Micro.blog

simonwoods
simonwoods

You: “Google is evil!”

Me: “OK. Offer alternatives.”

You: “Here, make a bunch of accounts, try these things that may or may not work, and spend a bunch of money.”

We have to do better than this. Stop thinking your moral indignation and niche knowledge is enough.

JohnPhilpin
JohnPhilpin

@simonwoods

”We Can All Do Better.”

… Jim Jeffries

nitinkhanna
nitinkhanna

@simonwoods erm, Google Search?

Bruce
Bruce

@simonwoods But isn't part of the problem that any service that could compete with Google's entire package would end up as bad as Google?

I use DuckDuckGo, Dropbox, Fastmail, Rackspace (contacts), iCloud (calendar), etc, but it does take more effort on my part to get everything to work together.

simonwoods
simonwoods

@JohnPhilpin Baffled this self-evident fact has still yet to sink into the minds of people. Although I guess feeling enraged feels like you're accomplishing something so perhaps I should be less surprised and just expect less from people.

simonwoods
simonwoods

@nitinkhanna Uh... yes? Sorry, I don't understand what you mean.

simonwoods
simonwoods

@Bruce This conversation is surface-level at best. Picking between things. It's not the conversation we need to have with non-tech people and yet it's the only conversation into which people continue to put their effort; there are deeper things of importance, about the bones of the web and our digital lives. Although, that subject matter doesn't feel as easy to grapple with nor as likely to get those easy clicks -- which, ironically, is exactly what Google and co. want!

Bruce
Bruce

@simonwoods True. But it's hard to argue against the advantages of Google (only having to learn one interface, manage one account, etc) without offering alternatives. Someone like my mother would be overwhelmed by putting together multiple services (though she does use iCloud for contacts and calendars. Apple really does make those seamless if you go all in with them). Folks like my brother want to just focus on their business and job. What's the argument for adding complexity and friction to his life? I've had the discussion about privacy, etc with him; he knows Google's downsides. But their advantages outweigh them. I don't know if we have the tools yet to offer a viable alternative to Google for people outside the tech world.

JohnPhilpin
JohnPhilpin

@simonwoods I expect less and less from people with every day that goes by. Unrelated - yet connected….

You are meeting someone at 2pm - you get a text at 2.10 that they are 30 minutes away.

Shopping Carts

‘I believe’ superseding ‘known facts’.

‘Sure I’ll call you' - they never do. When you call them, they answer - ‘wow - I was just about to call you …’

etc etc

a lot of what I co-write with a friend on this topic embedded in here …. And Another Thing

simonwoods
simonwoods

@Bruce Right but again, I don't think that matters until we start from the basic level... we need to understand first principles and why they matter -- the people with knowledge instead choose to get caught up in ego-driven arguments on a fucking website where they talk past one another.

This is where my problem lies. Google and co. love it when you spend time talking about the alternatives... why? Because that means you're less likely talking about the fundamental education everybody should have when it comes to the digital aspect of our lives -- not only would people be less likely to just go with them but also! it means Google can provide that education, their version of that education... and that is where the real matter of importance lies within this whole mess.

JohnPhilpin
JohnPhilpin

@Bruce you mention Apple ... which I am fully in on … with cool extensions to enhance … but then I do also use

google and the duck, gdrive, dropbox AND icloud skype, zoom and all the others AND facetime etc etc

that all said, the seamlessness in my opinion is easy to justify paying for.

1) How much time do you spend faffing around getting things to work as opposed to it just works ...

2) What is the price of your time per hour

Multiply 1 by 2 - it will more than likely be more than the price differential on alternatives.

Bruce
Bruce

@simonwoods So what do you think the fundamental digital education should look like? Emphasize more about the implications of centralized services? Could we market open source federated options to schools? As a way to stop Chromebooks from sucking teens into Google's ecosystem early?

Talk about the upsides of owning one's identity and space on the web? While also offering options to easily do so? (Write.as looks like an interesting option).

I know I'm still talking somewhat about things, but I think we have to make things easy along side educating folks.

Ironically, I should ask these questions to friends on Facebook. :)

Bruce
Bruce

@JohnPhilpin Keeping all those options in one's head can be pretty hard for folks. And what seems like a reasonable cost to some is an extravagance to others. I'm not going to convince my friend making $12,000/yr to add a paid online service when she struggles to make rent every month.

Bruce
Bruce

@simonwoods Did I miss your meaning and it's about us on the tech side figuring out what our first principles are?

I don't know if I'm actually sure of my own. I mostly in the tech world because I'm interested in computers and technology. If I weren't, I could completely live my life in the Google, Facebook, Twitter bubble. Probably adding browsing favorite websites too as I'm also interested in politics and social justice. But probably not RSS.

Though given my field and location, I get a lot of challenging ideas just from living life.

Don't know how to translate my personal interest into something more universal…

nitinkhanna
nitinkhanna

@simonwoods I’ve got 99% parity with DDG. Only obscure coding searches is where DDG fails me.

In reply to
simonwoods
simonwoods

@Bruce No you got it with the first reply, although this second one is also apt. I'm not sure if it's normal to talk about your values with other people... of course a lot of discussions are probably about that even if it is disguised as something else (issues, etc).

As far as tech goes, I think there are a not insignificant number of people for whom the usable alternatives to the mainstream are entirely unknown; the fact is big mainstream tech spends a lot on marketing, whilst even the best alternatives are invariably run with so much as a budget for a paper posters. In this instance I saw we are the advertising, even if not directly, for example taking part in some of the things you mentioned -- how about we see some of that in blog posts and we share them!

Micro.blog itself became more than intended insofar as pace of growth thanks almost entirely to word of mouth, and whilst not every single thing made by those of us on this side of the fence will get Fireball'd or whatever I don't think it is necessary; merely building posts and posts covering the nuances of these issues across a multitude of blogs... now there is your impact. Too many times I search for something and there are scraps to be found, barely any blog posts let alone useful things. I think this can change and it's only if we're allowing to independently stand up and say the things we believe, whilst sharing the things other people say. Sure, at some point people will create collections of these things for reference thus making it easier to access from the mainstream POV but that's not the most important thing; rather, we must focus on the creation of this... this weird thing we used to call being on the web. Let's get back to that.

simonwoods
simonwoods

@nitinkhanna Right! I see, yes. I'm convinced the best answer to search is websites. Let people collect and curate the information, rather than play Google's game and then inch-by-inch the alternative search becomes viable -- there might even be more than one!

nitinkhanna
nitinkhanna

@simonwoods yup... we’ll get there...

Bruce
Bruce

@simonwoods I have a ton of thoughts, but "we are the advertising" reminded me of Mike Caulfield. His has great ideas about processes and shortcuts for evaluating news. While sometimes it takes effort to cut thru the bullshit, sometimes it only takes 30 sec with the right tools.

If more people knew how to use those tools, it would be a much smaller hump to get over to check up on the messages from giants.

bradenslen
bradenslen

@simonwoods In case you missed it. My thoughts on this thread. cc. @Bruce

simonwoods
simonwoods

@bradenslen Oh awesome! Now you've got me thinking about a longer post, of course. That web just keeps growing.

simonwoods
simonwoods

@Bruce Agreed. Thanks for the link. Honestly I know a lot of people have been waylaid by the actions of those who make mainstream web products but I don't know why these tools aren't considered what we expect, as in ideas acted upon without a need to rely on structures even such as education. This is institutional memory for the community, constantly worked on and updated as time passes and we learn different things.

kicks
kicks
@simonwoods I don’t think I connect with you and Brad quite as much on search—it’s one thing to search for ‘rotate div 90 degrees’ compared to searching for ‘aesthetically pleasing blog with poetry’. This is why I’m much more bullish on directories (blogrolls, wikis, that ilk)—if we can link to each other and describe each other to each other—that is another way to get somewhere. Anyway, I’m not trying to convince you of my perspective, just saying that it’s cool: while you are looking for ‘useful’ and I am looking for ‘fascinating’—and in some ways I’m sure we’re both looking for both—we both want the same type of web. A well-lived-in one.
simonwoods
simonwoods

@kicks I'm already there, I just didn't explain myself properly on that side of things. I think both curated collections and search can work hand-in-hand, specifically if the search is not run by the all-seeing-eye we currently have in place whether that's across the web or in the silos; indeed, I think the curated stuff (directories) can feed the search without the need to harvest people's behaviour especially because it can be done by people who also value the curated side of things.

For example, I would love to see DuckDuckGo not only improve their search engine with whatever machine-lead efforts they might have but also find ways to work with the real communities of the web to reach the goal stated above.

bradenslen
bradenslen

@simonwoods Say on Simon. This idea about DuckDuckGo is interesting and has got me thinking. You have been holding out on us. What other interesting ideas are you working on? cc. @kicks

simonwoods
simonwoods

@bradenslen Oh you're too kind. I'm going to be delving deeper into these issues and the people working on them so there's a good chance my current thinking lacks any immediate and obvious solution. However, I think if even those of us not involved in the work spend our time discussing and thinking about it only good come from it; you never know who out of the populace with the ability to effect change might read your words and be inspired in some way.

There's a very good chance I'll at least blog about this stuff as I learn more, at which point I'll link back to here and make it very obvious as to what I am getting at.

kicks
kicks
@simonwoods Ok—understood. So, it seems our group here still has a lot to talk about wrt how to curate links in hew ways. (The directories of old seemed really dry and pointless to me—until I started talking to Brad and seeing that directories are still everywhere, but in disguise.) Alongside that though, continuing your line about DuckDuckGo working with the curators—I think it would also be useful to define how we would envision search participating. I’d rather have us giving them directions that have it go the other way (similar to how RSS was an initiative by bloggers, preferrable to the myriad of APIs that are handed out by the networks.) I guess I wonder how everyone feels about microformats as part of directories. (I prefer microformats—microsub, for instance—to RSS because it doesn’t require upkeep of a separate document that ISN’T really HTML.) But I can’t ignore that microformats feel clunky and can be implemented 100x different ways… I also wonder how human curation should play a role in search. (Like—is it possible for curators to hone algorithms—is this already done?)
simonwoods
simonwoods

@kicks These are some of the exact parts of the issues I'm confident we're all going to have to work out together. After all a defining part of the open web alternative is people building things together, piece by piece.