I run a small, independent magazine. I worry Facebook will kill us off

By Nathan Robinson : theguardian – excerpt

For independent and non-profit outlets, small shifts in algorithms – as Mark Zuckerberg just introduced – can pose an existential threat

Facebook’s recent company announcement should scare anyone who values independent and non-profit media.

In response to mounting criticism over its role in spreading “fake news”, as well as research showing that social media has been making people less happy, Mark Zuckerberg has revealed that the company is overhauling its news feed algorithms to de-emphasize “passive content” from brands and publishers and promote “meaningful interaction” with friends and family instead. Facebook says it wants its users to feel positive after using its service, and will display content accordingly. So more pictures of adorable dogs, fewer links to news sites.

Everyone can support efforts to eliminate fake news and improve user experiences. But for media organizations, Facebook’s approach is troubling. Many outlets depend on traffic from sites like Facebook and Twitter, since social media has become the main gateway through which people access content on the internet. If news organizations are “blacklisted”, or buried at the bottom of news feeds, they could see a significant chunk of their audience evaporate overnight.

There is already evidence of what the changes might do. The rollout of algorithm tweaks in other countries has had serious impacts on certain organizations, with at least one subscription news service losing nearly one-third of its Facebook engagements after the tweak, and Cambodian NGOs complaining that the delivery of public service information was disrupted… (more)

How is that net neutrality working for you so far? Burger King did a great ad that explains how net neutrality works when applied to their business. If you need a good laugh, and who doesn’t, you should love this ad.

By theverge ( video included)

Burger King — a fast-food chain that sells cheap beef — apparently understands net neutrality more than the average member of Congress. The company released an ad today explaining the concept of net neutrality with a stunt that showed what it would be like to have paid prioritization in a burger joint. In the ad, actors playing Burger King employees taunt “actual guests” by making them wait for absurd amounts of time to receive their food — unless they pay huge tolls to get it quickly…(more)

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Former Google and Facebook executives are sounding the alarm about the pervasive power of tech. Will we listen?

By John Harris : theguardian – excerpt

Former Google and Facebook executives are sounding the alarm about the pervasive power of tech. Will we listen?

One source of angst came close to being 2017’s signature subject: how the internet and the tiny handful of companies that dominate it are affecting both individual minds and the present and future of the planet. The old idea of the online world as a burgeoning utopia looks to have peaked around the time of the Arab spring, and is in retreat.

If you want a sense of how much has changed, picture the president of the US tweeting his latest provocation in the small hours, and consider an array of words and phrases now freighted with meaning: Russia, bots, troll farms, online abuse, fake news, dark money.

Another sign of how much things have shifted is a volte-face by Silicon Valley’s most powerful man. Barely more than a year ago the Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, seemed still to be rejoicing in his company’s imperial phase, blithely dismissing the idea that fabricated news carried by his platform had affected the outcome of the 2016 US election as a “pretty crazy idea”. Now scarcely a week goes by without some Facebook pronouncement or other, either updating the wider world about its latest quest to put its operations beyond criticism or assuring us that its belief in an eternally upbeat, fuzzily liberal ethos is as fervent as ever…(more)

Now that the traditional media has been replaced by online content, online entrepreneurs are the news gatekeepers, and they could be more dangerous than the traditional media lords were as they have a broader reach. All media follows the same stories. There is very little difference between the channels

Younger minds more impressionable minds are being targeted in the race to spread influence, as very young children are given smart phones and are encouraged to “start learning” by playing games. How young is too young for impressionable minds? Are humans at risk for developing strange maladies from over-dosing on wireless technology?

As we write the new history of our creative society will our voices be heard or are we pushing our thoughts into a mirror in order to content ourselves that we tried to warn the world? Can our creative efforts make a difference?

Recent developments and stories like this on “mainstream” media sources like the guardian give us hope, as do stories by youthful journalists as they uncover the truth about how governments manipulate them. Here is the latest from the SF Bay View News. You may recognize a similar plan in your city that needs to be exposed. Transportation gentrification:  How Bus Rapid Transit is displacing East-Oakland/

Summer of Love lost on those living in Summer of Discontent

By Caille Millner : sfchronicle – excerpt

In our Summer of Discontent, what can we learn from the Summer of Love?

Since the Summer took place before I was born, I have no nostalgia, passions or bad memories about anything that happened in San Francisco in 1967.

I can tell that for some people it was a seminal event, judging by the extent of attention I’ve seen around the 50th anniversary. There have been at least 10 Bay Area museum exhibits celebrating some aspect of the Summer of Love this year. There have been endless free concerts, tours and tie-dyed public posters. There’s been even-more-extensive-than-usual glorification of the Grateful Dead.

I appreciate how all of this is an opportunity for a segment of Bay Area Baby Boomers to indulge in youthful memories of the good times. (Have fun, kids!)

But for those of us far too young to have been there, the Summer of Love has never felt as far away as it does in 2017.

On my way to the de Young Museum’s “Summer of Love Experience” exhibit, in Golden Gate Park, I traveled through the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. My misgivings began there.

San Francisco’s advanced state of economic inequality and neighborhood gentrification have led to strange street-level juxtapositions all over town. But the Haight is still a special place; these juxtapositions maintain a hard edge…

Continue reading “Summer of Love lost on those living in Summer of Discontent”

Artist and writer’s new book offers bizarre, healing literary journey

By Laura Wenus : missionlocal – excerpt (includes audio track)

In the bruising tumult of San Francisco’s housing crisis, Paul Madonna’s On to the Next Dream is the absurdist balm to soothe your sore and weary soul.

Madonna is an artist who for 12 years had a drawing and short essay series called All Over Coffee in the San Francisco Chronicle. You might more immediately recognize him by his detailed sepia-tone line paintings, which have been exhibited at museums around the Bay Area and will enjoy another solo exhibition at the Legion of Honor.

When he was evicted from his home and studio in the Mission District, Madonna decided to reflect on the experience in his Chronicle series. Ultimately, he ended the series but turned those reflections into a book. It’s a ride through his own coming to terms with the fact that he must now move on, as the title implies, to the next dream, and more broadly, a reflection on loss… (more)

Mahatma Gandhi

“When partition of the subcontinent was accepted—against his advice—he threw himself heart and soul into the task of healing the scars of the communal conflict, toured the riot-torn areas in Bengal and Bihar, admonished the bigots, consoled the victims, and tried to rehabilitate the refugees. In the atmosphere of that period, surcharged with suspicion and hatred, that was a difficult and heartbreaking task. Gandhi was blamed by partisans of both the communities. When persuasion failed, he went on a fast. He won at least two spectacular triumphs: in September 1947 his fasting stopped the rioting in Calcutta, and in January 1948 he shamed the city of Delhi into a communal truce.

mahatma1948
Rare news clipping of Mahatma Gandhi leading Hindu squatters out of the dargah of Hazrat Qutb ud Din Bakhtiyar-i Kaki in Mehrauli, Delhi, only some days before his assassination on 30th January 1948 – sent by Hugh Van Skyhawk

A few days later, on January 30, while he was on his way to his evening  prayer meeting in Delhi, his physical body was shot down by Nathuram Godse, a young Hindu fanatic. But by his act Nathuram Godse ironically increased Gandhi’s lasting influence on the course of history and the shaping of the Indian union.”

City Lights responds to the new action era in North Beach

By KPIX : CBSlocal – excerpt (video included)

TURNING THE PAGE: They are putting up resistance at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco’s North Beach, with a brand new section.

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — One of the Bay Area’s most beloved bookstores has a new section designed to help voters who are in despair over the presidency of Donald Trump. They are putting up resistance at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco’s North Beach, with a special section called “Pedagogies of Resistance.”… (more)
Send us news of your city’s actions to post on this site. We want to know what is going on in artists groups all over the country.

David Meltzer, SF Beat generation poet and musician, dies

David Meltzer, the prolific poet and musician who merged his two passions, creating work that goes back to the Beat generation and San Francisco Renaissance of the 1950s and ’60s, has died. He was 79.

Mr. Meltzer died peacefully Saturday at his home in Oakland after suffering a stroke, said his daughters. He was surrounded by loved ones.

Fellow Bay Area Beat poet Diane di Prima called Mr. Meltzer “one of the secret treasures on our planet. Great poet, musician, comic; mystic unsurpassed, performer with few peers.”

His friends Greg and Keiko Levasseur wrote on the poet’s website that “We have lost a great poet, scholar, musician, and jazz historian. He was a loving husband and father, and a great soul. He was a wonderful friend whose gentle spirit, sense of humor, and astonishing capacity for sake made him a joy to be with.”

Mr. Meltzer wrote more than 40 volumes of poetry, among them “Arrows: Selected Poetry 1957-1992,” “Name: Selected Poetry, 1973-1983” and “Beat Thing” (2004). His nonfiction work includes “Reading Jazz” (1993), “Writing Jazz” (1999), “When I Was a Poet” (2011) and “Two-Way Mirror: A Poetry Notebook,” a collection of anecdotes and quotations published by Oyez Press in 1977 and rereleased by City Lights Publishers in 2015… (more)