A curation.

    April 30, 2022

    Microblogging/a.k.a. Twitter

    ‘For it is necessary that there be a genuine and deep communication between the hearts and minds of men, communication and no the noise of slogans or the repetition of cliches. Genuine communication is becoming more and more difficult, and when speech is in danger of perishing or being perverted in the amplified noise of beasts, it seems to me we should attempt to cry and out to one another and comfort one another with the truth of humanism and reason.’

    -Thomas Merton, Seeds of Destruction, 1961

    ‘When the artificiality of a random number algorithm replaces the surprises of natural richness, we lose something of human life. When we replace the earth with an artificial screen we cut ourselves off to its secret workings. We become so vulnerable in the face of the void that we have to keep filling up our lives with more stuff, including information.

    Technology pushes us along as such rapid speeds that the human brain cannot absorb the information sufficiently to process. […] We are increasingly overwhelmed and fragmented…the speed of the machine has now surpassed the speed of thought. The result is ‘great psychic turbulence, opening fractures and fault lines in the collective unconscious.’ For protection, the human nervous system ‘numbs out’ to protect itself from this destructive energy.

    Computer technology depends on individual control, preempting relationships of dependency on one another and the earth. […] Artificial intelligence can lend itself to community without commitment and mutuality without responsibility. It can lead to narcissism, self-indulgence, and isolation if it is not used reflectively to further wholeness and unity.’

    -Ilia Delio

    ‘In a culture as throughly marinated in instant gratification and consumer fetishes as ours, one so deeply in bed with consumer capitalism and instructed daily in how best to worship the gods of the latest gadgets that promise to make life easier and quicker and more satisfying. The experience of the dark night is a deep wake up call.

    Whether it comes at us from climate change or coronavirus or failures of politicians or the destruction of ideals of democracy or failures of religious promises. There is plenty to grieve. Loss is in the air as the dark night knocks loudly on the doors of our souls. Julian of Norwich and Mechtild…John of the Cross…did not run from it but to learn what it had to teach. It can do the same for us.’

    -Matthew Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic and Beyond, 2020

    ‘Global consciousness.’  ?

    ‘Politically Neutral.’  ?

    [Twitter descriptions by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and new Twitter owner Elon Musk.]

    Facebook [deleted 12.31.19-dayle] top-performing link posts in one 24-hour period:

    1. Ben Shapiro
    2. Ben Shapiro
    3. The Daily Caller
    4. Fox News
    5. Breitbart
    6. Terence K Williams
    7. ABC15 Arizona
    8. Franklin Graham
    9. Ben Shapiro
    10. Breitbart

    Casey Newton,  founder and editor of Platformer, a publication about the intersection of tech of democracy:

    ‘Elon Musk has not acted like a white knight riding to the rescue of a beloved but underperforming cultural institution. Instead, he has rushed to publicly affirm various half-baked and bad-faith criticisms of the company, all emanating from the right…’

    New Public:

    ‘What happens in a space with no public safety and no moderation? We deserve better than billionaire-owned social media platforms.’

    ‘The Internet business model is arson.’ -Jon Stewart

    Yelling ‘fire.’

    With the possible exception of hockey games, there have been few places in our modern lives where public interactions are supposed to be coarse. If (back when we could, and soon when we can again) you go to the theater, a museum, the mall, a restaurant, the library, school, the supermarket, the park, or yes, even to a movie theater, the management does not tolerate or encourage acting like a jerk.

    And then social media arrived.

    Social media is a place where the business model depends on some percentage of the crowd acting in unpleasant ways. It draws a crowd. And crowds generate profit.

    We’ve created a new default, a default where it’s somehow defensible to be a selfish, short-sighted, anonymous troll. At scale.

    Civility has always been enforced by culture, and for the last hundred years, amplified by commerce. We shouldn’t accept anything less than kindness, even if the stock price is at stake. Algorithms. Once you start prioritizing some voices, you become responsible for the tone and noise and disconnection (or possibility, connection and peace of mind) you’ve caused.

    -Seth Godin

    The word noosphere means a sphere of the mind, from the Greek nous or mind. It is a provocative idea that influenced many cultural leaders, such as Al Gore.

    -Ilia Delio

    The idea is that the Earth is not only becoming covered by myriads of grains of thought, but becoming enclosed in a single thinking envelope so as to form a single vast grain of thought on the sidereal scale, the plurality of individual reflections grouping themselves together and reinforcing one another in the act of a single unanimous reflection.

    -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man, 1959

    Jill Lepore, Harvard professor & historian.

    Elon Musk: The Evening Rocket

    Making our decisions

    For trivial matters, it’s efficient and perhaps useful to simply follow a crowd or whatever leader we’ve chosen.

    But when it matters, we need to make (and own) our own decisions.

    To do that effectively, consider:

    • Do the reading
    • Show your work
    • Avoid voices with a long track record of being wrong
    • Ask, “and then what happens?”
    • Ask, “how would that work?”
    • Ignore people who make a living saying stupid things to attract attention
    • Follow a path you’re eager and happy to take responsibility for
    • Be prepared to change your mind when new data arrives
    • Think hard about who profits and why they want you to believe something
    • Consider the long-term impact of short-term thinking

    None of these steps are easy. This could be why we so often outsource them to someone else.

    -Seth Godin


     

    The Internet has been revolutionary. It provides unprecedented opportunities for people around the world to connect and to express themselves, and continues to transform the global economy, enabling economic opportunities for billions of people. Yet it has also created serious policy challenges. Globally, we are witnessing a trend of rising digital authoritarianism where some states act to repress freedom of expression, censor independent news sites, interfere with elections, promote disinformation, and deny their citizens other human rights. At the same time, millions of people still face barriers to access and cybersecurity risks and threats undermine the trust and reliability of networks.

    Democratic governments and other partners are rising to the challenge. Today, the United States with 60 partners from around the globe launched the Declaration for the Future of the Internet. Those endorsing the Declaration include Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cabo Verde, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, the European Commission, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, North Macedonia, Palau, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and Uruguay.

    This Declaration represents a political commitment among Declaration partners to advance apositive vision for the Internet and digital technologies. It reclaims the promise of the Internet in the face of the global opportunities and challenges presented by the 21st century. It also reaffirms and recommits its partners to a single global Internet – one that is truly open and fosters competition, privacy, and respect for human rights. The Declaration’s principles includecommitments to:

    • Protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people;

    • Promote a global Internet that advances the free flow of information;

    • Advance inclusive and affordable connectivity so that all people can benefit from the digital economy;

    • Promote trust in the global digital ecosystem, including through protection of privacy; and

    • Protect and strengthen the multistakeholder approach to governance that keeps the Internet running for the benefit of all.

    In signing this Declaration, the United States and partners will work together to promote this vision and its principles globally, while respecting each other’s regulatory autonomy within our own jurisdictions and in accordance with our respective domestic laws and international legal obligations.

    Over the last year, the United States has worked with partners from all over the world – including civil society, industry, academia, and other stakeholders to reaffirm the vision of an open, free, global, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet and reverse negative trends in this regard. Under this vision, people everywhere will benefit from an Internet that is unified unfragmented; facilitates global communications and commerce; and supports freedom, innovation, education and trust.

    ###

    POYNTER.

    A growing group of journalists has cut back on Twitter, or abandoned it entirely
    Journalists view Twitter as a valuable platform for finding and sharing information, but many say they wish they used it less.

    Mark Lieberman

    “Many journalists use Twitter to connect with sources they might not otherwise reach; to drive traffic and attention to their published work; to rally support for union drives; and yes, often for fun and frivolity. During the last few months, amid an unprecedented global pandemic and nationwide protests for racial equality, the site has been a valuable platform for journalists assessing the rapidly evolving state of the nation and calling attention to the challenges they face covering it.

    But for all the value journalists can extract from Twitter, they can also fall victim to its less savory aspects: engaging in petty squabbles over esoteric issues; fielding bigotry and bad-faith attacks from anonymous users and bots; enduring relentless brain stimulation that can distort perception and distract from more pressing responsibilities.”

    And…

    Women, people of color and LGBTQ people might be discouraged from entering the field, Bien contends, if they know they’ll have to experience hate speech and physical threats as occupational hazards.

    #moderation

    Safety parameters strengthen free speech and invites participation. 

    “Power Needs Guardrails.”

    -Scott Galloway, author and podcaster

    “Elon Musk promises to reduce censorship as he buys Twitter

    Best of Today

    The board of Twitter has agreed to a $44bn (£34.5bn) takeover offer from Elon Musk. The billionaire has promised to reduce censorship on the platform, raising questions about what his approach will mean for the “digital town square”. On Monday he tweeted that he hoped his worst critics would remain on Twitter “because that is what free speech means”. Today’s Nick Robinson speaks to Vivian Schiller, former head of global news at Twitter who is now executive director at the Aspen Institute, and Ross Gerber, friend of Elon Musk and founder of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth Management. (Image credit: Patrick Pleul/Pool via REUTERS)

    Listen on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/best-of-today/id73330187?i=1000558725274

    Anand Giridharadas @ The.Ink
    @AnandWrites
    ‘With help from Isaiah Berlin, I wrote about negative freedom of speech, positive freedom of speech, and why Elon Musk types fear a world in which all of us can speak freely and safely.’
    Mr. Musk operates from a flawed, if
    widespread, misapprehension of the free
    speech issue facing the country. In his
    vision, what we may, with help from the
    philosopher Isaiah Berlin, call negative
    freedom of speech, the freedom to speak
    without restraint by powerful authorities, is
    the only freedom of speech. And so freeing
    Nazis to Nazi, misogynists to bully and
    harass and doxx and brigade women, even
    former president Donald Trump to possibly
    get his Twitter account back.
    this cutting of restraints becomes the whole of the
    project.
    But there is also what we may call positive
    freedom of speech: affirmative steps to
    create conditions that allow all people to
    feel and be free to say what they think.
    Legally speaking, all American women or
    people of color or both who were ever
    talked over in a meeting or denied a book
    contract or not hired to give their opinion
    on television enjoy the protections of the
    First Amendment. The constitutional
    protection of speech does not, on its own,
    engender a society in which the chance to
    be heard is truly abundant and free and
    equitably distributed.
    “Freedom for the wolves has often meant
    death to the sheep” Mr. Berlin once said.
    This is a point often lost on Americans.
    Government – or large centralized
    authority – is one threat to liberty but not
    the only one. When it comes to speech,
    what has often kept a great many people
    from speaking isn’t censorship but the lack
    of a platform. Social media, including
    Twitter, came along and promised to
    change that. But when it became a cesspit
    of hate and harassment for women and
    people of color in particular, it began to
    offer a miserable bargain: You can be free
    to say what you wish, but your life can be
    made unrelentingly painful if you so dare.

    More from Seth:

    Yelling “fire”

    “With the possible exception of hockey games, there have been few places in our modern lives where public interactions are supposed to be coarse. If (back when we could, and soon when we can again) you go to the theater, a museum, the mall, a restaurant, the library, school, the supermarket, the park, or yes, even to a movie theater, the management does not tolerate or encourage acting like a jerk.

    And then social media arrived.

    Social media is a place where the business model depends on some percentage of the crowd acting in unpleasant ways. It draws a crowd. And crowds generate profit.

    We’ve created a new default, a default where it’s somehow defensible to be a selfish, short-sighted, anonymous troll. At scale.

    Civility has always been enforced by culture, and for the last hundred years, amplified by commerce. We shouldn’t accept anything less than kindness, even if the stock price is at stake. DMS has a great point about the algorithm. Once you start prioritizing some voices, you become responsible for the tone and noise and disconnection (or possibility, connection and peace of mind) you’ve caused.”


    ‘Let’s have less hate and more love.’

    -Elon 4.29.22

    Let’s pray he means it. -dayle


    Bellingcat staff to benefit from TTI’s expert psychological services.

    Trauma Treatment International is to provide psychological support to staff of investigative journalism site Bellingcat, helping them deal with their exposure to violent content.

    The collective, which has 20 full-time staff and more than 30 contributors around the world, launched in 2014 to probe a variety of subjects using open source and social media investigation.

    These have included the poisoning of MI6 double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, the death of Venezuelan rebel leader Óscar Alberto Pérez, and the attempted murder of Russian politician Alexei Navalny. The group is currently working to gather evidence of war crimes in Ukraine as the conflict continues.

    Trauma Treatment International’s CEO Quen Geuter said:

    “Bellingcat’s vital investigative work can include dealing with traumatic material like images of injury, death or sexual assault. Staff can also find themselves the subject of online harassment and abuse which can be very disturbing.

    “Left unchecked, this exposure can lead to conditions like burnout, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and generalised anxiety. As a trauma-informed organisation, Bellingcat understands that it needs to take a preventative approach to vicarious trauma through help from our experts.”

    TTI’s clinical psychologists are experienced in working with trauma caused by exposure to violent content, in particular within the context of human rights infringements. As part of the partnership with Bellingcat, they will lead initial check-ins with 20 staff members to assess their mental wellbeing, and offer advice on coping with workplace stressors.

    Staff can then request two further sessions if they feel they need follow-up support, while the clinical team will provide help to anyone showing signs of PTSD or needing additional treatment.

    Quen added: “The war in Ukraine is having a negative effect on the mental health of many of us as we watch in horror from the sidelines. For the Bellingcat team-members, who are delving even deeper into the human toll of the war, this impact is far greater.

    “The support of our clinical psychologists will be extremely valuable for them, helping to prevent serious mental health challenges from arising in the future.”

    Bellingcat senior investigator Nick Waters said: “Bellingcat has never been a single monolithic body, but rather a network of those passionate about holding perpetrators to account. Ultimately we have reached where we are because of the passionate and driven people who look at a story and work out how to get to the bottom of it.

    “Bellingcat knows that to keep producing the stories that we’re known for, we need to appropriately support those who investigate them, and as such we’re proud to work with TTI on this subject.”

    Eliot Ward Higgins, who previously wrote under the pseudonym Brown Moses, is a British citizen journalist and former blogger, known for using open sources and social media for investigations.

    https://www.tt-intl.org/news/2022/4/25/bellingcat-staff-to-benefit-from-ttis-expert-psychological-services

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