms. The companies have invoked this federal law, known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, in one court case after another to dismiss potentially costly lawsuits over messages, videos and other content created by users. But big changes could be coming to Section 230 that might expose Facebook (FB), YouTube and others to more lawsuits over hate speech and misinformation for the first time in their histories." Excellent overview.
       "Kosseff's book is timely, given the intensifying debate about whether Congress should find ways to hold Internet companies accountable for third-party speech that harms individuals and society as a whole. But the book's value goes beyond timing. The author's background as a journalist and his current roles as a professor and a lawyer enable him to produce an engaging narrative that explains the law clearly and compels us to think about speech in the modern age and who is responsible when it is harmful."~Washington Post

Social media policies are failing journalists (Mark Coddington and Seth Lewis, Nieman Lab, 3-7-23) Journalists rely on social media to connect with potential sources, to interact with audiences, to promote their work, and to find solidarity among fellow journalists. "Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook present a dizzying array of problems, from the growing variety and intensity of online harassment — hostility, trolling, doxing, etc. — that especially targets women and journalists of color, to the constant threat that one wrong tweet might incite a mob or cost a journalist their job."

Content creators say they struggle to keep up with their audiences as social media platforms evolve (Julian Cannon, Digiday, 3-9-23) Part of an eight-article editorial series that explores the ramifications of a fragmented social marketplace. Publishers move past seeing social media platforms as traffic drivers. The key differentiator among platforms is in their roots. How fragmentation has changed hiring in social media. Etc.
The Twitter Decision Is About More Than the Internet (Gabe Rottman, The Nuance: Tackling the Legal Issues at the Forefront of a Free Press, 5-28-23) The U.S. Supreme Court handed down decisions in Twitter v. Taamneh and Gonzalez v. Google, companion cases that shared an underlying question: Can social media platforms that are “generally aware” terrorists may be using their services be sued for “aiding and abetting” specific terrorist acts? The Reporters Committee joined a friend-of-the-court brief led by the Center for Democracy and Technology in the Twitter case and filed a brief alone in Google. In Google, the court issued a brief, unsigned opinion, finding that the question there had likely been resolved by the full — and much more interesting — opinion in Twitter.
     'The topline in Twitter is that the platform won pretty resoundingly. In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court held that allegations that a platform had generalized knowledge that terrorists may be using a service open to all-comers is not enough for a lawsuit under the federal Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which permits victims to sue anyone “who aids and abets, by knowingly providing substantial assistance, or who conspires with the person who committed [] an act of international terrorism.”   And more....
41 states sue Meta, claiming Instagram, Facebook are addictive, harm kids (Cristiano Lima-Strong and Naomi Nix, Washington Post, 10-24-23) "The action marks the most sprawling state challenge to date over social media’s impact on the mental health of children. While the scope of the legal claims vary, they paint a picture of a company that has hooked children on its platforms using harmful and manipulative tactics.A 233-page federal complaint alleges that the company engaged in a “scheme to exploit young users for profit” by misleading them about safety features and the prevalence of harmful content, harvesting their data and violating federal laws on children’s privacy. State officials claim that the company knowingly deployed changes to keep children on the site to the detriment of their well-being, violating consumer protection laws."
“Worse than the Harassment Itself.” Journalists’ Reactions to Newsroom Social Media Policies (Jacob L. Nelson, Digital Journalism, 1-6-23) Although journalists are encouraged to be “active,” “personable,” and “authentic” social media users, their newsroom social media policies offer little guidance or support for when journalists subsequently face personal, aggressive attacks. "I conclude that these tensions are a consequence of the extent to which social media has upended the ways that journalists approach their work, as well as their relationship with the public."

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“Not Their Fault, but Their Problem”: Organizational Responses to the Online Harassment of Journalists Avery E. Holton, Valérie Bélair-Gagnon, Diana Bossio, & Logan Molyneux, Journalism Practice, 7-5-21) Journalists are increasingly suffering from online harassment ("acute harassment such as generalized verbal abuse, chronic harassment occurring over time and often from the same social media users and escalatory harassment that is more personalized and directly threatening"). The mental health and well-being of journalists may depend on news organizations taking action to address such harassment, "especially at a time when more journalists are reporting fatigue, burnout, and a desire to exit the profession."
What You Didn't Know of Social Media Addiction Rodrigo Oda's great short video (winner of Ivy Panda's Annual Video Contest Scholarship, 2022
Elon Musk’s Twitter Will Start Charging You to Verify Logins Using Text Messages (Todd Spangler, Variety, 2-18-23)
---"This colossally stupid idea - one that betrays a total lack of understanding of why websites offer security features - is one that screams of desperation. Of an attempt to both lower prices (because text messages cost Twitter money) and to con users into paying for a service that both used to be and should always be free."~Ed Zitron, Where's Your Ed At, on Social Media Is Dying.

    "The relationship between the platform and the customer  - who is also the revenue driver - is inherently antagonistic. Your experience of using their platform is manipulated from the moment that they try to monetize you - paywalled features, advertising running before videos or appearing between posts, or "sponsored" content that you may or may not want to see. You tolerate this because the platform provides you access to something, but also protects you from bad actors - scammers, impersonators, spammers, abusers, and so on."

     "Their initial value proposition was based entirely on someone else doing something - find your friends, follow a celebrity, see videos of a serval - and the platform being gracious enough to allow you to connect to them. Except now your feeds on Facebook and Instagram are dominated with sponsored posts and ads for stuff that actively interfere with what you want to see."

---Meta is launching a pay-for-verification subscription service for Facebook and Instagram (CNN Business, 2-19-23) In a statement, Meta clarified there will be no changes to accounts that are already verified. Verification was previously for users who are “authentic and notable.”
       "Twitter relaunched its own verification subscription service, Twitter Blue, in December, after an onset of fake “verified” accounts forced it to pull the feature. The check mark options now have different colors to differentiate between accounts: gold checks for companies, gray checks for government entities and other organizations, and blue checks for individuals, whether or not they are celebrities."

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Welcome to Geriatric Social Media (Charlie Warzel, The Atlantic, 11-1-22) Social media isn’t dying; it’s changing. Platform decay on Facebook continues apace. Twitter is full of non-Musk-related bad news, the most notable being that sports and entertainment content are waning in popularity on the platform while crypto and pornographic content are the platform’s fastest-growing categories. Similarly, places like Instagram feel a bit scuzzier lately. A lot of what I’m describing is, admittedly, a vibe. Short-form videos are far easier and more engaging to consume than cascading feeds of short-burst text. And so on, in case you're just catching up.
Our Cluttered Mind, Jonah Lehrer's review (NYTimes 5-27-10) of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr, who wrote Is Google Making Us Stupid? for The Atlantic (July/August 2008).

For media publishers, Twitter still dominates on social (Sara Fischer and Kerry Flynn, Axios, 9-13-22) Twitter is still the place where media publishers collectively have the largest audiences, followed by Facebook and Instagram, according to an Axios analysis of 82 major news, entertainment and sports publishers. National Geographic, by far, has the largest social following across its main accounts, with more than 340 million followers over six major platforms (not taking into account duplication). The next closest publisher, the BBC, has more than 150 million followers across its main accounts on those platforms, followed by CNN and ESPN.
Which Social Media Platform Is the Best? (Caroline Topperman on Jane Friedman's blog, 3-16-22) Identifying the right platform for you comes down to your personality, what you like to do and what you want to achieve.
7 Simple Social Media Tips for Successful Authors (Porter Gale, Digital Pubbing, 10-25-21) Organize frequent Q&A sessions, Show your journey through videos or short clips, Approach Bookstagrammers, and more.
Where to market. In a discussion among Authors Guild members, novelist Pamela Kelley said she found Facebook far more effective for book promotion than Twitter (mind you, for fiction). She suggested signing up for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Clubhouse. "Facebook and Instagram seem the most useful for fiction authors for reaching readers. Clubhouse is fantastic for networking with other authors and learning and eventually maybe reaching readers too."
Market share of most popular social media: According to Stat Counter, Facebook has the greatest market share of social media (at 70%), Pinterest and Twitter have about 10% share each, YouTube and Instagram have about 5% each, and Tumblr and Reddit have about 1% each. (H/T Joanna Malaczynski, on Authors Guild discussion group)
A Year Without Social Media as a Freelance Writer (Alexander Lewis on Jane Friedman's blog, 2-15-22) For freelancers, forgoing social media can mean giving up crucial visibility. But it can also provide time to focus on being a better writer.

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How to Backup Social Media in 2021: Duplicating Your Second Life (Cloudwards). See also 13 Tools to Back Up Your Social Media Content (Sitepoint)
How censorship became the new crisis for social networks (Casey Newton, Platformer, 6-2-21) "It's not just conservatives complaining any more. The crackdowns are real, and getting worse....What's clear is that in a world where authoritarianism is on the rise, people around the world continue to view social networks as critical venues for protest and debate. One of the biggest questions of the next-half decade will be in how many places Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others can live up to that ideal."
Sree Tips (Facebook) This @Sree tip is appropriate here: "Your tweets, Facebook postings, etc., should have as many of these attributes as possible: helpful, useful, timely, informative, relevant, practical, actionable, generous, credible, brief, entertaining, fun, occasionally funny."
No Excuse for Abuse: What Social Media Companies Can Do Now to Combat Online Harassment and Empower Users (PEN America, Executive Summary, with excellent links to sources). Go here for full report on online hate, harassment, and bullying.

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The many challenges of covering the coronavirus (Jon Allsop, CJR, 3-9-2020) The challenge here is to communicate nuance and uncertainty in formats—headlines, tweets, and so on—that reward brevity and clarity.
Q&A: Social Media for Authors (Authors Guild) Really practical. Under How does one add “Follow” to a FB profile? Answer : Go to your followers tab to edit settings. Did that and learned that mostly only friends from UCLA could follow me because of something I checked wrong, and I haven't stayed in touch with most of my friends from UCLA!
Social Media for Authors: The Toughest Topic to Advise On (Jane Friedman, 9-12-17) Topics covered: "Your social media following grows mostly when you produce more work." "Use social media to micro-publish or to share your work." "People break social media 'rules' all the time and succeed."

How to Lessen Your Chances of an Online Crisis (Chris Syme, author of Crisis Management For Authors: How to manage an online disaster and protect your reputation, advises: Never try and “build a following” during a crisis. Use the following you’ve already built. Communities don’t mind doing you the favor of advocacy in a crisis if you have nurtured the relationship already. But if you just “appear” on social media during a negative event, you will be ignored or even targeted for your behavior. (Original order of sentences reversed.)
How to create shareable images with quotes (Sandra Beckwith, BuildBookBuzz). See also How to Create Shareable Instagram Quote Images (Mitt Ray, Social Media Today)

41 cool and useful IFTTT applets James A. Martin, Computerworld, 11-23-17) IFTTT: "If this, then that." A free way to get all your devices talking to each other. Read about 41 applets (recipes) that allow you to save favorite items to Gmail, Dropbox, Evernote, or Slack.
Addicted to Screens? That’s Really a You Problem (Nellie Bowles, NY Times, 10-6-19) "Nir Eyal, who wrote the industry manual for hooking people on tech, now has a recipe to free you — even though it was your fault to begin with."Book 1: Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, which Dave McClure, the founder of 500 Startups, a prolific incubator, called “an essential crib sheet for any start-up looking to understand user psychology.” And Book 2: Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life ('If “Hooked” was a how-to, this is a how-to-undo.')
So You’re an Author Without a Social Media Presence: Now What? (Jane Friedman, 7-17-17)
How to Use Social Media in Your Career ( Sree Sreenivasan, NY Times, 11-13-17)

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6 studies on digital news and social media you should know about (Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalists' Resource, reviews six studies, summarizing what they're about and what they found.)
Stop Focusing on Follower Count: 5 Better Approaches for Improving Social Media Use (Jane Friedman, 3-15-17)<
When Less Is More on Social Media (Jane Friedman, 6-22-16)
Why You Should Join All Social Media Networks (Jane Friedman, 3-3-16)
How to Avoid the “Extra” Work of Social Media (Jane Friedman, 9-22-14) "Social media is a form of content, and can be seen as micro-publishing. Each post is sharing a tiny bit of your story, message or perspective—possibly something informative or inspiring. The posts might end up being part of a larger work. They might be daily creativity experiments. And they might offer you insight into how your audience thinks and engages with your work."

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Social media groups (and tips) for writers, editors, journalists, and other communicators

Drop Google and Facebook Groups and Use This Instead (David Murphy, Lifehacker, 3-22-18) "Instead of the Big Three, consider a service like Groups.io, a sensible, free platform that’s incredibly easy to use." #3 being Yahoo groups. See Groups.io: Elevate Your Email Groups Mobile-ready, privacy-focused, and ad-free. (But doesn't convey attachments.) I didn't check this out: "Easily integrate Zoom, Feeds, Slack, Github, Trello, Email and soon even more services into your premium group."

Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media (Francesco Zaffarano, Nieman Lab, Dec. 2018)
A list of every hidden journalism-related social media group I could find (Melody Kramer, Poynter, 8-3-15)
Report: How journalists use social media in 2017 (Kevin J. Allen, Ragan, 9-18-17) A new study from Cision (you can read the report here shows that many media pros are wary of networks’ impact on journalism and mixed about how to use them for gathering content. The report identified six categories of social media users: architects, promoters, hunters, messengers, observers and skeptics. Each group had its own preferences for social media use, often influenced by professional and demographic needs.
A Year Without Social Media as a Freelance Writer (Alexander Lewis on Jane Friedman's blog, 2-15-22) "Before my break from social media, I might have a strong idea for an article. Instead of doing the hard work to flesh the idea into an article, I would often take an easier route: write a short synopsis, which I would publish as a tweet. Taking a break from social media helped me develop greater patience with my ideas. If I liked an idea, I didn’t have the option to publish the one-sentence version. I was forced to sit with it, research it, and ultimately turn the idea into something of substance. Only then could I release the idea to the world....distraction-free writing culminated—I believe—in stronger prose in both person

---What I Learned Taking a Year-Long Break from Social Media (Alexander Lewis, 1-4-22) "Social media became my mental crutch when faced with a hard task. When I couldn’t think of how to write the next sentence or headline, my default action was to open another tab and scroll social media. I saw social media as my biggest hindrance to achieving what Cal Newport calls deep work."
Social Networks for Writers
Social Media for Writers: Which Platforms You Need to be on, Based on What You Write (Kristina Adams, The Writer's Cookbook, 5-21-19)
10 must-join Facebook groups for journalists (Jacob Granger, Journalism.co.uk, 6-18-19) Which communities are best for journalists to bolster their network of contacts? Here are our best picks. 15 online communities for journalists you should know about (Abigail Edge, Journalism.co.uk, 7-15-15) From freelancing to mobile journalism and open data, here's our pick of the best media chat groups across social media and the we
Hashtag Our Stories is using Snapchat lenses to turn citizens into more effective storytellers (Caroline Scott, Journalism.co.uk, 1-17-19) The mobile journalism network is creating digital tools to help more citizen journalists tell local stories for global audiences
What 3 Social Media Websites are Great for Editors? (Ralene Burke, The Christian Pen: A proofreaders and editors network)
My Writers Circle (a message board
Understanding the Role of a Social Media Reporter (Laura Lake, The Balance, 6-25-19)

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Online games to engage the brain

Games, quizzes, puzzles, brain teasers, exercises, riddles, tests

ACES Grammar Quizzes (ACES, The Society of Editors) Requires Adobe Flash.
Anagram Genius
Arkadium Games (many free online games)
Blast from the Past (MindRacer) Multiple choice history questions, easier for those 40 and over.
Book Review Quiz Bowl (New York Times) The Book Review Quiz Bowl appears on the Books page every week with a new topic. This link is to the archive.
Braingle Brain teasers, riddles, trivia, games
Brain Teasers. A series of games (birdwatching, memory match, monster garden, speed match, spatial speed match, color match, lost in migration and chalkboard) designed by lumosity to improve cognitive function by improving memory and attention.
Brevity, an editing gamesite, offers mini-games to help you become a more powerful writer. Each game gives you a lousy writing sample. Your job: to make it as concise as you can before the timer runs out. If your response is shorter than our benchmark, you win!
Brickit Build new things from your old bricks. Just scatter your bricks on a table and take a photo. Brickit will come up with hundreds of ideas of what can be built with them.
Cheese or font?
Chess puzzles (NY Times)
Civic Literacy Test (Center for Political Thought and Leadership, ASU) A 100 question multiple choice test in seven sections.
Cognitive games and exercises. (Lumosity) A series of games (birdwatching, memory match, monster garden, speed match, spatial speed match, color match, lost in migration and chalkboard) designed to improve cognitive function by improving memory and attention.
Cool science sites for kids Pat McNees's website

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Connections (NY Times) Not working, last time I tried.
Crossword puzzles (NY Times, $40 a year gets you their daily puzzle). See also “Puzzles pair well with reading the news”: Why news outlets are getting into games (again) (Luke Winkie, Nieman Lab, 8-10-22)
---Will Shortz’s Life in Crosswords ( Liz Maynes-Aminzade, New Yorker, 2-15-23) The veteran Times puzzle editor discusses his favorite clues, debates in the crossword community, and unexpectedly finding his first serious romance.
---Crossword (Daily crossword, Washingon Post, free)
---The Best Crossword Puzzles to Play Online for Free (Elena Nicolaou, Oprah Daily, 3-16-20)
---Crossword Solver
--- Gastro Obscura food-related crosswords
Cut the Knot Interactive math and puzzles
Do you know your states? (Seterra, Geoguessr) A U.S. map with state names missing.
Fat Brain Toys (good shopping site for toys for little ones)
Gameplay (NY Times) An online community for puzzle enthusiasts.
Games and Puzzles from The Guardian (UK)
The GeoQuiz

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Google Feud Put your search engine knowledge to the test in Google Feud – a puzzle game based on internet searches.
JetPunk Lots of timed quizzes, many about geography.
Luminosity A brain-training program.
Map Quizzes (Seterra Geography)
Mathematics Competency Test for Journalists (Journalists Resource) Answers not provided.
The Monkey Business Illusion (Daniel Simons, YouTube video) Selective attention test. Count how many times the white players pass the ball. But pay attention for other elements, too.
National Geographic Games
The National Puzzlers' League (the NPL) World's oldest puzzlers' organization, for people who love word play, including palindromes, cryptograms, crossword-type puzzles, cryptic crosswords, anagrams, poetry writing.
NY Times games and puzzles

Phrasle (like Wordle but with phrases)
Puzzle Making< (NY Times) How puzzles get made and a look at the people who make them

Quordle (like Wordle, but you must guess four words at once in 9 tries)

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Science crossword puzzles (Crossword Solver)
Solver Stories (NY Times) How and why people solve puzzles
Spelling Bee (NY Times) How many words can you make with 7 letters? Check out
---Getting to Genius, Part 1: Spelling Bee for Beginners (NY Times, 9-11-23) Two Games editors take you through the best ways to move up the ranks.
---Two Games editors take you through the best ways to move up the ranks. How to use the game’s tools and the “Hivemind” to your advantage.

The Thinker's Test (Karl Albrecht) For example: "If Tom is shorter than Dick, and Harry is taller than Dick,is Tom taller or shorter than Harry?"
Visual Thesaurus Spelling Bee
Vivid Gradient Generator

• **** Wordle (NY Times) Guess the 5-letter word in six tries.
---How to Win at Wordle (Without Cheating) (Quanta magazine)
---See also Phrasle (like Wordle but with phrases) and Quordle (like `Wordle, but you must guess four words at once in 9 tries.
---Word Mom "Like a searchable dictionary that enables you to find words by category (noun, verb, adjective), pattern (starts with, ends with, or contains) and length (# of letters). For example, a 7-letter animal that starts with Q: quetzal. Many potential uses, like cheating on Wordle or other word games, for one!" ~Andrea Firth, quoted by Jane Friedman
Wordmeister (a version of Scrabble)
Wordosis (MedPage Today) A medical word guessing game in which players have a series of attempts to guess a medical word.
The Words on Words Challenge (University of Chicago Press)
Words With Friends
15 Best Free Online Word Games(Michael Kwan, WordFinder). Games not listed above: Lexigo, Google Feud, Word Wipe, Skribbl.io, Wander Words, Words With Friends, Wander Words, Daily Word Search, Wordscapes, Wheel of Fortune Toss-Up Challenge, Scramble Words, Codeword, Mini Crossword.

Doing a little word puzzle as the world burns (Lyz Lenz, Nieman Lab, 8-10-22) "I started playing word games as a way to stop reading the news first thing in the morning."
Puzzles pair well with reading the news”: Why news outlets are getting into games (again) (Luke Winkie, Nieman Lab, 8-10-22) “Some subscribers would rather game than sift through the wreckage. Can you blame them?” “

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Threads, Meta's Instagram app

Zuckerberg vs. Musk

Threads: how do I sign up and is it any different to Twitter? (Josh Taylor, The Explainer, The Guardian, 7-6-23) Meta’s newest app can be accessed with an Instagram account and looks a lot like its rival. You can send posts of up to 500 characters, include images, gifs, and videos of up to five minutes in length. It’s a mixture of followed accounts and algorithmic recommendations. There’s no way to see just the posts of the people you follow at the moment, and the company hasn’t indicated whether it will provide this option in the future....

     "If you want to keep your Instagram more personal you can keep it locked down and have Threads public. Though if you’re under 16, the Threads account, like Instagram, is private by default."
Meta has released a text-based Twitter competitor based on Instagram.(Taegon Goddard, Politics Extra, 7-5-23) I’m hopeful Threads might work for two main reasons:
     Instagram has pretty good content moderation. That’s important to keep the Nazis away.
     Threads is decentralized and interoperable with Mastodon and other social networks. That means you can take your followers with you if you choose to leave.
We tried Threads, Meta’s new Twitter rival. Here’s what happened (Kari Paul, The Guardian, 7-6-23) Kari Paul tested the social network minutes after its launch – did it fail to impress, or should Elon Musk be shuddering? Threads felt like a fever dream in which Twitter and Instagram had a more usable brain child....

     "Unlike Twitter, Threads does not seem to use hashtags and does not have a feature that allows users to search for specific text or phrases. It also allows users to share up to 10 photos in a single post – the same limit that exists on Instagram – as opposed to Twitter’s limit of four images....with Twitter getting clunkier and progressively less usable since Musk took it over, opening an app and actually being able to see and engage with content smoothly felt like a breath of fresh air."
Five reasons Threads could still go the distance (Casey Newton, Platformer, 7-17-23) A look at how, despite some early doubts, Threads is still poised to overtake Twitter in the long run. Broadly (but read the post for the details):
    1) "Threads proved decisively the demand for a new text-based conversation app."
    2) "Threads immediately attracted the sort of high-profile user base that made Twitter so addictive for so long."

    3) "Instagram can serve as a long-term growth driver for Threads."

    4) "Meta still has many other growth levers it can pull — many of which simply involve building basic features the user base has already requested. It will soon let users post and browse from the desktop, for example."

    5) "Twitter’s deterioration continues to accelerate."
Simon Owens (Note, 7-10-23) While Meta was building Threads, its engineers likely knew two things:
     A huge portions of its users would want a reverse chronological feed of the people they follow.
     A huge portion of its users would want a desktop web version.
Despite knowing these two things, they launched the product without them. Why? Because a mobile-first app with an algorithmic feed will be better for the monetization features they eventually want to roll out. Simon and Taegon Goddard exchange observations on this discussion.

Meta officially launches Twitter rival Threads. 30 million have joined already (Samantha Kelly, CNN, 7-5-23) "The look is similar to Twitter with a familiar layout, text-based feed, the ability repost and quote other Thread posts. But it also blends Instagram’s existing aesthetic and offers the ability to share posts from Threads directly to Instagram Stories. Verified Instagram accounts are also automatically verified on Threads. Thread accounts can also be listed as public or private.
     "The new app joins a growing list of Twitter rivals and could pose the biggest threat to Twitter of the bunch, given Meta’s vast resources and its massive audience."
What we love and hate about Threads, Meta’s new Twitter clone (Geoffrey A. Fowler and Naomi Nix, Washington Post, 7-6-23) "Threads arrives with a potential audience of billions who already use Meta’s photo and video-oriented Instagram, which Threads is built on top of. Meta says it’s taking moderation seriously to make Threads a safer place for us (and eventually advertisers). Zuckerberg, too, is less inclined than Musk to put his foot in his mouth....But Threads also comes with a whole host of Meta baggage, including questionable privacy practices, opaque algorithms and Big Tech monopoly power."
     "Your existing Instagram friends and followers don’t automatically follow you on Threads. You’ll have to build up that audience all over again. And one other thing to note: At launch, Threads isn’t available in Europe, where the Irish Data Protection Commission recently hit Meta with a record $1.3 billion fine for breaking its privacy rules."

Things I've heard:
---" I'm still struggling to use this app. In Twitter, there are ways to filter what you want to see. That's not possible (yet) on Threads."
----Apparently, on a PC, you can only view Threads and not much else. However with the mobile-only app, you can find other people.
Things I've heard but can't verify:
---"If you leave Threads you have to lose your Instagram account."
---"Reminder before everyone gets really into "threads": Meta actively HELPS law enforcement criminalize people seeking abortions in banned states"

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The Facebook Papers

A whistleblower’s power: Key takeaways from the Facebook Papers (Cristiano Lima, Washington Post, 10-25-21) Interviews with dozens of current and former employees and a trove of internal documents show how the social media company inflamed real-world harms.
"A personal decision by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg leads to a crackdown on dissent in Vietnam. Measures to suppress hateful, deceptive content are lifted after the American presidential election in 2020, as pro-Trump groups disputing the legitimacy of the election experience “meteoric” growth. A dummy test account on Facebook in India is flooded with violent anti-Muslim propaganda — which remains visible for weeks on the real account of a frightened Muslim college student in northern India.
The Facebook Papers: What you need to know about the trove of insider documents (Bill Chappell, NPR, 10-25-21) "Facebook's rank-and-file employees warned their leaders about the company's effects on society and politics in the United States. And they say its inability to effectively moderate content has magnified those dangers, both in the U.S. and abroad. Those are two of the main takeaways from thousands of internal Facebook documents that NPR and other news outlets have reviewed.
" The documents, known collectively as the Facebook Papers, were shared in redacted form with Congress after whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, disclosed them to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Facebook Papers The Facebook Papers are a massive set of Facebook internal documents that whistleblower Frances Haugen provided to Congress and news outlets around the world. These documents formed the basis of more than 100 news stories and counting, catalogued here.

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The Facebook Papers: ‘History Will Not Judge Us Kindly’ (Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic, 10-25-21) "Thousands of pages of internal documents offer the clearest picture yet of how Facebook endangers American democracy—and show that the company's own employees know it....Again and again, the Facebook Papers show staffers sounding alarms about the dangers posed by the platform—how Facebook amplifies extremism and misinformation, how it incites violence, how it encourages radicalization and political polarization. Again and again, staffers reckon with the ways in which Facebook's decisions stoke these harms, and they plead with leadership to do more."
Inside Facebook, Jan. 6 violence fueled anger, regret over missed warning signs (Craig Timberg, Elizabeth Dwoskin, and Reed Albergotti, Facebook Under Fire series, Washington Post, 10-22-21) A trove of internal documents turned over to the SEC provides new details of the social media platform’s role in fomenting the storming of the U.S. Capitol.Facebook dropped its guard after the November election and let “Stop the Steal” content proliferate ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection. It also dismantled a Civic Integrity group aimed at combating this kind of stuff, with some employees fearing it was because they had become too vocal about the dangers of Facebook. Read this series as part of The 5-Minute Fix (a Washington Post series)
---A whistleblower’s power: Key takeaways from the Facebook Papers (Cristiano Lima) Interviews with dozens of current and former employees and a trove of internal documents show how the social media company inflamed real-world harms
---The case against Mark Zuckerberg: Insiders say Facebook’s CEO chose growth over safety ( Elizabeth Dwoskin, Tory Newmyer, and Shibani Mahtani) The SEC has been asked to probe whether his iron fisted management style, described in newly released documents and by insiders, led to disastrous outcomes.
---Five points for anger, one for a ‘like’: How Facebook’s formula fostered rage and misinformation (Jeremy B. Merrill and Will Oremus) Facebook engineers gave extra value to emoji reactions, including ‘angry,’ pushing more emotional and provocative content into users’ news feeds.

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The tier list: How Facebook decides which countries need protection (Casey Newton, Platformer, 10-25-21) For years now, activists and lawmakers around the world have criticized the company for the inequality in its approach to content moderation. But the Facebook Papers offer a detailed look into where Facebook provides a higher standard of care — and where it doesn’t.
Whistleblower: Facebook is misleading the public on progress against hate speech, violence, misinformation (Scott Pelley, 60 Minutes, 10-4-21) Frances Haugen says that in her time with Facebook she saw, "conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook." Hugely important and shocking insights from a former insider.
Alex Stamos on Leaving Facebook and Zuckerberg’s Reign Share (Offline with Jon Favreau, 1-9-22) As Jon’s first guest who has worked at a social media company, Alex gives us a first-hand look at Facebook’s internal politics, delivering insight on Russian hackers and the Haugen papers.
How Facebook Undermines Privacy Protections for Its 2 Billion WhatsApp Users (Peter Elkind, Jack Gillum and Craig Silverman, ProPublica, 9-7-21) WhatsApp assures users that no one can see their messages — but the company has an extensive monitoring operation and regularly shares personal information with prosecutors. H/T: Q&A with WhatsApp's Will Cathcart (Casey Newton, Platformer, 9-13-21) After a contentious year, candid talk on encryption, privacy, and ProPublica.
Thousands of posts around January 6 riots go missing from Facebook transparency tool (Mark Scott, Politico, 8-31-21) Politico reported that tens of thousands of Facebook posts from the days before and after the Jan. 6 riots on Capitol Hill had gone missing from CrowdTangle, an analytics tool owned by the social network that is used by journalists and researchers.

Tracking Viral Misinformation: Facebook sent flawed data to misinformation researchers. (Davey Alba, NY Times, 9-10/15-21) "More than three years ago, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook trumpeted a plan to share data with researchers about how people interacted with posts and links on the social network, so that the academics could study misinformation on the site. Researchers have used the data for the past two years for numerous studies examining the spread of false and misleading information.... But the information shared by Facebook had a major flaw, according to internal emails and interviews with the researchers. The data included the interactions of only about half of Facebook’s U.S. users — the ones who engaged with political pages enough to make their political leanings clear — not all of them as the company had said." The company said it restored missing data, but much of it is still missing. H/T Platformer.

Bots, trolls, review bombing and fake news,
likes, followers, and influencers

(plus polarization, generally)

How Review-Bombing Can Tank a Book Before It’s Published (Alexandra Alter and Elizabeth A. Harris, NY Times, 6-26-23) 'The website Goodreads has become an essential avenue for building readership, but the same features that help generate excitement can also backfire. Reviews can be weaponized, in some cases derailing a book’s publication long before its release.'

      Read about the experiences of several author-victims: Cecilia Rabess (Everything's Fine), Roxane Gay, Elizabeth Gilbert ("The Snow Forest"), Keira Drake, Amélie Wen Zhao, Kosoko Jackson, Sarah Stusek (Three Rivers).

     'Lincoln Michel, the author of the sci-fi novel “The Body Scout,” said he fears his books might get review bombed if he tangles with people online. “As any author who is moderately in the public eye, you do always worry that if you get into a fight with someone on Twitter about politics or sports or even a Marvel movie, some angry fans might go leave one-star reviews in retaliation,” he said.

      "On Amazon, book reviews indicate whether or not someone has purchased a title, and Amazon typically does not allow reviews to be posted for books that haven’t come out yet, with some exceptions. Rotten Tomatoes, a movie review site, says that users leaving verified reviews must prove they purchased a ticket. But Goodreads, which was bought by Amazon in 2013, lets any registered user review or rate a book."
How Extortion Scams and Review Bombing Trolls Turned Goodreads Into Many Authors’ Worst Nightmare (Megan McCluskey, Time magazine, 8-9-21) 'Scammers and cyberstalkers are increasingly using the Goodreads platform to extort authors with threats of “review bombing” their work–and they are frequently targeting authors from marginalized communities who have spoken out on topics ranging from controversies within the industry to larger social issues on social media." "...face bullying and extortion on the site" have been "a frequent topic of discussion on social media, with both authors and readers objecting to how the site functions—especially when it comes to its moderation policies."
Review Bombing: A New Threat to Authors (Lincoln Michel, Counter Craft (Navkiran Dhaliwal, Good E-Reader, 6-27-23) Review Bombing and Pre-publication Reviews Review Bombing is a method used by some people on the internet to ravage the sales of any product, business or service....in this phenomenon, a large number of people start posting negative reviews online rather than a genuine opinion, disrupting the owner’s image or product sales....What adds up more fuel to the fire is the unusual algorithm of Goodreads, where people are allowed to review the books before being published." Pre-publication ratings/reviews have been extensively done by users.
Goodreads Has No Incentive to be Good (Lincoln Michel, Counter Craft, 6-26-23) "Goodreads is full of trolls, spam, and harassment campaigns. They probably like it that way."
Goodreads has a 'review bombing' problem — and wants its users to help solve it (Jim Zarroli, All Things Considered, NPR, 12-17-23) Amazon-owned Goodreads, which allows its 90 million users to rate books using one to five stars, has been the subject of a controversy involving its reviews. Earlier this year, the best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert withdrew an upcoming novel about a Soviet-era family because critics wrongly assumed it was pro-Russian and flooded the site with one-star reviews.
Inside Russia’s Network of Bots and Trolls (Natalia V. Osipova and Aaron Byrd, NY Times) A bot (short for robot) is "an autonomous program on a network (especially the Internet) that can interact with computer systems or users, especially on designed to respond or behave like a player in an adventure game." A troll is "an actual human being, a person who makes a deliberately offensive or provocative online posting" or the posting itself. A Russian specialty. Experts Ludmila Savchuk and Ben Nimmo discuss how they work.

• Another explanation of trolling, from the Authors Guild forum: "Trolling includes posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages with the primary intent of provoking others into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting or derailing normal on-topic discussion."
Cable news has a much bigger effect on America’s polarization than social media, study finds (Homa Hosseinmardi, Nieman Lab, 8-11-22) “The past two election cycles have seen an explosion of attention given to “echo chambers,” or communities where a narrow set of views makes people less likely to challenge their own opinions. Much of this concern has focused on the rise of social media, which has radically transformed the information ecosystem. But...Compared to online audiences, partisan TV news consumers tend not to stray too far from their narrow sets of preferred news sources.”
Russian Trolls Tapped Into Health Law Rhetoric To Sow Discord, Pitting Sides Against Each Other (KHN Morning Briefing, 9-12-18) It's not just hot-button topics like vaccinations that are exploited by the Russian trolls. Substantive health policy issues have been hijacked as well. Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office says that if the House delays or repeals certain parts of the health law -- such as the employer mandate -- it would cost more than $50 billion.
The Wall Street Journal: Nearly 600 Russia-Linked Accounts Tweeted About The Health Law ( Stephanie Armour and Paul Overberg, WSJ, 9-12-18) On the March 23 anniversary of the Affordable Care Act becoming law, Democrats attacked Republicans for trying to sabotage the health law and praised the embattled legislation. So did Russian trolls. “8 years ago today, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. Millions of Americans have gained access to health care. Thank you, Mr. President!” said a tweet linked to the Internet Research Agency, a Russian company engaged in an online influence campaign that typically seeks to pit one side against the other on controversial issues.
Can You Spot the Deceptive Facebook Post? (Keith Collins and Sheera Frenkel, NY Times, 9-4-18) Can you guess which post is from a fake page? Several pairs of images to test yourself with.
Content Moderation Standards (Tim Boucher, MisinfoCon, 8-6-18) It’s 2018. The internet is a mess. Is it time for web content moderation standards already?
Tools from Indiana University detect viral information, who is spreading it (Kevin Fryling, Indiana University, IJNet, 6-27-18) Two tools play a major role in countering the spread of misinformation online: Hoaxy and Botometer. "Hoaxy is a search engine that shows users how stories from low-credibility sources spread on Twitter. Botometer is an app that assigns a score to Twitter users based on the likelihood that the account is automated."
Misinformation and biases infect social media, both intentionally and accidentally (Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia & Filippo Menczer, The Conversation, 6-20-18) People who share potential misinformation on Twitter (in purple) rarely get to see corrections or fact-checking (in orange). Three types of bias make us vulnerable to misinformation: Cognitive bias, social bias (who we connect with), and bias in the machine (the algorithms social media platforms and search engines use to determine what people see online).
A Modest Proposal for Combating Fake News on Facebook: Credibility Scoring (Benjamin Hoyt, MisinfoCon, 8-9-18) What if Facebook could leverage its greatest resource, its users, to generate credibility? Hoyt proposes a Credibility Score System.
Transparency, not prohibition, is the U.S. government response to misinformation, DOJ official says (Samantha Sunne, MisinfoCon, 8-10-18) "Today, we confront misinformation as only one component of a broader, malign foreign influence effort. As this framework from the Department’s recent Cyber-Digital Task Force report shows, those efforts can also include cyber operations that target election infrastructure or political parties’ networks; covert efforts to assist (or harm) candidates; and overt efforts to influence the American public (for example, through state-run media organizations)."
How Americans Wound Up on Twitter's List of Russian Bots (Alex Calderwood, Erin Riglin, and Shreya Vaidyanathan, Wired, 7-20-18) Three Americans are among more than 20 Twitter accounts that appeared on Twitter’s list of suspected Russian accounts yet show signs of being real people, according to an analysis by Clemson University professors Darren Linvill and Patrick Warren.Bottom line: Should social media platforms be providing due process to individuals whose accounts they take down?
Why We’re Sharing 3 Million Russian Troll Tweets (Oliver Roeder, FiveThirtyEight, 7-31-18)
The Follower Factory (Nicholas Conffessore, Gabriel J.X. Dance, Richard Harris and Mark Hansen, NY Times, 1-27-18) Everyone wants to be popular online. Some even pay for it. Inside social media’s black market.
How Fake Traffic on Facebook Is Damaging Your Brand (Rich Kahn, Adweek, 3-13-18)
A flaw in Facebook lets anyone create as many fake 'Likes' as they want without using a bot army (Jim Edwards, Business Insider, 3-15-15)
Trolls, Bots and Fake News: The Mysterious World of Social Media Manipulation (Samuel Earle, Newsweek, 10-14-17) Despite "the pervasiveness of these political strategies on social media, from the distribution of disinformation to organized attacks on opponents, the tactics remain largely unknown to the public, as invisible as they are invasive." Did they help elect Trump?
Through understanding bots, journalists can more effectively fight disinformation (Ana Siu, International Journalists' Network, 8-15-18) Understanding chatbots, social bots, cyborgs, bot armies, etc. 'However, Escorcia doesn’t see bots as the only cause behind fake news. “Bots are the last link of the chain,” he said. “The major responsibility falls on Twitter, Google and Facebook, because they have the resources to detect fake accounts.” But because bots bring millions of dollars in ad revenue to tech companies and social networks, these sites have little incentive to take action against them, Escorcia said. “Their main income is ads,” said Escorcia. “It doesn’t matter if they are promoting fake news.”'
Twitter unveils new effort to combat bots and trolls (Shannon Bond, Financial Times, 6-26-18) "Twitter will require new users to confirm their email addresses or phone numbers in a new effort to reduce abuse, trolls and bots on the messaging platform."
Answer Bots trolls spam caller in hilarious exchange (Audio, Florida Today, 3-9-18) RoboKiller Answer Bots trolls spam caller. The company says keeping telemarketers on the phone and wasting their time is the only way to win the battle.
Shadow of bot followers and fake likes mars social media influencers ( Gaurav Laghate, The Economic Times, 6-21-18) Follower factories or click farms are springing up in India, China, Bangladesh, the Philippines and East European countries at a fast clip. The opaqueness of measurement in digital media has made the life of advertisers very difficult as they don’t know what numbers to believe.
4 Reasons Why You Should Not Buy Followers (Ian Anderson Gray, iag.Me, 11-20-17)

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Clubhouse, new kid on the block

Clubhouse is a new type of social network based on voice (and cellphone)—where people around the world come together to talk, listen and learn from each other in real-time. It started on iPhones and in 2021 added Android app. The idea is to explore various conversations. You enter each room as an audience member. If you want to talk, you "raise your hand", and then the speakers can choose to invite you up. Clubhouse rooms are often hosted by experts, celebrities, venture capitalists, journalists, and so on. ~Maggie Tillman


See also Spotify and subscription services

What Is Clubhouse, and Should You Be on It? ( Edward C. Baig, AARP, 7-23-21) Voice — hearing others and using yours to speak — is the newest social media
What is Clubhouse and why is everyone talking about it (Maggie Tillman, Pocket-lint, 2-12-21) 'Since it's voice-only and doesn't use your camera, Clubhouse hopes you won’t worry about "eye contact, what you’re wearing, or where you are". You can use the app while doing whatever - whether you’re folding laundry or commuting - and because there's no typing and hitting send, all your intonation, inflection, and emotion should be accurately conveyed through voice....Among the many security concerns—these include data spillage and the data scraped from 1.3 million users being posted on a popular hackers' forum—is that Clubhouse keeps a temporary encrypted buffer recording of conversations.'
How the Copycats Came for Clubhouse (Kate Conger, NY Times, 12-21-21) Clubhouse started as an invitation-only audio app available only on iPhones. Twitter launched Spaces, an audio chat feature that mimics Clubhouse. A slew of copycat chat apps debuted in 2021: Facebook made an audio chat feature, Spotify introduced one called Greenroom. Communities focused on gaming and nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, gravitated to more established chat platforms like Discord, which offers audio features.
• Video biographer Stefani Twyford answered a question about Clubhouse thus: 'Clubhouse is an audio chat app that allows you to create Host Groups and topic chats under the umbrella of the Host Group. The topics are wide ranging and I’ve been spending more and more time there. I will often listen in on a topic while I’m preparing dinner; I regularly attend e two genealogy groups that meet once a week.
     'There’s no way to limit the chat room to a specific group. If the room is set up, anyone can come in. When you come in there is the “room” and a virtual “stage.” The moderator and anyone who is invited up to the stage are able to speak. The etiquette is to keep your mic muted until you are asked to speak by the moderator -- or, if you are having a conversation with someone, mute yourself until it's your turn to answer. That eliminates any background noise. If you have a question or wish to speak, you “raise your hand” and the moderator will invite you up to the stage and then call on you to speak or ask your question.

      'Our small group decided yesterday it's an excellent platform for us, both to discuss our ongoing work and to address speaking topics to potential clients who may see us. All this is decided by the topic of the room that's created. If you wanted to answer questions of potential clients, we could create a room entitled "Thinking of hiring a biographer? Ask us how." Anyway, it was well received by the 7 of us on the call and I think it will be an excellent venue for us to regularly communicate.'   Here's Stefani's Legacy Multimedia website.
What Is Clubhouse? The Invite-Only Chat App Explained (Eric Griffith, PC Magazine, 5-24-21) This invite-only, audio-based app is like listening in on someone else's phone call, legally. Here's what you need to know about Clubhouse for iPhone and Android. FAQs answered, criticism included.

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Clubhouse and Audio's Feature Not A Product Problem (And How It Might Possibly Be Meerkat 2) (Ed Zitron's Where's Your Ed At, 4-19-21) Clubhouse, an app which allows you to join audio conversations with other people, mostly "involves joining a group chat where a few people are talking and listen to them go on in an unstructured rant about something, kind of like a live podcast that sucks....they’re having issues retaining [creators] - probably because the actual platform itself does nothing inherently different than other live platforms, other than removing the video part." See also Clubhouse Is The Big Stinker That Nobody Wants To Talk About (Ed Zitron's Where's Your Ed At, 7-22-21) "Clubhouse as a medium starts from a losing position - live anything needs to be great to attract people, and live audio is extremely difficult to do right, even with excellent production (which most Clubhouse users lack)....The problem with any kind of network like Clubhouse is that if you aren't retaining users, you are definitely not retaining quality users, and those users are the ones you rely upon to create rooms and attract people to your app....It is thus very weird to me that nobody is talking about the slow-motion car crash of Clubhouse, especially considering only a few months ago it was allegedly worth $4 billion.
Join Clubhouse! Umm, What Is Clubhouse? (Steven Kurutz, NY Times, 2-20-21)
How Clubhouse Is Creating Unprecedented Opportunities and Access (Jeremy Knauff, Entrepreneur, 1-18-21) This invite-only social media app is fostering a culture of collaboration for users who are able to get on the platform.
What Is Clubhouse, and How Can You Use It to Grow Your Business? (Baruch Labunski, Entrepreneur, 3-23-21) Why should you care? The answer is simple: 10 million users. See also 5 ways to network on the Clubhouse app.
Using the new Clubhouse App for Writers (Naomi Nakashima, Help Me, Naomi, 2-13-21) See also her Clubhouse App: How to Get Started and What is the Clubhouse App and How Can Writers Benefit? with @helpmenaomi (Rachel Thompson, BadRedhead Media)
Can Clubhouse Move Fast Without Breaking Things? (Kevin Roose, NY Times, 2-25-21) The 11-month-old audio social network is compelling. It also has some very grown-up problems. "From the start, there were signs that Clubhouse was speed-running the platform life cycle. Weeks after launching, it ran into claims that it was allowing harassment and hate speech to proliferate, including large rooms where speakers allegedly made anti-Semitic comments."

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Clubhouse, a Tiny Audio Chat App, Breaks Through ( Erin Griffith and Taylor Lorenz, NY Times, 2-15-21) . "Robert Van Winkle, who is better known as the rapper Vanilla Ice, held court online last week with more than 1,000 fans." The 11-month-old app has exploded in popularity, even as it grapples with harassment, misinformation and privacy issues.
The influencers are burned out, too (Rebecca Jennings, Vox, 5-25-21)
Can Clubhouse keep the party going? (Ashley Carman, The Verge, 4-14-21) Fake laughs, imposters, and scams — behind the invite-only audio app’s most obsessive users

How Venture Capital Tries and Fails to Rewrite Reality (Ed Zitron's Where's Your Ed At) "I don’t remember - before last year - anyone really taking something genuinely stupid and bereft of value and brute-forcing it through the media using their social media clout. I am, of course, talking about two major things - Clubhouse and crypto....The problem is that Clubhouse was (and is) at best a feature and at worst a very bad product, which is why it was so easily copied and beaten....The underlying asset wasn’t very good, which is why its user numbers are in free fall and those who are on the platform are miserable..."

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WhatsApp, Signal, Telegam, and other messaging apps

WhatsApp Simple, secure, reliable messaging.
Explainer: What is WhatsApp? (Webwise) WhatsApp is a free-to- download messenger app for smartphones. The service uses the internet to send messages, images, audio or video. It is similar to text messaging services, but because WhatsApp uses the internet to send messages, the cost of using WhatsApp is significantly less than texting. To use Whatsapp on your desktop, simply go to the Whatsapp website and download it to Mac or Windows. It is popular with teenagers because of features like group chatting, voice messages, and location sharing.
WhatsApp Business App Free to download and built with the small business owner in mind.The app makes it easy to personally connect with your customers, highlight your products and services, and answer their questions throughout their shopping experience.
WhatsApp is adding encrypted backups (Alex Heath, The Verge, 9-10-21) The move by WhatsApp comes as governments around the world like India — WhatsApp’s largest market — are threatening to break the way that encryption works. How it works: If someone creates a password tied to their account’s encryption key, WhatsApp will store the associated key in a physical hardware security module, or HSM, that is maintained by Facebook and unlocked only when the correct password is entered in WhatsApp. An HSM acts like a safety deposit box for encrypting and decrypting digital keys.
Three ways the European Union might ruin WhatsApp (Casey Newton, Platformer, 3-28-22) WhatsApp chief Will Cathcart on how the Digital Markets Act could upend encryption, privacy, and product design
How to Use WhatsApp Privacy Settings (Yael Grauer, Consumer Reports,8-16-22) The messaging app, which is owned by Facebook parent company Meta, may be sharing more information than you realize
The Truth About Your WhatsApp Data (Shira Ovide, NY Times, 1-13-21) Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014, and since 2016, almost everyone using the messaging app has been (usually unknowingly) sharing information about their activity with Facebook. It’s easy to use, and communications in the app are secure. This article explains what's what about Facebook knows and doesn't know about users and how it may use what it knows (typically, to sell ads you'll see).
Explained: How private is WhatsApp, what can FB see, and should you look at alternatives? (Indian Express, 1-22-21) Contains a useful chart comparing features you may or may not get on WhatsApp and two other messenger services, Signal and Telegram. Features covered: end-to-end (E2E) encryption, disappearing messages, chat backups, screenlock, advertisements, group chat security, video and voice calls. WhatsApp has clarified that some “large businesses” might need to use “secure hosting services from Facebook to manage WhatsApp chats with their customers, answer questions, and send helpful information like purchase receipts.”
Signal A messaging app with more focus on privacy.
Telegram. This messaging app says it supports file sharing (photos, videos, audio files) of up to 2GB each, while WhatsApp has a 100MB limit.
How is Telegram different from WhatsApp? (The Hindu, 2-1-21)

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Alexa, Echo, and other
intelligent voice control system (IVCSs)

Just How Dangerous Is Alexa? (Bob Sacks, Bo Sacks Speaks Out, Bosacks Precision Media Group, 1-20-17) "Clearly this is just the beginning, and the Echo and the Internet of Things (IOT) will be increasingly embedded into all our lives. On June 29th, 2007, less than 10 years ago, the iPhone was first released at a time when not too many people had or wanted a cell phone. Now there are more cell phones then there are people on the planet.
"But when I read about Jamie Court, who is the president of Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit advocacy group discussing new patent ideas from Amazon: 'When you read parts of the (Alexa) applications, it's really clear that this is spyware and a surveillance system meant to serve you up to advertisers.' When you combine Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, Google, Alexa and all the other information intrusion activists you get a very scary picture of corruptibility. Well, you should get that picture, although none of this is yet illegal. Yes, we are all targets, and there are two advertising bullseyes on the head and heart of every individual on the planet...
An Oregon family’s encounter with Amazon Alexa exposes the privacy problem of smart home devices (YouYou Zhou, Quartz, 5-25-18) "Here’s the latest nightmare scenario for the tech-phobic: A woman in Portland, Oregon found out that her family’s home digital assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, had recorded a conversation between her and her husband without their permission or awareness, and sent the audio recording to a random person on their contacts list."
12 Smart Voice Recognition and Voice Activated Products for the Home (Home Stratosphere)
Everything You Need to Know About the Security of Voice-Activated Smart Speakers (Candid Wueest, Principal Threat Researcher, Symantec) A look at Google Home and Amazon’s Echo Dot. See also A guide to the security of voice-activated smart speakers
The Coming Revolution of Voice Control With Artificial Intelligence (David Strom, SecurityIntelligence, 2-16-17) As consumer devices become more capable, with voice control assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s Assistant, it is only natural to expect these artificial intelligence (AI) applications to move into more business settings. But there are security concerns.
Amazon Echo and the Alexa dollhouses: Security tips and takeaways (WeLiveSecurity) Tips on securing the Alexa service on Amazon Echo devices, notably voice purchasing, a topic brought into focus by the recent San Diego dollhouse TV story: "A local TV station did a piece about a six year-old girl who ordered a $160 dollhouse from Amazon, via Alexa, without her parents’ knowledge or permission. At the end of the story, when the anchorman repeated what that little girl was reported to have said – Alexa, order me a dollhouse – people in San Diego started calling the TV station to complain. Why? Because the Alexas in their homes and offices had started to respond to that request."
What does 'The internet of Things' mean for publishers? (Jon Watkins, FIPP, The Network for Global Media, 6-10-16) The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ has been knocking around a while, and for ages we’ve heard people discussing how fridges can order food when it runs out etc. Where exactly are we in the Internet of Things journey? If you are a broadcaster, a media company, a publisher, you should be starting to think about how that allows you to give localised content – proximity marketing and proximity use become real possibilities for the industry.
What is the Internet of Things? (Jocelyn Baird, NextAdvisor, 1-11-16) The Internet of Things (IoC) "is the connection of any device that can be turned on and off to the Internet (as well as connecting these devices to each other). Devices that are covered by the umbrella of the Internet of things are diverse — everything from your smartphone and computer to fridges and wearable devices like pedometers. If it has the potential to connect, then it’s a part of the Internet of things, and the number of “things” is growing by the day. According to IT research company Gartner, the number of connected devices worldwide is projected to grow to 26 billion by the year 2020."
5 predictions on the future of the Internet of Things (Norton, which, like most other firms, has a dog in this fight, and something to sell.)
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Video essays

YouTube, TikTok, Spotify, podcasters switching to video

The video essay boom (Terry Nguyen, Vox, 3-9-22) Hour-long YouTube videos are thriving in the TikTok era. Their popularity reflects our desire for more nuanced content online. The video essay has been a means to entertain fan theories, explore the lore of a video game or a historical deep dive, explain or critique a social media trend, or like most written essays, expound upon an argument, hypothesis, or curiosity proposed by the creator. “People are willing to devote time to content they find interesting.”
The Secret History of the Essay Film (Peter Yeung, Dazed, 5-7-14) Charting the resurgence of ‘sort of documentaries’ to celebrate Chris Marker, king of the essay film. See the book The Essay Film: From Montaigne, After Marker by Timothy Corrigan.
Breadtube (The Anarchist Library), a loose group of online content creators who make content explaining or giving editorial opinions from socialist, communist, anarchist, and other left-wing perspectives.
Generation Z Prefers Learning From YouTube, Not Books (Lauraine Genota, Education Week, 8-24-18) A recent Pearson study found that a majority of Generation Z kids prefer learning from YouTube and videos rather than printed books.
YouTube search, now optimized for time watched (YouTube, 10-12-12)
On the Origin of the Video Essay (John Bresland, Blackbird). Watch a suite of video essays curated by Bresland.
TikTok reportedly overtakes YouTube in US average watch time (Jon Porter, The Verge, 9-7-21)
We Live in the Golden Age of Video Essays (A. Khaled, Medium, 4-26-21) Runtimes are ever-on-the-rise, but quality continues to be a staple of the genre.
TikTok is rolling out longer videos to everyone (Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, 7-1-21) Now up to three minutes.
TikTok expands maximum video length to 10 minutes (James Vincent, The Verge, 2-28-22) The app is now challenging YouTube with longer-form content
Spotify wants to beat YouTube at audio (Ashley Carman, The Verge, 2-17-22) Why the company went on a shopping spree
YouTube Offers Up to $300,000 to Get Podcasters to Make Videosf (Ashley Carman, Bloombert, 3-4-22) Funds can be used to film episodes or create other content. Move follows the naming of Kai Chuk to lead podcast efforts.
Video Podcasts on Spotify now available for more creators around the world (Spotify, 4-21-22) "Spotify began introducing “video podcasts,” which allows listeners (or rather, viewers) to watch episodes. Users have the option to toggle between actively watching a podcast or traditionally listening to one."
The second wave of “cancel culture” ( Aja Romano, Vox, 5-5-21) How the concept has evolved to mean different things to different people.
Twin Peaks ACTUALLY EXPLAINED (No, Really) (Rosseter, Twin Perfect, 10-20-19, a non-consecutive four hours) Are you ready to fully KNOW what Twin Peaks was really about?
The Problem With NFTs (Dan Olson's popular two-hour video, Folding Ideas, 2021) If someone pitches you on a "great" Web3 project, ask them if it requires buying or selling crypto to do what they say it does.

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Content Marketing, Native Advertising, Sponsored Posts, etc.


Native advertising is an increasingly common type of advertising that

tries to sell or promote a product while posing as a news article or a  real news story


Why clear and conspicuous disclosure is essential so consumers know you are selling something, not reporting on it.

Why bloggers need to be upfront about sponsored content (SE Smith, The Guardian, 3-9-12) Bloggers are supposed to disclose if they accept free products, if a post is sponsored by an advertiser, or if some other consideration like free travel is offered. They should identify sponsors, be honest about whether a product recommendation is genuine or paid for, disclose an affiliate relationship (on this site, for example, we are an Amazon affiliate, so we get a small commission if you click on a link to an Amazon product and buy a book).
• WTF Is Native Advertising? (a free Native Advertising ebook brought to you by The Story Studio) Makes some useful distinctions, and I quote: 

Native advertising An advertising message designed to mimic the form and function of its environment

Sponsored content: Advertising created to mimic the editorial content of a particular publishing site, often created by an on-staff team called a content studio.

Content marketing Any marketing messages that do not fit within traditional formats like TV and radio spots, print ads or banner messaging. Content marketing itself spans a wide breadth and can include sponsored and branded content (below) but is not always native

Social instream advertising: Facebook’s sponsored posts, Twitter’s Promoted Tweets and Pinterest’s Promoted Pins all fall within this category.

Also explains Branded content, Content recommendation widgets, Paid search listings (those "Ads" at the start of search engine results).
The deal with disclosure and the ethics of native advertising (Theresa Cramer, Digital Context Next, 9-6-16) 'If you’re a publisher you need to clearly mark your native advertising with disclosure terms, not just “design elements,” and continue to strive to make the content as compelling and useful as your editorial. From there it’s incumbent upon audiences to be more discerning—to pay more attention to what they are reading or watching—because unless there is a major sea change in the business of digital content (and audiences’ willingness to pay for it) native advertising is here to stay.'
Is Native Advertising Ethical? (It Depends On Who You Ask) (Demian Farnworth, Copyblogger, 5-5-13) Scroll down for links to Demian's other pieces on Native Advertising, including A Lively Introduction to Native Advertising: 12 Examples of Native Ads (And Why They Work), from which I quote: 

     "While the content in question is indeed an ad, it looks very similar to typical content a publication would post. Therefore, the experience for the user is different from their typical experience with copy and design that is obviously an ad. A blatant ad is more disruptive, because it looks out of place next to the publication's regular content.

      "Those who come across a native ad might treat it like information from an unbiased publication — when in fact the publication has received some form of compensation to run the information. However, if the content is clearly labeled as an advertisement, this shouldn't be a problem. [Some would disagree.]

      Examples he covers very briefly by example: print advertorials, online advertorials, sponsored content, single-sponsor issues, branded content, product placement, infeed ads, sponsored posts (Facebook), promoted tweets, Google text ads (search listings). With content marketing the brand becomes the publisher. Exquisite examples of content marketers: Red Bull, GE, Mint, Magnolia."

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.com Disclosures: How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising (Federal Trade Commission, 2013, PDF) The Clear and Conspicuous Requirement: "Disclosures that are required to prevent an advertisement from being deceptive, unfair, or otherwise violative of a Commission rule, must be presented “clearly and conspicuously.” Whether a disclosure meets this standard is measured by its performance — that is, how consumers actually perceive and understand the disclosure within the context of the entire ad. The key is the overall net impression of the ad — that is, whether the claims consumers take from the ad are truthful and substantiated."
Now in Blogs, Product Placement (J. David Goodman, NY Times, 6-12-10) Welcome to quid pro post. Know what's ethical and legally right and wrong. Disclose any gifts or payments for writing about something.
•  [Storytelling] Will Be the Top Business Skill of the Next 5 Years (Shane Snow, The Content Strategist, Contently, 2-3-14) Amanda Palmer changed the game for independent musicians with her campaign on Kickstarter. And she did it not by simply asking for money, but by telling her story. Listen to her TED talk about how through good storytelling she financed producing her first record.
Are You Being Conned? Fair Sponsored Blog Post Rates and Best Practice Guidelines (Sue Anne Dunlevie, Successful Blogging, last updated 9-30-15) To get 5 free tips you sign up, and get a pitch for online training--but there are some practical tips first.
Instagram is testing a new way for celebrities and influencers to identify their sponsored posts (Anthony Ha, TechCrunch, 6-14-17) "Instagram is creating a standardized format that should make it clearer to everyone when a post has been paid for by an advertiser. These aren’t for ads that businesses buy directly from Instagram, but rather for influencer marketing, where brands pay celebrities and other users with a significant online following to promote their products. It’s an area that every big tech and media company seems interested in, but it’s also creating questions around disclosure and transparency. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission recently sent letters to more than 90 influencers reminding them that they need to “clearly and conspicuously” disclose when their posts are sponsored."
Can Facebook beat back the fake news in Ireland’s upcoming vote on abortion? (Laura Hazard Owen, Nieman Lab, 4-20-18) Facebook ad transparency ahead of Ireland's abortion referendum.'On May 25, Irish citizens will vote on whether to end the country’s abortion ban. In advance of the referendum, CNN’s Ivana Kottasová reports, Facebook is rolling out a new tool that will “give users more information about political advertisements and sponsored posts in their News Feeds.” It’s already been tested in Canada and will roll out globally before the U.S. midterms.' A turnaround from: Facebook Is Ignoring Anti-Abortion Fake News (Rossalyn Warren, NY Times, 11-10-17)

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A YouTuber will absolutely direct a future Best Picture winner (Simon Owens's Media Newsletter, 2-9-24) Business Insider’s Lucia Moses recently published a great piece with a provocative title: “Why Hollywood should be terrified of YouTube, not Netflix.” And a solid argument: "It’s now generating over $9.2 billion in ad revenue every quarter. It’s surpassed 100 million paid subscribers to services like YouTube Premium and YouTube Music. It’s beating every other streamer on total view time." Worth reading about, and he provides links to:

--- The most powerful media platform in the history of humanity (Simon Owens, 5-10-24) "In the competition for U.S. TV time, YouTube is ascendant....It dominates screen time — whether it's TVs, desktops, or mobile phones. It's even starting to creep into our non-screen listening time with YouTube Music adoption."
--- Why YouTube will continue out-competing Hollywood (Simon Owens, 5-16-24) "The platform has solidified its dominance across every metric that matters."
--- What’s on TV? For Many Americans, It’s Now YouTube (Wall Street Journal, 5-14-24) "People spent nearly 10% of their TV-viewing time watching the service, home to videos by creators like MrBeast."
4 reasons people watch gaming content on YouTube (Ekaterina Petrova and Netta Gross, Think with Google, June 2017) Why watch someone play when you could just … play? To find out, they asked gamers directly.  See YouTube's page on Gaming.

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The Algorithm That Makes Preschoolers Obsessed With YouTube (Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic, 7-25-17) What YouTube reveals about the toddler mind.
YouTube Music and Premium gained 30 million subscribers in just one year (Emma Roth, The Verge,11-9-22) Both services now sit at 80 million global subscribers in total, but Google doesn’t share how many users are split across each one. It’s hard to tell how YouTube Music stacks up to other music streaming services, as we don’t know how many subscribers are split across YouTube’s two services, and Apple Music and Amazon Music are equally as tight-lipped.Spotify revealed that it reached 188 million paid subscribers in July.
Why Hank Green can’t quit YouTube for TikTok (Nilay Patel interview, The Verge, 8-2-22) "In October 2006, Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion. On January 1st, 2007, the brothers Hank and John Green started making videos for each other and shared them publicly on YouTube. That same year, YouTube rolled out its partner program, which shared ad revenue between YouTube and the people making videos. The split was 55 / 45 in favor of the creators. The partner program basically launched the creator economy as we know it today, and YouTube is the gold standard for creators."

      "That’s not the case on other platforms." There is no revenue share on Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok.There’s no revenue on Twitter at all, really. On TikTok, there’s something called a creator fund, which shares a fixed pool of money, about a billion dollars, divided among all of the creators on the platform. But if you can make it big on YouTube, you can make it a career."
Internet legend SungWon Cho discusses parasociality, boundaries with fans, and more (Grace Stanley, passionfruit, 1-10-23) Cho (@prozd) is a voice actor known online for short-form skits about voice acting, board games, video games, anime, internet culture, fandom, and life in general. In an interview with Passionfruit, he discussed his approach to avoiding bad sponsors, his preference for YouTube over TikTok, why he’s avoided managers throughout his career, negotiating fair wages, parasociality, boundaries with fans, and more. Why is he focused mainly on YouTube versus other apps? Quite frankly, YouTube pays the best. (A parasocial relationship is one-sided--e.g., a celebrity with his fans.)

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What YouTube’s official entry into podcasting means for the industry (Simon Owens Media Newsletter, 9-2-22) The video platform is finally dedicating real resources to growing its podcast offerings, available here, currently "little more than a landing page that promotes popular video podcasts," but down the road one can imagine income-producing ads. (I love Simon Owens's newsletter.)
Future of TV Briefing: Video publishers look to strike a balance between YouTube Shorts and traditional YouTube (Tim Peterson, Digiday, 8-10-22) As video publishers adopt YouTube Shorts, they are trying to gauge the relationship between Shorts and their traditional YouTube videos so that the former does not cannibalize the latter. YouTube does not offer a revenue-sharing program for Shorts like it does for traditional YouTube videos.
How many videos does it take to get to 1 million YouTube subscribers? (Simon Owens media newsletter. See also YouTube Offers Up to $300,000 to Get Podcasters to Make Videos (Ashley Carman, Bloomberg,3-4-22) Simon Owens predicts: "YouTube will become the #2 platform for podcast consumption behind Spotify within the next two years."
YouTube Shorts Tops 5 Trillion Views to Date, Platform to Test Shopping and Branded Content for TikTok-Style Videos (Todd Spangler, Variety, 1-25-22) CEO Susan Wojcicki also says platform is looking at supporting nonfungible tokens (NFTs) for creators
YouTube's Neal Mohan on the next phase of the misinformation fight (Casey Newton, Platformer, 2-17-22) The company wants to catch more misinformation before it goes viral. To do so, it’s putting a lot of pressure on its machine-learning systems. "The way the landscape is shifting is moving from very broad, stable misinformation narratives — 9/11 truthers, flat earthers, man on the moon stuff — to much more niche, much more quickly evolving narratives."
How many videos does it take to get to 1 million YouTube subscribers? (Casey Newton, Platformer, 6-16-21) The secret to overnight success is that there are no overnight successes. Every creator you now look up to was once just like you: grinding it out, one piece of content at a time.

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How YouTube failed the 2020 election test (Casey Newton, Platformer, 3-3-21) Three takeaways from a post-mortem on misinformation in the 2020 campaign. See also How YouTube got played on Election Day (Casey Newton, Platformer, 11-4-2020) Facebook and Twitter planned for the actual threat. YouTube didn't
Can a hit YouTube channel thrive after its founder departs? (Simon Owens media newsletter, 9-23-21) The King of Random had 8 million YouTube subscribers when Grant Thompson suddenly decided he didn't want to create videos anymore. (Warning: allow time for being sidetracked by Thompson's how-to videos.)
How YouTube Makes Sure Its Hitmakers Don’t Stumble (Tripp Mickle, WSJ, 10-15-21) YouTube has spent more than a decade building an in-house agency for digital superstars, drawing ad sales, sponsorships and other revenue. The video-sharing platform, launched in 2005 and bought by Google the next year, helped pioneer offerings to pay users who were helping drive viewership. In 2007 it started allowing people who make videos to keep a portion of ad sales associated with their uploads. A year later, its staff began offering popular creators performance reviews of their channels, assistance with developing business plans and financing better cameras.
History of YouTube (Wikipedia) YouTube was created by PayPal employees in 2005 as a video-sharing website where users could upload, share and view content....In 2006 Google acquired the company for $1.65 billion in stock....It is estimated that in 2007, YouTube consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet in 2000....
How a YouTuber has made over $800,000 in YouTube ad revenue so far in 2021 (Amanda Perelli, Business Insider, 10-14-21)

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It’s Not Easy Being a BookTuber (Daniel Greene, Geek's Guide to the Galaxy, Wired, 9-11-2020) "The biggest challenge with YouTube is adapting to the site’s mysterious and ever-shifting algorithm. Greene is careful to balance less popular content with familiar standbys that he knows will bring in traffic."
The golden age of YouTube is over (Julia Alexander, The Verge, 4-5-19) The platform was built on the backs of independent creators, but now YouTube is abandoning them for more traditional content....YouTube was founded on the promise of creating a user-generated video platform, but it was something else that helped the site explode in popularity: piracy. When Google bought YouTube in 2006 for $1.6 billion, the platform had to clean up its massive piracy problems." An interesting mini-history of YouTube's role in the creator culture.
Worried About YouTube Ruining Your Children? (Stuart Dredge, Medium, A quick guide to subscriptions and safety settings that will help you sleep at night. And scroll down for links to the 40 channels
How does YouTube make money? (FeeDough.com) The product YouTube sells is its users. This is an advertisement-based business model. The company pulls over 1.8 billion users every month. Google records their activities on Youtube and other websites and combines it with their profile to help advertisers in targeted advertisements on Youtube. Youtube, which earns most of its revenue from advertisements, represents 11% of Google’s net US ad revenues--although it is slowly moving toward a subscription-based business model.
A Week in the Life of Popular YouTube Channels (Patrick van Kessel, Skye Toor and Aaron Smith, Pew Research Center, 7-25-19)
Google to pay $170 million to settle charges it violated kids’ privacy law on YouTube (Tony Romm, Greg Bensinger and Craig Timberg, WashPost, 9-4-19) The FTC has taken action against Google and YouTube recently, fining Google $170 million to resolve claims that it illegally collected data about children younger than 13 who watched toy videos and television shows on YouTube.
YouTube introduces Channel Memberships, merch shops and Premieres to help creators (Paul Hill, Neowin, 6-22-18) Content creators on YouTube complain "that their ad revenue streams are drying up, whether it’s from a rise in ad blockers or whether its the constantly evolving YouTube algorithms freezing out channels which publish political content. To address this, Google is introducing Channel Memberships and the option to sell merchandise."

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The Flourishing Business of Fake YouTube Views (Michael H. Keller, NY Times, 8-11-12) "Plays" can be bought for pennies and delivered in bulk, inflating videos’ popularity and making the social media giant vulnerable to manipulation. "Just as other social media companies have been plagued by impostor accounts and artificial influence campaigns, YouTube has struggled with fake views for years."
Father of slain journalist Alison Parker takes on YouTube over alleged refusal to remove graphic videos (Tom Jackman, Wash Post, 2-20-2020) Despite repeated requests from her father and others, videos of the slaying remain on YouTube, as do countless other graphic videos that show people dying or that promote various outlandish hoaxes.
Insider Q&A: How YouTube decides what to ban (Rachel Lerman, AP, Star-Tribune, 1-5-2020) "We are an open platform. We do have a bias to allow freedom of expression on our platform and only remove content that we think is egregious and could cause real harm. We want to be a place where a variety of perspectives can be heard, and sometimes that even means things that people disagree with or are even offended by." How does their policy work?
OpenSlate ranks the value of video content to marketers. "Take control of where your video ads are running." "The Startup That Polices YouTube for Twerk-Averse Advertisers." (I had to look up "twerk" also.)
How ‘Coward and Phony’ Tim Pool Became One of the Biggest Political YouTubers on the Planet (Robert Silverman, Daily Beast, 8-3-21) A former darling of Occupy Wall Street, Tim Pool has racked up more than a billion views and millions in earnings while dangerously whitewashing the far right.
YouTube will add information from Wikipedia to videos about conspiracies(Casey Newton, The Verge, 3-13-18) Pushing back on crazy theories.
How to Use YouTube to Promote Your Writing (NY Book Editors, 9-19)

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The Follower Factory (Nicholas Confessore, Gabriel J.X. Dance, Richard Harris, and Mark Hansen, NY Times, 1-27-18) Everyone wants to be popular online. Some even pay for it. Inside social media’s black market.
Why are YouTube stars so popular?(Stuart Dredge, The Guardian, 2-3-16) With millions of subscribers, top YouTubers such as Zoella have huge, passionate audiences. Here’s a handy guide to help you understand their popularity
Is YouTube a Good or Bad Influence on Society? (Syra Sharif, Mic, 5-6-12)
YouTube to launch new music streaming service (Laura Snapes and Mark Sweney, The Guardian, 5-17-18) YouTube Music will replace Google Play Music and take on Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal
YouTube website
Are Google and Facebook Responsible for the Medical Quackery They Host? (Michael Schulson, Undark, 6-6-18) The digital platforms that host such medical quackery aren’t always passive participants in the recruitment process. Their algorithms, after all, are trained to give visitors more of the kind of content that they like — whatever that might be. If you watch one AIDS denialism video on YouTube, the site suggests other denialist videos, "essentially serving up content to keep me on the site longer."
How YouTube's algorithm distorts reality (Video, Guardian News, 2-2-18) A Guardian investigation shows that under the algorithm YouTube was using during the 2016 election, for people who searched for either Trump or Hillary Clinton in the week before the election, 86 percent of the videos that appeared in the list of recommended videos along the right side of the one showing were either pro Trump or damaging to Hillary's campaign. It quotes Trump as saying "If I didn't have social media, I wouldn't be standing here." The YouTube compilation algorithm in the week before the election was heavy in "disinformation, conspiracy theories, and fake news, many from the notorious site Anonymous." Many of them belonged to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Many claimed links to the anarchist collective, Anonymous. Some appealed to evangelical voters. Others "questioned Clinton's sexuality, health, and even accuse her of pedophilia."

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Pinterest is a visual discovery engine for finding ideas like recipes, home and style inspiration, how-to explanations, and more. "Pinterest's interface is portrait-oriented so vertical pins with a 2:3 ratio are best. The optimal image dimension is 735 x 1102 px pixels, but pins will be displayed with a width of 238 pixels with scaled height. This means Pinterest allows you to upload longer images since only the width is fixed."

     Pinterest operates a software system designed for discovering information on the web (by computer or mobile phone), mainly using images and on a shorter scale GIFs and videos. This social media site was founded by Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp. It is NOT just for teenagers; it draws lots of shoppers, in helpful for saving (pinning) lots of articles on a subject in one place until you have time to read them, and many blogs use it for promotion.
Pinterest's home feed
How To Use Pinterest For BEGINNERS (YouTube video tutorial, Shruti Pangtey, 33 min.) Interrupted periodically by ads.
Pinterest for business: how it works
Join Pinterest as a Business
Basics In Pinterest Marketing (Simple Pin Media)
Pinterest sizers (Canva)
Pinterest: A Beginner's Guide to the Hot New Social Network (Rob Lammle, Mashable, 12-26-11)
Pinterest ideas for travel
Using Pinterest for Genealogy (Amy Johnson Crow, 5-2-19). The organizing principles can be applied to more than genealogy.
Pinterest Save button (for use with Google Chrome)
Irving Penn photos of writers, actors, and people in the limelight (fabulous photos)
How To Clean Up Pinterest Boards: A Step-by-Step Tutorial (Kate Ahl, SimplePinMedia, 2-19-18)
Pinterest app
Pingroupie (look for Pinterest group boards)
Canva (a design tool you can sign up for at various levels--education, small or large business, nonprofit or charity, personal)
How to Create a Pinterest Board with a Theme (YouTube)
Best Image Sizes for Social Media Design
Pinterest for Authors: Use Pinterest to Find New Readers and Sell More Books by Mark J. Dawson (free when I downloaded it on Kindle, and a good intro for beginners)
How to Write Your Pinterest Bio Like a Boss (Caitlin Bacher)
How to Verify Your WordPress Site on Pinterest (WPBeginner, 7-7-15)

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Tech's Reckoning (Ed Zitron, Where's Your Ed At?, 6-15-23) "Reddit is an honest coterie of niche interests that had, to quote Alex Pareene, gone from “merely embarrassing but occasionally amusing, to actively harmful, to—mainly by accident—essential.” It was never a profitable enterprise, and never really resembled one. You’ll occasionally see an advertisement pop up for some sort of coding bootcamp, or a mobile game, but nothing about the experience naturally lends itself to making somebody money.
    "However, in the pursuit of profits, Reddit has made a Musk-esque decision to start charging third-party apps to access Reddit’s API (which used to be effectively free), to the point that the most popular Reddit app (Apollo) would cost over $20 million a year to run, leading to the developer having to shut it down on June 30th.
     "The problem is that Reddit has participated in a devil’s deal with venture capital — hundreds of millions of dollars that came with a promise to eventually create returns. “Growing” a company like Reddit is only possible by eroding the user experience.
---What is an API? (Amazon, AWS) APIs are mechanisms that enable two software components to communicate with each other using a set of definitions and protocols. For example, the weather bureau’s software system contains daily weather data. The weather app on your phone “talks” to this system via APIs and shows you daily weather updates on your phone.
---"The truth is that Reddit - like many startups - took on way too much VC money ($1.3bn) despite never having any path to profitability. The bill always comes due, and Reddit's investors have put the company in a hole that will destroy Reddit's product."~Ed Zitron @edzitron
Reddit says it won’t force subreddits back open (but will it?) (Sean Hollister, The Verge,6-15-23) Reddit is pledging it will respect the subreddit blackout where thousands of subreddits are currently staying dark — but it’s not clear the company actually will.
Reddit’s Delayed IPO May Mean CEO Steve Huffman Needs to Rethink Its Advertising Model (Rachyl Jones, Observer, 2-1-23) When Reddit goes public, it must show investors it can continue to make money. In this advertising economy, that's easier said than done.

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Reddit Goes Dark (Casey Newton, Platformer, 6-12-23) As it moves to shut down third-party apps, the site’s self-governing ethos comes back to haunt it

      "Today, let’s talk about the Reddit protests that temporarily took down the site today — and how, after years of working successfully to devolve power to its user base, the company wound up regretting it.
     "For most of its existence, Reddit has felt like an underachiever relative to its potential. A chaotic corporate history, long periods of inattention to harassment and hate speech, and slow growth compared to its peers have at times made it easy to dismiss. Sure, nerds all seem to love it, and for some searches it has been the only site that could make Google feel usable. But while Reddit remains beloved by millions of its users, the site has never truly lived up to its motto as “the front page of the internet.” (The real front page of the internet, at least for today, is TikTok.)"
      "At the same time, Reddit’s core design has proven remarkably prescient — and durable. In an age of social networks using arcane recommendation algorithms and one-size-fits-all content moderation policies, Reddit bet on sharply defined niche communities and the principle of self-governance. Where TikTok and its clones offer a chaotic slurry of video tuned to your perceived interests, Reddit invites you to read and participate in contextual discussions moderated by volunteers, with each community organized by rules that they enforce themselves...
       "In April, Reddit — which is laying the groundwork for an initial public offering of its stock later this year — announced it would begin to charge for the API based on usage. The stated purpose of the changes was to fend off large language models like those from Google and OpenAI, which have been training their models on Reddit’s huge library of public posts.

       “The Reddit corpus of data is really valuable,” Steve Huffman, Reddit’s co-founder and CEO, told the New York Times’ Mike Isaac. “But we don’t need to give all of that value to some of the largest companies in the world for free.”
Timeline of Reddit (Wikipedia) Reddit announced new changes to its API pricing, effective July 1, that will force many third-party apps to shut down. In response, on June 12, thousands of subreddits went private in protest of the decision; some for two days, and others indefinitely.[86] After over 7,000 subreddits went private, Reddit experienced outages at approximately 07:58 Pacific Daylight Time on June 12 (14:58 UTC, June 12) credited to a "significant number of subreddits shifting to private"
Reddit says protesting communities crashed the site (Khadijah Khogeer, NBC News, 6-12-23) The popular online forum Reddit experienced outages hours after thousands of Reddit communities launched a protest against its policy to charge third-party apps for data access.

Reddit (/ˈrɛdɪt/, stylized in all lowercase) is a social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website, recently including livestream content through Reddit Public Access Network. ~ Wikipedia's take on Reddit.  "Reddit (/ˈrɛdɪt/, stylized in all lowercase) is a social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website, recently including livestream content through Reddit Public Access Network." (For more info and opinions about Reddit, scroll down to References, which will take you to umpteen articles.)

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The Gross Spectacle of Murder Fandom (McKay Coppins, The Atlantic, 6-23) After four University of Idaho students were killed, TikTok and Reddit sleuths swarmed the campus. The community is still struggling with the wreckage they left behind. In niche Facebook groups, they shared their findings. Did a history professor plot the murders in a jealous rage? Was the nearby fraternity involved? What about that hoodie-clad guy on a Twitch livestream standing behind two of the victims at a food truck?

My Year of Reddit and Relaxation (Carrie Battan, New Yorker, 12-20-22) "I misjudged the Web site, which can be a pleasing oasis of text-based communication. Its proclivity for writing has, over time, turned Reddit into the most utilitarian, information-rich Web site on the Internet. I hope that its developers never bother to update its code to facilitate more image-based posting."
Reddit: Organized Lightning (Mario Gabriele, The Generalist, 2-21-21) Deep dive into the history and workings of Reddit, "conductor of cultural currents" and "town square" of the Internet from the days of Aaron Swartz (who rewrote its code) to those of GameStop. But Reddit's stock-market value is barely one-tenth that of Twitter; it is "one of the most misunderstood and undervalued companies in the world". Can it, should it, reach out to a wider public?
The Ultimate Guide to Unbundling Reddit (Greg Isenberg, Late Checkout, 12-20-20) Interconnectedness is what makes Reddit great, but for the system to work, each community has to conform to the one-size-fits-all mold of a subreddit. One size fits all, but it doesn't fit anyone particularly well.
Metrics for Reddit (Front Page Metrics)

Fastest growing: /r/pizzacrimes
After a huge user revolt, nobody wanted to work at Reddit. Three years later, the CEO explains how the 'front page of the internet' rebuilt the team (Melia Robinson, Business Insider, 9-9-18)
Left Alone by Its Owner, Reddit Soars (David Carr, NY Times, 9-3-12)

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Content curation and content aggregation

Content Curation Vs Content Aggregation: The Basics (John Souza, Social Media Today, 5-21-12) "The difference between the first form of content aggregation and content curation is this: aggregation is automated and collects info based on keywords. Curation on the other hand is basically manual. In our opinion, content curation is the most valuable of the two."
3 Differences Between Content Curation & Content Aggregation (Bran Honigman, NewsCred, 5-1-15) "Thirty percent of online users get their news from a website or mobile app that organizes news stories for them. Content aggregation is automated through RSS feeds...with curation, content marketers to thoughtfully pick specific content that best targets an audience’s needs and interests. Curators target material to a niche. Then there's value. Amex targets material to its audience, using "a mixture of original (new) and curated content from external sources"; Yahoo News, on the other hand, is automated, apparently less selective. It all seems to be about marketing.
How to Properly Aggregate David Carr’s Column on Aggregation (Joe Coscarelli, Intelligencer, New York magazine, 3-12-12) Writer Simon Dunenco’s planned Council on Ethical Blogging and Aggregation aims to codify by committee some general rules on how to write about other people’s original ideas and journalism without stripping them of credit or pageviews. “We want some simple, common-sense rules. There should be some kind of variation of the Golden Rule here, which is that you should aggregate others as you would wish to be aggregated yourself.” It's often legacy institutions like newspapers who are worst at people's material without attribution. The decline of smalltown newspapers and the growth of the Internet have sent "beginners to the blogging trenches, where we are working out the push and pull between reporting and analysis or original and aggregated on our own."
A Code of Conduct for Content Aggregators (David Carr, NY Times, 3-11-12) "So where is the line between promoting the good work of others and simply lifting it? Naughty aggregation is analogous to pornography: You know it when you see it....The Faustian bargain of the digital news ecosystem suggests that people get to pick your pocket a bit and then send back traffic in return." Some send back less traffic than others.
Content Curation: Why Is the Content Curator The Key Emerging Online Editorial Role of the Future? (Rohit Bhargava, MasterNewMedia, curated by Luigi Canali De Rossi,1-20-10) "What is content curation and why is it so important for the future of web content publishers? The content curator is the next emerging disruptive role in the content creation and distribution chain. In a world submerged by a flood of information, content curators may provide in the coming months and years a new, tremendously valuable service to anyone looking for quality information online: a personalized, qualified selection of the best and most relevant content and resources on a very specific topic or theme." ..."Mastering how to create niche-targeted compilations of content is indeed one of the key lifesaving strategies that wise-minded online publishers can adopt to offer greater value, even at a price, to those interested in it."

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The meaning of "free internet"

How One Syrian Fought to the Death for a Free Internet (Alice Su, Wired, 9-27-17) Bassel Khartabil: “Of my experience spending three years in jail so far for writing open source code (mainly) I can tell how much authoritarian regimes feel the danger of technology on their continuity, and they should be afraid of that. As code is much more than tools, it’s education that opens youth minds and moves the nations forward. Who can stop that? No one."
The Price of Free (Nicholas Carr, NY Times Magazine, 11-13-09) "A few months ago... I bought a Blu-ray player. What I didn’t realize until I unpacked the gadget was that it does a lot more than just spin high-definition discs. It is, as they say, Web-enabled. As soon as I plugged it into an outlet in my living room, its built-in WiFi antenna sniffed out my home network and logged on. The Blu-ray player became a gateway between the Internet and my television set....My new viewing habits must make Brian Roberts very nervous. The more I play movies and TV shows from the Web, the less I use my cable TV service. I almost never order pay-per-view movies anymore. And I recently canceled my premium Showtime subscription....I have a feeling that it won’t be long before I and a whole lot of other people start asking similar questions about pay-TV subscriptions in general."
Russia Is Trying to Copy China’s Approach to Internet Censorship (Emily Parker, Slate, 4-4-17) The good news is, it's probably too late. The internet is also a powerful tool for Putin’s opposition. The internet helped spark Russia’s largest anti-government protests in five years. Russia responded by blocking access to webpages that promoted demonstrations.This is part of a larger story. Just a few years ago, Russians had a mostly free internet. Now, Russian authorities would like to imitate China’s model of internet control.
Net neutrality
Keeping the Internet Free Might Get Very Expensive (Noah Smith, BloombergView, 10-27-16) The web is safe and costs almost nothing to use today. Cybercrooks and vandals aided by artificial intelligence could change that equation.
Google Fiber’s plan to give free Internet to the poor (Brian Fung, Wash Post, 2-3-16) It'll cost Google Fiber roughly $1 million a year in Kansas City alone.

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The Power of LinkedIn

• LinkedIn is business-oriented, so if you've just published a book about business this may be the place to focus your promotion, because much of your audience "hangs here."
Beginners Guide to LinkedIn (MOZ) Keep your company page up-to-date. Use the products and services spotlight. Establish yourself and your brand as a thought leader, an authority in your area of focus. Don't overdo self-promotion; build customer advocates. Complete your personal profile thoroughly and honestly. And so on.
You Should Use LinkedIn Privacy Settings. Here's How. (Thomas Germain, Consumer Reports, 4-16-21) The platform doesn't just help you network; it also monetizes user data
It's not just you. LinkedIn has gotten really weird. (Rob Price, Business Insider, 9-25-23) "I'm getting a divorce. God it sucks to write that." A little too much over-sharing, followed by backlash, blowback.
How Authors and Writers Can Use LinkedIn to Advance Their Careers (Jonathan Riley, Authors Publish) Down-to-earth how-to advice.
What Your LinkedIn Profile Should Look Like in 2018 (Kristen Bahler, Money, 1-17-18) Be social: Accept connection recommendations. "Nail the voice." Add some personality to your professional story (don't sound like a résumé). Engage with others. Keep your profile alive.
Here’s an example of the perfect LinkedIn profile summary, according to Harvard career experts (Dustin McKissen, Make It, 9-25-19) Of the many elements that make up a strong profile, two of the most important ones are your professional headline and “About” section. Your professional headline is especially important because it’s the text that gets displayed in search results for both Google and LinkedIn.
How LinkedIn Works (Dave Roos, HowStuffWorks) How is LinkedIn different?
KOK Edit's excellent social media links Katharine O'Moore-Klopf detailed links to posts about Facebook, Google-Plus, Linked-In, and Twitter.
4 LinkedIn Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make (Undercover Recruiter) Failing to understand social networking contexts, having no good profile photo, filling in vague headlines, and not creating a personal narrative.
Is LinkedIn doomed to repeat the same mistake Facebook made? (Arik C. Hanson, ACH Communications, 6-12-18) Is LinkedIn using users' news feeds for their own purposes, instead of letting us communicate with our own network of friends and colleagues.
Ignoring LinkedIn Is Hurting Your Career (Joanna Stern, Wall Street Journal, With its refreshed app and some tricks, it’s time to make the uncoolest professional network part of your social-media routine
Why LinkedIn hired the world’s top business journalists (Simon Owens, The Business of Content podcast, Medium, 5-31-19) The editors focus on the three Cs. Create. Curate. Cultivate. "So the editors are going to be surfacing the best and most interesting conversations from a variety of views that are happening on LinkedIn, so that you can sort of see a broad scope of the professional conversation."
The LinkedIn Mistake That's Hurting Your Career (Leonard Kim, Inc.) Make it easy to be contacted. Provide an email address, or a way to contact you.
Five Foolish Reasons To Ignore LinkedIn (William Arruda, Forbes, 7-16-17)
17 LinkedIn Marketing Best Practices (Sarah Hecker, SmartBug, 11-2-16)
Example of how LinkedIn is being used for book piracy. Authors advised to see if their books are being sold online at high prices are learning that counterfeit copies (cheap to print and either difficult to read or often filled with nonsense) are being sold online, often through Slideshare, which is part of LinkedIn. If this happens with one of your books, complain to LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/ask/TS-NCI?lang=en Sometimes these sales of overpriced pirated 'versions' of books are use for money laundering, which Amazon does not adequately police, but complain, when it happens.

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including tips on copywriting

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”~Oscar Wilde

This Cat-Lover Makes $20,000 a Month Answering Questions (Alan Trapulionis, Entrepreneur's Handbook, 6-15-2020) 5 steps Debbie Gartner took to build a $20,000-a-month home decor blog in 4 years. She didn't lean on SEOs. Instead, she wrote about topics very close to the purchase decision, choosing her former clients’ questions as blog topics and writing in-depth answers to those questions. She turned on ads and made $1,100 the first month.  That story (not about cats) is based on this one: 362: Get Paid to Answer Questions: How I Make $20,000 a Month Online (Side Hustle Nation) Can you really get paid to answer questions? That’s exactly what Debbie Gartner from TheFlooringGirl.com does – and her answers are earning her $20,000 a month.
How to Share Your Blog Posts for Maximum Visibility (Rachel Thompson, Ninja Writers Pub, 7-4-20) Ten ways to get more eyes on your post.
Your blog should have an RSS feed (Juha-Matti Santala, 8-11-21) RSS feed is a standardized way of providing a way to subscribe to content in the Internet. It's an extension of XML and it used to be more popular before the emergence of social media as a way to keep following interesting content provided by websites or bulletins. "Social media platforms are run by algorithms that take the control of what content you see away from you and they show the content they think is most addictive so you'll spend more time on the platform.
"This means that even following your favorite writers in Twitter or LinkedIn doesn't mean that you'd always see what they publish.
"However, subscribing to an RSS feed using an RSS reader (like Feedly) or Slack's built-in /feed functionality (I use this to keep track of when my colleagues publish new posts as I get a ping in my work Slack) means that you'll be in the driving seat. You choose which content you subscribe to and you'll only see that content.
"From author's point of view, it also means you can cut through all the noise, circumvent the algorithm's arbitrariness and provide a nice way for your readers to read your blog posts."
Why Blog? Reason No. 92: Book Deal (Allen Salkin, NY Times, 3-30-08) On March 20, 2008, Random House announces that it has purchased the rights to a book by Christian Lander, an Internet copy writer, founder of the blog Stuff White People Like. The price, according to a source familiar with the deal but not authorized to discuss the total, was about $300,000, a sum that many in the publishing and blogging communities believe is an astronomical amount for a book spawned from a blog, written by a previously unpublished author.
     Kurt Andersen, a founder of Very Short List, " said what impressed him about White People’s prospects as a book is that it was already sort of unbloglike. The site is not chockablock with links to other material, but with what amounts to a series of daily essays. “It’s more like a book he’s putting out serially on the Web,” Mr. Andersen said."
Blog vs. Email Newsletter? Which Strategy Works Best? (Jeshua Zapata, Xzito, 9-5-18) A good explanation of the difference between the two. A blog stays on your website and can be seen by anyone. Blogs help you position yourself and your company as an industry expert. You send out your email newsletter by email to a specific group of people.Email newsletters allow you to track and target specific group of readers. You can use an email newsletter to send people to your blog and you can use your blog to get people to sign up for your newsletter.
Blogging Basics 101 (Jessica Knapp's blog) Practical advice about blogging. See, for example, How to Make Money with Your Blog
Blogging Versus Email Newsletter: Which Is Better for Writers? (Jane Friedman, 3-8-21) See also 10 Ways to Build Traffic to Your Author Website or Blog (9-9-18)
Read This If You Want To Make Money Blogging (Tim Rettig, Medium, 7-16-18) Understand what the real value of a blog is. And then build a business around your blog.
35 Blogging Ideas That Are Guaranteed to Be Popular Topics (Quicksprout)
How to Start a Blog (Wix)
How to Start a WordPress Blog: Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners (FirstSite Guide)
Avoiding blogger burnout. "When Blogging Becomes a Slog," Steven Kurutz, Home & Garden, NY Times, 9-24-14) Strategies for staying sane as a home blogger (with links to good "home" blogs
How Much Do the Top Bloggers Make? (Blogger.com) And how do they do it?
Now in Blogs, Product Placement (J. David Goodman, NY Times, 6-12-10) Welcome to quid pro post. Know what's ethical and legally right and wrong. Disclose any gifts or payments for writing about something.
Are You Being Conned? Fair Sponsored Blog Post Rates and Best Practice Guidelines (Sue Anne Dunlevie, Successful Blogging, last updated 9-30-15) To get 5 free tips you sign up, and get a pitch for online training--but there are some practical tips first.
The Blogger's Guide to Wordpress Security (BestVPN.org) A guide to "hardening" and protecting your WordPress blog. And it's a little long -- but most of the steps that you're going to have to take are only going to have to be taken once.
Blogging Tips (Keven Ann Willey, as reported in AJR)
Blogging Basics 101
Getting started with the Medium Partner Program The Medium Partner Program allows writers to earn money for the content they publish on Medium based on engagement from Medium members.
Blog terms (Blog Advertising Rates)
Blogging tips galore (Lorelle on WordPress, who among other things offers digital inserts to prevent plagiarism)
Blogs in plain English (Common Craft video explanation)
Blogsite (enterprise-level blogging platform, allowing multiple blogs on one blogsite, good SEO visibility), not free
Blog Usability (top 10 Weblog design mistakes, Jakob Nielsen)
Content Marketing 101 (Copyblogger on How to Build Your Business With Content)
Copyblogger (useful blog on blogging, here on the importance of a calendar and planning)
How to Start Blogging: A Definitive Guide for Authors (Jane Friedman, 3-27-16). Her book Publishing 101: A First-Time Author's Guide to Getting Published, Marketing and Promoting Your Book, and Building a Successful Career is a collection of all her blogs on the subject.
Copyright: Sample Forms and Strategies for Registering your Online Content (Sarah Bird, The Daily SEO Blog, 3-24-08)
Daily blog tips
Google Sites (for a group website or a company intranet--new, and the votes not in on this one yet)
Great Landing Pages (Copyblogger)
How to Get Started (TrafficRescue). In six steps: Getting started, setting up blog , learning to use blog, starting to blog, marketing, making money.
Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing
LiveJournal (free, good for blogging among friends)
Nine Lessons for Would-Be Bloggers (Joshua Porter)
Blogging Toolbox (Mashable's links to 120+ resources for bloggers)--start here! (For Twitter followers numbers, if you have about the same number of followers as you follow, nothing to write home about. Having many more followers than people you are following suggests you have some influence.
Building Your Writer Platform — How Much is Enough? (Chuck Sambuchino, Writer Unboxed) How many (blog page views, Twitter followers, newsletter subscribers, public speaking appearances, sales of previously self-published books) is enough? Interesting numbers!
SEO Copywriting: The Five Essential Elements to Focus On (Brian Clark, Copyblogger)
Submitting a sitemap to Google Webmaster tools (so you will get indexed by Google and other search engines, so visitors can find you)
10 Common Business Blogging Questions Answered (Hubspot, focused on business-to-business blogging). Those were most common questions from HubSpot'sScience of Blogging webinar, viewable on demand here, with Dan Zarrella.
Six Copywriting Tips Every Solo Professional Should Know
Top 10 Tasks to Get Your Blog Ready for Prime Time (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 11-26-12)
12 Blogging Tools from Erica Reitman (Tony Levelle's site)
12 Business Blogging Shortcuts for Time-Crunched Marketers (Corey Eridon 1-5-12, Hubspot)
Social Media Monitoring: Are You Listening to Me? Deirdre Reid lists tools to monitor online mentions of your name, your username, your company and other keywords.
Using Google alerts to monitor incoming links
Social Media Monitoring 101, How to Get Started (Jason Falls on the Social Media Examiner blog, 11-10-09)
8 Easy Twitter Monitoring Ideas (Cindy King, 3-8-10)

What Offer Does Your Author Blog Make? (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 8-13-12)
Why You Need to Build Links to Your Website and What a Good One Looks Like (Rebecca Corliss, HubSpot, 1-24-11) and
Did You Graduate from Link-Building High School Yet? (Pete Caputa, HubSpot 9-30-08)
Widget websites (John Kremer's links to websites and other services devoted to making and hosting widgets)
Business2Blogger (must useful info for business blogging)
Xanga (personal blogging community)
BlogHer (a social community for women who blog, with a popular conference in July)
Sources for photographs and other images
Clearing rights for photos and other images
Bloggers Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Pics on Your Blog - My Story (Roni Loren, 7-20-12)
Blogging, digital journalism, and the law (Writers and Editors)
Blogger's Guide to Copyright and DMCA (Natalie Mootz, Blogging.com)
A Legal Guide for Bloggers: Copyright, the DMCA, and Fair Use Images (Ben Mulholland, process.st, 10-9-17)
The $105 Fix That Could Protect You From Copyright-Troll Lawsuits (David Kravets, Wired, 10-27-10). "Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a website enjoys effective immunity from civil copyright liability for user content, provided they promptly remove infringing material at the request of a rightsholder. That’s how sites like YouTube are able to exist, and why Wired.com allows users to post comments to our stories without fear that a single user’s cut-and-paste will cost us $150,000 in court. But to dock in that legal safe harbor, a site has to, among other things, register an official contact point for DMCA takedown notices, a process that involves filling out a form and mailing a check to the U.S. Copyright Office. If you run a U.S. blog or a community site that accepts user content, you must register a DMCA agent with the copyright office. 12 Steps To Register A DMCA Agent With the Copyright Office.
DMCA Self-help for Self-Published Authors (and others!) (E.A. Haltom, Authors Guild) In a post first published on her site Smitten by the Words, guest contributor E.A. Haltom demystifies the DMCA takedown process.
Anonymous Blogging Guide (Digital Media Law Project)


Compare platforms. Read what others say. Some of the blogs discussed (in alphabetical order): Blogger, Drupal, Duda, Gater, Ghost, HubSpot, Jimdo, Joomla, Medium, SITE123, Squarespace, Tumblr, Typepad, Tumbler, Wix, Weebly, WordPress, etc.

    What type of website do you want to build? Business? E-commerce online store? Information (nonprofit, religion, information, hobby, etc.)? Blog? Portfolio?)
Best Blogging Sites – Detailed Comparison (Nick Schäferhoff, Website Setup) Pros, cons, and pricing.
10 Best Free Blogging Sites (Theme Isle) With useful links.
How to Choose the Best Blogging Platform (WP Beginner) WordPress.org, Web.com, Wix, HubSpot CMS, Hostinger Website Builder, Gator by HostGator, WordPress.com, Blogger, Medium, Squarespace, Ghost, Weebly. WordPress.org. (Don't confuse WordPress.org with WordPress.com)
Wordpress Tumblr, Medium, or ...? 8 Best Blogging Platforms Reviewed (Mike Wallagher, Start Blogging Online, 2-6-16)
Blogger vs. WordPress (Basil C. Puglisi, Digital Brand Marketing, gives the pros and cons on both blog services)

WordPress (Web-based, free, an open source blogging platform, most popular platform, with huge community of developers; allows no ads)
WordPress Tips Newsletter (Tom Johnson's blog)
Blogger(Web-based, free, owned by Google, whose ads you can post)
Adsense Tips for Bloggers 1 (Problogger). See also The AdSense Code: What Google Never Told You about Making Money with Adsense by Joel Comm (for Adsense newbies)
Drupal (an open source content management system with blogging features)
Expression Engine
Movable Type (a professional publishing platform, for developers)
Posterous spaces (Web-based, free, hard to set up, easy to post messages by email) says Jason Fitzpatrick, Lifehacker on 5 best blogging platforms (6-10-10)
Squarespace (Web based, monthly fee)
Typepad (for Movable Type fans--the best, says Mashable), not free
Tumblr (Web-based, free, a cross between a blog and a Twitter feed, good for ecommerce merchants)
Twitter (mobile-based one-sentence blogging, a topic discussed separately)

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Blogging Effectively

• Blogs for bloggers. Some you may find helpful (for tips, or as models): Chris Brogan (excellent tips on social media marketing), CopyBlogger, FastCompany, ProBlogger, Seth Godin, Chris G. (Chris Garrett), HubSpot (inbound Internet marketing blog).
Voicemail: Digital media goes back to basics (Danny Funt, Columbia Journalism Review, 10-16-23) Meg Conley on her path from Mormon housewife to Mommyblogger to voicemail messages to subscribers, as blogging loses its audience.
Rocket Man (Patrick Radden Keefe, New Yorker, 11-17-13) How an unemployed blogger confirmed that Syria had used chemical weapons. From his house in Leicester, England, Eliot Higgins was monitoring the use of chemical weapons in Syria, by examining videos witnesses to an attack had uploaded to YouTube.

      He'd heard reports of a possible chemical-weapons attack in Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus. Similar reports had come out of Syria in recent months, but they had been difficult to verify. This time, the casualty estimates were in the hundreds. He opened his laptop and went on YouTube, where witnesses to previous incidents had uploaded video evidence. There were already dozens of videos from Ghouta, and the severity and scale of the destruction shocked Higgins." He gathered as much information as he could and posted it online, where Higgins was known as Brown Moses.
47 Ways Copyblogger Can Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions
How to Use the “Rule of Three” to Create Engaging Content (Brian Clark, Copyblogger)
What are 10 Addictive Types of Content? (Jeff Bullas)
How To Build A Community On Your Blog (Caitlin Muir, Author Media)
Engaging Content Posts Don’t Stop After You Hit Publish (Blogging Pro
5 Really Annoying Blogging Mistakes That Will Make Your Blog Annoying To Visit
Stunning Sentences Nina Schuyler's blog illuminating the power of sentence-level language, with examples.
How to Write Engaging Blogs People Want to Read (Beanstalk, Search Engine Optimization Inc.)
Plucked From Their Web Writing to Promote a Vaseline Brand (Tanzina Vega, NYTimes, 11-8-10). Major firm uses crowdsourcing (three bloggers) to find product spokeswomen.
Bloggiesta, hosted by Natasha from Maw Books, is a three-day challenge to improve your blog. Reading the entries will remind you of things to do to improve your own blog.
Chuck Sambuchino on what not to do in a writer's blog (interview with him starts down a few paragraphs in this blog about Julie Martin's first year of blogging). He says, among other things: "Here's a general tip in building your blog and online presence: It should not be easy. Most people never get over that platform hurdle because they are afraid to put in the time. Doing it right takes time. It means a TON of e-mails to people. It means linking to people. It means researching online. It's hard work—but the hard work pays off."

Blogging Professionally
Blogging Pro Job Board
Blogging for Dollars (Darren Rowse, ProBlogger, 9-23-04)
Blogging for Dollars: Giving Rise to the Professional Blogger (Meg Hourihan, O'Reilly Web Center, 8-12-02)
How to Make Money From Your Blog – Direct Methods (Darren Rowse, ProBlogger 2-22-06)
Guest Blogging on Blogging Pro, in partnership with My Blog Guest (become a guest blogger -- or get your blog entries from the collection of guest-blogger articles)
Bloggers Bring in the Big Bucks (John Tozzi, Bloomberg Businessweek 7-13-07). How a personal obsession can turn into a popular favorite and maybe even a full-time job
Blog Herald (Blogging News for Bloggers)

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Content Management Systems and Software (CMS)

Among options: Adobe Experience Management Sites, Agility CMS, Big Commerce, Bynder, Ceros, Concrete 5 CMS, Conga Document Generation, Contentful, Contentstack, Drupal, Episerver Content Cloud, Flipsnack, HubSpot CMS Hub, Issuu, Jahia, Joomla, Magento, Magnolia CMS, Monday.com, Omni CMS, Paperflite, Pickit, PrestaShop, Progress Sitefinity, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Seismic, Shopify, Stack Overflow for Teams, Storyblok, Tizra, TYPO3, Umbraco CMS, Webflow, Yext, Zesty.io.
Top 5 Content Management Challenges You Need to Solve Now (Cloudinary, Catchpoint)
The 13 Best CMS Systems Today & How to Choose (Anna Fitzgerald, HubSpot)
Drupal Software for managing online content, communities, and so on: "the best digital experience platform(DXP) on the web, proudly open source."
Best Content Management Systems (Neil Patel)
A list of the best content management (CMS) software (IndieMedia) A digest of information from many sources. Key features, user interface (UI), integrations, usability, etc.
Top-Rated Content Management Systems (Trust Radius)
Content Management Software (CMS) (Capterra) Many systems rated (by stars) and briefly described.
Best Content Management Systems (Quicksprout)

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Mastodon: A decentralized social network

Called a "viable alternative to Twitter"

Mastodon "Social networking that's not for sale. Your home feed should be filled with what matters to you most, not what a corporation thinks you should see. Radically different social media, back in the hands of the people."

      "Stay in control of your own timeline. You know best what you want to see on your home feed. No algorithms or ads to waste your time. Follow anyone across any Mastodon server from a single account and receive their posts in chronological order, and make your corner of the internet a little more like you."  Curious if Mastodon lives up to this promotional copy.
What Is Mastodon and Why Are People Leaving Twitter for It? (Kalley Huang, NY Times, 11-7-22) Since Elon Musk took ownership of Twitter, some of its users have migrated to Mastodon, an alternative social platform.
A beginner’s guide to Mastodon, the open source Twitter alternative (Amanda Silberling, TechCrunch, 11-8-22) Unlike Twitter, Facebook, Reddit or any other popular social media site, Mastodon is a nonprofit, meaning that, ideally, its goal is to benefit the public, rather than shareholders. Mastodon might look like a Twitter clone at first glance, but the underlying system behind the microblogging platform is far more complex. The service is decentralized (no, not in a blockchain way), describing itself as a “federated network which operates in a similar way to email.” The clearest explanation I've seen as to how it works.
The Fediverse (Wikipedia) Mastodon servers are based on open-source software developed by the German nonprofit Mastodon gGmbH. The interconnected Mastodon servers, along with other servers that can "talk" to Mastodon servers, are collectively dubbed the "fediverse." I don't quite get it, but this chart may be useful if, like me, you're trying to get it!
A Beginner’s Guide to Mastodon (Tamilore Oladipo, Buffer, 11-16-22) An overview of the platform: what it is and how it works. Mastodon (since 2016) is "a microblogging platform that looks similar to Twitter on the surface but is more complex under the hood." What you need to know and how to set up an account.
Mastodon: A Social Media Platform Dominated By Pedophiles & Child Porn (Guise Bule, Secjuice, 11-11-22) See also OSINT A selection of articles related to OSINT (open source intelligence), written by members of the Secjuice writers collective.
Looking to leave Twitter? (Laurel Wamsley, NPR, 11-24-22) Mastodon is "a decentralized, open-source social media platform. Anyone can launch and host their own Mastodon server and create their own community, which can connect to other Mastodon servers. Because it's open-source, anyone is allowed to freely use the program's code — or even to modify it and redistribute it, so long as they follow the rules of its license.
"That's by design. 'Nobody is in control of the entire network,' founder Eugen Rochko told NPR earlier this month. 'It is, in effect, more democratic.' "
"It can be daunting to start all over from scratch on a new network. Some transplants to Mastodon are using tools like Fedifinder and Twitodon to find the accounts they know from Twitter and follow them on Mastodon.
Getting started with Mastodon (Mastodon) "Mastodon is not a single website. To use it, you need to make an account with a provider—we call them servers—that lets you connect with other people across Mastodon."
---writing.exchange A small, intentional community for poets, authors, and every kind of writer. It is part of the decentralized social network powered by Mastodon.

• From a fellow author:  "I've only been there a few days, but I already like it better than Twitter in many ways. There's a 500-character limit so you can include more content than Twitter. And hashtags are very important because that's how topics and posts are discovered—people search on hashtags they're interested in. Posts show up chronologically, there's no algorithm leading people to areas of "affinity." Which makes it interesting, in my opinion. There's more serendipity to it and less funneling into specific echo chambers. It's friendlier, interaction is encouraged, and trolling isn't tolerated. It's not about the number of "likes" you get on a post, but more about actual engagement. It discourages promoting of brands without participation in the community. That should mean more "authentic" conversation. I'll be interested to see how that plays out."

Can Mastodon be a reasonable Twitter substitute for journalists? (Julia Angwin, The Markup, Nieman Labo, 11-22) Adam Davidson: “I think we got lazy as a field, and we let Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and, god help us, Elon Musk and their staff decide all these major journalistic questions.” Unlike Twitter, Mastodon doesn’t have a central gatekeeper that can decide who gets to use the platform and what type of content is allowed. Instead, Mastodon is an array of different communities that have all agreed to share a single communication standard.
To "join Mastodon, you have to join a Mastodon “instance” — essentially a community that hosts a Mastodon server. Each instance has its own vibe, standards for admission, and content rules. Each server can block communications from other servers if they don’t appreciate their style....As a journalist, I was attracted to a community designed for reporters — journa.host — initially set up by my longtime friend Adam Davidson."

A simple guide to joining Mastodon, the decentralized social media platform that Twitter users are flocking to (William Antonelli, Insider review, 11-22-22) Joining Mastodon isn't as simple as other social media sites. To join Mastodon, sign up on the website or app and then pick a server (or "instance") to join. Once you join, you can follow all your friends and see their posts too.
How to pick a Mastodon server. (Michelle Hawley, CMSWire)
---Mastodon servers one can join (Join Mastodon)
---Mastodon apps (Join Mastodon) The best way to get started with Mastodon is through its official apps for iOS and Android, but many third-party apps are also available.
Mastodon: The Platform Taking Twitter's Worn and Weary (Brooke Gladstone, podcast, On the Media, WNYC, 11-18-22) Brooke sits down with Clive Thompson, a tech journalist and author of the book Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World, to talk about why people like Mastodon, who it's for, and why we should watch its latest evolution. A good explainer to listen to. Mastodon is explicitly anti-viral (unlike Twitter, which went for massive public attention to one item, via an algorithm, including viral surges to crummy stuff). The current fans of Mastodon may be appalled at the idea of Twitter followers, with bad Twitter habits, flocking to their quietly nice program.
     That is a segment from Flipping the Bird (WNYC). So are these two segments:
--- Inside the Meltdown at Twitter 2.0
--- Musk And The International Reach of Twitter
How to Get Started on Mastodon (Justin Pot, Wired,11-16-22) "Mastodon isn’t a company—it’s a piece of open source software with a community built around it. That software, in turn, is built around ActivityPub, a protocol that several other apps can also interface with. .... Imagine if Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook were all part of a broader network, and you could do things like follow an Instagram account on Twitter or reply to a YouTube comment on Facebook."
Mastodon: Is It a Good Alternative to Twitter? (Debbie Ridpath Ohi, 11-20-22) A reasonable discussion. She's quoted as saying that Twitter is like a public library and Mastodon is a collection of people's homes--and you need to decide which home you'll join. She's enjoying it, but she's not switching from Twitter to Mastodon for these reasons:

   "No global search or global hashtags

   Connecting with people can be a challenge

   Easier to connect with my educator and librarian friends on Twitter (at least for me)

   Mastodon has been a refuge for marginalized communities, and I'm hesitant to change that

   Do I have enough time for yet another social network?"


P.S. You can stay on both.


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Twitter (aka X)


See also Alternatives to Twitter


"Twitter is for people who think Facebook is nineteenth century. Facebook was about keeping out the riffraff. Twitter is building followers who are riffraff, if necessary, but getting eyeballs. That’s the currency. Eyeballs are critical.”

                     ~ Sree Srinivasan, in a lecture to the National Book Critics Circle


"Each day on twitter there is one main character. The goal is to never be it."

Twitter, an online social networking and microblogging service on which users send (tweet) and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, originally. That has changed -- text is longer and there are photos all over Twitter. Twitter and Facebook were at one point the top two social media.

Flash: Billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion. His concept of what Twitter should be about ($$) has changed Twitter in ways that make some of the following links irrelevant.

Twitter Becomes X: The Future Of The ‘Everything App’ (Kristi Hines, Search Engine Journal, 7-24-23) Elon Musk announced the rebranding of Twitter into X over the weekend in a move to create an everything app with unlimited interactivity. Musk envisions 'X' as a platform that will encompass social updates plus payments, banking, and more. Twitter's CEO believes that X will be a hub of unlimited interaction and possibilities.
Elon Musk's Twitter Takeover (PBS, Frontline, YouTube, full video documentary, 1:53:48 hr, plus transcript).
Twitter Requests Government-Issued IDs for Paid Subscriber Verification (Michael Kan, PC Mag,9-15-23) News of the verification system is setting off privacy red flags since Twitter is asking people to provide one of their most sensitive documents. The system also asks people to take a live selfie, which a third-party company will compare to the government ID using biometrics. The benefits of this verification are currently minimal.
Twitter is dead and Threads is thriving (Casey Newton and Zoe Schiffer, Platformer, 10-26-23)

      "Few events in tech over the past decade have been chronicled as Musk’s Twitter takeover and everything that followed. Most readers here already know too well the stories: the massive layoffs, the disastrous changes to verification, the smearing of former head of trust and safety Yoel Roth, the purge of employees perceived as disloyal.
      "All that happened within the first few weeks. By mid-December, we predicted here that in 2023 “Elon Musk’s continued promotion of right-wing causes and personalities will push away more and more high-profile users, who find themselves increasingly put off by his shock-jock antics and whim-based approach to content moderation.”

      Do read the article, if you can access it.
What’s in a Name? Musk/Twitter Edition (Paul Krugman, Opinion, NY Times, 7-27-23) What the heck does Elon Musk, the owner of TAFKAT — the app formerly known as Twitter — think he’s doing, changing the platform’s name to X, with a new logo many people, myself included, find troubling? It’s important to distinguish between corporate rebranding — changing the official name of a company — and changing the names of the company’s products. Google renamed itself Alphabet, presumably to convey to investors its aspiration to be more than a search engine, but the search engine itself is still named Google. Philip Morris renamed itself Altria, presumably in part to diminish its perceived association with lung cancer, but its customers still smoke Marlboros.

      "Many TAFKAT users say that they’re embarrassed by the logo, which makes them feel as if they’re visiting a porn site. My reaction was a bit different. To me, and I’m sure others, the new logo has the vibes of an authoritarian political symbol, like the Z emblem of Russians invading Ukraine — or some other historical symbols I’m sure you can think of."
New cracks emerge in Elon Musk's Twitter (Casey Newton and Zoë Schiffer, Platformer, 3-23-23) "Twitter hasn’t paid its Slack bill. But that’s not why Slack went down: someone at Twitter manually shut off access, we’re told. Platformer was not able to learn the reason prior to publication, though the move suggests Musk may have turned against the communication app — or at least wants to see if Twitter can run without Slack and the expenses associated with it."

Judge Rules News Agencies Cannot Use Twitter Photos Without Permission (Michel Zhang, PetaPixel, 1-15-2013) In a test of intellectual property law involving social media services, a judge has ruled that news agencies cannot freely publish photographs posted to Twitter without the photographer’s permission. After a devastating earthquake in Haiti, photojournalist Daniel Morel captured a photo of a woman trapped beneath rubble, and shared the image through his Twitter account. News organizations (including Agence France-Presse) took that photograph and distributed it to various publications (including The Washington Post), which published it without Morel’s permission. Morel sent cease and desist letters to the agencies, AFP argued that there was no copyright infringement in this case, and launched a lawsuit against Morel for “antagonistic assertion of rights,” arguing that the photos were freely available online. U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan (NY) ruled that news agencies cannot freely publish photographs posted to Twitter without the photographer’s permission. The company’s policies allowed posting and “retweeting” of images but did not grant the right to use them commercially.

Twitter can't handle the truth (Judd Legum, Popular Information, 1-24-23) The Manatee County School District in Florida instructed teachers to make their classroom libraries inaccessible to students, or risk felony prosecution. The directive was issued as part of an effort to comply with new laws and regulations championed by Governor Ron DeSantis (R). It was based on the premise that teachers are using books to "groom" students or indoctrinate them with leftist ideologies. Twitter's Community Note feature has been championed by Elon Musk, a public supporter of DeSantis, and is being used to discredit accurate reporting about the impacts of DeSantis' policies.
Twitter’s staff spent years trying to protect the platform against impulsive ranting billionaires — then one made himself the CEO. (Zoë Schiffer, Casey Newton, and Alex Heath, New York Magazine and The Verge, 1-17-23). An excellent overview/analysis of Twitter history, including the Musk era: 'Musk had made it clear he wanted to do away with Twitter’s old verification method, which he called a “lords & peasants system.” To be verified — a symbol that an account had been vetted as authentic — a user had to be approved by someone at Twitter... Musk wanted to implement a crude pay-to-play scheme...originally proposing to charge $20 a month for verification.' Musk bouncing from "I want to make the platform safe" to 'his other goal of “freeing” speech on Twitter. In the weeks after Musk took over, hate speech spiked across the platform.'

         "Those who remain at the company mostly fall into two camps: People trapped by the need for health care and visas or cold-eyed mercenaries hoping to ascend through a power vacuum."
        'He was building Twitter 2.0, he said, and workers would need to be “extremely hardcore,” logging “long hours at high intensity.” The old way of doing business was out....Employees knew what Musk didn’t want — content moderation, free gourmet lunches, people working from home — but had few clues as to what he did want. Besides, was being fired for not checking a box on a Google Form even legal?...Word quickly spread that a significant number of employees were going to say no to being “extremely hardcore.”...In Slack, they again posted the salute emoji, the unofficial symbol of Twitter 1.0: ?.
Elon Musk says federal probe of Twitter is a 'weaponization of a government agency and a 'serious attack on the Constitution' (Pete Syme, Yahoo News, 3-8-33)
Nixon’s ghost and why populist attacks against New York Times v. Sullivan fail (Gabe Rottman, The Nuance, RCFP, 3-13-23) Gov. Ron DeSantis has called for revisiting the “actual malice” standard — the requirement that a public figure defamation plaintiff prove that a speaker knew a statement was false or seriously doubted its truth — and allies in the Florida House and Senate have introduced bills to do just that. (The state senator who introduced the Sullivan bill also offered legislation that would require any “blogger” writing about certain public officials to register with the government, a measure that would be well at home in Russia today and one that is unlikely to go anywhere.) DeSantis and his allies have draped the measures in populist rhetoric as all about protecting the “little guy.”

KOK Edit's excellent social media links Katharine O'Moore-Klopf detailed links to posts about Facebook, Google-Plus, Linked-In, and especially Twitter.

Twitter Is Our Future (James Fallows, Breaking the News, 11-5-22) What's happening to the entire media, in speeded-up time-lapse form. Will I keep using Twitter, as I have since its early days? For now and I hope for a while, yes. Twitter is a bellwether for two reasons. One is that Elon Musk’s attempted destruction of Twitter, be it reckless or intentional, is worth seeing as a speeded-up version of what is happening in other parts of the media. The other is that there are “many” possible replacements for parts of the positive functions Twitter has offered. But there is no one clear, obvious, easily available, broadly comparable other place to go."

This is how the Fediverse works."
Twitter: Everything Is a Cult (The Lefsetz Letter, 11-92-22) "This is the dirty little secret of Twitter, most people never see your tweet. Follower counts are nearly irrelevant. Someone has to either be on Twitter when you tweet, or be so interested in what you say as to go back in time on your feed. Furthermore, most Twitter addicts follow so many people most of the posts are lost in the shuffle."

Twitter has never understood the Creator Economy (Simon Owens's Media Newsletter, 11-2-22) The real incentive that keeps creators glued to any particular platform is its ability to help them make money.
The Search for Dirt on the Twitter Whistle-Blower(Ronan Farrow, New Yorker, 9-13-22) More than a dozen of Peiter (Mudge) Zatko’s former colleagues have received offers of payment for information about him. The apparent urgency and aggressiveness of the inquiries around Zatko underscore the enormous financial stakes bound up in Twitter’s dispute with Musk. If the judge rules that Musk must complete the acquisition, it will greatly enhance Twitter’s stock value; if he is permitted to walk away, the stock may crater.
How Twitter’s child porn problem ruined its plans for an OnlyFans competitor ( Zoe Schiffer and Casey Newton, The Verge, 8-30-22) Internal documents and Twitter employees reveal the need for massive investment to remove illegal content — but executives haven’t listened. Twitter has not committed sufficient resources to detect, remove, and prevent harmful content from the platform. Researchers working on the team tasked with making Twitter more civil and safe sounded the alarm about the weak state of Twitter’s tools for detecting child sexual exploitation (CSE) and implored executives to add more resources to fix it. The years-long struggle to address CSE ran into a competing priority at Twitter: greatly increasing its user and revenue numbers.
How Twitter’s podcast bet could pay off (Simon Owens's Media Newsletter, 9-7-22) Twitter could be the first platform to successfully introduce social media features and discoverability into a podcast player. See also What YouTube’s official entry into podcasting means for the industry (Simon Owens, 9-2-22) The video platform is finally dedicating real resources to growing its podcast offerings.
15 tips for newsgathering via Twitter (Sarah Marshall, 3-30-15)
Listen up: Podcasts are coming to Twitter (Twitter, 8-25-22)
Snap CEO endorses Elon Musk's "super app" strategy (Sara Fischer, Axios, 6-21-22) Snap Inc. co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel on Monday endorsed Elon Musk's plans to turn Twitter into a "super app," or an app that provides multiple services in one mobile interface, citing Snapchat's own ambitions in that arena.  Why it matters: While some tech companies build or acquire separate apps for different services across their portfolio, like Meta or Google, Spiegel said, "We see the power in diversifying engagement across our service."
Musk flips Twitter the bird(Casey Newton, Platformer, 4-27-22) Will somebody at this company please show some leadership?
How Congress Can Prevent Elon Musk from Turning Twitter Back Into an Unfettered Disinformation Machine (John Cassidy, New Yorker, 4-26-22) A new European Union law is a road map for how to put the onus on social-media companies to monitor and remove harmful content, and hit them with big fines if they don’t.

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Twitter Moments (including insider tips from The Telegraph) (Bron Maher, Press-Gazette, UK, 1-27-22) "A Twitter Moment is a string of tweets under a header image. Unlike Twitter’s more ubiquitous threads, though, a Moment doesn’t just have to be composed of your own tweets: you can add others’ into it, and you can order the elements within a Moment however you like, rather than just chronologically."

       Here is such a thread: Publishing staff burnout. Erin Stein @arbiteroftaste) starts: "From my POV it's been building for years and the last straws have finally lit a teetering haystack on fire. These things are not all true at every publisher, but *I’ve* seen them at multiple houses. So, context from departments around the company…"  And so on, department by department....
Meet the woman behind Libs of TikTok, secretly fueling the right’s outrage machine (Taylor Lorenz, Internet Culture, WaPo, 4-19-22) A popular Twitter account has morphed into a social media phenomenon, spreading anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment and shaping public discourse. Fox News often creates news packages around the content that Libs of TikTok has surfaced. Libs of TikTok gained more prominence throughout the end of last year, cementing its spot in the right-wing media outrage cycle. Its attacks on the LGBTQ+ community also escalated. By January, Raichik’s page was leaning hard into “groomer” discourse, calling for any teacher who comes out as gay to their students to be “fired on the spot.”
Twitter, the Intimacy Machine (C. Thi Nguyen, The Raven ("a magazine of philosophy") The platform invites intimate, high-context speech (and the hope of lots of "likes") but also the perfect tool to crush that intimacy: shared outrage, collective dunking.
How to String Together Tweet Threads That Inform and Inspire (Carmen Drahl, The Open Notebook, 2-15-22) "Truly stellar threads can often speak for themselves. But journalists may benefit from fleshing out their Twitter bios to encourage readers to take their tweets more seriously.... The cardinal rule when writing the body of a thread is to include one idea per tweet." Links to some of the best twitter threads.

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What is #WritersLift and What Can it Do for You? (Jeniffer Thompson, 3-2-21) #WritersLift started as a spinoff of the hashtag #FollowFriday for writers, specifically, to discover each other, engage as a community, recommend accounts to follow and books to buy or read.
Twitter Spaces is where live audio conversations happen. See Twitter Spaces vs Clubhouse: Authenticity vs Ego? (John Koetsier, Forbes, 5-10-21) In May Twitter launched Spaces, its social audio competitor to Clubhouse, to anyone with more than 600 followers. It's a new way to experience Twitter. And Twitter spaces versus Clubhouse: access vs ego? "And there were five people that I’ve been following for a number of years that I’ve never spoken with, never connected, don’t even think I’ve DM’d them or anything, and we just caught up....Clubhouse is the hot new social audio star. But Twitter Spaces is available to 30X the audience out of the box … and draws on a social graph you already own."
How Twitter can ruin a life (Emily VanDerWerff, Vox, 6-30-21) Isabel Fall’s sci-fi story “I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter” drew the ire of the internet.... It’s incredibly hard to imagine “Attack Helicopter” receiving the degree of blowback it did in a world where Twitter didn’t exist....the structure of Twitter and the way it rewards a constant escalation of emotion makes it exceedingly difficult to just back down, to say, “I thought I was doing the right thing, but I hurt somebody very badly in the process.”

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Twitter’s Trump Fact Check Won’t Solve Much, but at Least It’s Something (Dahlia Lithwick, Future Tense, Slate, 5-27-2020) "On Tuesday night, Twitter took the unprecedented step of attaching warning labels accompanied by links to fact checks to two of the president’s false tweets. The president then went on to threaten that Twitter was “completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!” although anyone with a brain quickly pointed out that private companies are not state actors and Trump has no First Amendment claims here." Trump escalates war on Twitter, social media protections (AP, 5-28-2020) "Trump, who personally relies heavily on Twitter to verbally flog his foes, has long accused the tech giants in liberal-leaning Silicon Valley of targeting conservatives by fact-checking them or removing their posts....Companies like Twitter and Facebook are granted liability protection under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act because they are treated as “platforms,” rather than “publishers,” which can face lawsuits over content."
Kate reviews: Twitter Terms of Service (Ko-fi, a platform for accepting donations). Twitter is making some major changes, all of which essentially protect them from harm, or legal liability, while also subtly restricting specific content but only if they feel like it. Read the fine print.

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What Does 'Hashtag' Mean & and How Do You Use Them? Sandra Grauschopf, The Balance Everyday, 7-23-19) Use hashtags correctly in your online posts. People can search for posts with a specific hashtag, so using hashtags helps people find posts and tweets that interest them. And if you want your own posts to be found, adding a hashtag or two will help you find your audience.
Export Twitter Historical Data (ExportData) Export Twitter followers, followings, account timeline, historical tweets and more in CSV and Excel formats.
University of Minnesota student jailed in China over tweets (Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, Axios, 1-22-2020) Chinese police are tracking down and silencing Twitter users who post content critical of the Chinese government — even from abroad. A Chinese student at the University of Minnesota has been arrested in China and sentenced to six months in prison for tweets he posted while in the United States.
‘Playing to their strengths’: Twitter’s revved-up product focus piques publisher, advertiser interest (Max Willens, Digiday,5-24-21)

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What Retweets Are and How to Use Them ( Sandra Grauschopf, The Balance Everyday, 8-31-19)
How to Use Twitter and Facebook for Emergency Travel Information (Stephanie Rosenbloom, NY Times, 9-21-17) "Sometimes organizations rely on social media to get out messages when their own websites are slow, as the National Hurricane Center’s was when it experienced overwhelming traffic during Hurricane Irma. Other times, ways to help organically bubble up on social media." Here, "a beginner’s guide to finding the most helpful accounts. A word of caution: Sometimes a social media account looks official even though it has nothing to do with the actual organization or individual you’re seeking."
Thread reader app How to Transform Twitter threads into a readable page.
Hashtagify Boost your #success through hashtag marketing. Find, analyse, amplify. 
Top 25 Cybersecurity Experts To Follow On Social Media In 2019 (Scott Schober, author of Hacked Again, on Cybersecurity Ventures). Following their posts will make you aware of things you never thought to worry about about.The best response to trolls is no response. Ignore them and don't forward their messages.

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Twitter Still Taking Broad Rights to Your Photos under New Terms of Service (David Walker, Photo District News,12-4-19) The language of Twitter’s new terms of service say that copyright holders won’t be paid for the content they post, but now explain why: “Such additional uses by Twitter, or other companies, organizations or individuals, is made with no compensation paid to you…as the use of the Services by you is hereby agreed as being sufficient compensation for the Content and grant of rights herein.”
     While granting unfettered rights to its users’ intellectual property, Twitter is protecting its own copyright in no uncertain terms.
Trump Can’t Block Critics From His Twitter Account, Appeals Court Rules (Charlie Savage, NY Times, 7-9-19) "Because Mr. Trump uses Twitter to conduct government business, he cannot exclude some Americans from reading his posts — and engaging in conversations in the replies to them — because he does not like their views, a three-judge panel on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York, ruled unanimously." "The decision may have broader implications for how the First Amendment applies to officials’ accounts in the social-media era."
Twitter Help Center
Twitter is the crystal meth of newsrooms ( David Von Drehle, WaPo, 1-25-19) It's quick, it's easier than interviews or close observation, it's ideal for smart alecks. "No reporter can go to the scene of a dozen events per day, observe what happens, interview those affected, sort the meaning from the dross and file a story. But Twitter offers an endless stream of faux events: fleeting sensations, momentary outrages, ersatz insights and provocative distortions. "
A brief history of not being able to edit your tweets (Harry McCracken, Fast Company, 7-19-19) A request people have been making since 2006 ignored by Twitter.
Maggie Haberman: Why I Needed to Pull Back From Twitter (NY Times, 7-20-18) "Twitter has stopped being a place where I could learn things I didn’t know, glean information that was free from errors about a breaking news story or engage in a discussion and be reasonably confident that people’s criticisms were in good faith. The viciousness, toxic partisan anger, intellectual dishonesty, motive-questioning and sexism are at all-time highs, with no end in sight....Twitter is now an anger video game for many users. It is the only platform on which people feel free to say things they’d never say to someone’s face."

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Lawsuits over journalist Twitter accounts may become more common (Jonathan Peters, CJR, 9-10-18) "Andy Bitter, who covered Virginia Tech football for The Roanoke Times, resigned in July 2018 to join the sports-news website The Athletic, which has been poaching talent from local media. While at the Times, Bitter had used a Twitter account to share his stories, break news, and engage with readers. He had more than 27,000 followers when he left. Bitter declined requests from the Times’s parent company, BH Media Group, to hand over his login information—and he has continued to use that account at The Athletic. BH Media, which says it owns the account, is suing Bitter in federal court... It’s unclear how the case will turn out. The facts need finding, and there aren’t good precedents. The problem is twofold: Few cases have addressed social-media ownership in an employment context, and the most relevant ones have settled out of court."
Fred Wilson: The Value Of Twitter Is in "The Power of Passed Links" (TechCrunch, 6-16-09) Erick Schonfeld on venture capitalist Fred Wilson
A love story in 10 tweets to the Tribune Tower as journalists say goodbye and developers prepare to convert the newspaper building to pricey condos. (former Chicago Tribune editorAnn Marie Lipinski)
Tweets are the new vox populi ( Heidi Tworek, CJR, 3-27-18) Journalists use tweets as a way to include opinions from “ordinary people” instead of going onto the streets to get them from actual people. But tweets are one way Russian propagandists plant disinformation.
Bots in the Twittersphere (Stefan Wojcik, Solomon Messing, Aaron Smith, Lee Rainie and Paul Hitlin, Pew Research Center, 4-9-18) An estimated two-thirds of tweeted links to popular websites are posted by automated accounts – not human beings. And how they identified Twitter bots.
Twitter Just for Writers. by Frances Caballo ($5 ebook). She writes ebooks about other social media, too.
How social media helps scientists get the message across (EurekAlert, 4-12-18) Communicating new research discoveries through social media--primarily Twitter--eventually leads to higher citations years down the road.
How Black Twitter and other social media communities interact with mainstream news A report by Knight Foundation explores how social media subcultures — Black Twitter, Feminist Twitter, and Asian American Twitter — interact with the news. Read the findings, such as "Twitter subcultures give voice to issues that mainstream media don’t cover." "Black women, black feminists, black gay men —they’re basically invisible communities outside of Black Twitter." Many interesting findings here!
Shakespeare’s Twitter Account (Kate Dwyer, Paris Review, 4-2-18) "Daily Kerouac is one of several literary tribute Twitter accounts devoted to tweeting quotes from authors....The most popular Oscar Wilde account has upward of 160,000 followers while Sylvia Plath has nearly 200,000 and @_harukimurakami clocks in at 235,000."
Twitter, It’s Time to End Your Anything-Goes Paradise (Farhad Manjoo, State of the Art, NY Times, 11-22-17) After a year in which it became blindingly obvious that Twitter was rife with abuse and harassment, and that it has become a haven for propagandists, bots and other manipulators, it’s time for Twitter to scrap one of its founding principles: the idea that it is an anything-goes paradise, where anyone who signs up for a voice on its platform is immediately and automatically given equal footing with everyone else, and where even the vilest, most hateful and antisocial behavior should be tolerated.
How to tell if you have fake Twitter followers (and how to remove them) (Ren LaForme, Poynter, 2-1-18)
Book Marketing on Twitter: The 15 Most Important Twitter Lists (E.T. Carlton, Cathy Stucker's Selling Books, 5-13-15)
15 Twitter Users Shaping the Future of Publishing (Maria Schneider, of Editor Unleashed, on Mashable.
10 Ways Twitter Will Change American Business (24/7 Wall Street, on Time.com)
• "Facebook is for people you went to college with; Twitter is for people you wish you went to college with."~quoted by Sree Sreenivasan (@sree), who posts helpfully on Sree's Social Media Guide--a work in progress.(Remember it this way: http://bit.ly/sreesoc). In a lecture to the National Book Critics Circle, Sree said, “Twitter is for people who think Facebook is nineteenth century. Facebook was about keeping out the riffraff. Twitter is building followers who are riffraff, if necessary, but getting eyeballs. That’s the currency. Eyeballs are critical.”
"And this is precisely the reason I think Twitter will be more important than Facebook: Twitter is not about friends, it's about strangers." and "Not sure I want followers as 'friends'. That's what I have Facebook for. Twitter brings me acquaintances with common interests." ~ Carol Phillips, Millennial Marketing, "Why Twitter Matters to Marketers"
ProPublica shows how to tweet ( David Uberti, CJR, 4-6-17) Specifically, shows Trump how to tweet investigative journalism-style.
Book Marketing Twitter Lists (E.T. Carlton, Cathy Stucker's Selling Books, 5-13-15)
Twitter in Plain English (a short introduction to the microblogging service Twitter) and Twitter Search in Plain English, new opportunities for business feedback, tracking real time news and discovering trends (excellent video-explanations by Commoncraft)
Twitter Basics (Twitter itself on how Twitter can help your business) "Compelling content will help you attract new followers and keep them engaged over time."

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Intro to Twitter for Business
Twitter Campaign Types
9 Top Twitter Tips You Can Start Using Today (Michael Brenner, Forbes, 1-23-13).
Three Twitter Tips for Mystery Writers (and Readers) (Dorie Clark, guest blogging on Jungle Red Writers--scroll down to see her piece, 4-16-13). Brilliant idea: "Brainstorm in bulk."
On Twitter, Hate Speech Bounded Only by a Character Limit (Jim Rutenberg, NY Times, 10-2-16) You have to wonder whether the cap on Twitter’s growth is tied more to that most basic — and base — of human emotions: hatred. It courses through Twitter at an alarming rate.
Twitter has been ignoring its fake account problem for years (Mathew Ingram, CJR, 1-31-18)
This is what happens when speech gets outsourced to Twitter and Facebook (Mathew Ingram, CJR, 6-21-18) 'blocked a range of accounts—including many belonging to journalists—for 24 hours, after they posted messages about a story published by Splinter News (formerly Fusion, which is owned by Univision) that included the private phone number of White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, the person many blame for the separation and internment of immigrant families. Twitter apparently saw publishing his phone number as “doxxing,” or revealing personal information about someone for the purpose of harassment, and put the users in “Twitter jail.”'
I’ve left Twitter. It is unusable for anyone but trolls, robots and dictators (Lindy West, The Guardian, 1-3-17) ‘The breaking point for me wasn’t the trolls themselves – it was the global repercussions of Twitter’s refusal to stop them.’
Martin Shkreli and the Case For Twitter Transparency (Charlie Warzel, BuzzFeedNews, 1-8-17) Every suspension enforced by Twitter sets a precedent. Its users deserve to know why. Twitter “appears unwilling to engage in the necessary transparency surrounding the harassment of its users.”
Why We Can't Fix Twitter (Emily Parker, Politico, 1-7-17) Social media is broken. When will we realize that we're the problem? What's missing? Civil discourse. Suggestions for improvement: an edit button so users could fix erroneous or ill-considered tweets; a bookmark button; improved reporting options for bullying. "We, the users, fan the flames with our views and our retweets and our hot takes."
This is what happens when speech gets outsourced to Twitter and Facebook (Mathew Ingram, CJR, 6-21-18) Both Facebook and Twitter are struggling to get a handle on how their platforms are being used by bad actors, but their solutions are causing almost as many problems as they are solving....
Twitter blocking someone for simply posting a link to a website raises some interesting questions. How far is Twitter—or any other platform—willing to go in taking this to its logical conclusion? What if a journalist links to a site that has ISIS videos, or pro-Nazi content, for news purposes. Will they be blocked?

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Sreetips.com (Sree Sreenivasan, the go-to guy for new media and an excellent tech teacher, on Web 101, wikis, blogs, etc.). Some content free, some $$. See also Sree's new tips. New at social media? Start with Sree's Social Media Guide--a work in progress.(Remember it this way: http://bit.ly/sreesoc). Here's a sample: "I promise that my sessions, like my tweets, will most likely be: helpful * useful * informative * relevant * practical * actionable * timely * generous * brief * entertaining * fun * occasionally funny." (Check to see if your Tweets have some of those attributes.) And he quotes: "Facebook is for people you went to college with; Twitter is for people you wish you went to college with."

Sreenet's Twitter Guide for Newbies and Skeptics
SreeTips (Sree Srinivasan's 's advice on C/Net)
The Twitter Guide Book (Mashable)
50 Power Twitter Tips (Chris Brogan, who also posted 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business
Best Practices (Twitter on how to build your following, reputation, and customer's trust)
How to Get More Retweets

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How to make Twitter work for you (Authors Guild webinar) Sarah Brumble, social media expert, presents tips and tricks on how to effectively use Twitter to promote your work.
How and Why to Build a Twitter Following While Unpublished (Emma Lombard on Jane Friedman's blog, 11-14-19) An unpublished writer describes how she built a five-figure Twitter following within a year, by helping other writers and engaging on a personal level.
Emma Lombard's Twitter Tips for Newbies: Authors and Writers (in four parts)
Twitter for Authors: How to Connect with Readers & Writers (Julia Hansen, BookBub, 5-1-19)
Buddy Media strategies for effective tweeting
Inside Twitter’s 10-Year Failure To Stop Harassment (Charlie Warzel, Buzzfeed, 8-11-16) For nearly its entire existence, Twitter has not just tolerated abuse and hate speech, it’s virtually been optimized to accommodate it. With public backlash at an all-time high and growth stagnating, what is the platform that declared itself “the free speech wing of the free speech party” to do? BuzzFeed News talks to the people who’ve been trying to figure this out for a decade.
Social Media Resources
(KOK Edit, Katharine O'Moore-Klopf's invaluable links, on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter)
This is what happens when speech gets outsourced to Twitter and Facebook (Mathew Ingram, CJR, 6-21-18) "Whether posting Miller’s phone number should be seen as doxxing is obviously up to Twitter to decide, as is the punishment for this supposed crime, since it (like Facebook) is a private corporation running a platform it controls, and thus isn’t bound by the First Amendment. That said, however, blocking someone for simply posting a link to a website raises some interesting questions. How far is Twitter—or any other platform—willing to go in taking this to its logical conclusion? What if a journalist links to a site that has ISIS videos, or pro-Nazi content, for news purposes. Will they be blocked?
Using Twitter, LinkedIn to diversify your sources #ahcj13 (Shuka Kalantari, Covering Health, AHCJ, 3-25-13)

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Twitter for health journalists (Pia Christensen, AHCJ tip sheet, 3-13-09)
Twitter for health journalists (Shuka Kalantari, AHCJ tip sheet,
Twitter for journalists (Scot Hacker, Ashwin Seshagiri, KDMC tutorial, 6-23-11)
10 ways journalists can use Twitter before, during and after reporting a story (Mallary Jean Tenore, Poynter, 9-20-11)
HootSuite Help Desk
What Should Freelancers Tweet About? (David Masters, Freelance Switch)
The Science of ReTweets (Dan Zarella, Mashable--this is quite interesting!)
Twitter Tools: HootSuite & TweetDeck Highlights (Laura Zera via Molly Greene--the pros and cons of two sites for managing your time tweeting and following tweets). Here's more: The Top 20 Twitter Clients being Used in 2012 (Neal Schaffer). Says Schaffer, for 2012, the top clients are:
~~HootSuite (a dashboard to manage your tweets)
~~ Tweetdeck (it tweets when someone tweets you on Twitter)
The Art of Writing Great Twitter Headlines (Brian Clark, Copyblogger)
The Art of Writing Tweets That Stand Out (Houssem, High Quality Social Media)

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How To: Not Suck at Writing Tweets (Diana Adams, Bit Rebels)
How to Write Tweets That Get Clicks (Twitter How To)
Social Media Hashtags (SEOWebMarketing)
44 Essential Hashtags Every Author Should Know (Caitlin Muir, Platform Building Tips, Author Media)
Managing Your Twitter Following (Kludgymom, Video Tutorial on Business2Blogger, 5-17-11)
Thumbs up for Roger Ebert’s new revenue model on Twitter (Bill Mitchell, Poynter, 2-17-11) and Ebert fishes some lessons from his (revenue) streams (Bill Mitchell, Poynter, 2-18-11)
Promote Your Writing Through Twitter (Jeannette de Beauvoir, Beyond the Elements of Style, 9-4-12)
10 Secrets to Using Twitter to Attract More Followers and Get More Clients by Donna Gunter

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The Tweet Smell of Success (Noam Cohen, Brian Stelter, NYTimes, on the power of being on Twitter's A list)
Learning Pool's quick-start guide for people in and around government (Dave Briggs, PDF)
How and why scholars cite on Twitter (Jason Priem and Kaitlin Light Costello, ASIS, 2010)
Twittering Tips for Beginners (David Pogue, NY Times, 1-15-09)
5 Common Twitter Myths That Are Hurting Your Efforts (Lauren Dugan, AllTwitter, the unofficial Twitter resource, 5-23-11) and 5 More Twitter Myths That Will Cripple Your Success (5-24-11). "Tweets are meant to share ideas largely with strangers who don’t care so much about you but more about what you have to say. Facebook status updates are shared with friends (or at least people with whom you have some sort of relationship). The fundamental difference is that with Twitter, your ideas have to sparkle to catch people’s interests; with Facebook, a number of your connections are already interested in you."

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Twitter - A Toxic Place for Women (Amnesty International) Journalist Jessica Valenti: "I think Twitter is the worst of the social media platforms, just because of the quickened and masked flow [of abuse] that happens. The content feels pretty similar across the platforms but the sheer volume of it on Twitter is what’s different." Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter: "We see voices being silenced on Twitter every day. We’ve been working to counteract this for the past 2 years…We prioritized this in 2016. We updated our policies and increased the size of our teams. It wasn’t enough."

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10 Ways Twitter Has Made Better Teachers (ASIDE, Innovation Design in Education)
Saying No to Twitter: What Authors Need to Know (Daniel Berkowitz on Jane Friedman's blog, 4-15-19) Social media use can drive book sales, but not all successful authors use Twitter. If don't want to be on Twitter, you don't have to be on it. Digital services consultant and AuthorPop founder Daniel Berkowitz shares why Twitter truly is optional.
Fred Wilson: The Value Of Twitter Is In "The Power Of Passed Links" (Eric Schonfeld, TechCrunch.com, 6-16-09)
How Amy O’Leary live-tweeted her own speech — and won the #backchannel (Andrew Phelps, Nieman Journalism Lab, 5-22-12). The New York Times reporter anticipated people on Twitter missing the nuance of her ideas, so she came prepared.
5 Ways to Use Twitter to Avoid a Backchannel Disaster (Cliff Atkinson, Mashable, 3-7-10)
Assault on Georgian professor shows fragility of Twitter and other Web tools and services (NYTimes story by Jenna Wortham and Andrew Kramer, 8-7-09)
155 Ways to Tweet (What to Tweet, How to Tweet, by John Kremer)
On Writing for Twitter and Facebook -- a Poynter series by Roy Peter Clark:
Ways to make room for good writing on social networks
Why ‘no dumping’ is a good motto for writing on social networks

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How journalists are using Facebook, Twitter to write mini serial narratives
The Value of Twitter Is in the Power of Passed Links (Erick Schonfeld on venture capitalist Fred Wilson, TechCrunch, 6-16-09)
Set Your Brand (and Your Search Engine Rankings) aTwitter (Charlie Wollborg, Charlie Curve)
The case of high heels: How open-ended questions on Facebook can spark story leads
How to use social networks to brand yourself as a writer
•  New at social media? Start with Sree's Social Media Guide--a work in progress.(Remember it this way: http://bit.ly/sreesoc). Here's a sample: "I promise that my sessions, like my tweets, will most likely be: helpful * useful * informative * relevant * practical * actionable * timely * generous * brief * entertaining * fun * occasionally funny." (Check to see if your Tweets have some of those attributes.) And he quotes: "Facebook is for people you went to college with; Twitter is for people you wish you went to college with."

10 ways writers can get the most out of Twitter (Michelle V. Rafter, WordCount: freelancing in the digital age, 3-9-10)
Blogging and Twitter, the perfect match (Jane Boursaw, guest post on WordCount, 10-24-09).
5 ways journalists can use social media to resurface old content (Meena Thiruvengadam, Poynter, 1-22-13)
The journalistic pros & cons of Twitter’s new real-time video tool (Jeff Sonderman, Poynter, 1-24-13). He's talking about Vine: A new way to share Video
Five Ways to Gather and Report News with Twitter (Ryan Sholin, MediaShift, 8-3-08)
Tweet Your Message to a Larger Audience with Hashtags (Hashtags explained by Sherice Jacob, on Twitip)
How to Use Twitter. Useful tips by Nathan Bransford
I'm on Twitter: Now What Do I Use It For? (PDF, KOK Edit)

On Writing for Twitter and Facebook -- a Poynter series by Roy Peter Clark:
Ways to make room for good writing on social networks
Why ‘no dumping’ is a good motto for writing on social networks
How journalists are using Facebook, Twitter to write mini serial narratives
The case of high heels: How open-ended questions on Facebook can spark story leads
How to use social networks to brand yourself as a writer

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Social Networking Platforms

Life After Twitter

Going Postal (Max Read, Book Forum, 2020) Former social media executives tell us that the Twitter system is an addiction-machine. We are users, waiting for our next hit as we like, comment and share. We write to the machine as individuals, but it responds by aggregating our fantasies, desires and frailties into data, and returning them to us as a commodity experience....Perhaps the best lens to examine compulsive, unproductive, inexplicable use of social media is not technical, or sociological, or economic, but psychoanalytic. In which case, rather than asking what is wrong with these systems, we might ask, “What is wrong with us?” This is the question asked by Richard Seymour in his excellent new book The Twittering Machine, which takes its title from a Paul Klee drawing—a sketch of four stick-figure birds perched on an axle cranking above a fiery trench.
How to Prepare for Life After Twitter (Brian X. Chen, NY Times, 11-16-22) Don’t delete your account just yet. Elon Musk’s takeover can teach us valuable lessons about our relationship with social networks. Those "who have already left Twitter quickly realized there was no real alternative. Apps like Mastodon, the open-source site that involves posting on a social feed similar to Twitter’s timeline, are tricky for most people to set up. Reddit is more siloed by topics. LinkedIn is work-focused, Pinterest is centered on hobbies, TikTok is video-centric and Meta’s Facebook — well, let’s just say it has its own problems."

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Why journalists are so desperate to find a Twitter alternative (Simon Owens's Media Newsletter, 11-22-22) Twitter has operated as the primary venue for writers to take their audiences with them as they move from job to job. It's a fantastic product, and there's no social network exactly like it. There’s no other place you can go to engage in real-time discussion around breaking news, politics, sports, and entertainment. That being said, there are genuine reasons to question the long term health of Twitter.
18 Alternatives to Twitter (Sig Ueland, Practical Ecommerce, 11-28-22) Ueland provides succinct descriptions of established social networks with features to communicate with followers in a Twitteresque way, as well as apps with global communities, civil debate, less disinformation, and attractive design. Interesting capsule descriptions of the main features of Mastodon, Post, Hive Social, Cohost, Plurk, WTSocial, Koo, Amino, Raftr, Discord, Countersocial, LinkedIn, TikTok, Tumblr, SnapChat, Medium, Reddit, Meta (with its social networks Facebook and Instagram and its messaging apps WhatsApp and Messenger).

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Eight Twitter alternatives for journalists (Marcela Kunova, Journalism.co.uk, 11-10-22) Looking for virtual places to hang out with fellow hacks other than Musk's Twitter? Check out these social networks: Mastodon, Reddit, LinkedIn, Bluesky, CounterSocial, CoHost, Tribel, Parler (discussed and compared briefly).
You’ve decided to quit Twitter. Here’s what you can use to replace it. (Heather Kelly, Washington Post, 10-29-22) Options you can consider (and I am quoting Kelly here):

---Read the news.
---If you prefer to make your own list of outlets, like you do on Twitter, try an RSS reader.
---Use an app like Feedly, Newsify or Inoreader.
---Sign up for newsletters: "Many big Twitter personalities have longer-form offerings, published through their employers or independently on Substack or Medium. You can also support creators on sites like Patreon and Ko-fi, which let you pay different amounts for access to their content."
---Follow them on the other big social media sites, like Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and LinkedIn.
---Subscribe to podcasts featuring the same kind of smart, funny and informative people you find on Twitter.
---If you already established relationships with other Twitter users, make sure you have another way to reach them, like WhatsApp, Signal or Instagram. If you have a group of friends, it was probably time to fire up a group chat anyway. To find larger groups of people with similar interests, check out Facebook groups, join subreddits about the topics you’re most interested in, find relevant Discord groups or see if there’s a similar group on Mastodon.

---You can test out an app called CounterSocial that has a similar feel to Twitter. There’s a high chance all of your interests already have a thriving community on TikTok and on YouTube, where you can participate in comments if you’re not into posting videos yourself. If you are trying to find a specific community, look at their last tweets and see if prominent members have said where they’ll be next.

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How to get into Discord(s) (Dirt, 11-28-22) Dirt’s staff introduces their favorite Discord servers. Reddit has long had community-driven, thematic discussions and Mastodon offers a decentralized version of Twitter where you can choose which server to join. But Discord might be the most elegant solution. Discord was originally designed for chatting while playing video games, but it’s become a kind of group-chat collecting tool. It’s a bit like joining a dozen work Slacks at once, but they’re about fun rather than work. Personally, I think we’re moving toward a mode of socializing online that’s more private, more atomized, and more hidden — digital spaces that you have to know about in order to get into, rather than massive public feeds. See Public Discord servers you might like.
Now Slack Is More Than an Email Killer. It’s a Social Network in Disguise (Fast Company, 6-25-20) Slack Connect lets up to 20 companies work in shared channels, escalating the war on email in a new way

Writing Exchange, Mastodon. From an Authors Guild discussion: Many writers looking for an alternative to Twitter (in the chaos after Elon Musk's purchase of it) are joining writing.exchange, which is part of the decentralized social network powered by Mastodon. There's a 500-character limit, and hashtags are important because that's how topics and posts are discovered--people search on hashtags they're interested in. Posts show up chronologically, there's no algorithm leading people to areas of "affinity." There's more serendipity to it and less funneling into specific echo chambers. It's friendlier, interaction is encouraged, and trolling isn't tolerated. It's not about the number of "likes" you get on a post, but more about actual engagement.' Here's the About page for Writing.exchange.

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My suggestion for replacing Twitter (Samantha Sunne, Tools for Reporters, 11-21-22) This is a replacement for the networking, work promotion and job update aspects of Twitter – not sharing news with audiences (which Twitter was never actually great for anyway).

Looking to leave Twitter? Here are the social networks seeing new users now (Laurel Wamsley, NPR, 11-24-22)Sensing an imminent breakdown, communities mourn a bygone Twitter. Some object to Musk's spreading of falsehoods, the rise in hate speech after he took over, his layoff of half of Twitter's staff and his reinstatement of former President Donald Trump's account. Alternatives to Twitter include such sites as Hive, Mastodon, and Post.news,
---Hive Social
---Post.news Founded by former Waze CEO Noam Bardin. (See Debbie Ridpath's comments about it.)
---Hive Social 'Bringing back what you used to love about social media in a new way. Profile music, text and image posts, polls, Q&A, and so much more!'
---Twitter buyout puts Mastodon into spotlight

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If Twitter Disappears, Where Do We Go? (Zakiya N. Jamal, Society of Children's Book Writers & Editors)
---Hive. As of right now, Hive appears to be the new chosen home for the book community. The app, which was first launched in October 2019, is a combination of various social platforms. For creators who prefer the written word over images and videos, Hive is mostly text based, like Twitter.
---Mastodon. The code that makes Mastodon what it is can be used and changed by anyone. Unlike Twitter, where what is shared is shared only on Twitter, Mastodon is a collection of servers that are linked together and owned by different people or groups. 
---TikTok, Instagram, & Tumblr. The biggest social media platforms for the book community, in that order, says Jamal.
---Twitter. To protect your space you can make your account private (so that no one new can follow you). "In case Twitter does kick the bucket, make sure to download an archive of your tweets. To do this, go to your settings → “Your Account” → “Download an archive of your data.” You’ll need to verify your information by re-entering your password and then getting a verification code sent to your email or phone. Once you enter the code, you can request your archive. It typically takes about a day to get an email to download and then you’ll receive a zip file of all your tweets. Whether or not you plan to ever use them, it’s good to have a record of your time there."
How to Get Started on Mastodon (Justin Pot, Wired,11-16-22) "Mastodon isn’t a company—it’s a piece of open source software with a community built around it. That software, in turn, is built around ActivityPub, a protocol that several other apps can also interface with. .... Imagine if Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook were all part of a broader network, and you could do things like follow an Instagram account on Twitter or reply to a YouTube comment on Facebook." See see more on Mastodon here.

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10 ways writers can get the most out of Twitter (Michelle V. Rafter, WordCount: freelancing in the digital age, 3-9-10)
Blogging and Twitter, the perfect match (Jane Boursaw, guest post on WordCount, 10-24-09).
5 ways journalists can use social media to resurface old content (Meena Thiruvengadam, Poynter, 1-22-13)
The journalistic pros & cons of Twitter’s new real-time video tool (Jeff Sonderman, Poynter, 1-24-13). He's talking about Vine: A new way to share Video
Five Ways to Gather and Report News with Twitter (Ryan Sholin, MediaShift, 8-3-08)
Tweet Your Message to a Larger Audience with Hashtags (Hashtags explained by Sherice Jacob, on Twitip)
How to Use Twitter. Useful tips by Nathan Bransford
I'm on Twitter: Now What Do I Use It For? (PDF, KOK Edit)

On Writing for Twitter and Facebook -- a Poynter series by Roy Peter Clark:
Ways to make room for good writing on social networks
Why ‘no dumping’ is a good motto for writing on social networks
How journalists are using Facebook, Twitter to write mini serial narratives
The case of high heels: How open-ended questions on Facebook can spark story leads
How to use social networks to brand yourself as a writer

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Compare platforms (read what others say):
Wordpress Tumblr, Medium, or ...? 8 Best Blogging Platforms Reviewed (Mike Wallagher, Start Blogging Online, 2-6-16)
The 10 Best Blogging Platforms in 2011 (Armando Roggio, Practical Ecommerce, insights for online merchants)
Blogger vs. WordPress (Basil C. Puglisi, Digital Brand Marketing, gives the pros and cons on both blog services)
7 Best Blogging Platforms (Harry Marks, Lifed 11-8-11)
The 10 Best Blogging Platforms (Jarel Remick, Appstorm.net 10-4-10 -- with links to extras for each, and details on "hosted or self-hosted")

WordPress (Web-based, free, an open source blogging platform, most popular platform, with huge community of developers; allows no ads)
WordPress Tips Newsletter (Tom Johnson's blog)
Blogger(Web-based, free, owned by Google, whose ads you can post)
Drupal (an open source content management system with blogging features)
Expression Engine
Movable Type (a professional publishing platform, for developers)
Posterous spaces (Web-based, free, hard to set up, easy to post messages by email) says Jason Fitzpatrick, Lifehacker on 5 best blogging platforms (6-10-10)
Squarespace (Web based, monthly fee)
Typepad (for Movable Type fans--the best, says Mashable), not free
Tumblr (Web-based, free, a cross between a blog and a Twitter feed, good for ecommerce merchants)
Twitter (mobile-based one-sentence blogging, a topic discussed separately)

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 Teenagers migrate to Instagram from Facebook to get away from their parents, I was told.
Instagram, which Facebook owns, is image-oriented.


What is Instagram? A beginner's guide (Mark O'Neill, Roger Fingas, Android Authority)
What are Instagram Stories and how do they work? (Elyse Betters Picaro, Pocket Lint) Instagram Stories allow you to share multiple videos and photos taken throughout the day, complete with overlays of doodles and stickers, like Snapchat Stories. This slideshow reel of photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours, allowing you to share moments of your day without having to keep them on your Instagram Profile. You can add an Intsagram Story as a highlight if you want it to remain on your profile for longer than the 24 hours
Introducing Instagram Stories (Instagram)
What is Instagram Threads, and How Do You Use It? (Joe Fedewa, How-to Geek, 7-7-23) Instagram Threads is a social media app that revolves around writing short text posts of up to 500 characters--a mix between Instagram and Twitter (that's the goal). Posts can also include photos, short videos, and links. The app is not available in the European Union due to strict privacy rules and the upcoming Digital Markets Act. New for Threads is the ability to "Repost" and "Quote." A "Repost" is essentially a retweet, and quoting allows you to share the post with your own caption attached to it.
Threads Will Not Amplify News on the Platform, Says Instagram's Mosseri (Maxwell Zeff, Gizmodo, 10-12-23) Mosseri thinks it's better for the platform to be boring than inflammatory, and so do advertisers. “We’re not anti-news,” said Mosseri in a response to a concerned user on Threads. “But, we’re also not going to amplify news on the platform. To do so would be too risky given the maturity of the platform, the downsides of over-promising, and the stakes.”
      Mosseri reiterated that journalism is on Threads, and people can follow accounts that share news, but Wednesday’s statement is a reinforcement of Instagram’s narrative that Threads is not the place for hard news. “The goal isn’t to replace Twitter”, but to create a less angry place for conversation,” he said.
Taylor Lorenz on her extremely online history of the internet (Zoe Schiffer, Platformer, 10-3-23) Notes on selling books via Instagram stories, fighting with Elon, and which platform is best at shielding users from harassment.

     Lorenz describes her book Extremely Online: The Untold Story of Fame, Influence, and Power on the Internet as “a social history of social media,” starting with the mommy bloggers of the early 2000s and tracing the path of the creator to the TikTok influencers of today. “Instagram Stories [has been most effective at converting social media posts into book sales]. On TikTok people like to follow the journey, but it doesn’t convert into sales. Plus, they just keep buying the audiobook. Twitter has been worthless—it’s helped me get media attention, but that’s it." [H/T The Hot Sheet] .
Instagram Stories: What They Are and How to Make One Like a Pro (Sophia Bernazzani, Hubspot, 10-6-22) An Instagram app with features that "allow users to share ephemeral content for 24 hours--disappearing content that infuses brand voice and personality without taking up too much of the average user's dwindling attention span."
17 Instagram Book Promotion Ideas from Publishers (Shailee Shah, BookBub, 4-28-21) Image oriented so get that cellphone out and take pix!
Nat Geo's new editor lays out plan for social media dominance (Sara Fischer, Axios, 11-29-22) National Geographic "is the largest brand on social media, with more than 340 million followers across all of its accounts on Instagram." But Nathan Lump, its new editor-in-chief, said he's "trying to expand the company's digital footprint to include more short-form video, specifically via TikTok and Instagram Reels." He wants more NG stories, whether in print or online, to originate from social videos captured in the field.
The Instagram Account That Shattered a California High School ( Dashka Slater, NY Times Magazine, 8-17-23) It had barely a dozen followers, but the discovery of its racist posts turned a Bay Area community against itself — and changed students’ lives forever.
Meta's Nick Clegg on how AI is reshaping the feed (Casey Newton, Platformer, 6-29-23) A year after recommended posts caused a crisis at Instagram, the company's systems have improved — and it's ready to talk about how they work, And increasing consumer demand for short-form video continues to accelerate.
Instagram Is Over (Kate Lindsay, The Atlantic, 11-30-22) The app’s original purpose has been lost in the era of “performance” media. "The platform was perhaps the most significant among an old generation of popular apps that embodied the original purpose of social media: to connect online with friends and family. Its decline is about not just a loss of relevance, but a capitulation to a new era of “performance” media, in which we create online primarily to reach people we don’t know instead of the people we do."
Instagram influencers known for stunning travel photos say their reach has dropped up to 50% as the platform pushes video. (Tanya Chen, Business Insider, 5-18-22) Instagram shares revenue with video creators but not with still photographers.
How Maria Brito used Instagram to build a 7-figure art consulting business (Simon Owens's Media Newsletter, 1-27-22)
A Valentine’s P.S.A.: Instagram Is Not Your Friend Today (Margaret Renkl, NY Times, 2-14-22) There are many reasons to hate Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram: its predatory business model, its role in spreading false election information and false vaccine information,its exacerbation of political polarization, sucking up the details of our personal lives and turning them into a commodity.

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What Is Instagram, Anyway? (Elise Moreau, Lifewire, 11-8-19) It's like a simplified version of Facebook, with an emphasis on mobile use and visual sharing.
An Essential Guide to Instagram Stories + 5 Ways they will benefit your business (Crowdfire, 5-30-18) Illustrated how-to article.
Instagram walks back its changes (Casey Newton, Platformer, 7-28-22) Say goodbye to the full-screen feed, and at least some of those recommendations — for now. Adam Mosseri explains why. "A test version of the app that opened to full-screen photos and videos will be phased out over the next one to two weeks, and Instagram will also reduce the number of recommended posts in the app as it works to improve its algorithms."
Real Money, Fake Musicians: Inside a Million-Dollar Instagram Verification Scheme (Craig Silverman and Bianca Fortis, ProPublica, 8-31-22) A jeweler. A plastic surgeon. An OnlyFans Model. They and others received a blue check in likely the biggest Instagram verification scheme revealed to date. After ProPublica started asking questions, Meta removed badges from over 300 accounts.
A Scammer Who Tricks Instagram Into Banning Influencers Has Never Been Identified. We May Have Found Him. (Craig Silverman and Bianca Fortis, ProPublica, 3-26-23) OBN, a mysterious fraudster, says he made hundreds of thousands of dollars by exploiting Instagram’s security gaps. He’s eluded Meta and law enforcement, but we followed his trail to Las Vegas.
How BBC News topped 20m Instagram followers - and why it has stayed away from TikTok (Charlotte Tobbit, Press Gazette UK, 1-20-22) BBC News crossed 20m followers on Instagram in December – the first news account in the world to do so. BBC News head of social Jeremy Skeet told Press Gazette there is a simple formula of four things that have helped the account grow:
---“laser-like focus” on the audience
---regular posting
---creating more explainers especially in relation to Covid-19
---and using text on images.
Interesting relative Instagram follower counts for US and UK newsbrands, with BBC at top.
What Instagram really learned from hiding like counts (Casey Newton, Platformer, 5-26-21) "After more than two years of testing, today Instagram announced what it found: removing likes doesn’t seem to meaningfully depressurize Instagram, for young people or anyone else, and so likes will remain publicly viewable by default. But all users will now get the ability to switch them off if they like, either for their whole feed or on a per-post basis."

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How to filter out and hide comments you don't want to appear on your Instagram posts
How to Use Instagram Privacy Settings (Thomas Germain, Consumer Reports, 11-2-18) Instagram shares your location data and other information with Facebook. These steps will control how much data is collected and some of the ways it gets used.
Instagram Struggles With Fears of Losing Its ‘Pipeline’: Young Users (Sheera Frenkel, Ryan Mac and Mike Isaac, NY Times, 10-16-21) Facebook had long hoped that Instagram would bring more young people to its entire family of apps.The app has privately wrestled with retaining and engaging teenagers, according to internal documents. "Instagram’s fears about losing young users also highlights how much the internet industry prizes them — and how elusive their attention can be..."
Facebook Knows Instagram Is Toxic for Teen Girls, Company Documents Show (Georgia Wells,Jeff Horwitz, and Deepa Seetharaman, Wall Street Journal, 9-14-21)Its own in-depth research shows a significant teen mental-health issue that Facebook plays down in public. See also Teenage girls say Instagram’s mental health impacts are no surprise. (Erin Woo, NY Times, 10-5-21) Documents whistle-blower Frances Haugen provided to The Wall Street Journal showed that Instagram made body-image issues worse for one in three teenage girls.
Instagram is supposed to be friendly. So why is it making people so miserable? (Alex Hern, The Guardian, 9-17-18) For a growing number of users and mental health experts, the positivity of Instagram is precisely the problem, with its relentless emphasis on promoting ‘perfect’ lifestyles. Should everyone just stop scrolling?
Instagram for Authors: Post vs Stories, Live Video, IGTV, and More (Scott La Counte @buzz_trace, Ingram Spark, 4-18-19)
What I Learned In 6 Months On Bookstagram (Selina Falcon, BookRiot, 12-14-18) Bookstagram is "an incredibly time consuming hobby, but what I get out of it (friends, a community to talk books with, and a creative outlet that combines my love of books with my love of photography) makes it completely worth it."

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Instagram worst social media app for young people's mental health (Kara Fox, CNN, 5-19-17) Instagram is the most detrimental social networking app for young people's mental health, followed closely by Snapchat, according to a new report by the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. YouTube was found to have the most positive impact, while Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter all demonstrated negative affects overall on young people's mental health.
How to Use Instagram as an Author Plus 10 Ways to Grow Your Account Organically (Joanna Penn, 1-7-17) "... if your reader demographic is between the ages of 18 and 49, Instagram can be a strategic application for you to use."

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My kid is an Instagram Influencer. Here’s what I do with her money Kid influencers can be big business on Instagram. Three parents share how they manage their kids’ earnings–without spoiling them. Writer Pavithra Mohan (Fast Company, 5-8-19) talks to parents (Martha Krejci, Mai Nguyen-Miyoshi, and Simone Gittens) about their how they manage their daughters' (Norah, Zooey, and Summer's) income and fame from Instagram.
Will Instagram Ever ‘Free the Nipple’? (Julia Jacobs, NY Times, 11-22-19) For years, artists have put pressure on Facebook and Instagram to treat female and male nipples equally, but such a change may be too radical for Silicon Valley.
Strategies To Get More eCommerce Traffic from Instagram (MyEcomClub, info about eCommerce) #5: Showcase User Content. "According to research conducted by Crowdtap (2014), user-generated content is 50 percent more trusted than posts from a company, and 35 percent more memorable than business posts. This demonstrates the necessity of utilizing user-generated content for a company’s Instagram account."
10 Instagram Tips for Writers ( Annie Sullivan on Jane Friedman's blog, 9-6-18)
Best days and times to post instagrams (CoSchedule.com) "The best time to post is between 8-9 am. Avoid posting at 3-4 pm." Post during off-work hours, not during work hours.
20 Professional Writers to Follow on Instagram (Alice E.M. Underwood, Grammarly, 6-3-17)
How to Market Yourself on Instagram without a Book to Sell (Yet) (Shayla Raquel’s blog, 8-14-18)
How to Use Instagram for Business: A Complete Guide for Marketers (Sarah Dawley, Hootsuite, 1-30-18)
Social Media Marketing Understanding the Instagram Algorithm: 7 Key Factors and Why the Algorithm Is Great for Marketers (Alfred Lua, Buffer Social, 4-25-17)The Instagram algorithm, just like the Facebook News Feed algorithm, is so mysterious yet ingenious and brilliant in showing the best content to the most people. The seven key factors: engagement, relevance, relationships, timeliness (how recent), profile searches (the accounts you check out often), direct shares, time spent.
5 Ways to Use Instagram as an Author (Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine on Jane Friedman's blog, 11-19-15)
Making Videos Social with IGTV (Neda Dallal, via PenguinRandomHouse, Aug 2018) A tutorial on how to use IGTV, for long-form vertical video (smartphones).
How to Use Instagram (Digital Trends)

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Instagram (Wikipedia entry) Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social networking service owned by Facebook, Inc. It was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and launched in October 2010

Instagram in Education (Ashley MacQuarrie, Learning Liftoff, 11-20-12)
The Novelist's Guide to Instagram (NY Book Editors) How to use Instagram to sell more novels.
Explore the hidden patterns of the fashion Instagram universe (David Yanofsky & Jenni Avins, Quartz, 9-18-14)
Behind Instagram’s Success, Networking the Old Way (Somini Sengupta, Nichole Perlroth, and Jenna Wortham, NY Times, 4-13-12) The extraordinary success of Instagram is a tale about the culture of the Bay Area tech scene, driven by a tightly woven web of entrepreneurs and investors who nurture one another's projects with money, advice and introductions to the right people. By and large, it is a network of young men...
The Secret Behind Instagram’s Success (Dumb Little Man, 1-9-18)

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4 Creative Ways to Use Instagram for Business ( Dorothy Cheng, Social Media Examiner, 9-22-16) #1: Generate Sales With an Interactive Catalog and Product Profiles
Instagram: Now with ads ( Adrian Covert, Money, 10-3-13)
Instagram is testing a new way for celebrities and influencers to identify their sponsored posts (Anthony Ha, TechCrunch, 6-14-17) "Instagram is creating a standardized format that should make it clearer to everyone when a post has been paid for by an advertiser. These aren’t for ads that businesses buy directly from Instagram, but rather for influencer marketing, where brands pay celebrities and other users with a significant online following to promote their products. It’s an area that every big tech and media company seems interested in, but it’s also creating questions around disclosure and transparency. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission recently sent letters to more than 90 influencers reminding them that they need to “clearly and conspicuously” disclose when their posts are sponsored."

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#Bookstagram: How Readers Changed The Way We Use Instagram (Mara White, HuffPost, 10-25-17) "What is a #bookstagram? It’s an Instagram hashtag used to denote a book related picture. It can be an image of someone reading the book, the book itself, or objects that evoke something (plot, characters, themes) from the book. Images can be of the reader’s favorite reading spot at home, a shot of taking the book on an adventure or vacation, or a favorite local coffee shop or bookstore.
Tips for Starting a Bookstagram (Kelly Gallucci, Bookish, 6-16-20)
Bookstagram Etiquette for Authors (Bradeigh Godfrey, 10-14-19) Authors: "The first rule of Instagram is engagement." Comment briefly on positive posts, and don't comment on negative posts about your book. "Bookstagram is, by and large, a positive community."
Karla Huebner, novelist and art historian, writes: "Bookstagrammers can really make a difference if they like a novel. I found several books that way that I've added to my Goodreads to-read list. What I like less about Instagram is that (and this will sound strange coming from an art historian) it is so visual. Not that I don't like eye candy, but I want to see right off why someone liked a book; I don't care that much whether they took a lovely photo of it next to their teacup and bouquet of flowers."
The Ultimate Bookstagram Guide: 12 Bookstagrammers' tips for success (Page Anchor, 10-14-17) Lengthy and worth reading.
What I learned from six months on Bookstagram (Selina Falcoln, Book Riot, 12-14-18) Take lots of photos.
Instagram for Authors: Post vs Stories, Live Video, IGTV, and More (Scott La Counte (@buzz_trace), Ingram Spark, 4-18-19) As with any social media, hashtagging is important.
14 Book Instagrams to Follow if You Love Reading as Much as We Do (Jean-Philippe McKenzie, Oprah Daily, 1-24-19) FYI, they're called "bookstagrams."
330+ Bookstagram Hashtags to Grow FAST (Jules Buono) The Basics of Instagram Hashtags. Hashtags make it easy to categorize an Instagram post, and you (and others) can follow them like you would a user and/or search for them in the search bar.

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Copper A "platform built by authors and readers to transform the way we connect around books."
Copper is building ‘the Instagram for book lovers’ (Amanda Silberling, TechCrunch, 5-5-22) “You have Twitch for the gamers, and Etsy for the crafters, and Spotify and SoundCloud for the musicians,” said Allison Trowbridge, founder and CEO of Copper. “Authors have never had a platform that’s built around their needs, and helping them reach an audience and do it in a way that’s authentic and engaging and can scale, but also creates depth in the relationships.” But Copper needs to build a community of users.
This Founder Created a Social Media Platform for Authors That Aims to Disrupt the Publishing Industry (Amy Shoenthal, Forbes, 10-18-21) When Allison Trowbridge was writing her book, Twenty Two, she wondered why there was no social media platform for authors to market their books and forge deeper connections with readers. The platforms that existed serve readers but not authors. There were "photographers on Instagram, dancers on TikTok, gamers on Twitch, crafters on Etsy and musicians on SoundCloud." No platform centered around authors. "Copper is like a readers’ recommendation engine where you can share lists of book recommendations. Every author and every reader has their bookshelf on their profile."
Copper (social media packages for Brit-based Copper platform)
Six best social media marketing tools of 2019 (Copper) And a CRM that ties all your relationships together. Buffer, Hootsuite, SproutSocial, MeetEdgar, Mention and Tweetdeck.
Copper vs Send Social Media Comparison (GetApp)

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Discord is an instant messaging and VoIP social platform. Users have the ability to communicate with voice calls, video calls, text messaging, media and files in private chats or as part of communities called "servers."
Discord, Your Place to Hang Out A free voice, audio, video, and instant messaging platform that's primarily used by gamers to communicate with each other while playing video games. While other social platforms are oriented around one central community, Discord is divided into servers, or many smaller communities.
Beginner's Guide to Discord
Discord Moderators Academy
What Is Discord, the Social App Where Leaked Pentagon Documents Were Found? (Kellen Browning, NY Times, 4-10-23) Discord is similar to the workplace tool Slack. There is no central social feed or timeline with posts for users to scroll through. The platform was a niche product until the pandemic, when young people were searching for ways to chat with their friends and joining online communities. Discord gained popularity among gamers. But as it has become mainstream, it has run into controversy over the past few years.
     "Users can join public Discord servers, some of which have millions of members. Some servers are dedicated to discussion of specific games, like League of Legends or Fortnite, while others are communities for people to discuss art, music or artificial intelligence. They are similar to Facebook groups. There are also private Discord servers, which require an invitation to join."
     "Discord has faced several controversies over the years regarding harmful content on its platform, including white nationalists organizing the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 on Discord servers, and the shooter who killed 10 people at a Buffalo grocery store posting his plans and racist messages on the platform before his attack last year."
Inside Discord’s reform movement for banned users (Casey Newton, Plaatformer, 10-20-23) Most platforms ban their trolls forever. Discord wants to rehabilitate the large number of teenage trolls on the platform.
Parents' Ultimate Guide to Discord (Commonsense Media, 10-26-22) "Combining the internet-calling features of Skype with Reddit-like discussion boards, it's broadened from gamers-only to a social networking site for communities of all types. Users include those with non-gaming interests like anime, TV series, music, and more. It can also be an easy-to-use group-chatting tool for friends....Fortnite and Pokémon Go are two games with particularly big followings on Discord, especially for older kids and teens."

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Facebook 101, plus warnings

See also Social media superpowers under the microscope for problems about Facebook


Facebook draws a more mature crowd than Instagram and leans more toward written content. Older users tend to have more disposable income, so they're more likely to buy books than readers on Instagram.

You can write more than on Twitter, and images are easier to share on Facebook (though that's changing). Desperate about all the bad press it's getting in 2021, is Facebook really changing its name to Meta???


How to Create a Facebook Author Page (Written Word Media) and How To Optimize your Facebook Author Page to Sell Books (Written Word Media)
Facebook is changing its algorithm to take on TikTok, leaked memo reveals (Alex Heath, The Verge, 6-15-22) TikTok redefined the idea of a social media feed — can Facebook play catch-up before it’s too late? Facebook employees were recently given a new directive with sweeping implications: make the app’s feed more like TikTok. Simply bringing Reels, the company’s short-form video feature, from Instagram into Facebook wasn’t going to cut it. Rather than prioritize posts from accounts people follow, Facebook’s main feed will, like TikTok, start heavily recommending posts regardless of where they come from.
Facebook’s Apps Went Down. The World Saw How Much It Runs on Them. (Raymond Zhong and Adam Satariano, NY Timres, 10-5-21) Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger have long been more than handy tools for chatting and sharing photos. The five-hour outage disrupted the digital lives of small-business owners, politicians, aid workers and others. But for some, it was a welcome reprieve.
Facebook Is Weaker Than We Knew (Kevin Roose, NY Times, 10-4-21) A trove of leaked documents, published by The Wall Street Journal, hints at a company whose best days are behind it. One possible way to read “The Facebook Files,” The Wall Street Journal’s excellent series of reports based on leaked internal Facebook research, is as a story about an unstoppable juggernaut bulldozing society on its way to the bank.
The People Deliberately Killing Facebook (Edward Zitron, Where's Your Ed At?, 5-20-24) "Over the last decade, few platforms have declined quite as rapidly and visibly as Facebook and Instagram. What used to be apps for catching up with your friends and family are now algorithmic nightmares that constantly interrupt you with suggested content and advertisements that consistently outweigh the content of people that you choose to follow.
     "Conversely, those running Facebook groups routinely find that their content isn’t even being shown to those who choose to follow them thanks to Meta’s outright abusive approach to social media where the customer is not only wrong, but should ideally have little control over what they see.

     "Over the next two newsletters, I’m going to walk you through the decline of Facebook and Instagram...

     " ...Every single terrible thing you see on Facebook — be it some sort of horrible right wing nonsense or a confusing and annoying product decision — is made in pursuit of growth. Every bit of damage that Meta has caused to the world has been either an act of ignorance or deliberate harm, at many times tweaking the product to make it harder or more annoying to use so that you will log onto Facebook or Instagram multiple times a day and spend as much time on there as possible."
A Valentine’s P.S.A.: Instagram Is Not Your Friend Today (Margaret Renkl, NY Times, 2-14-22) There are many reasons to hate Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram: its predatory business model, its role in spreading false election information and false vaccine information,its exacerbation of political polarization, sucking up the details of our personal lives and turning them into a commodity.
The Largest Autocracy on Earth (Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic, 9-27-21) Facebook is acting like a hostile foreign power; it’s time we treated it that way. Facebook requires a civil-defense strategy as much as regulation from the Securities and Exchange Commission.
KOK Edit's excellent social media links Katharine O'Moore-Klopf detailed links to posts about Facebook, Google-Plus, Linked-In, and Twitter.
Loneliness and Facebook use: the role of social comparison and rumination (B. Dibb and M. Foster, Heliyon, 1-7-21) Although we know that rumination is linked to depression and social network use, there is less evidence for rumination influencing loneliness. Given the strong evidence for a relationship between rumination and depression, depression and Facebook use, and depression and loneliness, this link seems probable.
Facebook Grew Marketplace to 1 Billion Users. Now Scammers Are Using It to Target People Around the World. (Craig Silverman, A.C. Thompson and Peter Elkind, ProPublica, 9-22-21) For years, Carman Alfonsi relied upon Facebook Marketplace to buy and sell used pool tables for his Michigan billiards business. He banked a steady stream of income from the wildly popular online bazaar. But this July, Alfonsi’s Facebook account was hacked and used to post roughly 100 scam listings for cell phones and vehicles, directing buyers to contact an email address controlled by the scammers.
Facebook cracks down on misinformation superspreaders (Issie Lapowsky, Protocol, 5-25-21) Facebook will now limit the spread of all posts from individual Facebook users who repeatedly share content that's been debunked by fact-checkers. It will begin alerting people if they are about to Like a Page that has repeatedly shared misinformation. There are a lot of unanswered questions about how it will work, but a Facebook spokesperson said the company's not sharing these details due to "very real concerns about gaming the system.


"Can you trust Facebook with news?
Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News (Michael Nunez, Gizmodo, 5-9-16) “I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news.” “Facebook got a lot of pressure about not having a trending topic for Black Lives Matter.”
What Facebook Did to American Democracy (Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, 10-12-17) And why it was so hard to see it coming. The potential for Facebook to have an impact on an election was clear for at least half a decade.
     “The most serious political problem posed by filter bubbles is that they make it increasingly difficult to have a public argument....Just as Instagram borrowed Snapchat’s “Stories” to help crush the site’s growth, Facebook decided it needed to own “news” to take the wind out of the newly IPO’d Twitter.
      “How does a [political] campaign know what its opponent is saying if ads are only targeted to white Jewish men between 28 and 34 who have expressed a fondness for U2 on Facebook and who donated to Barack Obama’s campaign?”   

      'Targeting made tracking the actual messaging that the campaigns were paying for impossible to track. On Facebook, the campaigns could show ads only to the people they targeted.'
Facebook, under attack for choosing “trending” stories, should embrace the 1st Amendment (First Amendment Coalition) "To avoid the death by a thousand regulatory lashes that was Microsoft’s fate for nearly two decades, Facebook should embrace the protections of the First Amendment. Facebook is not an empty platform to be filled by others. It is a community, a “social network,” that is rich in third-party content. And, crucially, that third-party content is curated by Facebook. Whether the curatorial function is performed by computers or editors in a smoke-filled newsroom doesn’t matter. The point is that Facebook is making editorial choices; ergo, Facebook enjoys the highest degree of First Amendment protection."
Facebook Isn’t Telling You How Popular Right-Wing Content Is on the Platform (Corin Faife, Citizen Browser, The Markup, 11-18-21) Facebook insists that mainstream news sites perform the best on its platform. But by other measures, sensationalist, partisan content reigns
How to Use Facebook Privacy Settings (Thomas Germain, Consumer Reports, 7-31-22) These controls and techniques give users a measure of control over how Facebook collects and uses personal data
A counter-argument: Platform Neutrality: Enhancing Freedom of Expression in Spheres of P (Frank A. Pasquale III University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law; Yale University - Yale Information Society Project, 5-12-16) Abstract: "Troubling patterns of suppressed speech have emerged on the corporate internet. A large platform may marginalize (or entirely block) potential connections between audiences and speakers. Consumer protection concerns arise, for platforms may be marketing themselves as open, comprehensive, and unbiased, when they are in fact closed, partial, and self-serving. Responding to protests, the accused platform either asserts a right to craft the information environment it desires, or abjures responsibility, claiming to merely reflect the desires and preferences of its user base. Such responses betray an opportunistic commercialism at odds with the platforms’ touted social missions. Large platforms should be developing (and holding themselves to) more ambitious standards for promoting expression online, rather than warring against privacy, competition, and consumer protection laws. These regulations enable a more vibrant public sphere. They also defuse the twin specters of monopolization and total surveillance, which are grave threats to freedom of expression."

•  In Defense of Politics on Facebook (Will Oremus, OneZero, 2-13-2021) Social networks would love to show users less political content. Here’s why that’s a problem. There is good reason to worry that Facebook’s algorithms will end up discriminating against posts by marginalized groups, among other inevitable flaws.
Fake News Gets More Engagement on Facebook—But Only If It's Right-Wing (Gilad Edelman, Wired, 3-3-21) Far-right pages that publish misinformation get the most interactions by far compared to other news sources, new research shows--but only if it's right wing. "The researchers found that while left-leaning and centrist publications get much less engagement if they publish misinformation, the relationship is reversed on the far right, where news organizations that regularly publish false material get up to 65 percent more engagement than ones that don’t...“What we find is that among the far right in particular, misinformation is more engaging than non-misinformation,” said Laura Edelson, a doctoral candidate and the lead researcher.
The Binders isn’t a secret anymore. Where does the giant Facebook group go from here? (Kate Dwyer, Nieman Lab, 5-24-21) In June 2014, the Canadian freelance writer Anna Fitzpatrick created a group on facebook to network & share info & gossip about One Direction, calling it Binders Full of Women....here were regional subgroups, and subgroups for writers of marginalized identities. There were subgroups for certain types of posts (like job listings), and subgroups for genres and mediums, like travel writing and screenwriting. Every subgroup’s admin was a volunteer and and no umbrella organization united these 200-plus Facebook groups, so none of them were officially affiliated with each other, apart from a document in the main group with a directory of all the subgroups." It was seen as a safe space for women and secrecy was part of what made it safe, but when a group grows very large very fast, with a gazillion subgroups, it's not always easy to maintain the quality of discussion.
Binders Full of Women Writers: can a secret Facebook group be inclusive? (Caty Enders, The Guardian, 8-5-15) Can an online ‘safe space’ be both selective and preoccupied with inclusivity? That’s a question that Binders Full of Women Writers is trying to sort out after a member published an article about the Facebook group.
The Marsh family's Les Miz parody, which they launched at the beginning of the lockdowns in England at the end of March in 2020, was the one that made them famous. (H/T Cj Madigan and Marcy Davis.)
6 Steps to Creating a High-Performing Facebook Ad
The 11 Facebook Ad Campaign Objectives and How to Choose What’s Right For Your Business (Maddie Sheng, Hubspot) See free Facebook Ads Training Course: How to Build Great Ads & Audiences
Facebook 101 for authors (Joel Pitney, on BuildBookBuzz, 12-21-16) Invaluable. Facebook encourages conciseness but accuracy is not its strong suit.
A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking (Mark Zuckerberg, 3-6-19)
The Best Facebook Group on the Internet Is Filled with Old Salt and Pepper Shakers, Grandmothers, and Whimsy (Madeline Bilis, Apartment Therapy, 11-2-20) I agree.
Something has changed at Facebook, and it's turning social media marketing upside down (Chris Adams, Miles Partnership, 8-27-14) '... to reach any significant number of your own fans/followers, you now need to advertise on the platform. An online community which grew explosively based on free, open conversation by its members has suddenly become a “pay-to-play” platform for business. Typical organic posts from commercial entities, which are not sponsored or “boosted” in any way, are now reaching only a small fraction (only 1%-2%) of their own fans/followers on Facebook. This change has been driven by slow but steady changes in Facebook’s “EdgeRank,” the complex algorithm that controls what content you see in your News Feed.'
A Declaration of Independence from Facebook (Mike Elgan). A mini-history and summary of what's wrong about Facebook, whose success came from encouraging our FOMO ("fear of missing out"). "And maybe worst of all, they hijack our psychology deliberately like rats in some kind of sick experiment to keep us pushing buttons for that dopamine reward of approval."
Facebook reverses on paid influencers after Bloomberg memes (Barbara Ortutay and Amanda Seitz, AP, 2-14-2020) Friday’s policy reversal highlights difficulties tech companies and regulators have in keeping up with the changing nature of paid political messages. The change comes days after Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg exploited a loophole to run humorous messages promoting his campaign on the accounts of popular Instagram personalities followed by millions of younger people.
Best Time to Post on Facebook (Buffer) Finding the best time to post to Facebook can massively help your business stand out and reach more of your audience — even as Facebook organic reach continues to decline.
Facebook will now show you exactly how it stalks you — even when you’re not using Facebook (Geoffrey A. Fowler, WaPo, 1-28-2020) The new ‘Off-Facebook Activity’ tool reminds us we’re living in a reality TV program where the cameras are always on. Here are the privacy settings to change right now.
Facebook virtually killed an Oregon man, then brought him back to life (Cristin Severance, 5 on Your Side, 12-31-18) A Portland man, Mike Ostrander, says Facebook memorialized his account, something the social media site does when a user passes away. The only problem: he’s not dead. According to their rules, a request must be sent naming the person who passed away and something must be provided as a proof of death, like an obituary. See FAQs about Memorialized Facebook Accounts.
The Trauma Floor: The secret lives of Facebook moderators in America (Casey Newton, The Verge, 2-25-19) For "the 1,000 people like Chloe moderating content for Facebook at the Phoenix site, and for 15,000 content reviewers around the world, today is just another day at the office...Employees are pressured not to discuss the emotional toll that their job takes on them, even with loved ones, leading to increased feelings of isolation and anxiety....A content moderator working for Cognizant in Arizona will earn just $28,800 per year....The moderators told me it’s a place where the conspiracy videos and memes that they see each day gradually lead them to embrace fringe views."

Can We Be Facebook Friends? Can doctors and patients be Facebook friends? (entry on Social Media Healthcare

Facebook feed change sacrifices time spent and news outlets for ‘well-being’ (Josh Constine, TechCrunch, 1-12-18) acebook is making a huge change to its News Feed algorithm to prioritize friends and posts that spark comments between them at the expense of public content, news outlets and, importantly, the total time spent and ads you see on the social network." CEO Mark Zuckerberg is changing emphasis "from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions...from isolated feed scrolling... to private chatting with friends and back-and-forth discussion of content...The winners in this change will be users and their sense of community...The biggest losers will be publishers who’ve shifted resources to invest in eye-catching pre-recorded social videos, because, Mosseri says, 'video is such a passive experience.'”
Organic Reach Is Dead: Why You Need to Pay to Play on Facebook (High Season Co., 1-19-18) "Translation: If you want to reach your customers via the Facebook platform, you’ve gotta pay up....Facebook offers some of the most highly effective means of targeting online..."
Facebook’s Screening for Political Ads Nabs News Sites Instead of Politicians (Jeremy B. Merrill and Ariana Tobin, ProPublica, 6-15-18) The social network is letting some political ads slip through without the required verification, while blocking promotional posts by news organizations, which are pushing back. So much for the revised algorithms.
Does Social Media Impact SEO? We Ran an Experiment to Find Out ( Zak Ramdani · Eva Taylor, Hootsuite, 5-10-18)
Facebook announces further measures to tackle “false news” (Paul Hill, Neowin, 6-21-18) The most famous entrepreneur of his generation is facing a public reckoning with the power of Big Tech. "...former Facebook executives, echoing a growing body of research, began to voice misgivings about the company’s role in exacerbating isolation, outrage, and addictive behaviors....Chamath Palihapitiya, the former vice-president of user growth, told an audience at Stanford, “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works—no civil discourse, no coöperation, misinformation, mistruth.” "s Facebook expanded, so did its blind spots. The company’s financial future relies partly on growth in developing countries, but the platform has been a powerful catalyst of violence in fragile parts of the globe....Nowhere has the damage been starker than in Myanmar, where the Rohingya Muslim minority has been subject to brutal killings, gang rapes, and torture."
Black Activists Warn that Facebook Hasn’t Done Enough to Stop Racist Harassment (Pema Levy, Mother Jones, 7-9-2020) As protests erupted, the company offered kind gestures—and allowed bigotry to stand.
The Central Question Behind Facebook: 'What Does Mark Zuckerberg Believe In?' (Dave Davies, Fresh Air, NPR, 10-4-18) Last week, Facebook announced the most serious security breach in its history, in which unknown hackers were able to log onto the accounts of nearly 50 million Facebook users. osThat breach was just one of several crises plaguing the world's largest social media platform. Free speech issues and the Russian disinformation campaign targeting the 2016 election had already put Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, under scrutiny as the midterm elections approach.
Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy? (Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, 9-17-18) Osnos says the company has come up against "a growing and really serious decline of public trust, both among politicians and among the general public." with 2.2 billion monthly active users,Facebook is larger than any country. "In literal terms, it now has as many adherents as Christianity." Zuckerberg implied in 2010 that privacy is no longer a social norm. He claimed (in not wanting to identify who paid for ads) that Facebook "shouldn't have to follow those rules because we're a new technology, and in their filings, they said you don't want to stifle the growth of new innovation." Facebook offered to embed employees in both the Trump and Clinton campaigns to help them use the platform effectively; Trump accepted, Clinton didn't. Etc.
Facebook Could Actually Benefit From a Little Regulation (Frédéric Filloux, Shop Talk, Editor & Publisher, 6-15-18)
Can You Spot the Deceptive Facebook Post? (Keith Collins and Sheera Frenkel, NY Times, 9-4-18) Can you guess which post is from a fake page? Several pairs of images to test yourself with.
Social media superpowers under the microscope Manipulation, copyright violation, clickbait, and other issues with the Internet "monopolies" (starring Facebook).
After years of growth, the use of social media (read: Facebook) for news is falling across the world (Nieman Lab, 6-18) From a survey: The Trump bump continues…Sixteen percent of respondents in the U.S. pay for some kind of online news — with almost all of the growth coming from left-leaning people and people under 35.... more than two-thirds of respondents (68 percent) are either unaware of the problems of the news industry or believe that most news organizations are making a profit from digital news....Those that were aware that digital newspapers are making a loss (10 percent of our sample) are more likely to pay for a news subscription or give a donation. Reuters: Donations may help bridge the gap between paying nothing and an expensive subscription, but they also work better for a generation that likes to access multiple sources on multiple devices." And so on.
Is it too late to fix Facebook? (Jennifer Van Grove, San Diego Union Tribune, 6-2-18) "Facebook has a friends and family problem, meaning the tight-knit social fabric that drew us in — important or heart-warming posts from our moms, dads, sisters, brothers and besties — has all but unraveled. Instead, in our News Feed, we’re left with partially satisfying updates from loose connections, the day’s news and the ensuing rants, and videos we never asked to see."
Sreetips on Facebook (@SreeTips)
Facebook made some private posts public for as many as 14M (AP, Fox News and others, 6-7-18) Another software bug.
Facebook exec in 2016 warned taking down misinformation would 'disproportionately affect conservatives': report (Marty Johnson, The Hill, 2-20-20) 'The program quickly found dozens of pages that had put out false information about the election and its candidates in the weeks leading up to the election. It was also discovered that the majority of the pages were based overseas, had financial motives and exhibited significant conservative bias, the Post reported... “We can’t remove all of it because it will disproportionately affect conservatives,” said Kaplan, who worked in former President George W. Bush's White House, according to the Post.'
This webcomic artist has 1 million fans on Facebook. Here’s how he got them (Simon Owens, Medium, 10-10-18) "Chris Grady didn’t know much about the webcomic world when he launched Lunarbaboon, a semi-autobiographical comic about family and parenthood. But shortly after launching the comic, he started sharing it to Reddit, and suddenly Lunarbaboon was being seen and shared by tens of thousands of people. Flash forward a few years, and Lunarbaboon has over a million followers on Facebook. Grady generates $1,500 a month on Patreon and has launched several successful Kickstarter projects related to his comic." His latest Kickstarter is for a board game he helped illustrate and create...
How Facebook’s Oracular Algorithm Determines the Fates of Start-Ups (Burt Helm, NY Times Magazine, 11-2-17) The platform is so good at “microtargeting” that many small e-commerce companies barely even bother advertising anywhere else.
Facebook Conceded It Might Make You Feel Bad. Here’s How to Interpret That. (Farhad Manjoo, State of the Art, NY Times, 12-15-17) Concerns over social-media-born misinformation and propaganda during last year’s presidential race, and over what Facebook might be doing to our psychology and social relationships — whether it has addicted us to “short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops” that “are destroying how society works,” have Silicon Valley wondering, What if Facebook is rotting our brains? Hence this Facebook blog post by David Ginsberg and Moira Burke: Hard Questions: Is Spending Time on Social Media Bad for Us? (Dec. 2017): The bad: In general, when people spend a lot of time passively consuming information — reading but not interacting with people — they report feeling worse afterward. he good: On the other hand, actively interacting with people — especially sharing messages, posts and comments with close friends and reminiscing about past interactions — is linked to improvements in well-being. Simply broadcasting status updates wasn’t enough; people had to interact one-on-one with others in their network. And they outline what they are doing about improving Facebook to make it more positively socially interactive.
Facebook Cheat Sheet: All Sizes and Dimensions (Dreamgrow)
Facebook is adding a button to let users get more “background information” (aka information from Wikipedia pages) on publishers (Shan Wang, Nieman Lab, 4-4-18). Wikipedia?
Facebook 101: Understanding When & How To Use Basic Features (Greg Finn, Search Engine Land, 12-7-10) A simple guide to getting started using Facebook for marketing your business, organization or events.
Does Facebook Own My Photos? (Harry Guinness, How-to Geek, 4-25-17) No. 'It's right in Facebook’s terms of service: “You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook.“Another important clause is, “This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account.” Again, this gives you control. If you delete a photo, Facebook’s license is revoked. It’s the same when you delete your account.' 'Facebook gets a “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license” to your photos...“subject to your privacy and application settings”.''Through Facebook’s privacy settings you’re able to control exactly how your images are used. If you only want your close friends to see them? You can do that. This means that, even though Facebook’s license is broad, you’re still in control of how it’s implemented.'
How to schedule a Facebook group post (Sandra Beckwith, Build Book Buzz, 8-9-17)
Retired Fighter Pilot Amy McGrath Announces Run For Congress In Kentucky With One Of The Best Political Ads We’ve Ever Seen (WYSK, 8-3-17). I got to this video/ad through a Facebook post. How could you NOT vote for the woman?
2 Facebook tips for authors (Sandra Beckwith, Building Book Buzz) How to edit or delete comments, especially your own.
Book Promotion with Facebook (Cathy Stucker's Selling Books)
The Highest Converting Facebook Page I've Ever Seen. Glen Allsopp, ViperChill, includes How to Set Up a High-Converting Facebook Fan Page (editing added. This kid needs an editor, with sentences like "There is no industry where people make as many generalisations than they do with SEO"), but he holds readers' interest and builds an audience with helpful advice and insights, as in Affiliate SEO: How websites are ranking in the most profitable niches and How to Really Build Backlinks and Dominate Google.
Facebook 101 for Business: Your Complete Guide
(Mari Smith, Social Media Examiner)
Facebook Guidelines on Timeline Cover Image (TECHWELKiN)
Facebook is more important to news distribution than you think, and journalists are freaked out (Sam Kirkland, Poynter, 10-2-14)
10 questions journalists should ask themselves before going live on Facebook (Al Tompkins, Poynter, 7-8-16)
Basic Privacy Settings & Tools for Facebook (Facebook Help Center)
The Man Who Stood Up To Facebook (Aarti Shahani, All Things Considered, 10-13-16). Listen or read transcript.
How to save a Facebook link to read later (Sandra Beckwith, BuildBookBuzz, 7-5-17)
Facebook Carousel Content: How to Make Your Posts and Ads Stand Out ( Mari Smith, Social Media Examiner, 4-19-16)
The Met ousted a top executive, so he used Facebook to show the world how to do unemployment right (Jenni Avins, Quartz) When New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art hired Sree Sreenivasan (@sree) as its first-ever chief digital officer in 2013, the move made headlines. So did his work in the three years that followed. The day the news broke about his dismissal, he posted a note on Facebook, announcing his unemployment. (See Sree's note on Facebook (6-17-16). His strategy worked. See How one digital expert turned his social network into a new job (Roben Farzad, PBS NewsHour, 8-4-16) Takeaway: "“It’s important to have control of your narrative.”
The case of high heels: How open-ended questions on Facebook can spark story leads (Roy Peter Clark, Poynter, 2-15-11)
How Will Facebook's 3,000 New Content Moderators Tackle the Violent Videos Program? (Cale Guthrie Weissman, Fast Company, 5-12-17) Here’s what we know so far about this new global army of moderators hired to flag and take down inappropriate posts and videos.
How journalists are using Facebook, Twitter to write mini serial narratives (Roy Peter Clark, Poynter)
All Facebook (Social Times keeps up with Facebook news)
Facebook Strategy for Authors: In-Depth Discussion (Jane Friedman, 6-1-12)
5 Principles for Using Facebook (Jane Friedman, 4-3-12)
3 Principles for Facebook Fan Pages (Jane Friedman, 8-16-11)
Too Many Facebook Friends: Blessing or Curse? (Jane Friedman, 11-21-11)
Facebook wants to make it easier for publishers to make money (Benjamin Mullin, Poynter, 9-12-16)
“Facebook has always been where my audience was”: Meet some of the local journalists writing the first paid newsletters at Facebook (Sarah Scire, Nieman Lab, 9-2-21) Facebook named 25 local journalists who will join Bulletin, a newsletter platform that provides “independent creators” with a website, podcasting capabilities, and a host of social, monetization, and content moderation tools. While they’re aware of Facebook’s mixed history with publishers, they can’t help but be hopeful.
How activists of color lose battles against Facebook’s moderator army (Aaron Sankin, Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting, 8-17-17) As Facebook is under the microscope for failing to stop harassment and the spread of fake news, it also faces another problem: The social media giant’s reporting policies punish minority users in a variety of ways.
Underpaid and overburdened: The life of a Facebook Moderator (Olivia Solon, The Guardian, 5-25-17) Testimony from those working to keep beheadings, bestiality and child sexual abuse images off Facebook indicates that the support provided isn’t enough. Part of a series of investigative stories about Facebook.
Facebook’s Secret Censorship Rules Protect White Men From Hate Speech But Not Black Children (Julia Angwin, ProPublica, and Hannes Grassegger, on ProPublica, 6-28-17) A trove of internal documents sheds light on the algorithms that Facebook’s censors use to differentiate between hate speech and legitimate political expression.

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Facebook (major social networking site, tending more toward personal than professional)
Facebook Strategy for Authors (Jane Friedman, 6-1-12, "Being human at electric speed: Exploring what it means to be a writer in the digital age"). Former publisher of Writer's Digest. Her personal strategy:
~~5 Principles for Using Facebook (4-3-12)
~~3 Principles for Facebook Fan Pages (8-16-11)
~~Too Many Facebook Friends: Blessing or Curse? (11-21-11)
Facebook: Best practices for profiles, pages, groups, and posts (Darcy Patterson, Wow!)
Facebook for the Famous (Matt Haber, Today, Fast Company, on WhoSay (social media for celebrities only)
A Facebook story: A mother's joy and a family's sorrow. Ian Shapira, Washington Post, has edited and annotated Shana Greatman Swers Facebook page to tell her story from pre-baby date nights to a medical odyssey that turned the ecstasy of childbirth into a struggle for life.
Facebook Scandal Version 2.0 (Michael S. Malone, ABC News, 2-20-09,on Facebook's growing pains and our rights as Facebook users)

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Spotify and subscription model, patronage model, ads, music, podcasts, live audio

Do changing models benefit authors?

Remember What Spotify Did to the Music Industry? Books Are Next. (Kim Scott, Opinion, NY Times, 12-13-23) Spotify may have made it easier than ever for us to listen to an enormous trove of music, but it extracted so much money in doing so that it impoverished musicians. Now the company is turning its attention to books with a new offering. It will do the same thing to writers, whose audiobooks Spotify has begun streaming in a new and more damaging way.... In 2020, 90 percent of the royalties Spotify paid out went to the top 0.8 percent of artists, according to an analysis by Rolling Stone.That leaves a vast majority — including many within even that small group — struggling to earn a living.... This is why regulation is so crucial."

     "The publishing industry has already been squeezed by the rise of Amazon and a broader industry consolidation that has narrowed success to a smaller field of winners, but the business has remained relatively intact because even Amazon still prices books by the title. If the industry moves to a Spotify pricing model for audiobooks on other platforms — like Audible — that, combined with the company algorithm, will damage publishers and authors. Authors: We can act collectively. I asked my publisher not to include my books in this new offering and encourage you to do the same."
How Spotify Saved the Music Industry (But Not Necessarily Musicians) (Freakonomics, Episode 374, 4-10-19) Daniel Ek, a 23-year-old Swede who grew up on pirated music, made the record labels an offer they couldn’t refuse: a legal platform to stream all the world’s music. Spotify reversed the labels’ fortunes, made Ek rich, and thrilled millions of music fans. But what has it done for all those musicians stuck in the long tail?
Spotify claims to have paid audiobook publishers ‘tens of millions’ in royalties (Ella Creamer,The Guardian, 2-1-24) "The streaming company says its payout model is competitive, but the Society of Authors has raised doubts about whether authors ultimately benefit. The industry body said it is “still waiting to see the effect on author incomes and whether these are real additional sales or simply take market share from Amazon....The SoA said that it urges “all authors to ask questions of their publishers” and that in particular, it would ask that Spotify revenues “be noted separately on royalty statements so that authors can weigh up the impact and ensure that these downloads are being correctly accounted as licences rather than sales”.”
Information for Authors about Spotify’s New Audiobook Service (Authors Guild, Finances & Compensation The Publishing Industry, 11-17-23) As the UK’s Society of Authors and others have noted, music streaming has had a “devastating effect … on artists’ incomes,” and a subscription model for books could have a similar impact unless there are adequate payment terms in place.
Spotify wants to become the go-to for podcasts. Creators and audiences should worry. (Hank Green, WashPost, 5-27-2020) "My guess — and I’m hardly alone — is that Spotify wants to become to podcasts what YouTube is for video....In the ecosystem of YouTube, which Google owns, tens of thousands of small businesses depend on the whims of one of the largest companies in the world for both audience and revenue. Like Facebook with Instagram, Google’s YouTube stands between content creators and their audiences, extracting value and exercising control in a near monopoly. No such company exists in podcasting... [But] there is a strong ideological opposition to harming the open nature of the podcast ecosystem. Would that opposition be enough? Here’s hoping."
Is Spotify's podcast bet finally paying off? (Simon Owens's media newsletter) It's far ahead of its competitors in building a "YouTube for podcasts."...For most of Spotify’s existence, ads have only been distributed to its free users, which means that 45% of its user base has been unreachable with advertising — even though paid users are likely its most affluent and engaged.   which means that Spotify is finally delivering ads to its entire audience."
Do your subscribers actually want paywalled content? (Simon Owens, 11-5-21) More and more creators are pivoting to a patronage model. "I like Anne Helen Peterson’s approach of subscriber-only discussion threads. They remove the burden on her to produce a lot of paywalled content, but they allow her subscribers to still feel like they’re part of an exclusive community."
Half of U.S. consumers attempt to bypass publishers’ paywalls (Jack Marshall, Toolkits.com, 10-24-22) "Widespread circumvention can result in lost revenue for publishers, but it also impacts their ability to collect valuable first-party data and to accurately understand audience behaviors and interests... For publishers, striking a balance between content security, distribution, discoverability and conversion optimization isn’t easy. The sweet spot between attracting and engaging new readers and locking content to convert those readers into paying subscribers is difficult to find and maintain."


News companies reverse course on hard subscriptions (Sara Fischer, Axios, 2-6-24) Among short takes featured in this long story:

    "News companies are reversing course on hard subscriptions — once seen as a safer alternative to the volatile ad market — in favor of flexible paywalls, membership programs and more ads.
     "The big picture: A strategy focused mainly on subscriptions requires upfront spending on premium content. That takes time to pay off — and many publishers don't have the cushion for that in the current ad slowdown.
     "At the same time, many outlets have learned that simply throwing a paywall up over your previously free content doesn't work either. It throttles ad revenue without capturing enough new subscribers."

     "While a few major national news outlets, such as the New York Times, Bloomberg and Dow Jones, have had success scaling their subscriber bases, most other news companies have struggled to sustain momentum following the Trump-era subscription news boom. "My hunch is that the existing model is creaking," the Post's Lewis told Semafor. "We went from an advertising model to a subscription-based model, and that subscription-based model is now waning and then will enter a more significant period of decline."

What is Spotify and how does it work? (Adrian Willings, Pocket-Lint, 2-15-21) Spotify is a digital music streaming service that gives you access to millions of songs, podcasts and videos from artists all over the world, like Apple Music. There's a free version and a subscription version.
If You Like MasterClass, Get Ready for BookClub (The Hot Sheet) There’s a new publishing startup in town— BookClub—and it’s so far raised $6 million for a platform focused on richly produced book club discussions with authors. When you visit the site, it may feel reminiscent of another learning site with cinematic values, MasterClass—which is not an accident. The three-word pitch for BookClub: “MasterClass for authors....The upcoming service hopes readers will pay for high-production-value recordings of moderated conversations with authors, among other perks."
The Crux of the Kerfuffle (TomWebster, I Hear Things, 10-29-21) "How can Apple and Spotify both be "Number One" (when we all know Apple is)? The short answer--they both sit atop very different ladders. If you want to measure downloads, Apple has been and continues to be the leader. But the Spotify platform is preferred by more people."
Laying the Pipes of a Post-Advertising World (Andre Redelinghuys, NewCo Shift, 5-31-18) The shift from brands and advertising to pipes and subscriptions is inevitable — and well underway. Want proof? Look to Disney. Soon they will launch their subscription video competitor to Netflix. With a lot on the line, a transformation of epic proportions lies ahead. Whether it’s successful or not, it speaks volumes that the owner of the most magical brands in the world is entering the pipe race
Spotify is the newly crowned king of podcasting (YouTube, 10-29-21) Jaclyn Schiff and Simon Owens discuss what Spotify's popularity for podcasting means for the future of podcasting. An interesting and wide-ranging conversation about
Spotify’s advertising business is booming thanks to podcasts (Ad Age, 10-27-21) Investors have been waiting for Spotify’s multibillion dollar investment in podcasting and advertising technology to turn its money-losing music service into a profitable audio service.
Spotify’s podcast ad revenue jumps 627% in Q2 (Amanda Silberling, TechCrunch, 7-28-21) "In April, Spotify launched paid podcast subscriptions — through Anchor, the podcast host that it bought in 2019, creators can choose to put certain content behind a paywall.... Still, the more power a platform like Spotify has over the podcasting industry, the fewer options creators will have for monetization — already, the ubiquity of streaming platforms has taken a toll on musicians, who are working together to demand better compensation from Spotify.

      "...on average, artists get $0.0038 per stream of a song, which means that a song needs to be streamed 263 times to make a single dollar. Spotify has continued to grow during the pandemic, but because live shows are musicians’ best way to make money in the age of streaming, artists have struggled while it’s unsafe to go on tour."
Spotify launches its live audio app and Clubhouse rival, Spotify Greenroom (Sarah Perez, Tech Crunch, 6-16-21)
Spotify launches its live audio app and Clubhouse rival, Spotify Greenroom (Sarah Perez. Tech Crunch, 6-16-21) Spotify acquired the sports-focused audio app Locker Room to speed its entry into the live audio market. Its new app allows Spotify users worldwide to join or host live audio rooms, and optionally turn those conversations into podcasts. It’s also announcing a Creator Fund that will help fuel the new app with more content in the future. To join the new app, Spotify users will sign in with their current Spotify account information. See Spotify Greenroom Get rewarded for creating must-hear live audio.
Storytel’s partnership with Spotify unlocks a back door to the Holy Grail that is the US audiobook market (Mark Williams, TNPS, 5-24-21) Storytel’s announcement that it is partnering with the fellow Sweden-based streaming giant Spotify made headlines around the world except, notably, in the English-language book publishing journals where it either went unnoticed or at best warranted a news snippet mention.
Alex Cooper Takes All (Kat Stoeffel, Bustle, 7-21-21) Fascinating profile of Alex Cooper, a fledgling sex and relationships podcaster (Call Her Daddy) who just landed a $60 million Spotify deal. She had been admitted to an exclusive dating app that ejects members for talking about it, which introduced her to the kind of guy who has spare rooms in the Hamptons."
With its new Spotify bundle, The New York Times is chasing a new, younger base of subscribers (Ricardo Bilton, Nieman Lab, 2-8-17) 'As former Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale once said, “There are only two ways to make money in business: One is to bundle; the other is unbundle.” Media companies, eternally swinging (or being swung) between the two, may be drifting back into the bundling phase.... The New York Times stepped outside journalism, announcing it was partnering with the streaming music service Spotify on a joint subscription offering. The two companies are partnering on a limited-time deal that will offer new Times digital subscribers free access to Spotify’s premium service, which runs for $120 a year by itself.'
How to Make Money on Spotify, SoundCloud and Apple Music (Ben Andre, Spire, 11-15-18) With nearly 50% market share based on streams, it’s essential to have your music on Spotify if you're serious about reaching a broad audience and monetizing your music.
'Spotify for Cookbooks' Prepares to Launch (Clare Swanson, PW, 8-14-18)

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Search engine optimization (SEO)

Key words, categories, ranking factors
See also Key words and book marketing

How To Setup a Yoast SEO Plugin (YouTube) Darrel Wilson's complete Yoast tutorial for 2021. Watch this tutorial to get a sense of what SEO involves. Maggie Lynch recommends (on Authors Guild forum): "You can download within the Wordpress plugin environment. Begin with the FREE version and fill in all the things it provides. It provides boxes for you to fill in the metatag data (like what shows up on Google when your site or book or page is found in search). You can change file names to be more user friendly, and it also allows for internal and external linking. After using the FREE version for three to six months, if you want to expand your use to do more keywords, more linking, auto redirects for delete pages, have access to more training and support, then pop for the PREMIUM version ($99/year)."

Ahrefs’ Free SEO Tools Use the free tools to do an overall audit of your site -- to look at your content, monitor your backlinks, look for broken links and suggest redirects, analyze the top 10 keywords your site is ranking for and where that rank is. You can also look at the keywords you are using and the difficulty of ranking with those and they have a keyword generator which suggests other similar but different keywords. Rank higher and drive more organic traffic with ever-growing collection of free SEO tools. H/T Maggie Lynch, who also recommends (for different purposes):
---Publisher Rocket This paid software app (one lifetime payment) is good if you are looking for keywords for books; its database is 100% about books. The best part: it will show you what the competition is for that keyword or category, so you can choose keywords that are popular but don't have a lot of competition (so you stand out more).
---Keyword Tool uses data from various search engines, not just Google. You can use the free version without even creating an account. The free tool generates up to 750 suggestions for each seed keyword searched so its helpful for coming up with better titles, categories, or simply more robust keyword phrases.
---Soovle - Similar to Keyword Tool but it displays the data differently and it is completely free. It searches 15 different search engines and provides a top-10 list related to what you enter in the search bar as the base keyword or keyword phrase. It lists these by search engine so you can see the differences between Google, Bing, YouTube, Yahoo, etc.
---Google Trends Use this to search to explore general topics and get new ideas. You enter a topic in the search bar and start researching. For example: If I put in "how to write a novel" it shows me the interest over the past 24 hours in a graph, regions in the country where that query is popular, and other queries that relate to that (though I don't find this latter one very helpful). Again, H/T the invaluable Maggie Lynch


Google Search Operators: The Complete List (42 Advanced Operators) (Joshua Hardwick, Ahrefs’ blog, 8-3-10) Know how to use Google's search operators (short commands) effectively.
The 18 Best SEO Podcasts (Monica Rodriguez, The Hoth, 4-27-22) Listed by level of expertise.

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Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List (Brian Dean, Backlinko) Google uses over 200 ranking factors in its algorithm. They're listed here, with explanations. (Plan to spend a while.)
On-Page SEO: The Beginner's Guide to SEO (Moz)
How to Write SEO and How Can It Help You (Derek Haines, Just So Publishing, 11-21-2020)
The Moz Top 10 A semimonthly email newsletter about SEO and online marketing.
Understand DoFollow & Nofollow Link: SEO Basics (Anoop Sudhakaran, Shout Me Loud, 1-13-18)
Link Building & Establishing Authority (Moz) "Links and quality content are two of the three most important ranking factors for SEO. Trustworthy sites tend to link to other trustworthy sites, and spammy sites tend to link to other spammy sites."
SEO: What Are NoFollow and DoFollow Links?
Debate: DoFollow vs. NoFollow Links (Janith, Blogussion)

5 essential SEO tips for journalists (Trint, 2-14-19) To get as many eyeballs as possible, tidy up your website structure (for ease of navigation), answer the questions you know your audience is looking for, answer the most popular questions on your chosen themes, be accessible on mobile phones, etc.
Why SEO for Authors Is Useful for Self-Publishing (Derek Haines, Just So Publishing Advice, 8-14-2020)
Google updates Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines (George Nguyen, Search Engine Land, 5-17-19)
What the "hoot" does "SEO-friendly" actually mean? (download Umbraco's free white paper, in exchange for giving them your email address). See also Umbraco SEO tabs and Search Engines (DocBox)

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Google Updates Quality Rater Guidelines: Reputation for News Sites; Video Content Updates; Quality for Information Sites (Jennifer Slegg,TheSEMPost, 9-13-19) Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) criteria have changed in several categories, especially news content, video content, and reputation.
The 10 Most Critical SEO Success Factors (@CyrusShepard)
What Is a Pillar Page? (And Why It Matters For Your SEO Strategy) (Sophia Bernazzani, Hubspot, 9-6-17) It's a page on your website that aggregates information in a way search engines consider adds authority. Beneath that in SEO hierarcy are topic clusters, and below those hyperlinks. See also How Pillar Pages Will Help Your Search Engine Rankings (Neil Patel). H/T to Crystal King, whose pillar page on the food of ancient Rome drives traffic to the page for her novel and adds authority to her novel's website (Feast of Sorrow).
Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List (2019) (Brian Dean, Backlinko, 12-28-18) The factors that count in Google's search algorithms.
27 Ways to Increase Website Traffic in 2018 (Brian Dean, Backlinko, 3-19-18) Brian Dean's Backlinko website is invaluable. All-encompassing and meaty.
Does Social Media Impact SEO? We Ran an Experiment to Find Out (Zak Ramdani · Eva Taylor, Hootsuite, 5-10-18)
Ahrefs’ SEO Metrics: What They Mean and How to Use Them (Tim Soulo, Ahrefs.com blog, 10-12-18) SEO metrics covered in this article: Keyword search volume, return rate (RR), clicks, cost per click (CPC), keyword difficulty (KD), organic keywords, organic traffic, traffic value, URL rating (UR), domain rating (DR), Ahrefs rank (AR).
White Hat SEO Tutorial (WordStream) How to Improve Search Performance While Maintaining Your Integrity
Kindle Keyword Strategy for Fiction Authors (Dave Chesson, Kindlepreneur) How to come up with the fiction key words and phrases your readers use when shopping for their next book, how to find out how many people type them in, etc. Key words affect whether readers discover your books; sales are affected by how well designed your book cover is, how your book title reads, how your book description converts, how creative your story is, and how well your book is reviewed. See also Kindle Rankings: Categories vs. Keywords
New website owners: tips for choosing your keywords (Ad-Rank.com)

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How to Write Better Marketing Copy (Jane Friedman, PW, 9-21-18) Don't be too smart or clever in your book descriptions. When marketing books, think—and write copy—like a reader. Use the words your readers would use. Don't use ‘urban settings,’ ‘world-weary protagonists,’ and ‘harsh realism,’ if your readers are likely to look for a book with less sophisticated terms such as ‘bad guys,’ ‘FBI,’ ‘action-packed,’ ‘surprise ending,’ and ‘courtroom drama.’

Webmaster Guidelines (Google Support)
How SEO works (ClickMinded's 2018 SEO tutorial for complete beginners)
The 3-Step Sales Funnel Strategy for Powerful Funnels That Convert (ClickMinded) It takes a while to get used to the SEO marketing lingo.
How 16 Companies are Dominating the World’s Google Search Results (Glen Alsopp, Viperchill) The techniques 16 online media companies with large portfolios of brands use to dominate search results in Google across a wide range of topics and categories. As Mike Shatzkin explains, in Book publishers do not do SEO like the big guys do although they could 'Google values a great deal: “domain authority” and “inbound links” nested in “content” that seems “natural.” ' "These powerful multi-brand content organizations have such massive traffic and authority that they can influence Google search for the most searched terms on the Internet."
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide (Google)
What is tag management? Mike Pantoliano, MOZ, 10-15-12)
Tags made easy (Google Marketing Platform)
Video SEO - How to Rank #1 in YouTube (Brian Dean)
5 Day SEO Mini-Course (HubSpot--Search Engine Optimization training delivered daily to your inbox)
My (Insanely Large) List of SEO Tools & Other Useful Resources(Portent)
• Make your content more thorough, more up-to-date, better designed (not ugly)--then get the word out there with strategic email reach.
Get some comment love for your static website (Jeet Jitendraag, Blogussion) If you have a “static” website that doesn’t dynamically update with RSS feeds, then you could be missing out on some traffic benefits. In this post, Jeet from Get Links Pro goes over how to make your content RSS feed accessible so you can use CommentLuv to promote your pages.
10 SEO Lessons to Learn from Backlinko’s Success: Behind the Scenes with Brian Dean (SingleGrain.com)
Click Through Rates Numbers and Their Meaning (Comm100)
Banner blindness (Wikipedia) A phenomenon in web usability where visitors to a website consciously or subconsciously ignore banner-like information (also called ad blindness or banner noise).
Marketing Myths (Pete McCarthy, DigitalBookWorld, DBW, 4-23-15) He uses "To Kill a Mockingbird” to show why the words that are in the book are not sufficient for first-rate SEO. The term "civil rights" doesn't appear in the novel, for example. (H/T Mike Shatzkin)

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The utility of examining the text of a book to find search terms for SEO (Mike Shatzkin, Shatzkin Files, 5-6-15). See also Doing SEO right requires research into the audience, not maximum knowledge of the book (also Shatzkin). "For all our careers, descriptive copy — catalog copy, title information sheets, press releases — about any book was written by somebody who really knew the book. That normally meant it was drafted by a junior editor or marketer who had read every word of the manuscript, and perhaps even worked on developing it. But in today’s world, where the most important job of descriptive copy is to make the book “discoverable” through search to the person likely to buy it, it must be written with knowledge of the potential audiences, and that knowledge can only be gathered through research."
SEO Training Course by Moz (free Udemy course)
The 2015 SEO Checklist (ClickMinded)
A Visual Guide to Keyword Targeting and On-Page SEO (Moz)
SEO Toolbar (SEOBook)
Building a Video SEO Strategy (Phil Nottingham, Moz, 12-3-12)
Google Webmaster Tools
The Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors (Search Engine Land). See Search Engine Land's Guide to SEO/a>
The Beginner's Guide to SEO (Moz), including How Search Engines Operate
Learn SEO and Search Marketing (Moz)
The Moz blog The industry's top wizards, doctors, and other experts offer their best advice, research, how-tos, and insights—all in the name of helping you level-up your SEO and online marketing skills.
SEO Isn’t Dead. It’s Just Different (Jordan Teicher, Content Strategist, Contently, 2-24-15)
Fact or Fiction: 6 Things About SEO That You Should Probably Be Aware Of (Joe Fylan, Elegant Themes, 10-18-15) "Google doesn’t want you to avoid SEO. They just want you to avoid shady practices that could be interpreted as cheating. If you interpret that as a need to abandon any and all SEO practices, your website will probably suffer."

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Is Yoast SEO Really the Ultimate SEO Plugin? (Tom Ewer, Elegant Themes, 11-11-15)
Search Engine Optimization for Bing
Architecting content for SEO (SEM 101)
The Three Cs of Search Engine Optimization (Kent Lewis, Anvil) The building blocks of SEO include content, code and credibility.
3 Things You Need to Know About Google Search Analytics (Aaron Taube, The Content Strategist, Contently, 8-13-15))
Google gives webmasters more detailed traffic breakdown with new Search Analytics reports (Paul Sawers, VentureBeat, 5-6-15)
5 Steps to Top Performing Content (Kent Lewis, Anvil, March 2005)
Web Standards Project
SEO site advice from the Google experts (Google I/O 2010) (YouTube video of site reviews--participants Matt Cutts, Tiffany Lane, Greg Grothaus, Vanessa Fox, 5-10-10)
Gadgets, Google, and SEO (Matt Cutts)
SEO Copywriting: The Five Essential Elements to Focus On (Brian Clark, Copyblogger)
Instant Position (SEO Doc test--check out your website's search engine optimization)
Affiliate SEO: How Websites Are Ranking in the Most Profitable Niches (ViperChill.com)
It's a New Me (As Seen on Google)

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More guidance on building high-quality sites (Amit Singhal, Google Webmaster Central Blog 5-6-11)
Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmasters video channel
Keyword Planner (Google AdWords)
Verifying ownership of your site (Google Webmaster Central Blog)
Improving your page layout algorithm (Google Webmaster Central blog)
SEO Basics (Yahoo Style Guide)
Search Engine Land
SEO Is Dead, And The New King Is ‘SMO’ (Ben Elowitz, paidContent, 11-29-10). "Search was critical when answers to questions were scarce," writes Elowitz. Now, it appears, "the audience values content, not keywords. And Facebook sides with the audience. And so it’s time to christen a new era of social-media optimization, or 'SMO.' The era of SMO liberates publishers from the exercise of tricks, hacks and keywords. Instead, the big opportunity is now once again creating and refining the most appealing content possible."
SEO Smarty blog
Wikipedia's entry on SEO.
Blogsite (enterprise-level blogging platform, allowing multiple blogs on one blogsite, good SEO visibility), not free
Eric Goldman's Technology & Marketing blog
Google Webmaster guidelines

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Yahoo content quality guidelines
The Dirty Little Secrets of Search (David Segal, NY Times Business Day, 2-12-11).
Interactive Marketing White Papers (More Visibility)
Search Engine Journal (SEJ)
Inside Search blog
Basics of Photography SEO, Part 1: Google doesn’t hate you (Nigel Merrick, Black Star Rising, 11-26-12). See also Basics Of Photography SEO, Part 2: Where To Use Your Keywords (check the list).

See also The User Experience (UX)

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Designing a better user experience (UX)

The Best Free Software of 2023 (PC magazine, click on categories listed on left)
Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools List (W3C, Web Accessibilityinitiative) Software programs or online services that help you determine if web content meets accessibility guidelines, and especially color advice for users visually impaired in one way or another. (H/T David Thorpe, Cyberium)
Getting Started with Accessibility (Web Accessibility Initiative, WAI) See also
---W3C welcomes feedback on the beta of its new website
What is User Experience Design? Overview, Tools, and Resources (Jacob Gube, Smashing Magazine, 10-5-10)
Learn UX design: 10 best paid and free UX design courses (Mimi Lauder, Digital Arts) Includes both online courses and courses from high-profile Universities such as Stanford.
Why Don’t You Have a Writer in Your UX Team? (Georgina Laidlaw, Sitepoint, 11-17-14)
Better User Experience with Storytelling (Part 1, Francisco Inchauste, Smashing Magazine). How user experience professionals and designers are using storytelling to create compelling experiences that build human connections. Read more about the UX Storytellers Project here. Then you will probably want to buy the book: Storytelling for User Experience: Crafting Stories for Better Design by Whitney Quesenbery and Kevin Brooks (foreword by Ginny Redish), about the power of storytelling to improve the user experience. Check it out a bit through Frequently Asked Questions.
The world’s top economists just made the case for why we still need English majors (Heather Long, WaPo, 10-19-19) .The whole premise of Thomas Shiller’s book Narrative Economics is that storytelling matters. What he learned about the Great Depression was far more useful in understanding the period of economic and financial turmoil than anything he learned in his economic courses. "What people tell each other can have profound implications on markets — and the overall economy. Examples include the “get rich quick” stories about bitcoin or the “anyone can be a homeowner” stories that helped drive the housing bubble.“Traditional economic approaches fail to examine the role of public beliefs in major economic events — that is, narrative,' Shiller wrote. “Economists can best advance their science by developing and incorporating into it the art of narrative economics.” And "Contrary to popular belief, English majors ages 25 to 29 had a lower unemployment rate in 2017 than math and computer science majors."
The importance of writing in UX design (Ben Barone-Nugent, CB, 3-24-14)
Bridging the Content Gap: Ten Ways to Motivate People to Produce Good Web Content (Luke Chaput de Saintonge, UX User Experience, The Magazine of the User Experience Professionals Association, June 2014)
Thanks for leads from Leslie O'Flahavan at e•write.

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Web 2.0

I've neglected this section.   Let me know what's missing!

How a Website Redesign Solved an Author’s Identity Dilemma (Jane Friedman, 3-8-16) Author Gigi Rosenberg describes how she redesigned and relaunched her author website primarily on her own, only hiring assistance at the end.
Professional Link Building: How To Build Links To Your Website (Shaun Anderson, Hobo, 9-21-2020) An invaluably practical, detailed how-to on website design, an amplitude of pithy insights such as: “Google aims to rank pages where the author has some demonstrable expertise on experience in the subject-matter they are writing about. These ‘quality ratings’ (performed by human evaluators) are based on (E.A.T. or EAT or E-A-T) which is simply ‘Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness‘ of the ‘Main Content of a page'” and “Links are definitely not the most important SEO factor.” John Mueller, Google 2020.
What's More Important: Author Websites or Social Media? (Jane Friedman, 9-11-17) Book authors MUST READ this. See also Why Don't Publishers Believe in Author Websites? (9-27-13) and the many comments in response to it.How to Go Viral: Lessons from the Most Shared Content of 2015 (Steve Rayson, Buzzsumo, 12-2-1) Analyze what content performs best for any topic or competitor. Check out its Knowledge Base.
14 Must-Join Slack Communities for Writers, Creators, and Media (Christine Cube, Beyond Bylines, PR Newswire for Journalists, 10-18-18) Collaboration hub Slack was launched in 2013 as a place to collaborate online -- a way for organizations to communicate both as a group and in personal one-on-one discussions. See The Definitive Guide to Slack for Organizing: What is Slack, and Should We Use It? (Ragtag, 5-8-18) No app is going to be totally magic. Slack might work for your team’s work style, and it might not. But it’s definitely worth checking out. And PC Magazine's review: "Slack is an excellent and powerful team messaging app with a rich collection of settings and options. It's among the best, but it's also the most expensive."
Why I Started Using Pop-Ups on My Website (Jane Friedman, 8-11-16) Pop-ups have long been despised by the Internet world, but they work. Here’s how to implement them in a way that won’t annoy visitors. Followed by My Pop-Up Strategy, Part 2: The Autoresponder Series (Jane Friedman, 8-17-16) How do you treat subscribers after they sign up for your email newsletter? An autoresponder can usefully and effectively welcome people to the community.
Do you know why you *don't* do it? (Denise Graveline, Don't Get Caught, 1-31-18) Comms directors and their teams get asked, cajoled, ordered, nagged, and otherwise dinged to do all manner of outreach. And too often, they say yes when they really should be able to say, "You know, we *don't* do that because..." with a reasonable, non-anxious explanation following. Life's too short to produce products nobody uses.
Why Content Goes Viral: What Analyzing 100 Million Articles Taught Us (Noah Kagan, HuffPost, 6-13-14) Ten ingredients that will help increase the shareability of your content, culled from various sources. For example: (1) Long-form content has less competition, and more shares on average. (2) Having at least one image in your post leads to more Facebook shares. (3) List posts and infographics are more likely to be shared.

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Cloud computing and cloud services

What Is Cloud Computing? (Eric Griffith, PC Magazine, 5-3-16) A clear and interesting explanation.
What cloud computing really means (Eric Knorr, InfoWorld)
Cloud computing (Wikipedia entry covers the history of cloud computing and various aspects of it, including its architecture, providers, platforms, storage, security, privacy, limitations and disadvantages)
Demystifying SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS (Skytap, 11-28-17) The breakdown: Software as a Service (SaaS--e.g., Google Docs), Platform as a Service (PaaS--e.g., Facebook), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS--e.g., Skytap Cloud and Amazon Web Services). Many people use relatively straightforward cloud services every day for their email (Gmail, Office365), file storage (Dropbox, Box, etc.), and more. But enterprise businesses face a much more complicated ecosystem of cloud offerings that range from basic tasks like hosting creation tools for company collaboration, to mission-critical services like hosting virtual datacenters and complete application environments.
---Software as a service (SaaS) (Wikipedia)
---Platform as a service (PaaS) (Wikipedia)
---Infrastructure as a service (PaaS) (Wikipedia)
How Cloud Computing Works (Jonathan Strickland, HowStuffWorks)
Where's The Rub: Cloud Computing's Hidden Costs (Jared Wray, Forbes, 2-27-14)
Cloud Backup: Pros, Cons, Considerations (Linda Carlson, IBPA,
The Hidden Risks of Cloud Computing (Gina Trapani, Lifehacker, 7-29-09) An overview: Lesser privacy protection under the law, weak security systems that are too easy to break into, data lock-in and third-party control, server unavailability and account lock-out.
Kerno.biz newsletter archive (newsletter archive of consultant Claude Kerno, who fixes computers and other tech in Colorado and the Washington DC area--my personal fixer) See for example: Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and Virtual Life After Death.
Cloud Storage (PC Magazine's Business Software Index). Describes and rates 12 products: Google Drive, CertainSafe, Microsoft OneDrive, iDrive Cloud Storage, Box, CrashPlan, Sugar Sync, Zoho Docs, Dropbox, Apple iCloud Drive, Hightail). For more recent data, see href="http://www.pcmag.com/roundup/306323/the-best-cloud-storage-providers-and-file-syncing-services"target="_blank">The Best Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services of 2017 (Michael Muchmore and Jill Duffy, PC Magazine, 3-31-17)
Cloud Storage Systems and Companies (TrustRadius) Ranked and rated. At the top (on first list): Druva Data Resiliency Cloud, Keepit, Linode, Google Drive, IBM Cloud Object Storage. But on second list appear these and others. Not clear what the difference is.
How Amazon Fire TV Works (Dave Roos, HowStuffWorks) "For years, viewers have been streaming shows from Netflix to their TVs using gaming consoles like the Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox. But more recently, several technology companies have introduced so-called set-top boxes that make it easier to watch hundreds of streaming video channels directly on your TV via your Internet provider. Apple TV and Roku are the leading set-top boxes, but there's a new player in town that's vying for the increasingly fractured attention of the American TV audience, and its name is Amazon Fire TV. Keep reading to see how Amazon Fire TV works and how it measures up to the competition."

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•  About the Social Graph (Google's explanation of how all those people's names show up on your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn pages, saying, "You might be friends with X, Y, and Z."
Adobe Acrobat Reader (download the latest version, free). You need this to read PDF (portable document format") files.
Adsense Tips for Bloggers 1 (Problogger). See also The AdSense Code: What Google Never Told You about Making Money with Adsense by Joel Comm (for Adsense newbies)
Affiliate Guide
Anonymous vs. Scientology: A Case Study of Digital Media (Dan Schultz, Idea Lab, 2-15-08)
A List Apart (articles for people who make websites)
Analysis: Which URL Shortening Service Should You Use? (file under Problems we didn't know we had) by Danny Sullivan offers a thorough analysis of which URL-shortening services are good and bad, in which ways. Of particular interest to Tweeters.
Analytics Toolbox: 50+ Ways to Track Website Traffic (Mashable, 2007)
•  Anatomy of an HTML page – part 1 (John Espirian)

Branding. Personal Branding Basics for 2011 A brand is a promise, explains Chris Brogan. Read this, then scroll down and find links to more excellent tips on branding.

Boost Your Freelance Brand 100 Percent with Your Expert Status (Thursday Bram, Freelance Marketing, Freelance Switch, 9-4-12)

A checklist for website content work (Erin Kissane, A List Apart -- for people who make websites, 3-8-11)

Citrix systems include GoToMeeting (for online meetings) and GoToWebinar (webinars for up to 1000 attendees).

Content Marketing Boot Camp:Everything You Wanted To Know In One Post (Shane Snow, The Content Strategist, 1-19-12)

Content Marketing 101. "In contrast to 'interruption' marketing such as television commercials or direct mail, content marketing involves delivering requested information with independent value that creates trust, credibility, and authority for the business that provides that value. Sonia Simone of Copyblogger, in a five-part tutorial, lays out the basics. Start with How to Build Your Business with Content, then go to Simone's The Three Essentials of Breakthrough Content Marketing, and read on.

Cover It Live. A Web-based live blogging tool, which allows you to broadcast live commentary to your readers. A partner of Demand Media (not a hero in the world of writer's rights). Check Reviews & News along right side.

Crowd Accelerated Innovation. How web video powers global innovation (19-minute video of TED's Chris Anderson on how the rise of web video is driving a worldwide phenomenon he calls Crowd Accelerated Innovation)

Document Cloud, created by journalists from ProPublica and The New York Times as an online repository of source documents. From an interesting story in the newsletter of the Association of Health Care Journalists: "Explore how the Las Vegas Sun used DocumentCloud to present hospital inspection reports, and the violations they contained, to its readers": an interactive graphic created by combining Document Cloud with Flash "to make the reports searchable and more meaningful to the public"

Drupal BarCamp 2010. Listen to sessions in audio, including Josh Ward of Volacci on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Facebook (major social networking site, tending more toward personal than professional)
Facebook Strategy for Authors (Jane Friedman, 6-1-12, "Being human at electric speed: Exploring what it means to be a writer in the digital age"). Former publisher of Writer's Digest. Her personal strategy:
~~5 Principles for Using Facebook (4-3-12)
~~3 Principles for Facebook Fan Pages (8-16-11)
~~Too Many Facebook Friends: Blessing or Curse? (11-21-11)
Facebook: Best practices for profiles, pages, groups, and posts (Darcy Patterson, Wow!)
Facebook for the Famous (Matt Haber, Today, Fast Company, on WhoSay (social media for celebrities only)
A Facebook story: A mother's joy and a family's sorrow. Ian Shapira, Washington Post, has edited and annotated Shana Greatman Swers Facebook page to tell her story from pre-baby date nights to a medical odyssey that turned the ecstasy of childbirth into a struggle for life.
Facebook Scandal Version 2.0 (Michael S. Malone, ABC News, 2-20-09,on Facebook's growing pains and our rights as Facebook users)

Everything Old Is New Again: The Return of the Live Event (about the changing level of students' comfort engaging in face-to-face communication, and readers' desire to be in touch personally with the creators whose products they then buy--by Tim Brookes of the Champlain College Publishing Initiative)

Forget Privacy: What the Internet Knows About You by Jessica Bennett (Newsweek 10-22-10) and The Web's New Gold Mine: Your Secrets by Julia Angwin (first in Wall Street Journal series on the fast-growing business of spying on consumers). Watch your back!

Free encyclopedias
Wikipedia Scholarpedia (like Wikipedia, but with articles subject to peer review)
Citizendium (like Wikipedia but more transparent as to authorship).
Those interested in the subject of accuracy in online encyclopedias may find the entry of Criticism of Wikipedia of interest. Many of us find it useful for a quick take on a subject we know nothing about, though we wouldn't use it as a sole source of information.

Freemium, a business model in which you give away a substantial amount of a core product for free in order to generate revenue by selling a select few premium products to a small percentage of the freebie audience. Businesses that have used this mode, as discussed in this free e-book include Skype (only 12% of users pay), Flat World Knowledge--see those and other case studies, including that of Paul Coelho, whose books became bestsellers after he made them available for free online.

F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content (Jakob Nielsen, NN/g, Evidence-Based User Experience Research, Training, & Consulting). Read the implications of this eye-tracking study to know how to organize your own Web content. In follow-up piece by Sen
soMotoric Instruments, Case Study Eye Tracking: Mobile Devices: "The eye tracking data helped to identify three different types of users: reader (5%), scanner (58%), and navigator (37%). The reader examines the text carefully while the scanner just skims over the text. The navigator is not reading at all and skips the text completely."

FTC Tells Amateur Bloggers to Disclose Freebies or Be Fined (Ryan Singel, Wired, 10-5-09, pointing out some gaps and weaknesses in the rules) and here are the FTC Guidelines on the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

Funny or Die: Groupon’s Fate Hinges on Words (David Streitfeld, NY Times, 5-28-11). "Groupon borrowed some tools and terms from journalism, softened the traditional heavy hand of advertising, added some banter and attitude and married the result to a discounted deal. It has managed, at least for the moment, to make words pay."

Google Buzz. David Coursey, of PC World, outlines Five Reasons to Love Google Buzz, Five Reasons Not (Yahoo News, 2-11-10).3 Google Buzz Privacy Concerns. Andrew R. Hickey (ChannelWeb, 2-11-10). And Robert McMillan, of PCWorld, reports: Google Buzz Criticized for Disclosing Gmail Contacts (read the comments, too). Ian Paul, of PCWorld provides a guide to protecting yourself: Google Buzz: A Privacy Checklist(2-11-10). (Love the way PCWorld corrects their original article, showing where the erroneous sentence was deleted and the correction made.) Add Critics Say Google Invades Privacy With New Service by Miguel Helft (NY Times, 2-12-10).

Google's Webmaster Guidelines . Following these guidelines will help Google find, index, and rank your site. At the very least, learn what practices will turn Google off (algorhythmically).

How to Back Up Your Social Media Presence (Brenna Ehrlich, Mashable, 12-10, on how to download and store the photos, videos, statuses, updates you post -- effectively, your diary online: your tweets, your blog, etc.)

How to Create a Great E-Newsletter. In exchange for your e-mail address you get a free 10-lesson e-course on creating an e-newsletter.

How to Get Your Avatar to Show Up Everywhere (Thomas Umstattd, Author Media--Help for authors timid about technology)

How to Measure Social Media Marketing; 3 Steps (Paul Chaney, Practical Ecommerce --Insights for Online Merchants, 7-12-11)

How to Make Money with Free (Nathan Hangen on Content Marketing, on Copyblogger)

How to use social media effectively
Some thoughts on being social (Maryn McKenna, The Further Adventures of Germ Girl, handout from talk given at AHCJ conference, 2012)
Quit the Daily Grind: A Newspaper Reporter’s Journey into New Media (Maryn McKenna's notes from one of her talks, Further Adventures of Germ Girl. Note how she uses Stich.It to convert a set of links into one short URL to share.
• Basics of various social media explained on excellent teacher training videos from Russell Stannard. Includes tutorials on JING, iTunes, Twitter, Blogger, Survey Monkey, Delicious, Glogster. Great website.

How to Use Twitter. Useful tips by Nathan Bransford

Instant Flipbook (convert PDF files to flash page flipbook in minutes)

JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments, the first PubMed-indexed video methods journal in biology)

TED Talks: Ideas Worth Spreading. Excellent speakers on fascinating topics, free to the world, on video, often or usually with transcripts.

TikTok and BookTok

Reach new readers with short-form social media videos With a little about Tumbler, another video-link-sharing site

"TikTok, established in 2016, is a video-sharing app with an avid book community (#BookTok) of peer-to-peer recommendation. Most of the sales generated through TikTok aren't derived from authors' or publishers' accounts, but from the videos of everyday people using the platform. Some of those everyday people have become, over time, professional TikTok creators and influencers. Compared to YouTube, TikTok is simple and quick, requiring nothing more than your smartphone, and users appreciate how it offers a more personal connection with creators. Above all, authenticity—hearing from real people—is valued." ~ (Jane Friedman, The Hot Sheet, 12-22-21)  

       See also section on this website about The video essay

TikTok is an unrivaled trendsetter. Will its influence last? (Anne D'Innocenzio, Halaluya Hadero, and Dee-Ann Durbin, AP News, 7-3-24) TikTok and its bite-sized videos arrived in the United States as a global version of the Chinese app Douyin. Less than six years later, the social media platform is deeply woven into the fabric of American consumerism, having shortened the shelf life of trends and revamped how people engage with food and fashion.
---Trader Joe’s $3 mini totes went viral on TikTok. Now, they’re reselling for hundreds (Gaetane Lewis, AP News, 3-13-24)
Some TikTok influencers are maligning sunscreen. Here's what to know about the claims (Maria Godoy, Morning Edition, NPR, 6-17-24) Tiktok is full of videos with influencers giving advice on health and skin care. But when it comes to sunscreen there’s also a lot of misinformation – false claims that sunscreen is toxic and worse than the sun damage it helps prevent. These kinds of videos are all too common on social media and they’re dangerous, says Dr. Heather Rogers, a dermatologist based in Seattle. She calls some of this information just plain wrong.
The Future of Book Publishing – 2024 and Beyond (Andrew Rhomberg, LinkedIn, 1-1-24) Ten major trends - in alphabetical order - that are shaping book publishing: AI, Amazon, audiobooks, consolidation,cost pressures, globalization, luxury objects, scale and size, streaming, TikTok. TikTok "shows what impact AI can have on book discoverability and the market place as a whole.
     "TikTok is also one of the major drivers of English-language editions in foreign markets. The movie industry used to roll out new releases at different times in different markets, but piracy and social media resulted in releases becoming increasingly synchronised across the globe and the same is very much happening to the book industry, too, and TikTok is one of the major, major forces behind this trend."
How a Self-Published Book Broke ‘All the Rules’ and Became a Best Seller (Alexandra Alter, NY Times, 5-30-24) Keila Shaheen’s “The Shadow Work Journal” shows how radically book sales and marketing have been changed by TikTok. Another woman's enthusiasm for the book helped push up those numbers.

98 Million TikTok Followers Can’t Be Wrong (Rachel Monroe, The Atlantic, 12-20) How a 16-year-old from suburban Connecticut became the most famous teen in America. As early as 2014, young people were more likely to admire YouTubers than traditional Hollywood celebrities. By 2017, 71 percent of teenagers reported watching three or more hours of video on their smartphone a day. TikTok surpassed 2 billion downloads in the spring, and the pandemic only accelerated its ascendance.

How an Obscure Chinese Real Estate Start-Up Paved the Way to TikTok (Mara Hvistendahl and Lauren Hirsch, NY Times, 4-18-24) Court records, mistakenly made public, tell a story about the birth of ByteDance, its bumpy road to success and the role of the Republican megadonor Jeff Yass’s firm.
The U.S. Investors Caught in the Scrum Over TikTok (Lauren Hirsch, NYTimes 3-26-24) Major U.S. investment firms such as General Atlantic, Susquehanna and Sequoia Capital own stakes in ByteDance, the parent of TikTok. Their investments are increasingly under fire.
TikTok ban bill is getting fast-tracked in Congress. Here's what to know. (Aimee Picchi, CBS News, 4-18-24) The bill's creation was sparked by concerns about the troves of personal user data collected by TikTok and ByteDance, which critics claim poses a national security threat, based on fears the information could be tapped by the Chinese government. But others have questioned the constitutionality of targeting a single business, as well as the potential to harm Americans' free speech rights by taking away a popular social media platform.
#booktok Dive into the biggest book club on the planet with reviews and recommendations for just about every genre you could imagine. Explore the website.
Majority of Americans say TikTok is a threat to national security (Colleen McClain, Pew Research Center, 7-10-23)
---U.S. Pushes for TikTok Sale to Resolve National Security Concerns (David McCabe and Cecilia Kang NY Times, 3-15-23) The Biden administration wants TikTok’s Chinese ownership to sell the popular app or face a possible ban, TikTok said, as the White House hardens its stance toward resolving national security concerns about the popular video service.The demand hardens the White House’s stance toward the popular video app, which is owned by the Chinese internet company ByteDance.
---A declining share of adults, and few teens, support a U.S. TikTok ban (Colleen McClain, Pew Research Center, 12-11-23) While support for a TikTok ban has declined among adults in both parties, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents remain far more likely than Democrats and Democratic leaners to support it (50% vs. 29%).
---Chinese Spy Agency Rising to Challenge the C.I.A. ( Edward Wong, Julian E. Barnes, Muyi Xiao and Chris Buckley, NY Times, 12-27-23) The ambitious Ministry of State Security is deploying A.I. and other advanced technology to go toe-to-toe with the United States, even as the two nations try to pilfer each other’s scientific secrets.
Authors Who’ve Launched Their Careers on TikTok (Jane Friedman, 2-16-23)
TikTok Health Trends That Are Riskier Than You Realized (Christine Byrne, Health Digest, 1-27-23) TikTok has fast become home to some very dangerous health trends. First, there are "challenges" that encourage users to do unequivocally harmful things, like overdosing on antihistamines. Then, there are the pseudo-wellness tips and challenges that cover everything from DIY mole removal to restrictive diet plans that are anything but healthy. The worst part? Thirteen- to 24-year-olds make up 69 percent of TikTok's user base, with 13-17-year-olds accounting for nearly a third of total users (via HootSuite).
Advice for Using TikTok to Drive News Engagement (Amarah Ennis, International Center for Journalists, 4-10-23) "Most people who gain traction on TikTok do so through the FYP – or “For You” page – which uses an algorithm to predict what a user will be interested in watching next." TikTok "has gained global fame for the accuracy of its recommendations."

     “Native storytelling” allows users to capitalize on the built-in features of the app to create content specifically designed for Tiktok. By meeting TikTok users where they are, journalists can help get young people who frequently use the app involved and interested in the news."
So You Want to Be a TikTok Star (John Seabrook,Annals of Music, New Yorker, 12-5-22) 'The social-media platform is transforming the music industry. Is that a good thing? An excellent account of how Tik Tok is changing things in the music world.

TikTok is now paying creators for long-form content, and it’s going shockingly well (Alexandra Sternlicht, Fortune, 7-5-23) TikTok’s new Creativity Program Beta (CPB) pays creators to publish videos over 60 seconds.
How TikTok ate the internet (Drew Harwell, WashPost, 10-14-22) The world’s most popular app has pioneered a new age of instant attention. Can we trust it? America’s biggest technology innovators are reinventing themselves in TikTok’s image, not only in developing short-video copycats — Meta’s Reels, YouTube’s Shorts — but in swapping out networks of friends and families for feeds of strangers chasing viral glory.
The Gross Spectacle of Murder Fandom (McKay Coppins, The Atlantic, 6-23) "After four University of Idaho students were killed, TikTok and Reddit sleuths swarmed the campus. The community is still struggling with the wreckage they left behind. In niche Facebook groups, they shared their findings. Did a history professor plot the murders in a jealous rage? Was the nearby fraternity involved? What about that hoodie-clad guy on a Twitch livestream standing behind two of the victims at a food truck?

     "Haadiya Tariq, who was the paper's editor, told me the rude behavior had helped her understand the wider antipathy toward the press. "No wonder people hate you," she sometimes found herself thinking. She was alarmed by the extent to which professional news outlets appeared to deliberately stoke the online ecosystem of conspiracy theories about the case." 

Promoting Your Book as an Introvert in the Age of TikTok (Julie Vick on Jane Friedman's blog, 1-28-23) Planning a book launch can be daunting for introverts. But finding strategies that fit with your skills and personality can make it easier. Find comfortable ways to use social media. Focus on what you already know. Consider podcasts. Take advantage of conferences. Find your people.
Despite TikTok Bans, Colleges Are Thriving on the App (Johanna Alonso, Inside Higher Ed, 3-20-23) Several campuses have restricted their use of TikTok. For those still using the app, it’s proven a successful way to reach prospective students and leverage current students’ skills. TikTok’s popularity has helped make vertical video—videos that are taller than they are wide, thereby filling up a typical smartphone screen—one of the highest-demand forms of content on other apps. “YouTube is putting a lot of investment into that. They’re even paying content creators to do more of that."
Montana's TikTok Ban Poses Significant First Amendment Problems (Emily Hockett, The Nuance, "Tackling the legal issues at the forefront of a free press," Reporters Committee for a Free Press, 8-6-23) "TikTok and a group of content creators challenging the ban point out in legal filings that states cannot make foreign policy of their own, and note the special danger posed when states try to elbow into a role reserved exclusively to the federal government. The Reporters Committee and the Media Law Resource Center filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the consolidated case, focusing on the importance of TikTok to modern journalists and on two ways the ban violates the First Amendment."
TikTok Sells a Lot of Books. Now, Its Owner Wants to Publish Them, Too. ( Elizabeth A. Harris and Alexandra Alter, NY Times, 7-3-23) As ByteDance launches a publishing company, many in the book world wonder if it will create an uneven playing field by boosting its own book deals and bigger advances, but does it translate to how a new title will sell? Publishers are increasingly skeptical.

     "A new dimension of this conversation is TikTok, which has become a powerful force in selling books. Successful 'BookTok' titles are generally pushed by enthusiastic readers weeping into their camera phones about how much they loved the book, not authors shilling their own work."
Grizzly Man (Dirt, Amelia K on the paracosm of an abusive relationship, 6-19-23) At no point in the documentary Grizzly Man does Werner Herzog condone the actions of Timothy Treadwell, an amateur filmmaker who spent thirteen summers in Alaska with wild bears. "Although this documentary was released in 2005, and much of the footage would have been from the decade leading up to it, Timothy would fit in easily today on TikTok, where pseudoscience, unprofessional wildlife handlers, and pop psychology thrives."
Librarians Are Meeting Younger Readers Where They Are: TikTok (Lora Kelley, NY Times, 12-30-22) The pandemic hurt children’s reading skills. Librarians are doing what it takes to connect them with books. On TikTok, librarians don costumes, dance to viral songs, show off new books and bond with their co-workers. And as they do so, they draw in visitors and drum up interest in reading.

      "The music industry has been the canary in the digital-content coal mine ever since Napster made music free, in 1999. As technology has steadily altered the form recorded music takes—vinyl records became cassettes, then CDs, then MP3s, then streams—the industry has found new ways to monetize the thing that never changes: the emotional connection a song creates between an artist and a fan.

    "After lean years early in the new millennium, when the industry saw CD sales crater while its technophobic leaders dithered over converting to file-sharing, the major labels figured out how to turn streaming to their advantage. In recent years, the three majors—Universal, Warner, and Sony—have aggressively enforced copyright and pushed Spotify and other streaming platforms to hand over as much as seventy per cent of their revenues; the profits from, and the value of, the music catalogues the labels own have soared....
     "Now music is meeting a kind of metaverse, in the form of the rapidly evolving platform of sound, video, social media, and marketing that is TikTok. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, TikTok had become a potent music-discovery tool....On a distribution platform, a song’s owners are paid per stream, but on TikTok there is no set royalty structure in place, and it provides only negligible income, a growing point of tension with the music industry."
     Seabrook also provides a brief account of how Taylor Swift re-recorded some of her earlier songs "to regain control of her 'masters,' the industry term for the original sound recordings—those copyrights are separate from the lyrics and melodies in the composition, known as the 'publishing'.”
TikTok's creators exodus (Simon Owens Media Newsletter) TikTok benefits from its addictiveness and the fact that it’s a great place for creators to launch their careers, but its stars tend to migrate their audiences onto competing networks, where it's easier to monetize their efforts. Features like Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts are moving in to replicate its core offering.
TikTok helps UK book sales hit record levels, Publishers Association says (BBC) Publishers say the popularity of readers discussing their favourite books on TikTok helped lift sales to record levels in the UK in 2021--four of the top five young adult bestsellers in 2021 had been driven by the BookTok trend.
BookTok’s Busy Year: Plagiarism Scandals, Period Drama, and CoHo, Of Course (Meg Zukin, Vulture, 12-21-22) With more than 77 billion views globally to date, TikTok’s collection of literary-minded creators and clips has the power to turn niche writers into global sensations, to start (and shut down) companies, and to connect striking publishing workers to a digital community rallying around them. As 2022 comes to a close, here’s a look back on the biggest, baddest, and oddest BookTok controversies of the year.
Relentless Angst and Uniformly Excellent Sex: How Colleen Hoover Became the Queen of BookTok (Kayleigh Donaldson, Vulture, 10-25-22) The CoHo Effect: Colleen Hoover’s BookTok reign is a game changer — and to some, an abomination. It’s impossible to scroll through BookTok without getting hit by an avalanche of Colleen content, and this domination of the platform has led to her domination of best-seller lists as well
TikTokers Were Reviewing In-N-Out, Until a Stranger Harassed Them for Being Asian (Christine Chung, NY Times, 12-27-22) A Denver man was arrested after unleashing a “homophobic and racist rant” against the two friends at the chain on Christmas Eve, local authorities said. Hard to look away.
Planet Money's Jack Corbett Explains His TikTok Strategy (Sarah John, Teen Vogue,9-13-22) To the hundreds of thousands of fans who follow the Planet Money TikTok account, Corbett is a wacky-professor figure, a talented TikTok comedian, and most importantly, a guide through the largely inaccessible world of economics. His goofy, religiously unpolished videos have been a core part of that success.
Sorry you went viral (Drew Harwell and Taylor Lorenz, Washington Post, 10-21-22) TikTok’s explosive stardom has created a new kind of celebrity. But nothing goes viral like rage. As the 9-million-follower “nintendo.grl,” Junna Faylee is one of the app’s biggest successes, but competing for attention, she said, can often feel like working a shift that doesn’t end. And her most viral videos also bring on the heaviest floods of hateful insults and sexist trolls.
Paranoia and Pastels at Bama Rush (Madison Malone Kircher, NY Times, 8-12-22) A year after videos from the University of Alabama’s sorority rush week went viral, fears about TikTok posts and a rumored documentary kept tensions high during this year’s recruitment. Dues for a new member at a University of Alabama sorority in her first semester is $4,100, according to the Alabama Panhellenic Association.
What it's like to make policy at TikTok (Casey Newton, Platformer, 8-2-22) Former policy manager Marika Tedroff talks nudity, China, and a "very toxic" work culture. One of the first on-the-record interviews with a former TikTok policy manager to explain what working for ByteDance is really like.
TikTok owner ByteDance is a $75 billion Chinese tech giant — here’s what you need to know about it (Arjun Kharpal, CNBC, 5-29-19) ByteDance is the creator of the short video app TikTok and the news aggregator service Toutiao.The main source of income for TikTok is through in-app purchases. Users can buy virtual currency which they then gift to content creators.
‘More zeros than I’ve seen in my life’: the author who got a six-figure deal via ‘BookTok’ (Alison Flood, The Guardian, 8-16-22) After she was dropped by her agent, Alex Aster turned to a books-obsessed corner of TikTok to gauge interest in her YA novel … and now Lightlark is one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of the year. Here's what did it.
TikToker puts restaurants, bars to the test over wheelchair accessibility (Tom Yun, CTVNews, CA)
Oracle begins auditing TikTok's algorithms (Sara Fischer, Axios, 8-16-22) Oracle has begun vetting TikTok's algorithms and content moderation models to ensure they aren't manipulated by Chinese authorities, Axios has learned. Why it matters: Chinese-owned TikTok is the first foreign-owned social media platform to win a mass audience in the U.S. and has spent years trying to show that it poses no danger to American interests.These moves are part of a broader TikTok effort called Project Texas, which is meant to give U.S. TikTok users and lawmakers assurance that U.S. user data is safe and content recommendations aren't being manipulated.
---TikTok says ‘Project Texas’ will bolster security for US users in wake of China data access concerns (Ivan Mehta, TechCrunch, 7-4-22)
How is #BookTok fueling U.S. book industry growth? (Now in Entertainment podcast) BookTok has brought new life to backlist books, created growth in adult fiction, and more. Analyst Kristen McLean and Insights Manager Brenna Connor explore how the hashtag gives new life to backlist authors and creates tremendous growth in adult fiction.
How Crying on TikTok Sells Books (Elizabeth A. Harris, NY Times, 3-20-21) “BookTok” videos are starting to influence publishers and best-seller lists, and the verklempt readers behind them are just as surprised as everyone else.
Content moderation: b*obs, or no b*obs? (Molly Tedroff, Zoning Out, 7-26-22) Moderating content is very hard [She is writing about a job at TikTok]. The challenge is not how to identify what good vs. bad look like, but how to operationalize and enforce opinions at scale. "The work boils down to questions like: where do they draw the line for what is too sexual? How should Russia/Ukraine be managed? How much responsibility should they take on as a platform to keep people from scams? Should they act on these accounts that look like fraud if they don't have concrete evidence? At what point would content promoting fitness and diets become toxic? Should the platform be liable for these borderline claims people are making around making money? Should the platform allow political discussions, and if yes, how can they do that without being biased?"
15 Bookish Influencers to Follow on TikTok (Bookish)
Black Therapists Fight to Be Seen on TikTok. When They Are, They Find Solidarity. (Hannah Norman, KHN, 3-23-22) "Black mental health therapists talk openly on TikTok about working in a predominantly white field, while at the same time making mental health care more accessible for people of color who might be shut out of the health care system.... Especially for older generations, Breland-Norton said, people have adapted a disease model of mental health, in which seeking help meant that there is “something wrong with you.” But the mindset has shifted, propelled by millennials and Gen Z, toward a wellness model without the same stigma attached."

How BookTok Is Changing Publishing With New Voices and Influence (Aliya Chaudhry, Observer, 2-22) The tag #BookTok has over 36 billion views on the app, and is now a full-fledged community with a real impact on publishing.
Unpacking TikTok, Mobile Apps and National Security Risks (Justin Sherman, Lawfare blog, 4-2-20) There are genuine concerns about TikTok’s potential collection of information on U.S. citizens (a security risk), of China exporting its censorship through platforms like TikTok, and there are concerns about misinformation (TikTok hosted misinformation about Covid). "Policymakers also must consider whether these mobile app and data security decisions should depend less on the kinds of data collected and on whom, and more on the legal structures in the countries in which these companies are incorporated. Beijing, for instance, engages in unchecked surveillance.

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Using TikTok to Sell Books/ (Writers Helping Writers, 4-27-21)
19 Ways to Promote Your Book on TikTok (Kelly Schuknecht, 3-25-21)
Why Is Gut Health Taking Over TikTok? (Dani Blum, NY Times, 4-20-22) Despite what social media might have you believe, there is no overnight shortcut to better digestive health. (Pooping is what people are talking about, when they talk about gut health.)

TikTok's data dilemma (Casey Newton, Platformer, 7-7-22) How do you protect user privacy in a country with no privacy standards? The lack of a national privacy law in the United States, which has left many basic questions about data security unresolved. Is the data “American” whenever an American citizen uses TikTok, or only when they’re in the country? When foreign tourists use the app while visiting, is that US data? If an American and European user are sending messages back and forth in the app, which country owns the conversation?
How to Use TikTok Privacy Settings (Thomas Germain, Consumer Reports, 8-29-22) It comes with all of the same privacy concerns as apps like Facebook. Here’s what you can do.
The Viral Stupidity of Politicians’ TikTok Bans (Jason Linkins, New Republic, 1-7-23) Lawmakers across the country are looking to kill off the social media platform for many of the same sins that Big Tech commits regularly. “For decades the GOP (and more than a few Democrats) have worked tirelessly to erode [Federal Trade Commission] privacy enforcement authority and funding, while fighting tooth and nail against absolutely any meaningful privacy legislation for the Internet era.”
How Much a TikTok Nano Influencer Earns in a Month by Making Ads for Brands (Marta Blino, Business Insider, 8-10-22, subscription required) In 2015, these creators got paid an average of $25 dollars for a sponsored post. In 2021, the average price per post was $901 — 36 times higher.
TikTok May Be More Dangerous Than It Looks (Ezra Klein, Opinion, NY Times, 5-8-22) TikTok’s real power isn’t over our data. It’s over what users watch and create. It’s over the opaque algorithm that governs what gets seen and what doesn’t. TikTok has been thick with videos backing the Russian narrative on the war in Ukraine. TikTok’s billion users don’t think they’re looking at a Chinese government propaganda operation because, for the most part, they’re not. They’re watching makeup tutorials and recipes and lip sync videos and funny dances. But that would make it all the more powerful a propaganda outlet, if deployed.
TikTok Is Flooded With Health Myths. These Creators Are Pushing Back. (Rina Raphael, NY Times, 6-29-22) Meet the medical experts fighting bogus science, one “stitch” at a time. “One of the most annoying things when it comes to busting misinformation is that the people who spread the misinformation use hints of truth to spread their lies.”
Leaked Audio From 80 Internal TikTok Meetings Shows That US User Data Has Been Repeatedly Accessed From China (Emily Baker-White, BuzzFeed, 6-7-22) “I feel like with these tools, there’s some backdoor to access user data in almost all of them,” said an external auditor hired to help TikTok close off Chinese access to sensitive information, like Americans’ birthdays and phone numbers.

TikTok for Authors – How to Sell Books on TikTok! (Shelby Leigh, NessGraphica, 9-15-22) Don’t let the fear of video hold you back from being a part of one of the fastest-growing platforms in years.Experiment until you find what works. Then, repurpose.
15 TikTok Ideas for Authors to Help Grow Their Audience and Book Sales (Annah Laine)
Tik Tok for Authors Facebook group, though there seem to be  Book Tok Facebook groups and that may be a more logical place to congregate.
The White House is briefing TikTok stars about the war in Ukraine (Taylor Lorenz, WaPo, 3-11-22) With millions getting their information about the war from the platform, the administration wants to get its message to top content creators.
The TikTok buildup: Videos reveal Russian forces closing in on Ukraine (Paul Sonne, Joyce Sohyun Lee, Mary Ilyushina, Ruby Mellen,and Atthar Mirza, Washington Post, 2-11-22) Russian President Vladimir Putin and top Russian officials for months denied that Moscow was preparing to mount an invasion of neighboring Ukraine. But videos posted to TikTok and other social media platforms told another story.
Watching the World’s “First TikTok War” (Kyle Chayka, New Yorker, 3-3-22) "The invasion of Ukraine isn’t the first conflict to play out over social media. The Arab Spring uprisings and the Syrian civil war used Facebook and Twitter to organize protests and broadcast D.I.Y. footage. But in the intervening years, social platforms have become more geared toward multimedia, and smartphones have become better at capturing and streaming events in real time."

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How to Use BookTok: A Guide for Authors and Publishers (Anna Fiore, Literary Ladies Guide, 10-21-21)
BookTok for book marketing (Sandra Beckwith, 2-16-22)
The Atlas Six is one of the many books that have gone viral on BookTok, the corner of TikTok dedicated to reading. Other books include Madeline Miller's The Song of Achilles, Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows, Adam Silvera's They Both Die at the End, E. Lockhart's We Were Liars, Casey McQuiston's Red, White & Royal Blue, Taylor Jenkins Reid's The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Colleen Hoover's It Ends With Us.
TikTok is driving book sales. (Jim Zarroli, NPR, Weekend Edition, 12-31-21) People are buying a lot more books these days, in part because the pandemic has trapped everyone indoors with little to do. But among younger readers, another factor is driving sales up: The social media site TikTok, where users post short videos they create themselves.
Authors Are Swarming to TikTok, But Not All Are Talking about Books (Rachel Kramer Bussel, The Hot Sheet, 3-31-21) As with other social media platforms, topical and even quirky content—not the hard sell—attracts followers
Meet the Girl Who Is Visiting Every Museum in New York City ( Hannah Docter-Loeb, Observer, 2-12-22) Since February 2021, she has visited 50+ museums, made short-form videos, and from those has built a substantial following (almost 20,000) on TikTok. Her four favorite museums may surprise you.
How creator funds fall short for creators...(They're designed that way) (Casey Newton, Platformer, 1-25-22) First, watch the video: "So...Tik Tok Sucks". A comparison of Tik Tok and YouTube as online video producers making more or less for the creator economy. Both TikTok and YouTube allow creators to make money through ads, based on number of impressions, but TikTok, though succeeding quickly, so far isn't as careful about moderation or monetization, or as fair toward creators. Understand it all by watching the full video, which is complete. Most key points are made before nonsubscribers are cut off. You have collaboration, competition, and collective action. More money made on TikTok should hit creators' pockets, as they deserve their share of profit.

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Starting and Growing Your TikTok Platform (Caroline Peckman, 20Books Vegas 2021 Day 2, YouTube video, 11-13-21) Watch it regularly and follow trends, which come and go. Find a sound you like (one that's trending) and what do you do next? Excellent how-to talk for things like how to "pin" a comment. TikTok, established in 2016, is a video-sharing app with an avid book community (#BookTok) of peer-to-peer recommendation. Most of the sales generated through TikTok aren’t derived from authors’ or publishers’ accounts, but from the videos of everyday people using the platform. Some of those everyday people have become, over time, professional TikTok creators and influencers. Compared to YouTube, TikTok is simple and quick, requiring nothing more than your smartphone, and users appreciate how it offers a more personal connection with creators. Above all, authenticity—hearing from real people—is valued.
TikTok Is Testing Paid Subscriptions (Mahira Dayal, The Information,1-19-22) TikTok is testing the idea of allowing its creators to charge subscriptions for their content. Currently ByteDance-owned TikTok supports tips, which let fans send creators money through their profiles.

•  How to Sell More Books Using TikTok (Self-Publishing Formula) Is TikTok just another social media time suck? Jayne Rylon and Lila Dubois, who write erotic romance novels, don’t think so. On this episode, they share where they think TikTok’s value for novelists lies and how authors can benefit from the early days of the platform. The content on BookTok is very different from the goofy entries on TikTok, they explain. The value lies in conversion. With 2,000 views, one book increased its sales five-fold. Lessons learned about conversion rates. (Discussion, hosted by James Blatch, starts at about 13.5 minutes) James Blatch hosts.
BookTok has passion—and enormous marketing power (The Economist, 11-6-21) Old-fashioned critics might not approve. But why should BookTok’s stars care?...BookTok is resurrecting backlists....under its influence, old titles were creeping back into the bestseller charts. It offers such books “a second lease on life”
Learning TikTok Ads An over the shoulder series that follows along as Nicholas Erik figures out how to use TikTok Ads (not the social platform) to sell books from scratch. Format will be a mix of text and video; links to newsletters and videos will be here as they’re released. New entries each Friday.
How Crying on TikTok Sells Books (Elizabeth A. Harris, NY Times, 3-20-21) “BookTok” videos are starting to influence publishers and best-seller lists, and the verklempt readers behind them are just as surprised as everyone else. Mireille Lee, 15, left, and her sister Elodie, 13, started the TikTok account @alifeofliterature in February. One of their videos has been viewed more than five million times. "Many Barnes & Noble locations around the United States have set up BookTok tables displaying titles like “They Both Die at the End,” “The Cruel Prince,” “A Little Life” and others that have gone viral. There is no corresponding Instagram or Twitter table, however, because no other social-media platform seems to move copies the way TikTok does."
BookTok TikTok (Facebook group
21 Authors on TikTok to Follow for Book Promo Ideas (& LOLs) (Shailee Shah,BookBub Insights,11-4-21) The app has nearly 100 million monthly active users in the United States alone, and it boasts a burgeoning community of readers, dubbed BookTok.
Thanks a billion! (Tiktok newsroom) "TikTok just entered the billion user club, which is especially amazing when you consider that Twitter and Snapchat have been around much longer and neither are anywhere close to that number."~ Simon Owens media newsletter

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Tumblr died a slow and painful death. Here's how TikTok can avoid the same fate. (Jennimai Nguyen, Mashable, 2-2-21) Tumblr was once a place for young creators. Now that's TikTok. Long story short, the social media world loves videos. Tumblr's stats declined when it cut out porn. See Years on from Tumblr’s infamous porn ban, where have those NSFW communities gone?(Happy, Australia's favourite youth publisher) Tumblr’s celebration of diversity was the key to its success, providing a safe space for people who wanted to explore sexuality without judgement. So what exactly happened to all that Tumblr porn? As Tumblr dealt with their disastrous fall from grace, users were forced into a state of digital nomadism, seeking safe alternatives which provided the same sense of belonging.
Booktok: how TikTok and Gen Z re-invented the book club(Alex Bryson, Pulsar, 8-3-21) A new type of community born from the intersection of society's oldest and newest media types
Wall Street Influencers Are Making $500,000, Topping Even Bankers (Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou, Bloomberg, 9-17-21) "At first no one could explain why business was picking up at Betterment, a robo adviser aimed at newbie investors. There were about 10,000 signups in one day. Then came the answer: A 25-year-old TikToker from Tennessee was posting videos describing how to retire a millionaire by using the platform.
TikTok - The rising star that is shaking up the social media world! (AnyMind) A closer look at advertising on TikTok. TikTok has significantly become one of the most downloaded apps in 2020. TikTok is the best platform for your business if you would like to target Gen Z and Millennial users who are looking for something fun, trendy, bold, innovative.
TikTok for Viral Book Marketing (Raquel Shante Delemos, Publishers Weekly, 9-10-21) "Since launching internationally in 2017, the video-sharing app has become one of the fastest-growing social media platforms worldwide, with, according to some estimates, one billion monthly users....With trending music, flashy filters, and unique editing capabilities, TikTok makes it relatively easy to achieve viral status. It’s very possible for indie authors to reach millions of viewers and potential readers on TikTok. They just need to know where to find them—and a sound strategy." Article focuses especially on book marketing with TikTok.
TikTok Is Changing the Way Publishers Market New Books (Alexandra Cortez, Study Breaks, 4-11-21) Not everyone is happy about the way publishers have become a part of TikTok. Publishers are paying users in the book community on the app, also known as BookTok, to promote their books, leaving some people with mixed feelings.
The rise of BookTok: meet the teen influencers pushing books up the charts Alison Flood,The Guardian, 6-25-21) Young TikTok users are sharing their passion for books with millions – bringing titles they love to life online and reshaping the publishing world, all in under a minute.
‘An organic, social-media phenomenon’: TikTok is driving a surge in demand for young-adult fiction novels (Elisabeth Buchwald MarketWatch, 5-30-21) Some people go on TikTok to see funny clips of dogs popping out of watermelons, learn new dances or discover cooking hacks. Others are there to get book recommendations — using the hashtag #BookTok. YA print sales are doing better than ever. More than 10 million YA novels were been sold in the year from April 2020 to April 2021, creating an all-time record high, according to NPD BookScan.
TikTok, explained (Rebecca Jennings, Vox, 7-12-19) It’s part of the world’s most valuable startup, but you probably only know about the memes. Users film videos of themselves lip-syncing or acting out comedy sketches, up to 15 seconds long, and can choose from a database of songs, effects, or sound bites."TikTok, on the surface, doesn’t look so different from the litany of other video-centric social media apps that came before it, like Snapchat, Vine, or Dubsmash. It shares similar pitfalls (privacy, online creeps) and similar assets (like Vine, TikTok has created its own language of comedy), but thanks to its algorithm that makes binge-watching irresistible, as well as a sophisticated array of sound and visual effects, TikTok offers far more possibilities for creators."

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The Anxiety of Influencers: Educating the TikTok Generation (Barrett Swanson, Letter from Los Angeles, Harper's, June 2021) "Also known as content houses or TikTok mansions, collab houses are grotesquely lavish abodes where teens and early twentysomethings live and work together, trying to achieve viral fame on a variety of media platforms." A long and fairly depressing profile, which Rebecca Jennings writes about in 
The bigger stakes of the TikTok debate (Joss Fong and Christophe Haubursin, Vox, 8-29-20) It’s not just TikTok that’s in trouble. The open internet is too. Join the Open Sourced Reporting Network ( Lauren Katz, Vox, 12-10-19) Help report on the real consequences of data, privacy, algorithms, and AI. President Trump issued an executive order prohibiting transactions with the video-sharing app TikTok. Since the app is owned by the Beijing-based ByteDance, it could pose national security and privacy risks to users in the US and other states.
It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it? ( Peter Kafka, Vox, 6-22-22) Facebook knows it has a TikTok problem. TV and streamers do, too. TikTok is a direct competitor for video eyeballs; it’s more compelling than the stuff you’re programming; and, just like a slot machine, it promises viewers that there’s always another dopamine hit just a swipe away.
We tracked what happens after TikTok songs go viral (Vox, 5-21-22) A data investigation into how TikTok is shaping the music industry, in collaboration with The Pudding. It turns out the app is completely revolutionizing the way record labels work, and giving artists more leverage than ever. The influencers are burned out, too  Vox (5-25-21): "[TikTokers are] afraid of branching out from whatever the algorithm decides it likes for fear of becoming a has-been, and they're burned out by the churn of endlessly creating content they barely even like....Earlier this month, the writer and English professor Barrett Swanson published a story in Harper’s about his five days at Clubhouse, the collective of dozens of college-aged social media hopefuls living in a smattering of content mansions in Los Angeles. He emerged with the sneaking suspicion that maybe all of this is bad, not only for the world but for the influencers themselves."`

TikTok Revenue and Usage Statistics (Mansoor Iqbal, Business of Apps, 4-22-21) Originally launched as a short-form video sharing platform, primarily for lipsyncing and dancing videos, TikTok has grown into a fully-fledged video service, with content available for all types of viewers. The TikTok app allows users to create 15 second videos, soundtracked by music clips. Sounds simple enough, but it’s a wildly popular concept. Depending on who you ask, the app was the world’s second-most or fourth-most downloaded non-gaming app of 2019 (only behind various Facebook entities in either case). By 2020, it was comfortably number one.

Bella Poarch Conquered Her Past, the Navy, and TikTok. Now She’s Coming for Pop Music. (Bella Poarch, Rolling Stone, 4-22-22) From a painful childhood to military service to global pop stardom, the TikTok sensation keeps defying the odds.
The Tom Cruise TikTok Deepfakes Illustrate the Dangers of the Technology (Sarah Esquivel, Study Breaks, 3-31-21) Videos of the ‘Mission Impossible’ actor recently went viral on the video-sharing platform. The twist? It wasn’t him. Using deepfake technology and a great impersonation, a man successfully fooled the world.
Parents' Ultimate Guide to TikTok (Frannie Ucciferri, Common Sense Media) Is TikTok safe? How does it work? And can I do a duet with my kid? Everything you need to know about this popular musical singing and sharing app.
Nurse Suspended Over TikTok Videos About Patients (Amanda D'Ambrosio, Enterprise & Investigative Writer, MedPage Today, 7-7-21)

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Lula's Logic (Seth Godin on vegan ice cream store in East Village as example of why saying less may make marketing sense)


((social networking in the workplace, with more of an emphasis on job-seeking and professional connections than on socializing)
LinkedIn review and rating (PC Magazine rates it excellent--4.5 stars out of 5). Story by Jill Duffy.
5 Easy Steps To Organize Your Prospects & Build Relationships Using LinkedIn’s Relationship Tab (infographic, Melanie Dodaro, TopDog Social Media, 7-23-14)

LinkedIn: Strictly Business (Marilynne Rudick, WebOver50, 6-12-10)
11 Tips For Choosing Your LinkedIn Photo (Norine Dagliano, Career Realism)
I'm on LinkedIn -- Now What? (Jason Alba, Beyond Blinking Lights and Acronyms)
The Importance of Legitimate LinkedIn Reviews (Tyson Snow, Social Media, Esq.)
The Business of Editing: Are Editors to LinkedIn Like Oil is to Water? ( Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, for An American Editor, 2-27-12). "In a LinkedIn group for self-professed 'grammar geeks,' some discussions answer grammar and usage questions accurately and interestingly, but many of the responses are from people who know even less than those asking the questions."
What's To Love About LinkedIn? (Melanie Lindner, Forbes.com, 6-20-08)
10 Ways Writers Can Use LinkedIn to Find Freelance Gigs (Make a Living Writing)
Almost Savvy on LinkedIn (various posts on LinkedIn on Irene Koehler's blog, with entries such as How To Opt-Out of Social Ads on LinkedIn in 5 Clicks . "LinkedIn is THE place to start when you’re ready to tell your branding story the way you want it to be told."

MindMeister (online mind mapping software, for collaborative mindmapping)

Readability. Install this tool on your website browser and it removes the clutter around what you're reading, it says here.

Removing Content from Google (Google Legal Help)

Report Online Infringement Using E-Commerce and Social Media Reporting Tools (StopFakes.gov) Information on intellectual property policies and infringement reporting mechanisms at several popular online retailers and marketplaces. Click on the names listed to access links to each site's reporting policies and tools.

ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett, in which you learn that the income may be indirect, not direct

Qwitter (once a day tells you who has stopped following you on Twitter!)

Podcasts and podcasting

Podcasts are on-demand audio files
A way to read when your eyes and hands are busy
A good way to get across a message or plug a new book.
 How-to's of doing podcasts
Practical tips for podcasting from your home/office
Matching podcasts hosts and guests
Finding good podcasts to listen to
Making money doing podcasts

How-to's of doing podcasts

How To Start A Podcast: A Complete Step-By-Step Tutorial (Podcast Insights)

---How to Start a Podcast: The 5-Stage Guide This page includes well-organized links to all key how-to topics.
---Guides and Tutorials
---Podcast Equipment: Choice & Setup (for beginners and pros alike)
---Podcasting Software: How to Record a Podcast
---Planning & Workflow for Podcasting (and more)
Lessons learned from producing 100 podcast episodes (Simon Owens's Media Newsletter) See also his helpful Podcast recording tips redacted for when you're a guest on someone's podcast (to eliminate lags and other flaws in production).

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Podcasting Basics, Part 1: Voice Recording Gear (Jeff Towne, Transom, 3-20-15)
---Part 2: Software
---Part 3: Audio Levels and Processing
---Part 4: Hosting & Distribution
---Part 5: Loudness for Podcasts vs. Radio
---P-Pops And Other Plosives (Jeff Towne, 4-27-16)
---Mic Boosters (Jeff Towne, 10-9-19)
---The Business of Podcasts (Kerri Hoffman, 9-9-14)

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Podcast Alchemy series (articles by Mark A. Herschberg, Cognosco Media, 2024)
---An Unexpected Journey
---To Host or to Guest
---The Philosophy of Guesting
---Creating the Perfect Podcast Pitch
---How to Get on Hundreds of Podcasts (or Find an Ideal Podcast Guest)
---How to Be a Great Podcast Guest
---How to Be a Great Podcast Host
---How to Get the Most Out of Your Podcast
---Who is Helping Whom? Podcast Hosts, Guests, & Audiences
---Is Podcasting Worth It? (As a Guest or a Host)

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Beware of The Fake Podcast Invite Scam (Alex Kantrowitz, Big Technology, 4-19-24) Legit looking invites can turn into a nightmare as scammers steal would-be podcast guests' online accounts during the tech setup. 'The process typically goes like this: Someone invites you to appear on a show, asks you to join a "tech check," and then takes your credentials during the setup. Instead of a media appearance, you're left with a nightmare of account recovery...'
Tips for starting and succeeding at podcasting (Inaara Gangji, IJNet, 9-26-22) Podcasts can be of many types: interviews, scripted nonfiction, news recaps, educational podcasts or scripted fiction, among others. “Choose a format that fits what your podcast is about and fits your topic.” Every podcast can benefit from editing. Podcasts should be no longer than they absolutely need to be. (David Tvrdon, The Fix, 3-24-23)
Podcasting Tool (Journalist's Toolbox, SPJ, 4-8-23) Practical tools, such as Podcast Host's resource list Equipment, tools, and software
How to use podcasting to amplify credible reporting (Mya Zepp, IJNet, 3-31-23) “It’s the most efficient way to consume deep content. Radio is blasting in the car while podcasting is a voice in your head.”
Lessons from award-winning podcasts (Various people, Media Voices) A useful series.
The Publisher Podcast Awards See Winners 2021 Some of the best podcasts, in various categories (B2B, Coronavirus, Entertainment, Food and Drink, Health and Wellbeing, Hobbies and Special Interest, Lifestyle, Special Interest, Local and Community, Political, Science and Medical, Sponsored, Sport, Technology, Commercial Strategy, Podcast Launch, Podcast Hero of the Year). Judged on production quality, how well the podcast reflected the publisher’s brand, and growth strategy.
The Publisher Podcast Summit First one: In London on Wednesday 5th October 2022
The first-ever conference dedicated to publisher podcasts is launched: Behind the scenes (What's New in Publishing)
Podcasting Resources (Journalist's Toolbox, Society of Professional Journalists)

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How to Be a Great Podcast Guest: A Guide for Authors (Sue Campbell on Jane Friedman's blog, 6-14-21)
So You Want to Start a Podcast: Finding Your Voice, Telling Your Story, and Building a Community That Will Listen by Kristen Meinzer, covers everything from hosting and guest booking to editing and marketing - while offering plenty of encouragement and insider stories along the way.
What do you need to know before creating a podcast? (B/N, Better News) A couple dozen links about all the things you should think about and develop strategies for. How do I make money off my podcast? What to take when you record outside of a studio. Technical details of hosting and distributing podcasts. And so on.

Why turning newsletters into podcasts and podcasts into newsletters is a great strategy for publishers

   On the other hand, if you are a podcast guest or a speaker anywhere, be sure your media engagement contracts specify that the recording of your speech or interview cannot be turned into a book and sold. Podcast interviewers may see this as their 'right' because of the type of standard contract they use, which says they can do anything they want with the interview to make money. Insist that if they don't change this part of the contract, you won't do the interview.
Subjectivity, hugs and craft: Podcasting as extreme narrative journalism  (Siobhan McHugh, Nieman Storyboard, 10-8-19)
Mic drop? A veteran longform writer trades notebook for headphones, text for sound  (Cynthia Gorney. Nieman Storyboard, 10-18-18) Cynthia Gorney fumbled with gear and interviews to report her first podcast. A great "how I did it" piece to learn from.
How to make NPR-quality podcasts at home (Mark Sullivan, TechHive, 11-22-13) Note the date.

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More tips about podcasting
Listen Notes A podcast search engine.
Lessons from award-winning podcasts (Media Voices). For example, Podcast ideas to steal: Reading aloud, long ads, and voice messages (Media Voices) 1. The New Statesman launched an Audio Long Reads podcast featuring the best of the magazine’s content read aloud by the authors and professional voice actors.

2. Morning Brew asked a group of podcast pros what’s the best length for a podcast advert. 60-second host reads got a lot of love from the panel.

3. An interesting little widget called SpeakPipe lets your podcast listeners leave voice messages directly from your website. You can then cut the audio they record into your episodes to give your audience an actual voice.
4 Podcasting Best Practices for Beginners or Veterans (Carla Kalogeridis, Association Media & Publishing 9-1-2015) Invest in good tools. Podcasting requires microphones, headphones, and editing software. Popular software includes GarageBand, Reaper, and Audacity.
A master audio storyteller on how to create a powerful podcast (Shelley Hepworth, CJR, 4-14-17)
The B&H Equipment Guide to Telephone Interviews (Sam Mallery)
The B&H Handheld Digital Audio Recorders Buyer's Guide (Sam Mallery)

Scroll way down for more such tips and information (about equipment, etc.)

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Practical tips for podcasting from your home/office

---Use an external microphone ("mic"), not a computer's built-in mic.
---Plug directly into the ethernet rather than trying to skype over wifi.
---Have others in the house get off the internet, particularly if they are backing up or streaming movies--actions that hog capacity.
---Find the room with the best sound quality, preferably one away from where others in the house are likely to make noise.

       (Post a notice "Shhh...Recording interview" on door.)
---Do interviews midweek, or whenever your neighbors are less likely to be using chainsaws and lawnmowers.
---Ask the interviewee to do the same.

                  (H/T to Shawn Radcliffe for these tips.)

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Matching podcasts hosts and guests

---MatchMaker.fm Connecting Podcasters & Guest
---Podmatch uses artificial intelligence (A.I.) to match ideal podcast guests and hosts to produce good interviews. Geared to authors of nonfiction. Check out the PodMatch Community
---Podcast Guests
---Pitch Podcasts
---Poddit, A tool to help you find the perfect guest for your next interview. Listen to Get and Manage Interviews with Poddit (an interview with Brent Besham, School of Podcasting) See more episodes.
---Podmatch Imagine your favorite online dating app, but instead of using it to find dates, you're booking podcast interviews. Podmatch uses same(ish) technology for automated matching.

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Finding good podcasts to listen to and podcast apps to listen through

Podcast apps are applications that allow you to listen to podcasts on your mobile device or computer.
Publisher Podcast Awards (Media Voices)
---The Shortlist (finalists)
Dishcast Archives (Andrew Sullivan)
A Beginner’s Guide to Getting Into Podcasts (Rachel Holliday Smith, NY Times, 1-28-19) Podcasts are all about killing two birds with one stone by listening while you do other things. "To keep and organize your podcasts, you’ll need a podcast app that allows you to subscribe to new shows and listen. If you’re brand-new to podcasts, the stock podcast app already installed on your smartphone is the easiest point of entry; for iPhone, you have the Apple Podcasts app, and for Android users, the easiest option is to play podcasts through the Play Music app." But you can choose from third-party apps as well:
---Pocket Casts, which costs a one-time payment of $3.99 on both Android and iOS, and is favored by Nicholas Quah, who writes the podcast industry newsletter Hot Pod and is a podcast critic for Vulture. Pocket Casts can handle a large number of subscriptions; not all apps can do so.
---The 6 best podcast apps for listening to all your favorite shows (Angela Tricarico, Reece Rogers, and Ben Blanchet, Business Insider, 3-31-22) What's available with Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Audible, Stitcher, and TuneIn Radio.
---Castro: A podcast app for podcast lovers Your favorite shows get downloaded and added to the queue automatically, while shows you like to be more choosy with get added to an Inbox you can browse later.
Here’s how to download podcasts and listen to them on Android or iOS (Mark Jansen, Digital Trends, 7-12-18) Several apps ("podcatchers") are available on various systems for both iOS and Android that allow you to download and sort episodes. These apps are generally cheap (or free). Good how-to piece on how to download podcasts and listen to them on your device. Covered here: Google podcasts, Castbox, Pocket Casts, Overcast, Apple Podcasts app (iTunes)
Podcasting Resources An organized assortment of links to various types of products and resources, without evaluations or comparisons.
Best Podcast Listening Apps (For iOS & Android) 2018 (Podcast Insights, as of 8-3-18) Here's their very useful list; see the article for details about each app.
(1) iOS & Android Podcast Apps. RadioPublic. Pocket Casts. Castbox. Podbean. Stitcher. TuneIn Radio. Spotify.  (iOS=iPhone operating system)
(2) iOS Podcast Apps. Overcast. Castro. Downcast. PodCruncher. iCatcher. Castaway. Apple Podcasts.
(3) Android Podcast Apps. Google Podcasts. Podcast Republic. Podcast Addict. BeyondPod. Doggcatcher. Player FM. Podkicker. AntennaPod.
Best Podcast Apps (John Corpuz & Jackie Dove, Tom's Guide, 6-20-18) Keep abreast of your favorite podcasts with the best mobile podcatchers. Podcasting apps, also known as podcatchers, do more than just play back your podcasts. The best-in-class automatically download and sort the newest episodes of your subscribed podcasts, help manage your subscriptions and include audio tools and features to give you the best listening experience possible


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Good and/or popular podcasts

Great podcasts to listen to as you exercise, drive, iron, file, cook, clean, or walk (a Writers and Editors blog post)
Top 20 ranking podcasts (Podtrac)
Top 20 podcast publishers rankings (Podtrac)
31 Best Podcast Hosting Sites (Ross Winn, Podcasting Insights, 12-10-2020)
50 Great Podcasts (Jeremy Caplan)
The 10 best academic podcasts

ListenNotes (podcast search engine)
Publisher Podcast Awards

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Making money doing podcasts

8 ways publishers are making money from podcasts (Esther Kezia Thorpe, What's New in Publishing, 2020) Some ways of monetizing podcasts: Adverts, events, sponsored series, branded episodes, selling subscriptions, subscriber-only podcasts,publisher-owned podcast networks, promoting other publisher revenue streams.
How a podcast for entrepreneurial parents generates $200,000 a year (Simon Owens' Media Newsletter, 3-28-22) Sarah Peck explains why she didn't chase scale when building her Startup Parent podcast. "The podcast sells sponsorships, of course, but the real monetization driver is the Wise Women’s Council, an intense six-month “leadership incubator” geared toward female-identifying and non-binary parents who are also entrepreneurs....Like many successful creators, Peck began building an online audience while working in a completely unrelated field." H/T Magazine Diaries.
Buzzsprout Platform Stats The number of monthly downloads, new episodes, and active podcasts, as well as statistics per podcast app (number of downlowads and percentage of total, for dozens of apps), showing which podcast platforms are most popular.
We need to talk about podcast listener numbers (Esther Kezia Thorpe, Media Voices, 9-29-22) Podcasts are high-engagement media so drawing a podcast audience is not easy. Not many listeners are sitting flicking through podcasts trying them out – which is partly why so many feature celebrities. More often than not, growth comes either by recommendations from friends, or having an existing relationship with a brand. B2B sites tend to have smaller traffic numbers but a more targeted audience – a publication about heating and water systems will find plumbers and builders more valuable than a news website, which will have all sorts of people reading it.The "How many downloads per episode is good" chart is worth a look (and then read Omny's Benchmarking, oh Benchmarking, which updates the data after a year, and presents by genre: News,Comedy, Sports, Society & Culture. Downloads are greatest in the U.S. and Canada
What YouTube’s official entry into podcasting means for the industry (Simon Owens Media Newsletter, 9-2-22) The video platform is finally dedicating real resources to growing its podcast offerings, available here, currently "little more than a landing page that promotes popular video podcasts," but down the road one can imagine income-producing ads. (I love Simon Owens's newsletter.) See also How Twitter’s podcast bet could pay off (Simon Owens's Media Newsletter, 9-7-22) Twitter could be the first platform to successfully introduce social media features and discoverability into a podcast player.
Listen up: Podcasts are coming to Twitter (Twitter, 8-25-22)
Publishers reveal how podcast pennies are now turning into big money ( Charlotte Tobitt, Press Gazette: The Future of Media, 3-16-22) "Niche podcasts with a small but engaged audience have the potential to be the biggest money-making audio shows for publishers, a conference heard last week.
The New Statesman’s Britain editor Anoosh Chakelian, who co-hosts The New Statesman Podcast, had revealed “we are attractive to sponsors because we get 500,000 downloads a month which is big for a political podcast”.But she said building The New Statesman’s reputation is the more important outcome of the podcast." The podcast, which goes out to subscribers a day before non-subscribers, was all about "speaking to the magazine’s core audience and 'building up that club' – but also remaining accessible to newcomers by not assuming a high level of politics knowledge."
Podcast Guests Are Paying Up to $50,000 to Appear on Popular Shows (Ashley Carman, Bloomberg, 8-3-22) Critics call it “payola,” and say listeners deserve better disclosure of promotional ties. US regulators agree that consumers might be misled when they don’t know a media mention only occurred in exchange for compensation.
YouTube's plan to compete with Spotify and Apple in podcasting, according to 2 insiders (Business Insider) YouTube described what sets it apart from other podcasting platforms in a virtual seminar for creators last month. [Not a subscriber, I couldn't read it but maybe you can!]
•  The podcast business is booming, but few are making money (Sara Fischer, Axios, 1-25-21) While podcasting is the fastest-growing advertising medium, it's still tiny. The industry as a whole still only brings in less than $1 billion in ad revenue, even though more than 90 million people listen to podcasts monthly, per Edison Research....What's next: Just as Google and Facebook bolstered the digital ad market by aggregating lots of digital tech companies together and creating an end-to-end supply chain, the same thing is beginning to happen in audio. See Podcast wars heat up (11-12-2020)    

       "Spotify's $235 million acquisition of podcast monetization company Megaphone on Tuesday is the latest in an acquisition frenzy that's stirring up the podcast industry. Why it matters: The past year has seen several key companies invest hundreds of millions of dollars in podcast acquisitions, including Spotify, iHeartMedia, Apple, SiriusXM and others."

Knowable brings audio to Medium Medium acquired Knowable to bring audio capabilities to its audience. Its new format, the audio lesson, "combines the conversational style of a podcast with the rigor of a great nonfiction book." Experts and book authors: apply to be a Knowable creator.
Podcasting with Squarespace overview
How Did Squarespace Know Podcasts Would Get This Big? (Joel Stein, Business, NY Times, 2-13-22) From “This Week in Tech” to Zendaya at the Super Bowl. Anthony Casalena, the founder and chief executive of Squarespace, took a big risk — to the tune of $20,000 — with an ad on a podcast in 2009. How Squarespace went from podcast spots to Super Bowl ads shows that his 2009 bet was right. Podcasts could sell.
Breaking Points (Supercast) "The only people who own us are our fans." Learn how the YouTube show and podcast "Breaking Points" partnered with Supercast to build a paying audience of 10,000 subscribers within 2 days. Saagar Enjeti and Krystal Ball host this show, an anti-establishment American news show that brings together views from the left and right sides of the political spectrum.
How Podcast Leader QCode Uses Star Power — Like an Upcoming Gina Rodriguez Thriller — to Disrupt the Industry (Kate Aurthur, Variety, 10-22-21) "QCode, which was founded in 2018 by Rob Herting, a former CAA agent, has a high batting average selling its scripted podcasts for adaptation into other mediums. Since 2019, when it premiered its debut offering, “Blackout,” starring Rami Malek — a week after he’d won the Academy Award for best actor — QCode has sold a dozen of them to be adapted into television series, movies and even books …Herting, 39, got the idea for QCode as he watched two simultaneous booms: one in intellectual property, the other in podcasting." Some QCode podcasts have been profitable based on the advertising alone. “But they’re not always,” Herting says. “I’d equate it to an independent film — it can work, but it’s far from a guarantee.” (H/T Simon Owens, The Podcast to Hollywood Pipeline)

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Why Spotify's podcast bet is paying off (Simon Owens, 6-29-22) Spotify revolutionized the modern day music industry; that's earned it some benefit of the doubt. Podcasting shouldn't only be valued for its direct revenue contribution, but also how it strengthens Spotify's music business. Podcasting offers up that differentiation that Spotify needs. If a user already fires up the app to listen to Call Your Daddy or the Joe Rogan Experience, then they're more likely to use Spotify for their music streaming as well. This not only creates more user lock-in for the app, but it makes Spotify less vulnerable if any one label removes its music library during future negotiations. There's also much more room for growth in the audio advertising market, and Spotify is well positioned to capitalize on that growth.
Spotify’s Billion-Dollar Bet on Podcasting Has Yet to Pay Off (Lucas Shaw, Bloomberg, 6-24-22) Joe Rogan, Bill Simmons, and Call Her Daddy haven’t fixed the business. Spotify moved into podcasting to free itself from the unprofitable and competitive business of music streaming. Yet despite all of Spotify’s spending on podcasting, it accounted for only 7% of total listening hours in the first quarter of 2022 and 2% of revenue last year, the company announced in June. Rogan’s show, the service’s most popular and controversial, has caused Spotify one public-relations headache after another. Direct podcast revenue still makes up a tiny percentage of its overall revenue.
A Stitcher Acquisition Would Give SiriusXM the Tools to Compete with Apple and Spotify in Podcasting (Bill Rosenblatt, Forbes, 7-7-20) "As a startup in the late 2000s, Stitcher focused on podcast discovery. It had the idea that users would want recommendations for new podcasts to listen to, and it positioned itself as “Pandora for podcasts.” It was one of the first podcast platforms that treated podcasts as streaming media rather than as downloads. But discovery and recommendation for podcasts turned out to be a harder problem than for music, especially since podcasts are typically much longer than songs and users don’t listen to more than one or two of them at a time."
Amazon Music to Buy Podcast Company Wondery, Taking Fight to Spotify (Tim Inghy, Music Business Worldwide, 12-30-20) “When the deal closes, nothing will change for listeners, and they’ll continue to be able to access Wondery podcasts through a variety of providers.”
How the Las Vegas Review-Journal grew audience and revenue with its narrative podcast “Mobbed Up” (Glenn Cook, Belinda Englman and Jim Prather, Las Vegas Review-Journal, December 2020, via B/N) Use your archives and partnerships with cultural institutions to retell your community’s most fascinating stories through audio — engaging new audiences and opening doors to new sponsorship opportunities.
How Bob Cesca built a paid membership for his politics podcast (Simon Owens, Creator Collab House, 2-9-21) "Consistent, loyal listeners require consistent, loyal hosts. If you don’t plan to stick with it for a few years as an opening commitment, don’t start. Don’t waste your time. Solid ratings growth takes a long, long time to build. My podcast only became a full-time endeavor after five or six years of doing it part-time."

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The strategic brilliance of Slate's pivot to podcasts (Simon Owens Media Newsletter, 12-15-2020) Megaphone probably wouldn’t have existed at all if a former public radio producer hadn’t come up with the idea 15 years ago to read online articles into a microphone and publish the recordings as a podcast. As Slate’s podcast stable grew, so did its audience. "If you were to travel back in time to 2005 and tell Slate’s senior leadership that a medium most of them had never even heard of would one day generate the majority of the magazine’s revenue, they probably wouldn't believe you." See more pieces like this.
Podcasting, Audiobooks, and the Third Thing Podcasts and Audiobooks are crossing the streams of spoken word content - what else is possible? Also: more on listener surveys! How podcasts and audiobooks differ, and where they might meet. An executive at Edison Research discusses the convergence of the formats and what each industry has to learn from the other. (H/T Jane Friedman)
Making podcasts in the age of social distancing (Shan Wang, The Atlantic, 2-22-21) Small closets, bad headphones, loud HVACs, awkward backgrounds, and surprise concerts: Our producers share their pandemic audio-storytelling anecdotes. "I thought I’d figured out my setup, but it turns out that I pulled a rookie move by not shutting off the (very loud!) HVAC." 
Case studies from Interview Connections Other places to find podcasts or guests: Guest Booking sites (Podcasting Resources)
A real turn-off: are celebrities ruining podcasting? (Fiona Sturges, The Guardian, 5-22-21) From Obama and Springsteen to Paris Hilton and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, famous folk can’t stop hogging the mic.

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How Esther Kezia Thorpe Built the Media Voices Podcast (Simon Owens, Creator Collab House, 2-17-2021) Why you should adapt your podcast episodes into articles easy to share on social media. "An experiment to put written interview highlights into the main podcast post on our website in September made the biggest difference. People were more easily able to share the post with a quote or a stat from the interview which in turn resulted in more people discovering the podcast. Highlights are also great for discoverability - people can skim through and decide if it’s something they want to listen to in full."

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A Brief History of Podcasting (Dan Carlin, Podchaser, 2-27-19)
Technical history of podcasting (Blubrry) See also Blubbry's podcasting manual
Podcaster Resources (Discover Pods) Along right, see various "best podcast" lists, covering true crime, etc., plus podcast reviews, including 10 educational podcasts
Audio for Authors: Audiobooks, Podcasting, and Voice Technologies: Books for Writers, Book 11 by Joanna Penn.
The 13 Critical Podcast Statistics of 2018 (Jay Baer, Convince & Convert) For example: 23% of Americans have listened to podcasts in the car; 49% of podcasts are listened to at home. On the Rise: Steady growth for podcasts, rapid growth for smart speakers. (See full report: The infinite dial 2018(Edison Research).

The strategic brilliance of Slate's pivot to podcasts (Simon Owens's media newsletter, 12-15-2020) "Megaphone probably wouldn’t have existed at all if a former public radio producer [Andy Bowers] hadn’t come up with the idea 15 years ago to read online articles into a microphone and publish the recordings as a podcast." Interesting media history.
Subjectivity, hugs and craft: Podcasting as extreme narrative journalism (Siobhan McHugh, Nieman Storyboard, 10-8-19) The literary journalism movement unleashed by Capote, Didion, Mailer and Wolfe in the 1960s is reinventing itself in a remarkably powerful way. The literal power of voice: when the audio medium is added to the arsenal of narrative journalism, its impact is hugely amplified. Firstly, the authorial voice is literally heard, direct and unmediated, via the podcast host. This foments a strong bond. When the host is speaking right into the listener’s ears, the intimacy ratchets up even more. Subjectivity is not just possible in podcasting – it is almost essential. But storytelling via the affective power of audio is very different. "For the listener, you are a main character whether you think you are or not," says Richard Baker, who learned that as a traditional print-first journalist moving into audio with Wrong Skin (Australia, The Age), about a relationship banned under traditional law.
Podcasting Legal Guide (Creative Commons)
Have We Hit Peak Podcast? (Jennifer Miller, NY Times, 7-18-19) If past experience (cough, blogs) is any indication, a shakeout is nigh. There are now upward of 700,000 podcasts...Jordan Harbinger, host of “The Jordan Harbinger Show” podcast, thinks there is a “podcast industrial complex.”“I love podcasting, and the more shows in the mix the better, as long as they’re done by someone who actually cares and isn’t just trying to get a piece of pie.” What needs to be created, he said, is “a real conversation that will benefit the audience, not the host.”

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How a Media Podcast Accelerated Its Growth (With a 64% Download Increase in One Month) (Jaclyn Schiff, Podreacher, 11-14-18) The first episode of The Business of Content—a podcast about how publishers create, distribute, and monetize digital content—debuted in January 2018. Growth was slow at first. The “nice thing about a podcast is that the growth is a lot more linear” than it tends to be with a blog, he points out. Podcast listeners are loyal and the web can be a fickle place. Adding edited transcripts boosted the numbers and the podcast started getting mentioned by journalists.
Tim Ferriss’ Experiment and the Rise of Direct Monetization in Podcasting (Amira Valliani, Medium, 6-3-19) Ferriss rakes in a considerable amount of advertising money every month, but he might earn more through his fans. He may "he will double-down on a listener-support, and we’ll have fun watching him experiment with new ideas for boosting conversion and extending the lifetime of existing supporters."
Lessons learned from producing 100 podcast episodes Simon Owens's Tech and Media Newsletter. See his podcast The Business of Content about how publishers create, distribute, and monetize digital content, practical tips easily applied by all podcasters. B2B sites tend to have smaller traffic numbers but a more targeted audience – a publication about heating and water systems will find plumbers and builders more valuable than a news website, which will have all sorts of people reading it.
Insights & strategies for building sustainable revenue from your podcast (Supercast) Many practical angles on podcasting, such as 7 Plan & Pricing Options for Attracting Podcast Subscribers.
Voice-first ups the volume on podcasts, audiobooks (Lorraine Shanley, Publishing Trends, 11-14-18) Do podcasts and audiobooks compete? They seem to boost each other. Smart speakers like Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Homepod ("also referred to as voice-first devices"), from 9 pm to midnight, get lots of "requests for short stories or audiobooks, and 49% of podcasts are listened to at home." More on building a market for your podcast, etc.

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The Podcast Bros Want to Optimize Your Life (Molly Worthen, OpEd, NY Times, 8-3-18) Men dominate the self-help podcast system. "They appear on one another’s shows and plug one another’s products."
Balancing daily news demands with the pursuit of in-depth storytelling (the podcast, 'The Pub' #112, Current, listen on SoundCloud). And the online story (Gabe Bullard, Senior Digital Producer ('1A'), Current, 5-21-18) "Podcasts are a nearly perfect vehicle for narrative storytelling. The episodic nature, the way each chapter is delivered to the listener’s personal device, the inherent intimacy of audio, advertisers’ interests in reaching a connected audience over several episodes, and the human nature for hearing and sharing stories all make the platform ideal for delivering narratives."
Listen up: why indie podcasts are in peril (Miranda Sawyer, The Guardian, 8-1-21) As big spenders such as Amazon and Spotify fill our ears with more commercial, celebrity-driven fare, can grassroots, diverse shows survive? In this big-pockets, big-boots era, when all the attention goes to celebrity shows, or those with a large marketing spend, how can lo-fi podcasts survive?
How I Sold My Book by Giving It Away (Seth Harwood, Open Culture, 5-23-09) "...a friend showed me how he’d been using his iPod and a thing called podcasting to get free audiobooks from an unknown author named Scott Sigler, I knew I had to figure out how this was done. Turns out that making MP3 files costs nothing. Distributing them costs me less than $10 a month, no matter how many episodes go out. Each week, I release a free episode—usually a couple of chapters—to thousands of subscribers.... Suddenly I was writing for an audience. And ultimately this made all the difference. Now I know I have people waiting for what I’ll write next; I feel like a digital Dickens, trying to get the new book written for my fan base to consume as soon as I put it out." Thanks to podcasting he placed his crime novel Jack Wakes Up with Three Rivers Press, a division of Random House.
As kids’ podcasts gain ground, producers test ideas for live shows (Lindsay Patterson, Current: News for People in Public Media,
How to Start a Podcast: Ultimate Guide for Beginners (Robert Mening, WebsiteSetup, 5-13-17) A 14-step guide.
podCast 411.
Podfeet Podcasts (Technology Geek Podcasts with an EVER so Slight Apple Bias!) Blog posts, podcasts, videos, tutorials)
Podcasting embraces a new era of cool (thanks, Serial) (Lance Ulanoff, Mashable) Podcasting is taking over broadcasting?
Equipment you’ll need to start your own podcast (Carlett Spike, CJR, 6-5-17)
The Absolute Beginners Guide to Podcasting: Equipment (OSTraining)
The Podcast Equipment Guide (Dan Benjamin, The Podcast Method)
Audacity (the free cross-platform, open-source software for recording and editing audio)
GarageBand (Mac software used to create music or podcasts)
Reaper (digital audio production application for Windows and OS X)
Podcasting Best Practices (Cision)
What You Need To Start A Podcast (Tyler Hayes, Fast Company, his story includes interviews with Manoush Zomorodi, host of WYNC's New Tech City podcast; and Alex Goldmark, New Tech City producer
Before You Start a Podcast: 4 Tips for Authors (Devon Fredericksen, on Jane Friedman's site).
How I Make Podcasts (Casey Liss, Liss is More, 11-22-14)
11 diverse podcasts to give you a fresh perspective on life (Yohana Desta, Mashable) It's not all white guys.
Podcasting Toolbox (Mashable's links to 70+ podcasting tools and resources)
Listen Notes (a super podcast search engine)
Introduction to Podcasting (Learn Out Loud). What is podcasting? How do I listen to a podcast?
Apple's answers to FAQs on podcasting
How to Create Your Own Podcast - A Step-by-Step Tutorial (Corey Deitz, About.com)
Wikipedia's useful entry and links on podcasting
Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt
podCast411 (tutorials on podcasts and podcasting and links to more tutorials)
Libsyn (liberated syndication) -- one stop hosting solution for everything you need to start podcasting, get your podcast in iTunes, become an App. "Cheap, simple, reliable," says one writer (TL). "Begin building your audience immediately."
Best Podcast Interview Software to Record Remotely (Podcasts Insights). Detailed practical suggestions.

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Snapchat Chat, Snap, and video call your friends from wherever you are. Explore Stories & Lenses on desktop, or download the app for mobile.
What is Snapchat and how does it work? (Elyse Betters Picaro, Pocket-lint, 8-23-23) Snapchat is a mobile app for Android and iOS devices, often called Snap by its users. Snapchat’s developer, a public company also called Snap, itself claims to be a camera company. A core concept of the mobile app is that any picture, video, or message (aka snap) you send by default is made available to the receiver for only a short time before it becomes inaccessible. This temporary or ephemeral nature of the app was originally designed to encourage a more natural flow of interaction. Snapchat initially focused on private, person-to-person photo sharing, but you can now use it for a range of tasks, including sending videos, live video chatting, messaging, creating caricature-like Bitmoji avatars, and sharing a chronological “story” that’s broadcasted to all your followers.
The 12 Best Snapchat Tips of 2023 (LifeWire) Use filters; use Snapchat lenses; use Snapchat's Story feature; start a Snapchat Streak; find your Friends; create your Bitmoji (a cartoon version of yourself); share your location; etc.
The best Snapchat alternatives (Android Authority), with links to beginner tips for them:

---Instagram: For keepsakes and content discovery,
---TikTok: For those who love short videos,
---Facebook Messenger: For simple group messaging
---Telegram: For the privacy-minded,
---Sweet Snap: For AR filter lovers (beauty face camera),
---Marco Polo: For ad-free video calls,
---Snow: Filters from around the world a camera app with AR-driven beauty and makeup effects.

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Skype, software that enables free phone calls via the Internet. And if you have a Webcam on your computer you can see each other (which could be good or bad, but is great for keeping up with the grandchildren). Check out the Skype handset , a phone you plug into a USB port so you needn't use the computer's mic and speakers for Skype phone calls (sold here on IPEVO (an online store for tools for the connected world)

Slideshare (like YouTube for PowerPoint presentations: share your presentations with the world; add audio to create a Webinar)

Smashing Magazine has excellent material on website design (including 10 Useful Usability Findings and Guidelines, tutorials, navigation, typography and free fonts)

Snagit (screen capture software -- voted favorite in one group of instructional design pros)

Social bookmarking in plain English (Common Craft)

Social Fish: Making It . Elizabeth Chang on group that helps organizations use social networks created by vendors or take advantage of existing social networks to keep in touch with members (Washington Post, 6-28-09)

Social media technology in plain English (great short video explanations from Common Craft)

Social Media and Web 2.0 in Government (WebContent.gov)

Social Media Skills for Journalists (great links in this syllabus for Sree Srinivasan's course,Columbia Graduate School of Journalism)

Social Media Marketing Industry Report: How Marketers Are Using Social Media to Grow Their Businesses (Michael A. Stelzner, Social Media Success Summit 2009). Download free PDF file.

Selling Our Books on Social Media--Don't Be a Personal Space Invader (Kristen Lamb's blog)

The 6 Types of Blog Commentors: Do You Know Them? (Naomi Dunford, Itty Biz, marketing for businesses without marketing departments)

Social Network Websites (John Kremer's links, Book Marketing and Book Promotion)

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are being joined by many other, more specialized sites -- see Wikipedia's list of, and links to, Social networking websites.

SparkList (email marketing software and list-hosting solutions)

Spectacularly creative ads, issue 13 (Dark Roasted Blends)

Spelling mistakes 'cost millions' in lost online sales (Sean Coughlan, BBC News 7-13-11). Revenue per visitor to the tightsplease.co.uk website was twice as high after an error was corrected. "When a consumer might be wary of spam or phishing efforts, a misspelt word could be a killer issue..." "You get about six seconds to capture the attention on a website."

Squidoo links to blogs about social media and Top 100 Squidoo Lenses on Business and Work

StumbleUpon (personalized recommendations on the Web)

SurveyMonkey (a free and simple way to create surveys)

TeacherTube (Web-based tool for video sharing)TeacherTube (Web-based tool for video sharing)

TechCrunch (group-edited blog about Web 2.0 start-up products & companies, with many posts written by Michael Arrington)

Ways to make room for good writing on social networks by Roy Peter Clark (Poynter Online, 11-22-10). Part 1 of a series. Part 2: Why ‘no dumping’ is a good motto for writing on social networks (i.e., craft your message), 12=9-10.

Webmonkey tutorials (HTML, JavaScript, design and more), cheat sheets (HTML, CSS and special characters), color charts, and snippets of code (templates and cut-and-paste snippets and scripts you may not know how (or may not want to bother) to program.

Websites: Good Designers Redesign, Great Designers Realign (Cameron Moll, A List Apart--for people who make websites)

RSS readers, feed aggregators, & other devices for keeping track of your favorite blogs, podcasts, etc.

Remaking Podcasts For Text (Dave Winer, Tedium, 2-6-24) "Podcasts are far and away the great example of how RSS can empower creators....RSS is widespread and a lot of platforms use it. (Tedium has an RSS feed.) But when it comes down to the mainstream medium a lot of people expected it to become, it’s only really had its moment in the sun in the form of podcasts. As Anil Dash noted this week, there’s something truly radical about podcasts—a format that can make a lot of money for its creators, can be spread broadly, and appears to be difficult to bury inside a walled garden. Spotify tried to close off the podcast ecosystem, and largely failed. It’s a radical media format.

    "Meanwhile, newsletters have essentially turned into the tool that RSS was supposed to be for content—a distribution format controlled by the creator."

What Is RSS (Mark Pilgrim, XML.com, 12-18-02) 'Coders beware. The name "RSS" is an umbrella term for a format that spans several different versions of at least two different (but parallel) formats. RSS is a format for syndicating news and the content of news-like sites....But it's not just for news. Pretty much anything that can be broken down into discrete items can be syndicated via RSS: the "recent changes" page of a wiki, a changelog of CVS checkins, even the revision history of a book.'

What the heck is RSS (Copyblogger explains RSS, feed readers, bookmarks, chicklets, etc.). See also RSS Readers(also Copybloggers, part of Is RSS Really Dead?
What Is RSS (Mark Pilgrim, XML.com, 12-18-02)
An explanation of RSS/feeds/online newsletters (Yen Cheong, on The Book Publicity Blog)
Feed 101 and Feedburner Help Group
RSS, explained (Wikipedia)
What is RSS (ProBlogger's explanation: It's like a subscription that is delivered to your RSS reader everytime a website you've subscribed to updates.)
Is RSS Really Dead? (Blogging.com)
RSS in Plain Language (Common Craft)
Really Simple Syndicatio