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Twitter’s New Favorite: I Want Groupings, Instead

Farhad Manjoo probes Twitter’s new model for favorites, and never quite gets to the heart of the matter. But he tees it up well:

Farhad Manjoo, Save the Fav, Twitter’s Digital Body Language

There’s a kerfuffle at the moment on Twitter about what should happen when you fav something.

Until recently, when you pressed the “favorite” button on a tweet — that is, the little star below a Twitter posting — almost nothing happened. Other users, including the one who originally posted, might see that you’d starred the tweet, but Twitter’s “favorite” was different from the “like” button on Facebook. It wasn’t taken to mean that you actually liked or were interested in the substance of that tweet.

This made the fav one of the few forms of online speech that were mostly disconnected from consequence. When it wasn’t being used as a bookmark to help you remember links for later, pressing “favorite” on a tweet was the digital equivalent of a nod, a gesture that is hard to decipher. The fav derived its power from this deliberate ambiguity.

But now Twitter is slightly altering what happens when you press “favorite.” In what may or may not be a short-term experiment, the service is beginning to use faves as signals in deciding how to arrange users’ timelines. Under its new policy, if Twitter notices that a lot of your friends have faved a tweet, it may show you that tweet, even if you don’t follow the person who posted it.

The reason this feels odd is that it breaks the convention we’re used to, and replaces it with something that doesn’t follow network connections. If Twitter changed the rule so that all my followers would see my favorites it would follow the retweet model. But in that case, why have both retweet and favorite?

The new model is a popularity-oriented approach, but what about something more semantic? What if twitter allowed us to tag ourselves in our profiles, and then would direct tweets to us that matched our preferences? This is the concept of groupings, or Chris Messina’s Channels concept, inverted (see Hash Tags = Twitter Groupings). A grouping is a collection of people related through the use of a tag. You don’t get invited to a grouping, like a group: you invite yourself by tagging.

So when someone in my social scene (like friend of a friend) tags a tweet with #postnormal or #hashtags I would see that in my feed, because I am a member of the #postnormal and #hashtags groupings.

Of course, Twitter could simply develop the new favorite algorithm in a way that does the same as self-tagging and groupings would. I’d be happy with that.

Saying No

I recently stepped down from leading the Future Of Work community that I had spearheaded earlier in the year, realizing that I wasn’t able to give it the time that it perhaps needed, or perhaps realizing that no one person could do get it off the ground. I’ve backed away from other commitments locally, like civic working groups here in Beacon NY, for the same reasons: I felt spread too thin, and committing to yet another Thursday evening was shadowing the joy I feel in my work and play.

This excerpt from a recent piece by Courtney Martin shows that I am not alone:

Courney Martin, The Spiritual Art of Saying No

Forget balance. Balance is bullshit. What I mostly crave is integrity and joy — a sense that I’m doing what I do excellently and getting a lot of pleasure out of it, that I’m used up and useful.

I’ve noticed lately that when I try to do too much, the things I should have said no to manifest as monsters under the bed. I wake up at 2 a.m. and am immediately aware of the outsized presence of that thing that, in the light of day, seemed barely possible, and, in the unforgiving darkness, I realize I can’t faithfully execute. I write rambling emails backing out. I apologize sloppily under the moonlight, as if drunk on over-commitment. I hurt people. There’s no grace in it.

I’ve been learning to grow things over the last year — my daughter, first and foremost, but also plants and trees that we share with our co-housing community. Louise is the garden guru in our little community, and she’s been showing me how to trim back the bougainvillea and layer leaves into the compost and pick the artichokes before they explode purple. One of the first things she ever taught me was how to tend to the apple trees.

I was about halfway through my pregnancy, finally and noticeably carrying a creature in my belly rather than an extra layer of blueberry glaze donuts. It was a sunny Saturday and Louise — well into her 70s, willowy, and often wearing a t-shirt with some slogan of peace — showed me how each branch of the tree can only reasonably support two apples. You have to go, branch by branch, and pluck off little baby apples until every branch has only as much as it can support.

It felt sad to me at first, twisting off these hopeful little apples and dropping them into a bucket. They amassed quickly, collectively robbed of possibility by this big-bellied goddess of destruction lumbering her way along the front gate. I felt bad. But then I looked over and watched as Louise pruned without fanfare, gentle and direct. She had lived long enough to know that in order for some things to thrive, some things must die.

You say no so you can say yes. It’s sad in the way that all limitations are, but also liberating. You are human and finite and precious and fumbling. This is your one chance to spend your gifts, your attention, most importantly your love, on the things that matter most. Don’t screw it up by being sentimental about what could have been or delusional about your own capacity. Have the grace to acknowledge your own priorities. Prune and survive.

Yes, Courtney: I say no to say yes.

To all the people that I said no to recently, forgive me. And like me, you must learn to prune to survive.

The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence. The frenzy of the activist…destroys his own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.

Thomas Merton

Canadian government orders scientists not to disclose extent of polar melting

mostlysignssomeportents:

image

Stephen Harper’s petro-Tories have a well-earned reputation for suppressing inconvenient environmental science, but they attained new Stalinist lows when their ministers prohibited Canadian Ice Services from disclosing their government-funded research on the rapid loss of Arctic ice.

Read more…

(scary background music…)

futurescope:

Infiniti Q50 Active Lane Control - Selfdriving Car

Don’t do this. Never! They should be glad that nothing bad happened.

Hands Free Driving: Let’s see how well the Active Lane Control works on the new Infiniti Q50S Hybrid. 
The interesting bit: The system doesn’t turn off if you take your hands off the steering wheel (or leave the drivers seat entirely).

Read more here: http://vanishingpoint.at/wordpress/20…

Here’s another stupid active lane assist stunt, which proves that ALA is basically a hands-off autonomous cruise system if you disable the safety timeout:

Autonomous driving in a 2014 S Class 500 - with Automatic Cruise Control & “disabled” timeout for ALA - of course dont try this at home ;)

[via roadtrack & IEEE]

People generally believe that auto autos won’t be aorund for another decade, but this shows there are already here, at least for highway driving.

Traces of nobility, gentleness and courage persist in all people, do what we will to stamp out the trend. So, too, do those characteristics which are ugly. It is just unfortunate that in the clumsy hands of a cartoonist all traits become ridiculous, leading to a certain amount of self-conscious expostulation and the desire to join battle. There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blasts on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us. Forward!

Walt Kelly, The Pogo Papers

If ours is the advanced civilization we pretend it is, there should be no need to act as if all decisions were designed to establish certainties.

John Ralston Saul, Voltaire’s Bastards

(h/t gravity-rainbow and watchingcbeams)

(via stoweboyd)

parislemon:

The new typewriter, indeed.
From Tom Hanks, no less. And it’s pretty great — works with bluetooth keyboard as well! They actually 3D modeled three of Hanks’ vintage typewriters — and created three new fonts.

parislemon:

The new typewriter, indeed.

From Tom Hanks, no less. And it’s pretty great — works with bluetooth keyboard as well! They actually 3D modeled three of Hanks’ vintage typewriters — and created three new fonts.

Military power is socially and economically futile.

Norman Angell


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