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A strong read recommendation on digital media messing up societal discourse: How to Fix Facebook—Before It Fixes Us (Roger McNamee)

This is one of the best pieces of journalism I have seen in quite a while, looking a level or a couple of levels deeper than usual into what social media and social networks really mean for public discourse, the formation of opinion and eventually public polarization. Facebook’s role to be precise.

An early investor explains why the social media platform’s business model is such a threat—and what to do about it.

A remarkable quote:

“[…] the internet platforms were able to pursue business strategies that would not have been allowed in prior decades. No one stopped them from using free products to centralize the internet and then replace its core functions. No one stopped them from siphoning off the profits of content creators. No one stopped them from gathering data on every aspect of every user’s internet life. No one stopped them from amassing market share not seen since the days of Standard Oil. No one stopped them from running massive social and psychological experiments on their users. No one demanded that they police their platforms. It has been a sweet deal. Facebook and Google are now so large that traditional tools of regulation may no longer be effective.”

A must-read on a topic that we need to tackle if we don’t want to end up with technology whose consequences we have not thought through well enough during its early maturity stages messaging up our society.

Read the full article here: Washington Monthly | How to Fix Facebook—Before It Fixes Us

Extremely good Read on your Role in the Business Models of Social Networks: You Are the Product (John Lanchester)

“At the end of June, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook had hit a new level: two billion monthly active users. That number, the company’s preferred ‘metric’ when measuring its own size, means two billion different people used Facebook in the preceding month. It is hard to grasp just how extraordinary that is. Bear in mind that thefacebook – its original name – was launched exclusively for Harvard students in 2004. No human enterprise, no new technology or utility or service, has ever been adopted so widely so quickly. The speed of uptake far exceeds that of the internet itself, let alone ancient technologies such as television or cinema or radio.

Also amazing: as Facebook has grown, its users’ reliance on it has also grown. The increase in numbers is not, as one might expect, accompanied by a lower level of engagement. More does not mean worse – or worse, at least, from Facebook’s point of view…”

Source: John Lanchester reviews ‘The Attention Merchants’ by Tim Wu, ‘Chaos Monkeys’ by Antonio García Martínez and ‘Move Fast and Break Things’ by Jonathan Taplin · LRB 17 August 2017

Very useful 25min Video on Tech Trends in China: A Whirlwind Tour Through Trends in China (Connie Chan)

In China, a country that leapfrogged the PC era to go mobile-first, the smartphone is the “remote control” of people’s lives… especially given the dominance of messaging/operating-system platforms like WeChat. But this is about more than just WeChat, Alipay, and others — it’s about online-to-offline commerce in general (and the viability of on-demand marketplaces there); the past, present, and future of QR codes; and new forms of social-mobile communication, from livestreaming to stickers to even VR cafes as a vector of early adoption…

Source: A Whirlwind Tour Through Trends in China – Andreessen Horowitz

Must-Read to understand where Facebook is heading: Facebook May Have Peaked as a Social Network. But It’s Reinventing Itself as Something Bigger (Will Oremus)

Even before it was the title of a movie, the phrase “the social network” was synonymous with Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg’s startup snatched the title from MySpace in 2008, and its pre-eminence among social networks has gone unquestioned ever since.

Now there are signs that it may have peaked. Not as a media platform, or as a place where people simply spend time on the web, and certainly not as a business. But as a social network per se—a place where people go to connect with friends and acquaintances—Facebook may be just beginning to wane…

Source: Facebook May Have Peaked as a Social Network. But It’s Reinventing Itself as Something Bigger.

What’s going on with Twitter and is it fair to call out the “End of Twitter”? (André Cramer)


Twitter has come under a lot of pressure recently. It seems they are being beaten by whoever feels like letting out a rant. In my opinion it is important to differentiate where the criticism is directed to.

I think there are two layers that need to differentiated:

  1. Twitter, the company, its management and executive leadership team
  2. Twitter, the product or service and the value it provides to its users

Lots of the ranting you can find all over the place seems rather undirected and I believe it is important and an imperative of fairness to look more closely towards what is wrong, what is not and what should change and what is pretty much ok. Joshua Topolski’s “The End of Twitter”, published in The New Yorker is a very good example for this. They way the company has been shuffling key people and responsibilities in their organization lets many of us justifiably raise the eyebrows. But the article in my opinion mixes those two layers of “company” and “product” and thus draws such a negative picture about the company & product that I do not share. Continue reading “What’s going on with Twitter and is it fair to call out the “End of Twitter”? (André Cramer)”

Background Read: Tsū Social Network – Cash Cow or Pyramid Scheme? (Victor Balasa)

If you’re an Internet gadabout, you’ll probably have heard about or Tsū, the social network that’s been getting a lot of hype, and hate, lately. Throughout its year-long existence, the social network exotically called Tsū has been plagued by naysayers and, just recently, had its API and

Source: Tsū Social Network – Cash Cow or Pyramid Scheme? [Op-Ed] – Hongkiat

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