Accountability for my TikTok Heresy
Plus some explanation of why social platforms go bad, and how the FT’s Mastodon experiment died.
Defending the case against TikTok
One of the things I miss about the old days of blogging is the collegiate feel, the discussion between sites, and the sense of dialogue. And so, it was a delight to be invited back on The Addition podcast by Charlotte, to defend my aberrant views on things like TikTok and Substack.
It was a great conversation, and I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed recording it:
How social networks become traps
One thing I think people missed in the piece that I was defending to Charlotte was that when I described TikTok as an attention roach motel, I wasn't just talking about how hard it is to get traffic out. (This is entirely my fault, looking at the way I phrased it. I'll rewrite that once this is done.) It's also about the way that these platforms evolve over time to become traps, even for those who are successful on them — possibly especially those people.
Cory Doctorow has written a blistering screed about how this happens and just why it's such an issue:
This is enshittification: surpluses are first directed to users; then, once they're locked in, surpluses go to suppliers; then once they're locked in, the surplus is handed to shareholders and the platform becomes a useless pile of shit. From mobile app stores to Steam, from Facebook to Twitter, this is the enshittification lifecycle.
You can read the whole thing at his site:
Or, if you prefer, it's also on Wired:
The FT kills its Mastodon server
Did you know that the Financial Times had set up its own Mastodon instance? No, I didn't either. Well, its brief life is over, killed by management problems in more than one sense. Yes, the technical side of running it became an issue. But the senior management weren't delighted by this rogue experiment.
This paragraph made me laugh like a drain:
Compliance, security and reputational risks are substantial and evergrowing in unpredictable ways. Though largely hypothetical, these risks were judged serious enough to exercise management at the highest levels. Those people have better things to do than to clean up our mess.
Believe you me, as some one who spent the latter part of the 2000s launching and managing online communities for a publisher, management never want to do it. It involves ceding control to the readers in a way that they're just not comfortable with.
You can read the whole tale here - but, be warned, you need to be registered to read it:
- 🎙️ Podcast exclusivity is on the wane — platforms are less willing to pay for it in hard times. This is good news. Podcasting is an open standard, and this retreat makes it less likely that, say, Spotify can “own” it.
- 💰 Talking of which, Spotify has a hiring freeze and layoffs. What's the betting on the Joe Rogan deal not being renewed?
- 🤖 An in-depth look at what was happening with CNN's AI content.
We have new dates for my new(ish) social media course. It's five weeks, online. The first run went really well. The second will be even better.
Sign up here:
Why do so many journalists not understand gaming?
A reminder: gaming is bigger than music and video combined in the UK. Why are journalists still writing nonsense like the above?
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#newsrw - Social Media Optimisation Paid Members Public
Liveblog of a panel debate about social media from news:rewired in February 2012