Facebook's '10 Year Challenge' Is Just a Harmless Meme—Right?
“Regardless of the origin or intent behind this meme, we must all become savvier about the data we create and share, the access we grant to it, and the implications for its use. If the context was a game that explicitly stated that it was collecting pairs of then-and-now photos for age progression research, you could choose to participate with an awareness of who was supposed to have access to the photos and for what purpose.”
I saw a bunch of the 10-year challenge posts and I thought they were kind of fun. And that’s exactly when my alarm should have sounded, but it didn’t. I need to do better. Anytime there’s a clever new thing sweeping social networks, I need to ask myself: 1. Who started this? 2. Who stands to benefit from it? 3. What are the broader applications for the information being gathered? We’re at a point now where a fun thing could be a data-gathering exercise. And since we can’t count on the people or organizations behind these exercises to be transparent, *we* need to be discerning.
A Pirate's take on Strategy vs Tactics
“… if we are defining a set of end-states leading to the desired outcome, we are designing a strategy; if we are discussing how to better reach those end-states, we are discussing tactics.”
People sometimes look at strategy and tactics as the same thing. That becomes a big problem when you try to implement your strategy.
Athletes Don't Own Their Tattoos. That's a Problem for Video Game Developers.
“Any creative illustration ‘fixed in a tangible medium’ is eligible for copyright, and, according to the United States Copyright Office, that includes the ink displayed on someone’s skin. What many people don’t realize, legal experts said, is that the copyright is inherently owned by the tattoo artist, not the person with the tattoos.”
Consider me one of those people who didn’t realize this. What’s interesting is that while the copyrights on the tattoos remain with the artists, the tattoos themselves can become synonymous with the people sporting them. Case in point: I searched for [Mike Tyson tattoo] and found a two-pack of Tyson temporary tattoos on Amazon. There’s also the question of hyper-specific tattoos. As noted in the linked-to article, LeBron James has tattoos of his mom’s name and his son’s likeness. Technically, the artist owns the copyright on these tattoos, but their essence and purpose comes from the person who wears these individualized symbols. It seems to me there’s sometimes a line that needs to be drawn (har har) between the copyright on a tattoo and the owner — or keeper — of that tattoo.
Here’s the story behind the giant middle finger in Westford, Vermont
[Ted] Pelkey said that finding out that the sculpture was considered “public art” was the “most wonderful thing I’ve ever been told in my life.”
The Good Place: Every Food Pun From "Dance Dance Resolution”
This is a partial collection of food puns from “The Good Place.” My favorites: Knish From a Rose, Beignet and the Jets, and Crueller Intentions.
Bots spread a lot of fakery during the 2016 election. But they can also debunk it.
“According to a study published in the journal Nature Communications today, automated Twitter accounts disproportionately amplified misinformation during the last U.S. election. It found that, while bots only accounted for about 6 percent of the Twitter users in the study, they were responsible for 34 percent of all shares of articles from “low-credibility” sources on the platform.”
I’ve thought about manipulation a lot over the last year. Ask any single person if they want to be manipulated and they’ll vehemently say they do not. Ask if they understand that advertising is manipulation and they’ll say they do. Yet, ask if they understand that most of of what they see and share on social media is manipulation and I bet they’ll disagree. That’s because social media manipulation is insidious. It’s a far more clever form of manipulation than the blunt instruments we’re used to. But it’s still manipulation, and the only way to offset it is for everyone to remain critical and vigilant. You can still use social media, just don’t be naive about what it is and how it really works.
The woman who bought the Banksy painting that shredded? She's keeping it.
“The buyer’s identity was not revealed but Sotheby’s quoted her as saying: ‘When the hammer came down last week and the work was shredded, I was at first shocked, but gradually I began to realize that I would end up with my own piece of art history’.”
The buyer must have a background in PR or marketing because that’s an impressive spin. And, oddly enough, it’s true.
Project Strobe: Protecting your data, improving our third-party APIs, and sunsetting consumer Google+
“This review crystallized what we’ve known for a while: that while our engineering teams have put a lot of effort and dedication into building Google+ over the years, it has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption, and has seen limited user interaction with apps. The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.”
This is how a social network dies: With an official blog post that buries the real lede (i.e. the privacy of 500,000 Google+ accounts is in question because of a bug).
Henry Cavill Out as Superman Amid Warner Bros.' DC Universe Shake-Up
“‘There’s a recognition that some parts of the previous movies didn’t work,’ says the studio insider. Another source says Warners is trying to hit a ‘reset’ button with the DC universe, steering its ship slowly into another direction.”
Most of the previous DC movies didn’t work. At all. Wonder Woman is the only recent DC film that had life. Everything else was marred by noise and a nihilistic tone that made watching the likes of Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad unpleasant. And there’s no reason why superhero movies should ever be unpleasant. Trivial? Sure. Silly? Yes. But unpleasant? It makes no sense.
Can You Spot the Deceptive Facebook Post?
“The page’s most notable activity was its lack of political messaging. For the most part, this page was quiet and convincing. Other than the two political posts above, it stuck to noncontroversial content, rarely with any added commentary. That could suggest the page was following a common troll strategy of building a page’s audience with inoffensive content, then veering into the political.”
Two things. First, this quiz from the New York Times does a fantastic job illustrating how hard it is to identify deceptive social posts. It’s not like the old days of spam when you could spot it from miles away because of screwy grammar and formatting errors. This stuff is insidious, as noted by the highlighted passage above. The initial interactions you have with the material could be innocuous, but over time the content shifts into an influence campaign. Second, in the early days of online journalism people poked at the idea of *interactive* content. This typically took the form of a half-baked quiz or a Flash-based game that never quite worked properly. But journalists, developers, and designers eventually figured it out. This simple quiz from the Times is an example of what can happen when interactivity is applied with great intention.