"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Trump and the Filter Bubble

The phrase "Filter Bubble" was coined by Eli Pariser, founder of MoveOn, the first effective left wing online organization, and a man who knows a bit about how the internet can influence political thought. Pariser was most concerned with the pernicious impacts of systemic personalization (e.g. weighted Google Search results or algorithmic timelines), but I believe what Clay is referring to is the result of Social Media becoming a primary news source.

He's right. The Trump phenomena will be studied and professionalized in the same way the political establishment digested Howard Dean's use of online outreach to build grassroots support and raise small-dollar donations. The benefits of the internet aren't without hazards. This is one of them.

More and more Americans get their news from Facebook and Twitter, a trend that is going to continue to increase. What Trump is exploiting has nothing to do with pernicious personalization algorithms, but rather the fundamental result of what happens when news is curated by social network rather than newspaper editors. Once you're getting your news via what is effectively word of mouth, a few things happen:

Read More

Tags: 

Daditude!

I'm a father! Something I've wanted for a long time, now a glorious, bewildering, exhausting, inspiring reality in the form of a beautiful baby girl.

Baby Jiya

Her name is Jiya — pronounced "Gee-ah", like Gia that trashy Angelina Jolie flick from the '90s — and she was born on February 18th here in San Francisco. She and her mom are healthy and happy as can be, and I'm doing my best learning on the job as a dad.

It's a trip, man. All the clichés are true, which is what makes them cliché. But it's objectively bizarre how such a massively life-shifting event can feel so normal and natural, even as it turns everything upside down. The sleep deprivation is no joke (and I have it relatively easy compared to Rina), but even that quickly just becomes your new reality. It's worth it just to see her smile. Oxytocin is a hell of a drug. Humans are endlessly malleable. And so on. Like I said, all the clichés are true.

Something I didn't expect: I've had a bunch of early life memories resurface. Not of myself at Jiya's age of course, but long-forgotten moments of my sister Brie as an infant, lullabys overheard, scenes of life with a baby up close and personal. Like, flashing back to being bizarrely afraid of that little stump of umbilical cord that hangs around for a while. These are all things I remember, obviously, but I also can't remember the last time I remembered them, if that make sense. Guessing there will be more of this down the line.

Read More

Reclusive Reflections

I haven't posted anything here for 10 months, the longest drought since I started publishing myself on the internet. A lot has happened — tales for another time, hopefully soon — but on my return trip from WordCamp US, a milieu rich in the blogger spirit, I felt the creative mind open up. So here we go.

The liminal space of travel is a good one for me. Somehow it prompts higher grade navel-gazing than usual, and I'm drawn to reflect for a moment on my regression as a writer, and on becoming a relative recluse from these social medias.

So, I don't blog. My "insta game" is weak. I pull up Facebook maybe once every other week and I post maybe once or twice a year. It's weird. This all used to be my jam, and as an industry it's absolutely still my job, but even though I read a lot, I've laid off publishing much of anything (anywhere) for most of the year.

I still tweet — jabbering about my industry and a bit about politics — but even that's been spotty, and a lot of it driven again by professional interest. My production as a scribbler on deeper, more personally-generated themes has fallen off, way off, which is to my detriment.

Writing is an excellent means of sharpening thoughts. It forces a triplicate processing of every idea: first occurring in the mind, then execution through the hands, and finally re-processing by the eye. That's different than just letting the brain wander.

Read More

Talkin' Class - Difficulties and Solidarity

It's difficult to talk (write) about class. Part of the difficulty comes because it's generally a verboten subject in the ostensibly classless utopia we inhabit here in Estados Unidos. We don't have a well-oiled vocabulary to deploy, or much history to draw on in framing the discussion. But let's be honest, most of the difficulty comes from the fact that any such discussion quickly becomes one that is self-implicating and/or divisive.

Here's me trying to get around that. I've given up on trying to write the One True Blog Post with my thoughts, so in the spirit of getting back in the groove of writing and posting I'm just going to start chipping away.

Read More