Links and Notes - March 27th 2021

We don't need more platforms

David from Basecamp writes about social media platforms

Ideas improve when they build slowly. This constant quest for virality might make good ideas burn 10x as bright, but also 10x as short. Everything just scrolls by, because everything is just mixed together.

Tools that let individuals publish, but do not seek to amplify them or force them viral, give us that natural, human scale.

Gosh! This a 100x times.

At the same time, I think of the economies that have been created by the new platforms and I wonder how we can allow them to thrive without the negative effects of the attention platforms. David suggests newsletters, podcasts, and small forums. Podcasts and newsletters have certainly seen a huge jump in popularity from recent times. But I also think of the mediums that have allowed them to thrive indirectly. People have built audiences for themselves using the discovery and amplification of platforms like Twitter.

A good example is Medium. It's a closed platform. Even people who are more than capable of hosting their own blogs will use Medium because it's great for finding a readership. What's the answer for that?

I've thought about this side of things a lot. I think there's use in having platforms, regardless of rules around centralisation. I also think it would be great for the interactions to focus on thoughtful relationships rather than quick consumption. For example, getting rid of likes and re-shares and thinking of just comments. But really, I don't know how this happens. An entire generation has grown up never knowing what it's like to consume things slowly (I'm partially that). It's deeply embedded behaviour now. How one changes the course of things now is anyone's guess.

If I had to pick anything, I'd probably start with small forums. Some time ago I bounced around an idea for a tool that allows one to build deeply personal communities that cannot grow beyond 20 active members. At that point it's time to consider a splinter group. The goal there being to create a group which is designed to interact and share 1 on 1. Deeply personal connections over discord style randomness. My hope was to create a community like that for people learning how to draw from scratch. Maybe it's time to pick up the idea again.

School resumes

It's official. With lower numbers of testing and lower numbers of positive cases (yes, that sentence was intended that way), the powers that be have decided that school can resume on March 29th. It's been such a trampoline of madness. First the beginning of March. Then April 19th. Now March 29th. And prior to all of this, lots and lots of speculations.

I'm nervous. Sri Lanka's policies on covid treatment currently requires anyone testing positive to be taken away from home to isolate and recover even if asymptomatic at time of test. I don't want to go through that. I'm glad we are vaccinated though. I hope the teachers are too. They don't deserve to be exposed needlessly.

But, if nothing goes particularly wrong, I'm also looking forward to my son experiencing actual sustained social contact with children his age for the first time in a year. He needs it. I hope it all works out.

This blog doesn't have a comment box. But I'd love to hear any thoughts y'all might have. Send them to [email protected]

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Posted on March 27 2021 by Adnan Issadeen