Everyone is leaving Twitter for Mastodon or “Truth”, or other parts unknown. But there is no exodus back to the “pure web”. HTML. Blogs. - those sorts of things. This even after the actual pitch for setting up a Mastodon server is literally the pitch for hosting a website.
At first I felt like, once again, people searching for digital freedom of expression were overlooking something they already had, which is the ability to host any persona and point that they like, right here on the raw web.
A website is an instance, just like a Mastodon account. It runs on a server which is individually managed, even if only at the content level, just like a Mastodon server.
In other words, the original web is decentralized. You don’t stop word of a cheap, free, and safe cure for cancer by knocking down one website, assuming that the information is absorbed and re-published, re-stated, and regurgitated by a thriving chatty WWW.
That all being said, by the time I come to write these words, I realize that there are of course many important differences between the manner of running a website and that of using a intermediate publishing instrument such as Mastodon (or even the original Twitter).
And more importantly, that at the end of the day, Mastodon may well be that place where the ease of web publishing offered up by monetizing control-freak social media companies is afforded, but without said influence of the almighty dollar and a debilitating demand for “growth”. The decentralized architecture is still there, along with the ever-precious friction-free form that allows people to shoot off a missive, thought, or the cure for cancer, all without the “work” of web publishing.
Okay I get it.
But I have to impress that the World Wide Web is still a thing and is still here, and is not that hard to capitalize on for freedom of speech, expression, and perhaps more crucially, individual presentation.
By Dave for Personal Blog.
Broadcast Live via Twitter Demonstration
Don't you hate when you search for an answer to something you think is pretty straightforward, but it turns out your brain is so weird you're the only person either dumb enough to be asking (hence, no content to support an answer has ever been created), or, your brain is so complex, you are the only one who could ask the question (hence, no content to support an answer has ever been created).
Twitter is discontinuing Periscope in 2021 (and here is a Periscope of me postulating a theory of why livestreaming seems to be getting rolled back and complicated these days). I used Periscope as my main "man on the ground" live feeding platform for such things as house fires and riots, or the occasional weird attempt to produce regular weekend programming.
With news of its impending demise, I panicked. Instagram (Live) is not built for serious stuff -- it presumes pictures and broadcasts are personal social objects shared between people good looking enough to have enough friends to do that between. For your average content weirdo like me who still thinks the web and its products should be a bit unpredictable and uncontrollable regarding real matters, the Twitter ethos, however evaporating from the principle of that it may be these day, fits the bill.
YouTube Live or Twitch have just way too much overhead for spot live streaming, and Facebook for all intent and purposes requires you to sign in before showing someone's live video rationally. Facebook is not really about an "open" web.
But luckily as my video shows, you can still feed live via Twitter in what is basically an "integrated Periscope engine" resulting in something that is not so much different in experience at all. I had to make the video above because I could not find a clear answer that the lazy typing in of a YouTube query (I don't even think I bothered with Google) might yield.
By Dave for Personal Blog.
No, Twitter, just, no.
Same message to Facebook, and same for Google Play Store.
These "President Trump is being censored in social media" milestones always put me in the awkward position of having to explain how I can concurrently reject Trump's presidency while going nuts whenever social media platforms take measures to curb him. As per the current action of Twitter suspending his account.
The answer of course is that the actions taken against Trump really have nothing to do with Trump. It has more to do with my advocacy of an open web, and, a basic understanding that Facebook and Twitter are really just capitalism's answer to China's Great Firewall. No government, no corporation lobby, and certainly no government comprised of corporation lobbies, is ever going to give the power of worldwide broadcast to any wahoo that wants to operate a broadcast station unless there was absolute control over them first. One of the only ways to do that effectively is to create a chokepoint.
China freely turned its entire internet infrastructure into a chokepoint. Every internet user in China is easily surveilled, and content from elsewhere around the world is easily blocked, all from a (relatively) central control position. A percentage of Chinese citizens that go the extra distance to beat those controls through proxies and the like is small so the censorship effort is still effective.
In our culture, the same control is absolutely necessary (speaking as a hypothetical stakeholder of the status quo I mean) but the tact, as not to offend democratic narratives, is more delicate and far more decentralized.
To achieve this, a few simple ingredients along with a few simple rules about how they interact, are required. Left to their own devices these ingredients and rules self-evolve into (a superpower's requirement of) censorship and chill. Aside from the possibility that a few stupidhead 'socialists' can always complain about lack of regulation, there is no-body to blame.
One ingredient, and I can probably cite quite a few, is the commodification of curiosity and a taxing of human being's thirst for knowledge and understanding. In other words, search. The original search engines assumed that the point of their existence was to facilitate a breathlessly curious world -- not to monetize.
It didn't take long for Google and Google's early competition to realize that every search action was a goldmine and capitalist rules and zero ideas of counterweight regulations allowed it to grow into the behemoth it is now.
As Google proved it can dominate (as Microsoft proved it can dominate, as Twitter proved it can dominate, as Facebook proved it can dominate), the "government" of course forged its internal "off-book" relationships with each. Government regulation, action or inaction, came to exclusively favor these icons of what we now deem "Big Tech". For these big tech companies they reign supreme and get to keep making money. For the government, they get their chokepoints.
It doesn't take too much imagination to figure the sort of alliance this makes for, but if you need the picture, Snowden seems to have dumped them for you.
Twitter's decision acts specifically in response to what happened at the nation's Capitol. What happened there is a topic in its own right and I have ways of seeing how an out-of-control right-wing engineered it, and I have theories of how the left-wing engineered it. But I promise you this my dear reader, Trump was more part the mob than its leader.
You can read Twitter's blog posting on its reasoning for banning Trump's account, but as far as I'm concerned it's just a rationalization of tampering with something as sacred as free speech by stretching out the impact of a lot of subjective conclusions.
The real arguments have nothing to do with Trump's application of a social media platform, so Twitter and Facebook are truly creating their own relevance. Note how the debate itself solidifies themselves as "the internet" while the "real internet" is thus dissipated further without notice.
Trump, an apolitical sentient some time ago, simply picked up his inclination to run for president. Seeking the easiest path, he tuned into AM-right-wing radio, discovered an easy herd ripe for exploitation, and set out to do just that. It's that simple people. The mass media mediums that beget Trump were traditional radio and television. FCC stuff.
Point of fact, open expression to the widest gulf prevented this demigod from being re-elected. Can you even begin to imagine what a president like this one, traditionally bound to mere press releases and press conferences, might have done in the "usually" invisible political plane where backdeals and shady dynamics lurch? Fuck that. We needed to see this man's tweets.
By Dave for Personal Blog.