URLs of wisdom is a weekly round-up of interesting links about topics at the intersection of people, science and technology.
- We can’t let giants like Facebook and Twitter control our news values – Emily Bell in the Guardian: “This was a significant moment. For the first time, Twitter acknowledged it was a platform that exercises editorial judgment. It was not controversial somehow for news organisations to censor the images. Yet the debate raged for days about whether executives in software companies could decide what we see. Inside a newsroom, these decisions are called editorial judgments; outside, they are labelled censorship. The truth is both are forms of censorship, and equally both could be argued to be editing.”
- The end of big Twitter – “I don’t like this change. I made friends — real friends — on Twitter when it was a place for conversation. I reconnected with people I had lost touch with. Whole new realms of knowledge were opened to me. I don’t want to foreclose on the possibility of further discovery, but the signal-to-noise ration is so bad now that I don’t think I could pick out the constructive and interesting voices from all the mean-spiritedness and incomprehension; and so few smart people now dare to use Twitter in the old open way.”
- Digital data and technologies as sociomaterial objects – another excerpt from Deborah Lupton’s forthcoming book, Digital Sociology: “Whereas many commentators in the popular media, government and business world view digital data as the ultimate forms of truth and accurate knowledge, sociologists and other social theorists have emphasised that these forms of information, like any other type, are socially created and have a social life, a vitality, of their own. Digital data objects structure our concepts of identity, embodiment, relationships, our choices and preferences and even our access to services or spaces.”
- How will today’s technology change our concept of work?
Web/Social media developments
- What Instagram did for photos, this could do for videos – Hyperlapse as a way of transitioning from documenting events to communicating them (with a neat video of DC).
- The launch of Twitter’s analytics service and thoughts on free alternatives
- Twitter will never be like Facebook – As rumours circulate that Twitter might start using newsfeed algorithms in a similar way to Facebook, Will Oremus looks at what might actually happen: “What Twitter’s critics forget is that outsiders aren’t the only ones deeply attached to the service’s core structure. It’s also highly valued by many within the company, including at the highest levels. And so the company agonizes internally over every little change to its original functionality, trying to patch its biggest weaknesses without sacrificing its core strengths.”
- A dating site for algorithms – A site offers to pair those with underused algorithms with those looking for ones to use.
- Data carpentry as a vital role in data science “I don’t know as much as I’d like about woodworking, but my impression is that it is not so much a single discipline as a vast array of specific skills. None of these are particularly difficult by themselves, but knowing which tool or method to use at each stage and carrying out each one cleanly and efficiently takes years of practice. Data carpentry, which I’ve been practicing in one way or another for about 15 years (though never as my official responsibility), is likewise not a single process but a thousand little skills and techniques.’
- Choosing between blog posts and news releases – Matt Shipman discusses the benefits of each from a PIO’s perspective for communicating scientific research.
- How to tame the flood of literature – a review of some of the tools for keeping track of scientific publications