The New Yorker‘s Colin Stokes has a funny essay pretending to berate a LinkedIn user for not maintaining enough of a productive presence on that social networking site. (How are you supposed to do that, again?)
Dear LinkedIn Member,
People are looking at your LinkedIn profile, and they’re laughing at what you, in a public forum, have decided to present as your professional identity. Last week, five people (who chose to remain anonymous) scrolled through your hobbies and skills and broke into fits of laughter at each one. When they looked at your employment history, noting the various part-time jobs and internships you thought it would be a good idea to include, they were almost in tears. I mean, come on—you like playing racquetball and you list “social media” as a skill? What does that even mean? You know what Twitter is and you own those weird-looking goggles? Somebody give this man a job! Seriously, we hope that you have actually found a job and are not, in fact, starving to death because you are incompetent.
Maybe that was a bit harsh. We’re just trying to get you to put some thought into your profile and maybe upgrade to … Oh, my God! Have you changed your profile picture in the past decade? It looks like you cropped yourself out of a photo you took with your high-school girlfriend at prom. Was prom the last time you wore a suit? I may have to sit down for a minute and catch my breath because, here at LinkedIn, we have never laughed quite so hard. Seriously, I just sent your profile to the C.E.O., and he forwarded it to the entire staff with the caption “Someone connect this guy to the twenty-first century!”
I probably shouldn’t have shared that anecdote with you, now that I think about it. But if that’s what it takes to get you to fix your profile, then I think the ends justify the means.
Interest in Ello, the ad-free social network posited as a rival to Facebook, seems to be collapsing, according to data from Google Trends.
A graph of searches in the past 30 days on “Ello” shows that after an early peak on 26 September, followed by a higher one on 30 September, the number of searches has now declined to a level almost as low as on 23 September, when the network was just starting to grow.
[. . .]
Ello opened to the public on 7 August with 90 users on an invite-only basis. By early October it could claim more than 1 million users and to be receiving up to 100,000 invite requests per day.
[. . .]
Interest in Ello, measured in terms of web searches, seems to have peaked at about one-tenth that of Twitter – a relatively high measure, but miniscule compared to Facebook, which garners 95% of searches relating to the three companies over the period, while Twitter gets between 4% and the remaining 5%.
I did hear quite a lot about Ello. How could I not? Half my friends on Facebook are queer and/or arty people, just the sorts of demographics that inclined strongly towards Facebook. There was a lot of talk of adoption, and a lot of interest in the idea. Citylab’s Kriston Capps enthused about the modular vision of Ello, as described by its founder Paul Budnitz.
“Look at the iPhone. You get the iPhone, it’s this awesome simple thing. It has most of what you need on it,” Budnitz says. But no one leaves it at that. “Almost everyone chooses something that they like—a special map app, a weather app. But the basic iPhone is great!”
Ello is designed to be a microcosm of the iPhone: Users will eventually be able to choose from an “enormous” feature list (if they want). Some of those features will effect the look and feel of Ello, while others will enhance its functionality. For example: Artists, journalists, musicians, and other public professionals may want to have two accounts with one sign-in: one personal, one professional. Pay a buck or two, and you can have that function. Or toggle between two accounts.
Critics aren’t convinced this model can work. Appropriately enough, one of the first reports about Ello’s first round of venture funding (if not the first report) came from Ello user @waxpancake. “Unless they have a very unique relationship with their investors, Ello will inevitably be pushed towards profitability and an exit, even if it compromises their current values,” he observes. (In a followup, @waxpancake clarifies that he hopes Ello succeeds.)
Budnitz pushes back against this criticism. Facebook is a giant company, Budnitz says, because Facebook requires an enormous staff of data analysts, advertisers, and marketers. With a handful of staff, Ello already counts millions of users, and it works—albeit not perfectly in its beta stage.
“We’re going to prove that the Internet doesn’t have to be one giant billboard,” Budnitz says. “This company’s Vermont-based. It’s the only state of the union that doesn’t allow billboards.”
Over at Towleroad, Charles Pulliam-Moore looked at the queer leanings of Ello, occupying a particular niche.
Ello doesn’t seem to have a means of determining a user’s sexual orientation, but Budnitz has said that his team has seen a particular spike in new LGBT users. According to Budnitz, Ello’s LGBT userbase is playing a “particularly helpful [role] in shaping their development going forward,” which could mean a number of different things.
[. . .]
As timely as comparisons to Facebook may be, Ello would have a much better shot at becoming the social for edgy, artistic gays by borrowing from Tumblr. Though Tumblr has made a name for itself for being a lightweight, customizable blogging tool for the masses, the service owes a large part of its success to its highly active community of pornography curators.
Tumblr hosts a wide variety of mature content ranging from hardcore, animated gifsets to erotic prose and poetry. Diving into Tumblr’s depths proves not only that Rule 34 is very real, but also that vibrant, engaged non-sexually explicit communities can exist on the same platform as the raunchiest of skin flicks. Straddling that gap could be the key to Ello’s future success.
Boingboing Glen Fleishman suggested, though, that Ello wasn’t ready for prime time. The New Yorker‘s Vauhini Vara also made that point at the end of a sympathetic profile of the company and its ethos.
Did Ello launch too early? Is Facebook too all-encompassing? (I know of no one who left Facebook for Ello.) Or might Ello yet grow to occupy a stable niche?
blogTO recommends things to do in Bloorale and the Junction Triangle.
The Cranky Sociologists look at the portrayal of gender in The Wire.
The Dragon’s Gaze examines the phenomenon of the tidal disruption of extremely eccentric asteroids in orbit of white dwarfs.
A Fistful of Euros recommends Orlando Figes’ Just Send Me Word, a history of a couple whose romance survived the gulag.
Geocurrents contests the idea of an “arc of instability”.
Joe. My. God. reports on a Berlin Grindr-based art project that got shut down early for streaming private messages and images.
Language Log shares video of Jiamg Zemin demonstrating his multilingualism in criticizing a Hong Kong journalist.
Languages of the World’s Asya Perelstvaig is critical of the idea that some words are “ultra-conserved”, preserving records of ancient languages.
Marginal Revolution notes a study suggesting that the French economy is less productive than its age structure indicates.
The Russian Demographics Blog suggests that the Russian campaign in Ukraine has worked, at least in making European integration more difficult.
Spacing Toronto notes one complication for construction companies: Toronto’s bedrock swells.
Torontoist covers the Torontonian relief given to survivors of the great 1922 Teminskaming fire in 1922.
Towleroad shares video on the occasion of Denmark’s first recognized same-sex union.
The Volokh Conspiracy shares information on how Ebola is transmitted.
Window on Eurasia notes Crimean Tatar disappearances, notes continuing divisions in Ukraine on attitudes towards Russia, and observes that many Chinese immigrants to Kazakhstan are not ethnically Chinese.
The Financial Times‘s The World notes that many in Norway are still divided about their country’s rejection of the 2022 Winter Olympics.
A CBC feature describes FireChat, a Bluetooth-based phone app that lets users chat without resorting to cell networks or the Internet, coming to note globally with the Hong Kong protests.
FireChat, an app that lets users chat without a cellular or internet connection, has been downloaded more than 100,000 times in Hong Kong amid mass pro-democracy protests. Here’s what you need to know about it.
What is FireChat?
FireChat is an iOS and Android app that lets smartphone and tablet users chat even without a cellular or internet connection. That’s why it bills itself as “off-the-grid.”
However, it can also be used to chat over the internet, via its “everyone” mode.
The app was developed by a San Francisco-based company called Open Garden.
How does it work without an internet connection?
In “nearby” mode, the app uses Bluetooth to connect to nearby phones that also have the app installed. If lots of people have the app, they form a “distributed” or “decentralized” network. A message can be passed from phone to phone in a daisy-chain-like fashion, connecting users who are farther away from one another. The company describes it as “crowdsourcing the connectivity of those around you.”
Bad Astronomy examines asteroid 2014 OL339, a quasi-moon on Earth.
blogTO notes an ongoing satirical campaign targeting the mayoral campaign of Doug Ford.
Centauri Dreams notes the mysterious orbit in Titan’s Ligeia Mare.
The Dragon’s Gaze notes 3:1 and 2:1 orbital resonances of multi-planet systems discovered by Kepler.
The Dragon’s Tales notes the continuing Ukrainian war.
Joe. My. God. notes that New York City is promoting PrEP on Grindr.
Languages of the World’s Asya Perelstvaig examines the word “cucumber” used in European languages.
Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that ocean acidification produced by greenhouse gas emissions will end oysters in their natural habitat.
Marginal Revolution wonders if Catalonia’s referendum on independence will take place.
Registan doesn’t like how Russian experts see the spectre of the Islamic State throughout central Asia and miss real issues there.
Spacing Toronto notes the import of indigenous soundscapes.
Window on Eurasia notes who Russian sympathizers are abroad, notes that Muscovites live on average six years longer than people elsewhere in Russia, and observes Russian interest in Russophone minorities in the Baltic States.
The Yorkshire Ranter shares a variety of charts, including some showing the Eurozone’s lagging recovery from the 2008-2009 recession and the concentration of English identity in rural areas and in the east.
Sisi Wei’s ProPublica article from last month noting how Livejournal has blocked access to Alexei Navalny‘s Livejournal blog inside Russia makes unsurprising use. It does represent many fears, legitimate or otherwise, of Livejournal users of undue Russian influence on the site.
The company, LiveJournal, shows an error message to users inside Russia who try to read a blog maintained by prominent activist and politician Alexei Navalny, a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Navalny uses the service to post about Putin, the Russian government and politics. Users in other countries can read Navalny’s blog without seeing the error message.
[. . .]
An early social media pioneer, LiveJournal was once popular in the United States but is now dwarfed by sites like Tumblr and WordPress. The site does retain a smaller, dedicated following among Americans users, including George R.R. Martin, author of A Game of Thrones, who regularly posts on his LiveJournal blog. In Russia, LiveJournal is the most popular blogging platform – so popular, in fact, that the Russian name for LiveJournal has become synonymous with “blogging.”
LiveJournal has a history of being blocked by Russian authorities, and may be self-censoring to minimize the parts of their site that are unavailable inside Russia. The entire service was blocked in parts of Russia at least twice as a result of regional court decisions meant to block individual users. On March 13 of this year, Navalny’s blog, along with three Russian news sites, were officially ordered to be blocked by Russia’s telecom agency at the request of Russia’s Prosecutor General.
When it was blocked by the government, users inside some Russian cities trying to visit the banned LiveJournal site would have seen an error message from their Internet provider, saying that the page was not accessible.
But in the current case, the error message appears to come from LiveJournal itself, at a LiveJournal URL and on a page that includes the company’s logo and design. The error reads, “The page is blocked due to the decision of authorities in your area.” The error message is in English, though Navalny’s blog is in Russian. Attempts to reach Navalny’s blog from a U.S. Internet connection were successful.