I’ve got a old-fashioned link-blog, Pluralistic, where I post a daily list of links with commentary and analysis. If you’d prefer to get it as a newsletter, you can subcribe to the Plura-list. Both are free from surveillance and advertising.
This week on my podcast, I read my latest Locus column, “Social Quitting, about the enshittification lifecycle of social media platforms.
But as Facebook and Twitter cemented their dominance, they steadily changed their services to capture more and more of the value that their users generated for them. At first, the companies shifted value from users to advertisers: engaging in more surveillance to enable finer-grained targeting and offering more intrusive forms of advertising that would fetch high prices from advertisers.
This enshittification was made possible by high switching costs. The vast communities who’d been brought in by network effects were so valuable that users couldn’t afford to quit, because that would mean giving up on important personal, professional, commercial, and romantic ties. And just to make sure that users didn’t sneak away, Facebook aggressively litigated against upstarts that made it possible to stay in touch with your friends without using its services. Twitter consistently whittled away at its API support, neutering it in ways that made it harder and harder to leave Twitter without giving up the value it gave you.
When my daughter Poesy was four, her nursery school let us know that they were shutting down a day before my wife’s office closed for the holidays, leaving us with a childcare problem. Since I worked for myself, I took the day off and brought her to my office, where we recorded a short podcast, singing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (a frankly amazing rendition!).
We’ve done it every year since, except for 2016 when I had mic problems. Now she’s 14, and we’ve just recorded our tenth installment, and as always, it was a highlight of my holiday season. This year, our Christmas carol is back, along with a brief interview about her interests and hobbies, and a summary of a seriously creepy short story she’s writing.
Here’s this year’s recording, and here are the years gone by:
When Amazon bought Twitch, the story was that the new conglomerate would be more efficient and that would benefit everyone – streamers and audiences. That’s the story we hear about every anticompetitive merger, and it’s always a lie.
This week on my podcast, I read “Sound Money,” my latest column for Medium, which explains why money creation is necessary for a prosperous economy, despite the scaremongering of “inflation hawks.”
This week on my podcast, I read “What is Chokepoint Capitalism?” a recent column for Medium explaining the thesis of my new book with Rebecca Giblin, which explains how creative labor markets got rigged, and how we can unrig them.
This week on my podcast, I read “So You’ve Decided to Unfollow Me,” a recent column for Medium describing the joys of writing to attract the audience of people who want to read what you want to write.
This week on my podcast, I read “View a SKU: Let’s Make Amazon Into a Dumb Pipe,” a recent column for Medium discussing how interoperability could flip Amazon’s monopoly power on its head and enable us all to coveniently shop locally.
This week on my podcast, I read “Why none of my books are available on Audible,”
a short audiobook I produced to be distributed through Amazon’s ACX platform, explaining how that platform’s sloppy rights verification and mandatory DRM screws over writers.
This week on my podcast, I read a recent Medium column, Reasonable Agreement: On the Crapification of Literary Contracts, about the growing trend of standard, non-negotiable contract terms in freelance writing contracts that are outrageous in their unfairness.
This week on my podcast, I read a recent blog post, Monopolists Want to Create Human Inkjet Printers, exploring the way that med-tech mergers are bringing the ghastly inkjet printer business-model to artificial pancreases.