The Poisoning of Social Media: A Reading List

(Also on tumblr here.)

From What Is Privacy? by danah boyd:

> > When powerful actors, be they companies or governmental agencies, use the excuse of something being “public” to defend their right to look, they systematically assert control over people in a way that fundamentally disenfranchises them. > >

From What Is Public? by Anil Dash:

> > **Public is not simply defined.** Public is not just what can be viewed by others, but a fragile set of social conventions about what behaviors are acceptable and appropriate. There are people determined to profit from expanding and redefining what’s public, working to treat nearly everything we say or do as a public work they can exploit. > >

From the post From the Porch to the Street by Frank Chimero:

> > My feed (full of people I admire) is mostly just a loud, stupid, sad place. Basically: a mirror to the world we made that I don’t want to look into. The common way to refute my complaint is to say that I’m following the wrong people. I think I’m following the right people, I’m just seeing the worst side of them while they’re stuck in an inhospitable environment. > > > > […] > > > > I think for many of us Twitter started as the porch—our space, our friends, with the occasional neighborhood passer-by. As the service grew and we gained followers, we slid across the spectrum of privacy into the street. > >

From The Evaporative Cooling Effect by Hang:

> > It occurs when the most high value contributors to a community realize that the community is no longer serving their needs any more and so therefore, leave. When that happens, it drops the general quality of the community down such that the next most high value contributors now find the community underwhelming. Each layer of disappearances slowly reduces the average quality of the group until such a point that you reach the people who are so unskilled-and-unaware of it that they’re unable to tell that they’re part of a mediocre group. > >

From the end of Big Twitter by Alan Jacobs:

> > So I’m doing what, it seems to me, many people are doing: I’m getting out of the street. I’ll keep my public account for public uses: it’ll be a place where I can link to posts like this one, or announce any event that’s of general interest. But what I’ve come to call Big Twitter is simply not a place for conversation any more. > >

From Worked things out with The Wirecutter by Marco Arment:

> > We allow people access to us 24/7. We’re always in public, constantly checking an anonymous comment box, trying to explain ourselves to everyone, and trying to win unwinnable arguments with strangers who don’t matter in our lives at all. > >

From On Taking Breaks:

> > Even though I follow people I like and respect, there’s no way around seeing some of the crap that happens on Twitter. Even if you don’t use Twitter at all, you will have seen articles about people being harrassed and threatened. You will have noticed the pure toxic sludge that pours through the service. (A hypothetical “Dawn of the Idiocracy” prequel would feature Twitter prominently.) > > > > And it’s worse than any blog comments system, because if you use it, anybody can put something in front of your face whether you want it or not. > >

Social media—communities—are the native form of expression on the net. The first thing people tried to do when they wired a couple of computers together was talk. Our inability to carve out non-commercial semi-public social spaces online is a tragedy that will haunt us for a long while.