March 1, 2019

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My man is on tour for a few weeks, so I’ve been doing a lot of reading! So far, mostly romance novels and Adobe Illustrator tutorials…have you been learning anything new during our hibernation as winter drags on? Here’s a few things I read on the internet this week:

  1. When Kids Realize Their Whole Life Is Already Online, the Atlantic. This is really interesting and I think especially important to consider when talking about fully public types of posts (vs. private or “friends only”). Even within your friend circle, I could see how important it must be as a kid to have a say in your own image, to consent to what is out there about you. This quote I can kind of understand and I’m 27: “Ellen said that anytime someone has a phone out around her now, she’s nervous that her photo could be taken and posted somewhere. “Everyone’s always watching, and nothing is ever forgotten. It’s never gone,” she said.”
  2. Pinterest has a perfect response to harmful misinformation, the Verge. I’m linking to the first (and main) story in this column. It’s fascinating — Pinterest has responded to some medical misinformation being shared on its platform by creating a “data void,” where basically the search box won’t return any results for the keyword “vaccination.” I especially like how the author of this piece describes this move: “This is an approach that some call “freedom of speech versus freedom of reach.” You can say what you want, but Pinterest has no obligation to share it with the wider world.” Librarians often say that freedom of speech is a constitutional right, but not freedom from consequences (like people being mad at you, or someone not buying your book, or Pinterest not highlighting your posts). I think social media giants are struggling with the intersection of tech and social responsibility, but it’s encouraging to see a model like this as we all grow.
  3. Romance Author Cristiane Serruya Revealed to be Serial Plagiarist, Pajiba. The fine people at Pajiba (Kayleigh Donaldson again) are recapping internet drama for us again. I am somewhat new to the romance genre but I can tell you the fans and the authors know their stuff — I’m not sure I would have immediately caught a passage lifted from a book I’ve read, unless it was an absolute favorite. Anyway, according to the perpetrator, this is all because of a shady ghostwriter…I’m not totally convinced, but Donaldson also points out that Amazon’s sloppy management of scam authors on their site plays a role. Amazon at it again (“it” being poorly-vetted third party sellers and a crappy algorithm)!
  4. A History of the American Public Library, Citylab. This is a beautifully told visual history of public libraries in America. Libraries have a history with as much discrimination as the rest of our history. Still, I can get pretty sentimental about how good the best (kindest, thriftiest, fiercest) libraries can be for the world.
  5. Do We Write Differently on a Screen? The New Yorker. “Or should you step back? Time to leave your computer and phone in one room, perhaps, and go and work silently on paper in another. To turn off the Wi-Fi for eight hours. Just as you once learned not to drink everything in the hotel minibar, not to eat too much at free buffets, now you have to cut down on communication. You have learned how compulsive you are, how fragile your identity, how important it is to cultivate a little distance. And your only hope is that others have learned the same lesson. Otherwise, your profession, as least as you thought of it, is finished.”

Bonus features:

  • Preschool Pocket Treasures, Melissa Kaseman. This photography series reminds me of my best friend and her adventurous preschool boy.

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