Frankenbook…

I like a good Frankenstein metaphor, and The Guardian’s recent review of Anti-Social Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy has a corker when summing up the story of the social media giant:

“Facebook was founded by an undergraduate with good intentions but little understanding of human nature. He thought that by creating a machine for ‘connecting’ people he might do some good for the world while also making himself some money. He wound up creating a corporate monster that is failing spectacularly at the former but succeeding brilliantly at the latter. Facebook is undermining democracy at the same time as it is making Mark Zuckerberg richer than Croesus. And it is now clear that this monster, like Dr Frankenstein’s, is beyond its creator’s control.”

Having not been on the platform myself for several years, I can honestly say that I don’t miss it. It’s not even the privacy issues that got to me (there’s no such thing as free!), it was the behaviour of people around me and their addiction to it. Apparently the stimulation it provides to the reward centre of the brain is akin to produced by sex, chocolate. Only with social media, you get endless ‘dopamine loops’ – constant itches that you have to scratch.

Yes, the monster’s out there alright. And, the irony of course is that in Shelley’s novel, what the monster craves most is the community and connection that he is constantly denied – exactly what most people seem to crave along with their neural pleasure hit.

So how do you kill the monster?

I just hope that Facebook isn’t as enduring as the the creature…

Fable Gazers…

gahiouwakyptaqhtr5ezSome friends are looking for funding for their literary podcast company, Fable Gazers.

Not being on any social networks, I’m limited to emailing a few people and putting the details here for both of my regular readers!

Fable Gazers was developed to produce crafted narrative podcasts with our own special twist. We plan to build stories from fact and vice versa – all with a journalistic edge and sense of fun that will inspire obsession in people who adore podcasts. If that’s you, and you love podcasts like This American Life, Serial, S-Town, then help us by donating or passing this page link on to your friends. We need your help to edit, produce and release our two podcast series.

With fab interviews with some incredible guests like Stephen Fry, romance author Harriet Evans, film producer Andy Paterson, as well as original music from a large community of musicians, we’re building our boutique podcast company and we want you to be a part of our journey.

Sounds interesting no?

Find out more and make a donation.
🙂

 

Thanks for the heads-up Yahoo!

Why is it that every time a major web-based service gets ‘hacked’, you only ever find out through the media?: Yahoo hack: Should I panic?

As I use Flickr, I have a Yahoo login, but neither company has so much as sent an email to warn me that I might want to update my password as a precaution.

This is the third or fourth time that a similar situation has occurred, and each time it’s been through Reddit or the BBC’s online news that I’ve become aware of it.

Guess who’s not getting their service subscription renewed next year?

No comment…

There are few things worse as a reader than coming across the comments section on a website. With very few exceptions its a depressing experience which adds little or nothing to any reasoned debate around the topic being discussed. The petty bickering and point-scoring, one-upmanship, grammar corrections and sniping make me despair that ‘adults’ behave in such a way.

So it was interesting to read this morning about the way some Guardian journalists deal with trolling and abuse: The dark side of Guardian comments. Of course, women and minorities come in for the worst of it:

“We focused on gender in this research partly because we wanted to test the theory that women experience more abuse than men. But both writers and moderators observe that ethnic and religious minorities, and LGBT people also appear to experience a disproportionate amount of abuse.”

So it was heartening to hear Nesrine Malik’s attitude, where she dismisses the behaviour for what it is, but also defends the notion of commenting as something worthwhile.

Personally, I reckon that there’s enough uninformed opinion out there without giving people the chance to air more on the websites of national newspapers. Luckily there are technical ways to make sure that you don’t have to read them.