URLs of wisdom is a weekly round-up of interesting links about topics at the intersection of people, science and technology. Thanks for following this year – more to come in 2015!
Web/social media developments
- Inadvertent algorithmic cruelty – Facebook’s 2014 summary hasn’t been a welcome suggestion for all users. “It may not be possible to reliably pre-detect whether a person wants to see their year in review, but it’s not at all hard to ask politely—empathetically—if it’s something they want. That’s an easily-solvable problem. Had the app been designed with worst-case scenarios in mind, it probably would have been.” And the follow-up post, by the same author: “…they have fallen prey to…a failure to anticipate how a design decision that really worked in one way completely failed in another, and work to handle both cases.”
- Jay Rosen on the importance of understanding the relationship between journalism and business models based on content – “The Editor has to come to a clear agreement with the publisher and commercial staff on: a.) what the business model is, meaning: how are we going to sustain ourselves and grow? b.) exactly how — in that model — the editorial team creates value for the business, and c.) the zone of independence the editorial team will need to meet those expectations.”
URLs of wisdom is a weekly round-up of interesting links about topics at the intersection of people, science and technology.
- Review of an interesting-sounding book: “Sharing our lives online: risks and exposure in social media”.
- The readers we can’t friend – on reaching beyond social media communities for sharing of news content. “We have become supplicants to other platforms in order to get our readers. That’s already a problem, and it’s going to be a bigger problem. How do we increase both the broadness of reach and the depth of loyalty with our own names as news organizations and not as a brand page at the indulgence of fickle Silicon Valley trend-chasing? Do we collaborate with other news organizations to create our own social platforms? Will the answer be partnerships and memberships that draw readers into news brands by combining reporting with live events and entertainment and context?”
- 2015 – the year we get creeped out by algorithms? Three significant factors are outlined. i) One: Our devices are becoming more and more central to our social, personal, financial, and civic interactions. ii) Two: Most digital mediation takes place on platforms and apps in which the true owner, the platform itself, keeps centralized control. iii) Three: Algorithms are increasingly being deployed to make decisions where there is no right answer, only a judgment call.”
- The latest OKCast episode is an interview with @arfon about open science, citizen science and cultural change in academia.
- The Mozilla Science Lab blog is reviewing their year – this post on prototyping for change in online research gives an overview of some of their projects.
- Big changes at the Scientific American blog network were announced this week with the network roughly halved in size as part of a “reshaping” process. Matt Shipman interviewed the blog editor, Curtis Brainard, while Paige Brown speculated about some of the decisions involved and DrugMonkey ponders about the life span of blog networks in general: “networks appear to have a natural life-cycle. The ones that are tied up to a traditional publishing entity perhaps are on a short burn from the start”.
- “Internal motivations, ‘I blog for myself,’ are the motivations that keep us going when we can’t know whether we are truly making a difference or not to science literacy and broader public understanding of science.” – Paige Brown considers blogging motivations.
- Bad community is worse than no community – thinking about digital engagement: “By coupling a format that encourages intimacy with a network design that encourages out-of-context amplification, Twitter has evolved into something fundamentally volatile.”
Web/social media developments
- What are MOOCs good for? – “For all the hype, MOOCs are really just content—the latest iteration of the textbook. And just like a book on a library shelf, they can be useful to a curious passerby thumbing through a few pages—or they can be the centerpiece to a well-taught course. On their own, MOOCs are hardly more likely than textbooks to re-create a quality college education in all its dimensions.”
- Buzzfeed CEO: “It’s not just a site, it’s a whole process” – “We went from the traditional media model of content and distribution to the vertically-integrated model of content distribution technology to the network-integrated model of technology helping at every level.”
- Wikimedia produces a monthly YouTube recording of discussions of recent research on the platform. Find all the archives here.
Just for fun
URLs of wisdom is a weekly round-up of interesting links about topics at the intersection of people, science and technology. This is a bumper edition as I’ve been busy organising the Open Knowledge Festival that took place last week!
Social Network Analysis
Thinking about algorithms and user behaviour:
- Forget the wisdom of crowds: neurobiologists reveal the wisdom of the confident “In recent years, researchers have spent a significant amount of time and effort teasing apart the factors that make crowds stupid. One important factor turns out to be the way members of a crowd influence each other. It turns out that if a crowd offers a wide range of independent estimates, then it is more likely to be wise. But if members of the crowd are influenced in the same way, for example by each other or by some external factor, then they tend to converge on a biased estimate. In this case, the crowd is likely to be stupid.”
- The dawn of personalised products “Personalizing software is all about figuring out how to help people develop a sense of identity using the service, and then building features that let them accomplish that naturally.”
- Why the grass is always greener on social media “Relationships that exist solely online can skew the perception of community fitness because they’re tailored specifically to us, but it’s hard to look away from something that seems so right.”
- The politics of science in social media “Current science policy campaigns must fight against increasing ‘petition fatigue’: when social media makes campaigning easier, any single campaign risks getting lost in the noise, and science policy becomes yet another competitor for our attention. In the new attention and expertise economy, scientists must forge ever closer links with celebrity and journalism to get their message across.”
Web/Social media developments
Just for fun
Feeling really old…?