Tag Archives: social networking

Who are phone notifications for?

Phone notifications aren’t just reminders. They’re interruptions, especially if you have sound or vibration turned on. That gives them a lot of power, and means they should be used responsibly.

In short, phone notifications should serve your interests as the person using the phone. Not the app’s. Not the service’s. Yours.

If someone you know sends you a message, you probably want to know that. If you put an appointment on your calendar, that reminder is going to help you. A shipping update, or delivery notice? Probably helpful as well. Completion of some long-running process that you requested or are waiting for? OK. App and system updates? You do want the phone to keep working properly, so there’s a case there.

If your friend tags you on a photo, or replies to your comment, or sends you a message, then yeah, Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr or Mastodon can justifiably notify you. It’s the start or continuation of a conversation between you and that other person. (Though you should still be able to mute it if you don’t want to talk to that person.)

But when Facebook starts pushing friend suggestions, or “did you see so-and-so’s comment on this conversation that you’re not part of,” or choosing to promote some subset of people’s broadcasts? That’s not in my interests, and that’s not in the other person’s interests. That’s Facebook advertising itself, because they’re desperately afraid they’ve lost my eyeballs.

It’s no different than the Black Friday through Cyber Monday ads that Amazon pushed into my notifications over Thanksgiving weekend.

We can pare down notifications, but it takes time, and not every app offers fine enough controls over which notifications it sends. And of course you have to re-do it every time you get a new phone, and every time you add a new app.

Advertising in an alert is, IMO, an abuse of the feature. We’re bombarded by so many demands for our attention as it is. Phone notifications should stick to those that help us do what we want, not those that distract us from it.

Delicious Irony

While looking up importers that I could use to move various third-party archives into something self-hosted, I found an add-on to pull Facebook posts into Keyring Social Importers, an extensible WordPress plugin. At the top of the list of built-in services: Delicious.

“Hey, I used to have a ton of stuff on Del.icio.us! I don’t know what percent of the links still work, but I should at least export it!”

delicious.com is gone, but I remembered they moved back to del.icio.us at some point, so I went there, and found…

The delicious site is temporarily offline while we move servers. We'll be back!  Your bookmarks are safe and sound. The site should be available again on Monday, July 24.

Yeah, so I guess that’s not gonna happen. It turns out I exported my bookmarks in 2016 (into one big HTML file), which is probably as current as it needs to be.

The maintenance page mentioned Pinboard, so I looked up some articles. Apparently Pinboard bought Delicious in June 2017 and put it into read-only mode. I know I was able to look up bookmarks on Del.icio.us as recently as January, so it’s at least this July they’re talking about, but I’m guessing the server migration probably failed and it never came back.

The Fanfic Connection

In an interesting twist, I discovered that there’s a fanfic-related history in the past rivalry between Del.icio.us and Pinboard.

TL;DR: Delicious was once extensively used to categorize fic on LiveJournal, but an overhaul left it unsuitable. (Among other things, “/” became an unsearchable character, making it impossible to search for pairings.) There was a mass exodus of fanfic writers and readers, many of whom ended up at Pinboard…and Pinboard’s owner put in extra effort to address their needs.

How I Use(d) Google+

With yesterday’s news that Google+ is shutting down next August, I found myself looking again at my exported archive from the network. This time I was less interested in the format (which has changed since January – you can export as JSON instead of HTML if you choose, and it includes media now), and more interested in what I had posted there over the years.

Early on I used Google+ a lot like Twitter: short statuses and link sharing, most of them short enough they could have been cross-posts.

After that early period I still mostly posted short items, but not as short. More like Facebook, really. I checked a few and found some tailored cross-posts, where I’d cram something into 140 characters for Twitter, then restore the missing words and abbreviations for Google+.

I tried using it as a blog. I did a few longer text posts and some photos, and a handful of galleries: A partial solar eclipse, Endeavour’s stop on the way to the museum. I contributed to a shared photo gallery from SDCC, and I’d share the occasional post from someone I followed.

Somewhere in there I’d figured out what felt like Google+ instead of what felt like Twitter or Facebook.

But most of my friends went back to Facebook, and the few people and sites I was still following on Google+ were also available elsewhere. So I stopped visiting, and I stopped posting.

From around 2015 on, it’s mostly auto-posts from my blog and the occasional picture that Google Photos’ auto-stylize feature actually made look interesting.

Ironically, I got my first +1 in ages on yesterday’s here’s-where-you-can-find-me post!

Cross-Posting and the Fediverse

Over the last few months I’ve been cross-posting a lot less between Mastodon and Twitter.

When I first started on Mastodon last fall, I’d sometimes post to both networks. I’d reformat things slightly if I needed to fit a pair of 280-character tweets and a single 500-character toot. (I’ve long thought that if something takes more than two posts to say on a platform, that’s not the right platform for it.) I’d often linkblog to Twitter, Mastodon and Facebook all at once.

But as I’ve shifted more toward Mastodon being my main social network, and Twitter being where I go in a private window to see what people are saying about politics, retweet a few items, and then leave, I’ve been posting completely different things to each site. These days, cross-posts between the two are almost non-existent.

So What am I Still Cross-Posting?

  • Photos across Instagram, Pixelfed and Mastodon, depending on the type of photo.
  • Occasional photos or text posts to my blog, if I decide they’re significant enough to keep findable or if they fit with a recurring topic.

Plus I’m automatically pushing links to Twitter (and sometimes Tumblr) from:

  • Flickr albums.
  • Blog posts.
  • Instagram photos.
  • Randomly-chosen “flashbacks” from my blog a couple of times a week.

I realized: When I’m not using it actively, Twitter has basically become a dumping ground for me to link to what I do elsewhere on the net.

I don’t think that would fly in the Fediverse. At least not on Mastodon. Maybe if the auto-posts were all unlisted, or on a secondary account.

ActivityPub: Boosting Instead

As the Fediverse grows to encompass more types of networks, we’ll be able to boost instead of cross-posting. Right now I can post this article on a Plume instance and boost it to Mastodon, bringing it into the world of short status updates. In the very near future, I’ll be able to do the same with a photo on Pixelfed. (I sort of can now, but replies and follows don’t work yet.)

Both networks can interact directly with the original post. It’s not an isolated duplicate. And while it’ll display as a link on Mastodon, the network will funnel actions back to Plume. Someone who sees it on Mastodon can reply there, and the conversation will appear both on their Mastodon timeline and the comment thread on the originalpost. And I think that’s awesome.

Originally posted on Fediverse.Blog., and cross-posted the old-fashioned way. You can follow my main Mastodon account,@KelsonV@Wandering.Shop.

LOLSpam Returns as a Super-Simple Mastodon Bot

Back when I was comparing social media archives, I considered resurrecting my old LOLspam project as a Mastodon bot. I never quite got around to it, partly because I was able to do most of what I wanted to automate using IFTTT, so I stopped investigating that last 5%.

Last night, I threw together a quick and dirty bot to post a random item from a text file in about 20 minutes.

Then I spent three hours going through the Twitter archive for @LOL_Spam, pulling out jokes that are too dated or cringeworthy. (I hope I didn’t miss any. It was midnight by the time I finished, and I was really tired!)

This morning I modified the script to take a second file as a queue for new items.

  • I can add new items to the queue file as I find them.
  • It’ll post from the queue on a schedule (using cron).
  • When it uses up the queue, it returns to posting random posts from the archive.

If you’re interested in funny/odd spam subjects (and you’re OK with swearing and occasional lewdness), check out @LOLspam@BotsIn.Space. You can follow from any Mastodon or other Fediverse account.

The script itself is called fedbotrandom. I wrote it in Perl, using text files, so I could just put it in cron on any *nix box instead of worrying about language/database support or installing a runtime or DB engine. I’ve made it really simple on purpose, and while I do plan on writing some better error handling when I have time, It’s already more complex than I wanted it to be!

You can find me on Mastodon at @KelsonV@Wandering.shop.