As many of my readers will know, I am continually fiddling around with my online presence, to such a degree that I try my own patience. The one element that’s fixed is my newsletter, which (IMHO) has a clear identity and purpose. I always know when something I’ve come across will be a fit for … Continue reading adjustments

slight return

I’m back! — well, partially. Posting will be light for a while. But I certainly learned that for me works best as a place to post images and sounds (and to make note of books I’m reading).  


Heads up, friends: I’ll be taking a break from this blog in order to work on several projects — some essay-length, one (or maybe two) book-length — that my daily commentary here has been distracting me from. But while I’m away from here, I’ll be more active than usual at my page, because links … Continue reading hiatus

Home invasion:

For those of us who have been using Mastodon for a while (I started my own Mastodon server 4 years ago), this week has been overwhelming. I’ve been thinking of metaphors to try to understand why I’ve found it so upsetting. This is supposed to be what we wanted, right? Yet it feels like something else. Like when you’re sitting in a quiet carriage softly chatting with a couple of friends and then an entire platform of football fans get on at Jolimont Station after their team lost. They don’t usually catch trains and don’t know the protocol. They assume everyone on the train was at the game or at least follows football. They crowd the doors and complain about the seat configuration.

It’s not entirely the Twitter people’s fault. They’ve been taught to behave in certain ways. To chase likes and retweets/boosts. To promote themselves. To perform. All of that sort of thing is anathema to most of the people who were on Mastodon a week ago. It was part of the reason many moved to Mastodon in the first place. This means there’s been a jarring culture clash all week as a huge murmuration of tweeters descended onto Mastodon in ever increasing waves each day. To the Twitter people it feels like a confusing new world, whilst they mourn their old life on Twitter. They call themselves “refugees,” but to the Mastodon locals it feels like a busload of Kontiki tourists just arrived, blundering around yelling at each other and complaining that they don’t know how to order room service. We also mourn the world we’re losing. 

I’m a bit concerned about — I don’t use Mastodon — for just this reason. That’s why I wrote a few months ago, “On, you have absolutely no incentive to flex, shitpost, self-promote, or troll. You’re there to post interesting things and/or chat with people. Nothing else makes sense.” 

so let’s chill

Noah Smith: So, Elon Musk bought Twitter. Personally, I’m pretty sanguine about this development. It’s no secret that I think that Twitter is a uniquely dystopian feature of the modern media sphere — a bad equilibrium that traps the nation’s journalists, politicians, and intellectuals in close quarters with all the nastiest and most strident anonymous … Continue reading so let’s chill


I won’t be blogging here for the foreseeable future, for reasons I explain here.  I will continue, God willing, to produce my weekly newsletter, and I will post photos and links at my page.  Thanks to all for reading.  UPDATE: See more recent thoughts here. 

Om Malik:

Instagram’s transformation into QVC is now complete and absolute. Instagram is dead — or at least the Instagram I knew and loved is dead. It is no longer part of my photographic journey. 

It’s way past time for anyone who actually cares about photos, and sharing photos, to ditch Instagram. Om himself has a photo blog, which is also how I’m using My friend Sara Hendren just told me about, which looks promising. Glass isn’t, I think, quite right for me, but it’s lovely. Heck, there are even people still using Flickr, though my experience there was horrible. But anything is better than Instagram. 


Interesting convo at about what people use to take notes. Me?  Handwriting in notebooks (usually Leuchtturm)  Marginal commentary and sticky notes in books  Voice notes in .mp3 format (the plain text of audio)  Plain text notes on the computer  I want my notes to be future-proof and platform-agnostic. 


A few brief notes: You’re seeing more posts about movies these days because I have a couple of long-term projects in mind that concern cinematic art, especially things made in the middle third of the 20th century. I am having a lot of fun watching!   Related: Remember to explore this blog using the tags, … Continue reading scatterings

Senator Josh Hawley:

To start, large social media companies should be required to become interoperable with one another: Just as you can email someone who uses a different email provider than your own, you should be able to contact and engage with individuals across different social media platforms. In the same vein, large social media companies should be required to permit the use of alternate filtering and sorting algorithms — democratizing content moderation by allowing users to choose which content they wish to view or block, rather than relying on the black-box internal processes of an individual, hyper-concentrated company. 

Agreed, except that the first point is potentially in tension with the second. Perhaps should be forced to become interoperable with Twitter, but I should also be able to set my account so that I will never see anything that anyone on Twitter says to me — which is precisely the setting I would choose. 

heads up

I’ve been re-thinking my approach to blogging, and here’s my decision:  Blogging has been rather parasitic on my essay-writing, so for the rest of this year and all of 2022 I am putting this blog on hiatus. We’ll see if that will help me to write more essays. Right now I’m working on one about … Continue reading heads up

the fault

This is prompted largely by Robin Sloan’s comments on comments. A decade ago I was active on Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinboard, and wrote a couple of comment-inviting blogs on magazine websites. Now? No Twitter No Tumblr Pinboard bookmarks are set to private I blog on my own site, and have comments disabled I’m on … Continue reading the fault

next steps

Work on the Invitation & Repair project has basically come to a halt, and there are three major reasons for that. First of all, I really need to buckle down and get some work done on my project of editing Auden’s book The Shield of Achilles. I agreed to produce this edition a year or … Continue reading next steps

it’s time

I read stories like this almost every day: banned from Twitter for no good reason; banned from Facebook for no good reason; banned from Facebook supposedly by accident, but come on, we know what’s going on here. I don’t for an instant think Bret Weinstein’s Facebook account was flagged by an algorithm: someone there wanted … Continue reading it’s time

scale is the enemy

Jeffrey Zeldman: Along those same lines, can the IndieWeb, and products of IndieWeb thinking like, save us? Might they at least provide an alternative to the toxic aspects of our current social web, and restore the ownership of our data and content? And before you answer, RTFM. On an individual and small collective basis, … Continue reading scale is the enemy