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  • Doug Belshaw 3:19 pm on May 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Twitter,   

    This is actually kind of interesting to me. Facebook long ago began depreciating posts that don’t originate from inside Facebook, making sure fewer people see them. If Twitter is now reaching the point where it only wants you to see images that are posted from inside Twitter… well, that’s an interesting corner to turn, isn’t it?

    Warren Ellis

  • Doug Belshaw 7:42 pm on April 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Twitter   

    Lockdown reading list 

    Last night, I tweeted that I’d finished The Road by Cormac McCarthy, and that it had such a profound effect on me that I didn’t feel like the same person I was when I started it.

    I asked for novels that had had a similar effect on others. When I woke up, there were so many replies! Partly as a service to those who replied, and partly because I delete my tweets every 30 days, I’ve collated the recommendations into a list.

    I’ve removed some, either because they’re non-fiction (which I know I didn’t specify, but it’s my list, so my rules), because the tweeter must have given an incorrect title (and no author), or because they merely listed their favourite books, rather than ‘life changing’ ones. Some books were recommended more than once. Apologies if I missed any.

    Can’t get to the library? Not so bothered about copyright? Try ZLibrary.

  • Doug Belshaw 7:21 pm on January 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: moral grandstanding, Twitter   

    Moral grandstanding 

    I’m glad we now have a term other than (the inaccurate) ‘social justice warrior’ to deal with people who find pleasure in seeking out people and situations just so they can take the moral high ground.

    This quotation from an article by Antonia Case in the most recent issue of New Philosopher magazine explains things better than I could:

    “Hungry for social status within their own group, humans typically resort to prestige (knowledge, skills, success, or wealth) or dominance (intimidation, coercion, or sheer brute force) to get others to admire them. And grandstanders… seek prestige for their own moral qualities while, at the same time, employing moral talk to shame and silence others.”

    Antonia Case, ‘Grandstander in the family’, New Philosopher (Spring 2020)

    There may be the black and white of good vs evil when you’re a child, but when you get older and more mature there are so many shades of grey. You can’t say that everything depends on intentions. Or outcomes. And context is so very important.

    As the philosopher Bertrand Russell put it:

    “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”

    Bertrand Russell

    That’s not to say that all moral grandstanders are stupid. Rather that they the sureness with which they express their opinions is an edifice built on sand.

    Of course,, social networks such as Twitter, now commonly referred to as ‘rage machines’ are the perfect place for instant gratification after drive-by moral grandstanding.

  • Doug Belshaw 7:27 pm on June 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , theme, Twitter   

    Halcyon makes Mastodon look and feel like Twitter 

    For the last seven weeks or so, I’ve been off Twitter and instead been using Mastodon, an open source, decentralised social network. One of the great things about this is that, like the Linux laptop I’m typing this on, it can be configured to my heart’s content.

    While there’s a ‘default’ way that Mastodon looks (which depends on which instance you’ve signed up to), you can a plethora of apps and web views to customise your experience. In this way, it’s like Twitter was in the early days. The difference being there’s no company in the middle looking for an IPO and therefore shutting down ‘competition’.

    I’m signed up to social.coop, an instance of Mastodon for those interesting in co-operatives, and which practices what it preaches; members pay to co-own the instance and have voting rights. You can find me at social.coop/@dajbelshaw. Here’s what it looks like for me normally:

    Default social.coop layout

    Today I discovered Halcyon, which allows you to login with your federated Mastodon credentials. You’re then presented with an interface that closely resembles Twitter’s web interface:


    This is familiar, but I’m in two minds whether it’s a ‘good thing’ or not. On the one hand, it’s great to have things that are easy to use and don’t have a steep learning curve. On the other, it’s so close to Twitter that it might be difficult for people to understand the difference. They might just write off Mastodon as a Twitter clone where less of the their network are. That would be as shame.

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