"things get pretty weird pretty quickly": becoming fake-famous
April 25, 2015 6:02 PM   Subscribe

"Basically, somebody who worked at Twitter back in 2009 added me to that list, and all of a sudden my online network got upgraded to the kind of numbers that are usually only reserved for rock stars." Nobody Famous — what it's like to have the social network of a celebrity, without actually being famous, by Mefi's own Anil Dash.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (47 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
I really enjoyed reading this, as someone who checks his Twitter analytics quite a bit more than I'd care to admit. Something that struck me as particularly interesting is that he posted the stats for his account, and he has 73 times more followers than I do, but only 5 times more retweets and favorites in the most recent month. This is not to suggest that I'm somehow "better" at Twitter, but that there's probably a pretty dramatic diminishing returns effect to more followers, and that once your account gets beyond a certain size, the accounts who are really actively engaged with what you're saying become a smaller and smaller percentage of the total. I manage a smallish Twitter account for work that occasionally gets RTed by an account with about as many followers as Anil, and while the stats certainly jump, the effect seems surprisingly modest if you're thinking in terms of half a million people. It's probably a mistake, if you care about connecting with people on social media, to focus on raw numbers at the expense of the quality of the connections you're building.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:32 PM on April 25, 2015 [13 favorites]


It occurs to me that I'd really have to control for number of tweets for the above to be a meaningful comparison, and even I'm not obsessed enough to do that on a Saturday night.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:35 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


obligatory professional white comment.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:38 PM on April 25, 2015 [10 favorites]


Wait, so "MeFi famous" and "famous" aren't the same thing?
Who knew?
posted by Floydd at 6:45 PM on April 25, 2015 [8 favorites]


I keep thinking 10,000$ a tweet.
posted by clavdivs at 6:45 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised to hear verification gets you nothing. I assumed you got VIP tools to help manage the larger scale of replies, RTs, notifications, etc, that you receive. No wonder celebrities don't manage their own accounts, who would want to wade through?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:00 PM on April 25, 2015 [5 favorites]


Great, concise example of how hard it is to genuinely connect with people. Obviously, this is using twitter and online communications, but I think it is genuinely illustrative of the challenge of outreach of any kind, and how poorly it scales up.

I work in (corporate) communications, and I am constantly having gentle conversations with my stakeholders in which I try to get them to understand that no one is reading anything they send out. We don't - because my current employer is quite old school around comms (And I privately suspect no one wants to deliver the metrics to powerful execs for fear of being drawn and quartered) - have any email metrics on our comms, so I'm pulling out stats for the country, for the industry etc.

But the mentality that if something is said, then it is heard, is so strong, so endemic, that even stakeholders who have superficially accepted my message cannot help falling back to that mentality - despite the fact that they themselves barely read anything they get. Egocentricity bias is so strong.

Interestingly, I think an experience likes Dash's makes one brutally aware of how little anything you say or do matters. I suspect some of my execs would not absorb the message that way, however...
posted by smoke at 7:07 PM on April 25, 2015 [25 favorites]


Even at .07% click thru rate, that's still comparable to an untargeted mobile banner ad.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:14 PM on April 25, 2015


The heady days of 2010.
posted by clvrmnky at 7:32 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm always surprised at how much budget space people are willing to give "social media" in my webdev projects...mainly because the money they're spending would be way better invested in a topical website that was easy to navigate, and setting aside some funds to keep that content current, rather than devoting absurd resources and screen real estate begging people to subscribe to your shitty email newsletter (and similar artifacts)--one that no one reads, and no one wants.

All people want from your company online is a website which allows them to easily find current information about your products and services, where to buy them, and how to get help if they need it.

On a related note, I've given up donating money to groups whose mission I support, which makes me sad, as I'd like to help. But it makes me fuming mad to get back at least as much money as I donate in unwanted mailings from those organizations. I toss them out without even opening them--I have enough damn stuff to do already.
posted by maxwelton at 7:47 PM on April 25, 2015 [11 favorites]


I'm starting to think a lot of what we do on the internet is busywork -- the social equivalent to those purple ditto sheets we got in class in long ago times, when the teacher had run out of lesson plan. It feels good, like you're raising your voice and making things happen, but in the end most of it is just shouting into the wind.

Not to say everything that happens on social media is empty. It's been good for me both in making friends and landing jobs. But for years, I've been struggling with dissonance between the shiny world startup culture promised me, and the materialistic and anti-labor reality we seem to be building.

The internet was made by hippies, man. What happened?
posted by Andrhia at 8:05 PM on April 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


We can all at least agree that Anil Dash is the kind of person who we'd want to be famous, right? To have his voice heard?

I know he says, "I didn’t actually earn my giant Twitter network," and "people don’t have huge social networks because they’re good at using the Internet" but I follow Dash on twitter and elsewhere and I can pretty conclusively say that he is both good at using the internet and (even if the initial impetus was seemingly random) he has earned his giant twitter network. Articles like this are just reaffirmations that my choice to mark him as Someone Who Has Something Worth Hearing was correct.
posted by Panjandrum at 8:22 PM on April 25, 2015 [15 favorites]


It's probably a mistake, if you care about connecting with people on social media, to focus on raw numbers at the expense of the quality of the connections you're building.

This, definitely.

I have a similar story to Anil's, albeit at a smaller scale. I got on Instagram's suggested user list early on and ended up, at my peak, with somewhere around 105K followers. It's a strange ride to be on — the comments I got were all over the map, lots of positivity but plenty of shade thrown ('Why do you have so many followers, this photo sucks') and plenty of just weirdness. And there's this strange feeling of responsibility to the crowd — I felt this in both the quality of the pictures I posted and the content. It seemed sometime like half of my followers were under the age of 16, so I was very mindful of the message I was putting out into the world.

And, yeah, my engagement rate was abysmal. There are a ton of accounts you can find with a 10th of the followers I had who routinely get 10x the likes or comments on their pictures.

That kind of follower count, though, does impress folks and I got a fair amount of free shit out of it — mainly Instagram contests that I'm sure I won b/c I had a big number but also a free trip to Israel for popular Instgrammers that I politely declined.

Once I was off the list I started losing followers at a precipitous rate. It made me realize that I was losing followers all along but it was hidden by the constant influx of new followers. And I realized that most of the people who were leaving were the folks who were actually using and enjoying the app — they were grooming their feeds to reflect the things they wanted to see and who was this dude taking pictures of boring shit?

So now I'm more like a regular person. I don't care as much about what I post and I don't get nearly as many strange comments. My follower number still impresses some, but not nearly as much, and I'm mostly okay with that.

I kind of miss getting free shit, though.
posted by wemayfreeze at 8:42 PM on April 25, 2015 [13 favorites]


Purple handouts smelled sweet and woozy.
posted by clavdivs at 8:45 PM on April 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


I always assumed Anil Dash was actually famous and that I just consumed the wrong media to know why. Like how you turn 30 and suddenly half the people on the cover of People are of totally mysterious origin.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:45 PM on April 25, 2015 [55 favorites]


I sometimes respond to people with facts and figures, showing how the raw number of connections in one’s network doesn’t matter as much as who those connections are, and how engaged they are. But the truth is, our technological leaders have built these tools in a way that explicitly promotes the idea that one’s follower count is the score we keep, the metric that matters.

I'd be interesting and neat if social networks posted an engagement rate or perhaps a composite engagement/follower score along with follower count. It would do a lot to cut down on the 'pay for followers' enterprises that people go for I think — a 0.0001% engagement rate would really put the lie to a 100K follower count.
posted by wemayfreeze at 8:56 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


clavdivs: "Purple handouts smelled sweet and woozy."

That was a great scent, though the chemicals probably caused cancer or something.
But in addition to getting onto that one weird list, I picked up a lot of my real followers simply by being early to Twitter. That’s a tactic that definitely helps you get more followers, and I’d strongly recommend joining Twitter in 2006 if you have the option. #helpfuladvice
I did join in 2006. I think I have maybe 7 followers, probably because I almost never use twitter.
posted by double block and bleed at 9:07 PM on April 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


He's big in Japan.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:11 PM on April 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


Heh, I have 192,500 followers on Google+ because I was an early adopter and got on a list of scientists and somehow became a suggested user and was verified and stuff. Talk about a useless piece of online famousness! I haven't really posted anything substantive in about a year, but I still get 15-20 "hey babe" messages/day from random men on the internet, and if I accidentally share a picture I took on my phone, it gets a lot of views. That's about the only benefit, sadly.
posted by ChuraChura at 9:25 PM on April 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


We can all at least agree that Anil Dash is the kind of person who we'd want to be famous, right? To have his voice heard?
Panjandrum

Hell no we can't. Wasn't he the asshole who was demanding that people talk and text in movie theaters?
posted by Sangermaine at 9:25 PM on April 25, 2015 [5 favorites]


I mean... Anil was the first employee of Six Apart, and played a somewhat significant role in the emergence of Web 2.0, so it's not exactly like he lacks credentials.

There are others who were more influential (Stewart Butterfield) or better writers (Paul Ford), but Anil's twitter account is pretty good, and he was unquestionably an influential player in the ecosystem and culture that created Twitter.

I think that Anil undersells himself. While its true that he "lucked into" his fame, and there are plenty of not-even-fake-famous people who can do what he does, he's actually a pretty good representation of the internet zeitgeist.
posted by schmod at 9:29 PM on April 25, 2015 [11 favorites]


Wasn't he the asshole who was demanding that people talk and text in movie theaters?

I'm the asshole who said some number of people would text or talk regardless, so why not accommodate them, rather than keep making futile attempts at prohibition?

I've done other stuff, but I've met actual famous people and that made clear to me that I'm definitely not really famous in any meaningful sense. And thanks to Schmod and Pajandrum for the kind words! :)
posted by anildash at 9:41 PM on April 25, 2015 [33 favorites]


Huh, interesting that The Message is hosting a Fame week now - I wrote about how Internet virality hasn't really paid off a while ago.
posted by divabat at 10:21 PM on April 25, 2015


[A couple of comments deleted. We already had the discussion about talking at the movies; let's not derail this thread with a retread of that conversation again. Thanks. ]
posted by taz (staff) at 10:36 PM on April 25, 2015 [9 favorites]


Down in front!

schmod, I think you're right and yet not even wrong. It's true that Anil has legitimate claims to being a sort of nerd celebrity, but it's also true today that nerd celebrity has very little to do with wider world celebrity. It was one thing when Beyonce wasn't on Twitter, but now stars like Queen Bey are.

I think where Anil is more pointed, though, is in talking about engagement. Yes, he has numbers, but he does not have them because of what he tweets. Probably quite a large number of his followers have inactive or rarely-used accounts. That's reflected in his engagement numbers -- they're real followers only in terms of bragging rights over aggregate numbers. For actually moving opinion, making things go viral, getting a Kickstarter funded -- they're comparatively useless.

So what is valuable and interesting, at least to us nerds, isn't much of either in terms of the actual metrics. Anil is being pretty realistic in those terms. Of course we will always love him for $REASONS, but for all his numbers, they don't do much for the things you would expect having lots of followers to confer.

Interestingly I think this is also illustrated inversely by two of the most successful users of social media that I know, the late Roger Ebert, and George Takei. Ebert was a demon on Twitter, doing everything right in terms of boosting engagement and creating real connections to his followers. It was a master class, when he was alive, in how to do it. (For example, new followers each day would have a chance at an RT, a bit like a Skinner Box experiment.) Twitter was obviously in some ways a means of replacing the vocal communication his health situation denied him, but he also used the platform to promote things like his rice cooking essay, various humanist tracts and homilies, and his (eventually posthumous) documentary. Takei, on the other hand, was somehow wildly successful (apparently at some points to his own surprise) at mostly retweeting/resharing content that was often a bit stale. For a while he was aggressively riding the waves of outrage and adulation over same-sex marriage, something obviously personally important, but in his documentary To Be Takei (fun, but a bit frothy) he basically reveals that it was all in the greater cause of promoting his other personal pony, the Allegiance musical based on his experiences in a Japanese-American detainment camp. Now that the project is actually being mounted, his online activity has slowed in my view. In both those cases the followers were earned and had high engagement with their subject, something exactly the opposite from Anil's situation, and I wonder what their stats reveal.
posted by dhartung at 11:53 PM on April 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


I found the note about the gentleman who assumed when he said things others listened, even though he didn't listen to others, particularly poignant and interesting. I have noticed that my interests at this point are so varied and diverse that I don't have time to listen to, read, or think about even a fraction of what I would want to, had I all the time in the world.
posted by Deoridhe at 12:34 AM on April 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Anil Dash suggests that he is arbitrarily famous because he knows some folks at Twitter, IRL, and that makes him famous, but I follow him because I know that he knows some folks at Twitter, IRL, as well as lots of other internet people I also follow, IRL. Anil Dash is like, meta famous as well as Meta famous.
posted by oceanjesse at 12:45 AM on April 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


But, wait, he hooked me up with my Gmail invite, back in the day when we had the MeFi invite swapathon!

Am I famous now?
posted by Samizdata at 12:53 AM on April 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised to hear verification gets you nothing. I assumed you got VIP tools to help manage the larger scale of replies, RTs, notifications, etc, that you receive.

I believe you get an option to only see replies from other verified people or something similar. So if someone else famous talks to you, you notice it.
posted by smackfu at 4:12 AM on April 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Beware, I come here not to bring gifts for Caesar, but to pontificate on this Twitter culture, metrics, numbers, and engagement

I've been mulling over the differences in my community experience on Twitter. Due to an accidental situation, I have been able to participate deeply in an African timeline through a shared news focused 'zine handle, as well as dip into the flow of my regular old Twitter handle which goes back to the early majority days of 2008.

Teh differences are stark.

It's probably a mistake, if you care about connecting with people on social media, to focus on raw numbers at the expense of the quality of the connections you're building.


Before plunging into the Twitter experience, would like to note that I was ranting about this in the heydays of Technorati and "link love" that was de rigeur in the blogosphere when I first started blogging 10 years and 2 days ago. Its even more obvious on Twitter though since the barriers to engagement are so much lower than linking to a blogpost or leaving a comment - I mean, where are the conversations in the comments thread nowadays, other than on Metafilter (may it live forever)?

People ENGAGE in the African community - its considered rude to not acknowledge someone's reply to you with a least a fav, and people talk, reply and discuss things, REGARDLESS of whether they know you IRL or through other communities. This is NOT the same as what happens in "first world" Twitter - most people act as though they're all standing around in isolated bubble chambers with a megaphone in their hand and noise cancelling headsets on their ears. Nobody replies to your tweeting them - or, rather, few do - usually if they already know you IRL or an extreme minority of Mefites. Some people do talk to each other, but its like high school cafeteria where people are with their own little groups in their own tables.

The African experience for the past couple of years has been an eye opener for me. Its a running conversation, its brought down barriers across geographies and time zones, and people dip in and out of the conversation - the general one, which continues as a main timeline, the side notes with clusters of a few peeps discussing some topic, or the entire debates that take place in the notifications of an "Influencer"'s twittering.

I don't have anywhere the followers of the big names, barely over a 1000 followers and that to due to the news links from the related Tumblr, and certainly not in the Anil Dash range, but my engagement rate in this timeline is so entirely different from both his numbers and also my other timeline that its made me sit here and think about the differences. Yes, I RTFA.

I sometimes respond to people with facts and figures, showing how the raw number of connections in one’s network doesn’t matter as much as who those connections are, and how engaged they are. But the truth is, our technological leaders have built these tools in a way that explicitly promotes the idea that one’s follower count is the score we keep, the metric that matters.


Certainly, its not about the numbers, its about the engagement. And yes, I guess, score keeping is a holdover from the earliest Blogospheric/Technorati/Inner Circle/A listers days but its also CULTURAL.

It feels good, like you're raising your voice and making things happen, but in the end most of it is just shouting into the wind.

The internet was made by hippies, man. What happened?

And there's this strange feeling of responsibility to the crowd


Engagement requires a give and take that's missing from old skool Twitter. Y'all just don't talk TO each other at all - in general terms, I mean, not your conversations with your 3 or 4 regular tweeps - its like there's a sound proof wall or some barrier against just talking to people or replying to a tweet or getting into conversations. Even if they start for some reason, they dissipate after a few tweets.

The "social" aspect of social media seems to be more of a replica of the old "one is to many" broadcast model of mass communication, struggling to figure out what a conversation with strangers means.

The irony of this is that social media researchers can't simply observe this engagement aspect from the outside, you kind of have to be a part of it in order to experience the full extent of what it actually means.

I'm rambling here now and not sure what I came in to say - maybe, just that you don't need a 1000 followers to have a voice, to make a difference, to be heard.

For actually moving opinion, making things go viral, getting a Kickstarter funded -- they're comparatively useless.

Maybe what needs to be figured out is how to transfer the sense of community, as is felt here, on to your twitter experience?

I think what I am trying to say is that the Africans have figured out Twitter and use it in increasingly powerful ways.
posted by infini at 6:04 AM on April 26, 2015 [18 favorites]


Engagement requires a give and take that's missing from old skool Twitter.

I'm just way too shy to use twitter that way. I occasionally will reply to tweets from people who I don't know in real life but mostly I find it much too stressful to do that.
posted by octothorpe at 6:29 AM on April 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


But you don't know me. This is interesting, how does Metafilter differ?
posted by infini at 6:53 AM on April 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Metafilter just seems more like a safe place for conversation than twitter. It's understood that anyone can comment on anything here but replying to people I don't know on Twitter always feels so intrusive, like I'm breaking in on someone else's conversation in a public place.
posted by octothorpe at 7:16 AM on April 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


Sort of semi-related. A few weeks ago when Terry Pratchett died, I tweeted this.

At some point, someone I followed RT'd. I believe it was John Scalzi, and then an hour or two later Naomi Novik. I had to turn off notifications on my phone because it kept on beeping and buzzing. Their follower numbers were so significant and far reaching that my tweet went beyond where I had anticipated it would go. What's interesting is that it did not correlate into a significant follower increase. There were maybe 7 or 8 new people that followed me because of that single tweet, but otherwise it was just that particular information and bit of communal mourning that people wanted to share and spread.

It was a weird feeling, knowing that your little bit of information was being shared that far and wide. I didn't think that I was popular all of a sudden, but there was this tiny part of me that was a little pumped up about how my twitter account was being seen, if only for a few minutes all around the world.
posted by Fizz at 8:55 AM on April 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


octothorpe, what I am discovering is that I've come to feel that way about my African timeline. It feels as much like Cheers ("where everybody knows your name") as metafilter ever did - though you're right, its part of the normative culture here that we're all free to speak our mind, and there are the mods.

I do wonder though whether the African twitter I've been privileged to participate in (many are the original twitterati online, paid influencers in their home countries, others include billionaires, presidential candidates, Time 100 most influential and whatnot) is the leapfrogged equivalent of what metafilter community and hangout space means for us here?
posted by infini at 9:37 AM on April 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Fizz, when a news byte tweet of ours ever gets RT'd by *somebody* that's about the average number of new followers.
posted by infini at 9:40 AM on April 26, 2015


Oh and Fizz, I know that feeling :p one tweet of mine got RT'd once by pmarca and it was that same weird feeling - also kind of like what anildash describes - eek, who saw this ;p but no new followers iirc - this was my regular real name account, not the african one
posted by infini at 10:02 AM on April 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Anil Dash is a legit celebrity to me. I enjoyed his link blog from way back. No, he's not famous for any particular thing he did, but since when is that a requirement? Maybe people wouldn't have heard of him if not for the arbitrary Twitter list "accident." On the other hand, he posts legitimately interesting stuff from time to time and seems to be a pretty solid dude, engaging thoughtfully and using his network for good not evil.

It's nice to be humble, I guess, but I'm just not sure what one is supposed to do to "earn" a large Twitter follow count, if not that.
posted by ctmf at 11:18 AM on April 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Inspired by this thread, I go over to the regular one and try some new things to see if I can engage the twitterati only to have peeps from the African timeline follow me over to cheer me on. *rolls eyes at bois helping granny out*
posted by infini at 1:59 PM on April 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm somewhat familiar with this; because I was an early adopter of Twitter I managed to get the name of a U.S. state as my username (because it's also my IRL nickname)

I get a lot of follows and unfollows because people think I'm something to do with the state, and you should see my mentions... (The last Election Day was hilarious) - in fact I should make a Tumblr of the worst of my mentions with bad stock photos.
posted by matrixgeek at 4:03 PM on April 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


octothorpe: "Engagement requires a give and take that's missing from old skool Twitter.

I'm just way too shy to use twitter that way. I occasionally will reply to tweets from people who I don't know in real life but mostly I find it much too stressful to do that.
"

I feel like Twitter is a giant, noise, clattering uber-cafeteria. Plenty of seating for everyone, but you know whatever you say will be heard by EVERYONE.

MeFi is like a nice little neighborhood joint, where they don't mind if you shuffle some tables around to get everyone sitting in a group, and everyone else around you is too busy having a good time to eavesdrop.
posted by Samizdata at 5:05 PM on April 26, 2015


Oh, and the chairs are really comfortable.
posted by Samizdata at 5:05 PM on April 26, 2015


And the drinks are good, cheap, and unadulterated.
posted by Samizdata at 5:06 PM on April 26, 2015


try followerwonk. they have something called social authority that does complicated calculations but shows interesting results

you can have the same or similar number i.e. 65 and 66 for two people, yet one has over 50K followers while the other 2000.

and rabbit hole just explained a lot of things

a higher retweet rate is associated with more traffic to tweeted URLs. In fact, the retweet rate is a stronger predictor of clicks than follower count! The correlations are ~0.7 and ~0.45, respectively.


I can't speak for their math or computational logic but reflecting on the response rate of new followers gathered, click throughs etc, I can see this pattern when I run a check on the zine account. I have one outstanding follower whose merest breath boosts me but I discovered that they have less followers than peeps 2 rungs below. In some cases half.

This is the long tail.
posted by infini at 7:11 PM on April 26, 2015


I feel like Twitter is a giant, noise, clattering uber-cafeteria. Plenty of seating for everyone, but you know whatever you say will be heard by EVERYONE.

MeFi is like a nice little neighborhood joint, where they don't mind if you shuffle some tables around to get everyone sitting in a group, and everyone else around you is too busy having a good time to eavesdrop.


This is an interesting statement in light of the recent MetaTalk thread about MetaFilter comments on the blue getting replicated in the New York Times. That also highlights for me one of the things which troubled me about the Times reprinting comments in isolation - within the context of MetaFilter, everything happens as part of a conversation and the assumption is at least nominal back-and-forth discussion between equals. The New York Times taking that - or taking tweets from Twitter conversations - and re-printing them for profit without the larger context seems like it is taking from a community without giving anything back.

The contrast between one kind of twitter use, where everyone has bullhorns and is primarily focused on expressing themselves, and the other, where it is a conversation, is striking to me. I think the self-development/self-branding focus of Liberal thought in the US has heavily influenced the lack of conversation, as everyone looks for moments to bring up their pet topics without engaging in the words, experiences, and topics of others.

I also have vague thoughts about this playing into the 10% producer/90% consumer popular myth, and the frequent contempt for that 90% who are treated as parasites instead of listeners, and how that dismissal of the importance of experiencing without demanding a response also plays into peoples' complaints about no one really paying attention to "the important things" (read: what's important to me), but it's half-formed.
posted by Deoridhe at 12:55 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Deoridhe: "I feel like Twitter is a giant, noise, clattering uber-cafeteria. Plenty of seating for everyone, but you know whatever you say will be heard by EVERYONE.

MeFi is like a nice little neighborhood joint, where they don't mind if you shuffle some tables around to get everyone sitting in a group, and everyone else around you is too busy having a good time to eavesdrop.


This is an interesting statement in light of the recent MetaTalk thread about MetaFilter comments on the blue getting replicated in the New York Times. That also highlights for me one of the things which troubled me about the Times reprinting comments in isolation - within the context of MetaFilter, everything happens as part of a conversation and the assumption is at least nominal back-and-forth discussion between equals. The New York Times taking that - or taking tweets from Twitter conversations - and re-printing them for profit without the larger context seems like it is taking from a community without giving anything back.

The contrast between one kind of twitter use, where everyone has bullhorns and is primarily focused on expressing themselves, and the other, where it is a conversation, is striking to me. I think the self-development/self-branding focus of Liberal thought in the US has heavily influenced the lack of conversation, as everyone looks for moments to bring up their pet topics without engaging in the words, experiences, and topics of others.

I also have vague thoughts about this playing into the 10% producer/90% consumer popular myth, and the frequent contempt for that 90% who are treated as parasites instead of listeners, and how that dismissal of the importance of experiencing without demanding a response also plays into peoples' complaints about no one really paying attention to "the important things" (read: what's important to me), but it's half-formed.
"

Apparently, my lack of visiting MetaTalk comes back to bite me again. I will need to look that up, but that is sort of a classic problems with newspapers. Years ago, I got interviewed by the local paper about blogging, as I self hosted several blogs for friends and family on local hardware, and they didn't take any of the statements on the blogs with any sort of context. They just did sort of a digital soundbite.
posted by Samizdata at 1:26 PM on April 27, 2015


The MeTa thread was an interesting topic, but it got weirdly nasty.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:53 AM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


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