Mastodon Social Media Instances of Interest

The Mastodon social networks have attracted a lot more attention recently. I posted on concepts behind Mastodon, ActivityPub, and this federated style of social media a few years ago. To help anyone that is thinking of trying out Mastodon, the rest of this post highlights some Mastodon communities (instances) that are worth your while to look into. There is also a very good quick start guide, which although written with humanities scholars in mind, is largely applicable to anyone. Finally, see this great page of Mastodon groups, academic discipline user lists, and communities/instances.

Continue reading “Mastodon Social Media Instances of Interest”

Companies Can’t Just Put Surveillance Tech into Libraries

There’s a good read about a few oligopolistic publishers that proposed unethical surveillance technologies for academic libraries. I thought that the original article, while addressing a lot and from a variety of people, was missing some perspective from librarians on the subject. I wrote some points about this third-party potential for breaching confidentiality in a library and an ethical approach from librarians on my other blog.

Switch to a Mastodon Social Network

The Mastodon social network system is the most promising advance I’ve seen recently toward establishing a better, more compelling social networking system.

I’ll explain why I think it’s worth leaving closed networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, etc. for Mastodon. I’d also like to say a little about how Mastodon works and mention something nice for the academic community. Perhaps you use something like or ResearchGate? Or just a general purpose social network? Then perhaps you should know about some other options. But first, what is Mastodon.

[Note: I’ve updated this several times since originally posting it, as things shift and more people use Mastodon. Most recent edit: 1 November 2022.] Continue reading “Switch to a Mastodon Social Network”

Wave’s Death Could be Preparation for a Rebirth

Google announced that it would not continue developing Google Wave. At first read I thought this was an awful decision–Google Wave is a truly incredible product, which although it takes some getting used to, has huge potential. I thought Wave was one of the most important developments on the Internet since the Web. I was arguing in a previous post that Wave would be massively disruptive, disintermediating social activity on the Web while doing a lot of other very interesting things. After a bit more reflection, I think there may be something more interesting in Google’s announcement, and I don’t think it’s as simple as killing Wave. Continue reading “Wave’s Death Could be Preparation for a Rebirth”

Start the Wave: Disintermediating Social

Ad hoc social networks: right now that’s what I’m calling the disruption Google Wave will wreak. I’m looking forward to it leaving the invite-only preview. It’ll be like kudzu sprouting everywhere, from its quiet persistance in the nooks and crannies of the Web, right on through to the most popular gathering spots.

Google Wave, or maybe more accurately, the open source Wave protocol could be the most important innovation to our interaction with the Internet since the development of the Web. Continue reading “Start the Wave: Disintermediating Social”

CASAA Birthing – New Decision and Knowledge Engines

I’ve been talking about computer-assisted shallow atom assembly (CASAA) in my posts thinking about how we acquire knowledge in life with the pervasive Internet. Yesterday I read about Microsoft’s new search engine, Bing, which they’re actually calling a “decision engine.” From what I’ve read they’re making a clear effort to push search in the CASAA direction. Look how Balmer describes it: Continue reading “CASAA Birthing – New Decision and Knowledge Engines”

The Nervous System’s Emerging Stream

In a recent post, Nova Spivack considers “the stream” as the Internet’s next evolutionary stage. I think he makes a lot of compelling points and I’m clearly partial to stream terminology (like it says above, I’m trying to mind the current). It builds on McLuhan’s notion of the nervous system, which is neat. Spivack’s conceptualization of recent Web innovations are something akin to a stream of consciousness, or more specifically streams of thought and conversation. But I end up wondering how fluid this stream really is. Continue reading “The Nervous System’s Emerging Stream”

Acquiring Knowledge: Computer-Assisted Shallow Atom Assembly (2)

In a previous post, I said that search engines essentially accomplished their jobs but created a big problem.

Search engines initially answered our question of “How or where can I find the information I want?” but in indexing the content of the Internet and providing access, they created a much more troubling problem. That question tends to overshadow another question, which is equally if not more important, “How do I assemble knowledge from the information I find?” That question will be solved by computer-assisted shallow atom assembly, which I think may be a new significant stage of Internet-related development. Continue reading “Acquiring Knowledge: Computer-Assisted Shallow Atom Assembly (2)”

Acquiring Knowledge: A Great Shallow Breadth Over Depth (1)

Has our approach to acquiring knowledge moved from the deep end of a continuum to the broad but shallow end? The Internet medium and associated technologies used to develop, contribute, and distribute knowledge with it, call out for knowledge acquisition through breadth. I think, in general, we’re using it to acquire knowledge via a great shallow breadth of sources over acquiring it via single deep sources. We’re developing an acceptance that acquiring knowledge via a great shallow breadth delivers an equivalent fulfillment of knowledge and in most cases, we may even be developing a preference for this method of knowledge acquisition. Continue reading “Acquiring Knowledge: A Great Shallow Breadth Over Depth (1)”