Friday Reading S02E07

I usually post loads of stuff I’ve read this week which I think you might like to read too on a Friday. But I’m going away for a few days, so it’s WOAH NOT THE USUAL ROUTINE.

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The Web We Have to Save” – Hossein Derakhshan

“The rich, diverse, free web that I loved — and spent years in an Iranian jail for — is dying.
Why is nobody stopping it?”

It’s a strong sub-head for sure, and a passionately made argument in favour of the decentralised hyperlinked web, but there are parts of this article that I struggle to agree with. The assertion that “the stream” has taken over from the age of blogging when a lot of people experienced the blogs they followed via “the stream” of RSS. And the eternal cry that people aren’t reading as much as they used to, which I think is as statistically unproven as ever. And the fact that “everybody can blog on their own website” defies the 90:9:1 rule. Matt McAlister has thoughts too. And this very good observation about the piece on Metafilter is worth reading as well. But if you only read one thing off this list, “The Web We Have to Save” is it.

How to be an Awesome Journalist on the Internet” has 8 good tips, the most important of which is “Do good journalism”

This contains spoilers but also confirms my decision not to buy Batman: Arkham Knight was right.

No, we don’t want to try ‘offline dating’. The internet is fine. Now leave us the f*** alone

If after reading this you don’t understand why women don’t want to be chatted up by randos on the street then I hope you end up picking one of the nasty sweets mentioned at the end…

Reddit Is Not the Front Page of the Internet” – Samantha Allen

“Reddit became a web destination and a traffic powerhouse by virtue of the clicking, viewing, and typing habits of a relatively narrow subsection of Internet users. Seventy-four percent of Reddit users are men, the highest of any social networking website.

Reaching the 94 percent of online adults who don’t use Reddit makes sense as a business strategy, but the Reddit community doesn’t seem to be as invested in boosting its numbers as it does in maintaining an absolute freedom of expression.”

Read and then downvote.

“I just hope young girls now are able to play football and not have to experience what I did. The big thing for me is we have inspired so many people. I hope we’ve got respect now.”

Toni Duggan hopes England’s success in Canada will end the suffering of girls who have been bullied at school for playing a “man’s game”

The truest thing you will ever read about growing up in the 80s

Talking of which, yes, there’s an alternate universe where Gary Numan wasn’t involved in a plane accident and ended up fronting a 7-UP advertising campaign.

“The battle for the BBC” – Charlotte Higgins, Guardian

I have some mixed feels about this, as an ex-BBC employee and somebody who has also worked at newspapers who feel under pressure from the BBC’s digital operations. But I do fear for the future of the BBC under this government. Read.

Meanwhile “A day in court for non-payment of the TV licence: ‘What do they want us to do, kill ourselves?’” is also an essential read about the BBC from the Guardian.

What happens when you let anybody on the internet log in to your Facebook account.

On Pluto and planethood: or, how science isn’t very good at classification

“So, in short, what happened was we started out with no definition of a planet: it was something we just knew when we saw one. And now, we have a definition of a planet, and it’s pretty much just a manifestation of what feelings we have about planets.”

This appealed to the information architect in me. Read.

With the Tories promising new Trade Union legislation some thoughts on which thresholds really constitute a legitimate mandate to strike, form a government, or pass laws once elected.

Lloyd Shepherd explains much better than I would why, like him, I won’t be reading “Go Set A Watchman”. My analogy was all going to be about buying a box-set by a much loved band and discovering why all the exciting new ‘previously unreleased’ material hadn’t been released in the first place. He actually understands how books get made though, so listen to him instead.

Oh but I loved this paragraph in a New Yorker piece about how Harper Lee made Maycomb come alive:

“One realizes with a slight, shamed start that we would now condescend to this kind of effort as belonging merely to a Y.A., or young-adult, novel. It’s not that we don’t have books like it anymore; it’s that we segregate their shelving—both John Green and Judy Blume have kept alive the tender evocation of an adolescent world, but they have been relegated to a smaller, specialized niche.”