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Eleven Tweets

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Normally, I use my blog as a soap-box for spouting complex opinions. Twitter, with its 140 character limit, is very constrained: it's almost impossible to express long, nuanced opinions. But sometimes it's necessary to eat your own dog food. Here's a series of eleven tweets I posted last week, expressing a hypothesis about what's wrong with twitter today.

If your business model relies on ads for income, you require eyeballs. Easiest way to get them is to generate outrage/emotional kick. /1

Hence clickbait news sites. Hence internet rumours. Hence paranoia. Outrage draws eyeballs to ads, it's as simple as that. /2

The ad networks don't care about truth, honesty, accuracy in reporting, public discourse, or democracy. Just eyeballs and CPM. /3

Ad networks compete. They drive ad prices down b/c we only have 168 hours/person/week to look at them. This promotes escalation. /4

Trying to build a business on ad revenue is like building on quicksand. FB and Twitter are huge; have to keep growing or die. /5

So FB/Twitter are driven to escalate, become more addictive, push the dopamine reward button harder all the time, to keep selling ads. /6

Traditional TV/newspaper news didn't continually escalate emotional engagement b/c ad space was a rivalrous resource; barriers to entry /7

... were steep. New media know they can be killed and eaten in months by upstarts. So the competition to be the most addictive is fierce. /8

Solution? Global ban on ad-supported social media. Instead, micropayment architecture funded via ISP subscriptions. Unfortunately ... /9

That's not what we've got. It's the phone system (you pay your provider for access) but the web was free to push growth in early days. /10

And it may be too late to re-engineer the web so that it doesn't destroy democracy and promote politics of hate on a global scale. END /11

So here's my question for the blog discussion: what is to be done?

(Point of clarification on tweets 9-10: the phone system effectively runs on micro-billing, with costs for services passed on to the end-user eventually, either by being bundled up in a line rental fee or by being charged per unit consumed. But the internet was originally a corporate/academic system where commercial use was actually forbidden (I'm thinking back to NSFNet and ARPANet days). And as the web was built out from about 1993 onwards, everyone agreed to make the new internet free but for infrastructure fees (the line rental on your DSL modem), and that services provided over the internet should be funded on a per-service basis by subscription or advertising. So there's no universal micro-billing mechanism in place.)

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neilcar
252 days ago
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Charlotte, North Carolina
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Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Self-Driving Car Ethics

3 Comments and 15 Shares


New comic!

Today's News:

Hey geeks-- we've been doing some testing and software stuff this week and it's created a lot of issues with bad ads and RSS feed bugs. We are working to get everything ironed out, but if you see something buggy, please let me know. If something has changed for the worse on your end, it is not intentional!

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neilcar
412 days ago
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I can't wait for my self-driving Twentieth Century Motors car.
Charlotte, North Carolina
popular
412 days ago
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2 public comments
tante
411 days ago
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Self-driving car ethics
Oldenburg/Germany
jlvanderzwan
413 days ago
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Voor Maarten :P

Cold Medicine

7 Comments and 19 Shares
Seriously considering buying some illegal drugs to try to turn them back into cold medicine.
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neilcar
612 days ago
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The fight is real.
Charlotte, North Carolina
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5 public comments
JayM
612 days ago
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:)
Atlanta, GA
wffurr
612 days ago
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A Simple and Convenient Synthesis of Pseudoephedrine From N-Methylamphetamine: http://heterodoxy.cc/meowdocs/pseudo/pseudosynth.pdf
ManBehindThePlan
612 days ago
This was even brought up in the ExplainXKCD: http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1618
jimwise
612 days ago
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This.
CallMeWilliam
612 days ago
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The difference between the real stuff and the fake shit is stark. STARK.
mooglemoogle
612 days ago
That fake shit isn't even clinically proven to be better than a placebo for congestion. It really is literally useless.
sarabond
612 days ago
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So fucking accurate.
Norcross, Georgia

do u make this stuff up?

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do u make this stuff up?

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neilcar
826 days ago
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That's some serious investigative journalism there.
Charlotte, North Carolina
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can’t believe anything

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can’t believe anything

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neilcar
830 days ago
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The Onion: Fake news getting true replies.
Charlotte, North Carolina
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Wasted Time

2 Comments and 6 Shares
Since it sounds like your time spent typing can't possibly be less productive than your time spent not typing, have you tried typing SLOWER?
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neilcar
882 days ago
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Since it sounds like your time spent typing can't possibly be less productive than your time spent not typing, have you tried typing SLOWER?
Charlotte, North Carolina
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1 public comment
alt_text_bot
882 days ago
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Since it sounds like your time spent typing can't possibly be less productive than your time spent not typing, have you tried typing SLOWER?
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