Tag Archives: Kin Lane

Escape Your [Filter] Bubble 10/10

We’re mesmerized by our phones.  It’s  like having a little television set that we can pull out of our pockets, and check into the many dramas unfolding around us whenever we are otherwise unoccupied.

santeri-viinamaki-smartphone-dating-app
Shared by Santeri Viinamaki CC BY-SA 2.0

Every time we open an app, our content – the information that reaches our eyes – is being controlled by someone else, often with popularity and newness as a priority over diversity and quality (Hossein Darekhshan, Ideas podcast)

On TIDE podcast episode 72, Doug Belshaw and Dai Barnes discuss how the  digital divide has become a digital literacy divide.

Over and over again we hear that most people on social media don’t understand that they are “liking” and “sharing” inside a “walled-garden”, and they are paying corporations for the use of that space by handing over their privacy, and their attention, to specific ads and information directed at people in their bubble.

Brodie Fenton gives and excellent example of this, where a friend suggests that the posts CBC News puts on Facebook are more interesting than the ones they post on their website. This friend is completely unaware that it is the Facebook algorithm controlling her feed, not CBC posting specific content on her site.

It follows, then, that before we can escape our bubbles, we need to

a) realize how we are being targeted inside mobile apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

b) have a desire to leave the comfort and beautifully designed experience of existing within apps

Once we have chosen to diversify our feed, how do we do it?

Here are some suggestions I have encountered this week.  Please feel free to comment with more ideas.

  1. Fool the algorithm.  Diversify your feed by randomly liking and sharing (Hossein Derakshan)
  2. Insist on open algorithms.  Insist on the right to modify our own personal algorithms.
  3. Commit to reading and consuming more content through your browser (online newspapers, blogs, podcasts) to expose yourself to more diverse ideas.
  4. Purposely follow people on social media who are nothing like you.
  5. Read one or two entire articles daily and reflect on them, perhaps even sharing back in your own blog.
  6. Become digitally literate.
  7. Become domain literate.
  8. Ensure our children develop digital literacies.

Most importantly, model  the importance of diversity and truth on the open web.  Our democracy depends on it.

 

Featured image by Mazime Bhm on Unsplash

All of the posts in this series can be found here:

3/10 – How the “smart phone” and mobile apps have changed the way we interact online

4/10 – Historical perspective – the co-created open web to corporately owned platforms

5/10 – Algorithms: What’s controlling what you see and read?

6/10 – Information Literacy: What will your lesson plan look like now?

7/10 – Videos and Images – From Facts to Feelings

8/10 – Popularity over Importance: Celebrity culture in a time of wicked world problems

9/10 – The Attention Economy

 

This post is part of a 10 day posting challenge issued by Tina Zita. You can’t be a connected educator if you don’t contribute. Sometimes we need a nudge to remember that if nobody shares, nobody learns. Thanks Tina! 

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A caution about this post: I am a learner, not an expert.  

I have set out here to use my #10posts10days  (#10days10posts) challenge to explore this area that deeply interests me, in an open way that lets others see what I am learning.  If you know more than I do, please correct me if necessary, and share! If you have more questions, please post those in the comments too.  Let’s learn more together.

All of the posts in this series can be found here: You Live in a Bubble

You’ll Need a New Lesson Plan Tomorrow 6/10

I tried to avoid the Trump inauguration.

While driving to the post office, I turned on CBC Radio which happened to be livestreaming the speech and caught something about God favouring America over others before I could turn it off.

But that night, my husband remarked that there had not been many people attending the event in person.  I filed that thought away until yesterday, when my friend Jennifer posted this on her Facebook page.

jennifer-fry-facebook-trump-inauguration-crowds

I saw it before the comment was added, and thought, “Wow, Jim was right. There was such a small crowd!”

And then the rebuttal from Trump (a performance worth your time if only to see the genius of playing to the crowd).

Then came the famous press conference.  I actually began to wonder if someone had doctored the images.

But, thankfully, today multiple sources are reporting that the press conference, and Donald Trump’s speech to the CIA, were full of lies.  Yes, on his first day in office. LIES. About insignificant things.

What strikes me, though, is how difficult and time-consuming it can be to actually track down the truth.  Who is taking the time to do that?

I saw this posted earlier this morning, and I don’t know the source, but it’s an interesting read.

anna-rascouet-paz-spicer-lies

If that’s too much to read right now, here is a summary:

summary-from-the-resistance

Because the source isn’t being revealed, there is a comparison of this post to Trump posts in the Twitter conversation.

What happens when legitimate sources are afraid to be revealed?

In any case, this is for consideration and not promoted as factual, so as a provocation, I share it with you.

And then the interview with Kellyanne Conway and even another word for lies: Alternative facts!

kellyanne-conway-in-the-guardian

So what does this mean for Information Literacy instruction in our school system?

Will we still be telling children that government sites are sources of facts?  For me, this is a catalyst for educators to think deeply about how we prepare children, and their families, for this world where all the rules around who and what you can trust are changing.

Digital literacies, information and web literacies in particular, are more important now than ever, according to Kalev Leetaru

But what does an effective Digital Literacies program look like in our schools?

In addition to reinforcing the notion that information literacy rubrics like RADCABB,  and CRAPP, are insufficient, Rolin Moe takes a deeper look at why Information and Digital Literacies are not enough, and why how we teach them is insufficient.  I agree with Audrey Watters‘ assessment that this is a must-read, especially for those charged with designing Digital Literacies programs in our school system.

Do our student understand how the monetization of modern journalism promotes entertainment over factual coverage?

In addition to skills, what knowledge about the web is needed to acquire effective web literacy skills?

How are we addressing the importance of Domain Literacy in schools?

And along with teaching Digital Literacies, how are we approaching the teaching of critical thinking?

Digital literacies are not the only missing piece in the current age of propaganda, but as educators, we can make it a priority to ensure this is something we are doing well for our kids.

All of the posts in this series can be found here:

3/10 – How the “smart phone” and mobile apps have changed the way we interact online

4/10 – Historical perspective – the co-created open web to corporately owned platforms

5/10 – Algorithms: What’s controlling what you see and read?

7/10 – Videos and Images – From Facts to Feelings

8/10 – Popularity over Importance: Celebrity culture in a time of wicked world problems

9/10 – The Attention Economy

10/10 – Escape Your [Filter] Bubble

 

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This post is part of a 10 day posting challenge issued by Tina Zita. You can’t be a connected educator if you don’t contribute. Sometimes we need a nudge to remember that if nobody shares, nobody learns. Thanks Tina! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A caution about this post: I am a learner, not an expert.  

I have set out here to use my #10posts10days  (#10days10posts) challenge to explore this area that deeply interests me, in an open way that lets others see what I am learning.  If you know more than I do, please correct me if necessary, and share! If you have more questions, please post those in the comments too.  Let’s learn more together.

All of the posts in this series can be found here: You Live in a Bubble

Featured image by Jonathan Simcoe on Unsplash

Who’s Controlling Your World? 5/10

According to former Wikimedia Executive Director, Sue Gardner, we spend three hours each day inside our mobile apps, for every hour we spend on the open web (CBC Ideas, Jan 16, 2017).

While in many of those apps, what we are exposed to is largely controlled by algorithms.  Our feeds are “personalized”, based on our previous behaviour in the app.

A friend of mine recently shared that she “liked” something on Facebook that was posted by one of her daughter’s friends, and suddenly, her own feed was populated by all kinds of content targeted for gay women.  The daughter’s friend openly identifies on Facebook as a Lesbian.

My husband often complains to me that he misses pictures of his granddaughter that I see on Facebook, even though we both “friends” with her parents.

Just because you follow someone, doesn’t mean you will see everything they post. What you do see, is controlled by an algorithm that selects your content based on your past activity. A few months ago, Facebook fired its human editors in favour of more algorithm-determined content.

In the CBC Ideas podcast, Sue Gardner, describes what happens when she creates a fake Facebook identity as a Trump supporter – how a feed full of fake news targeting Hilary Clinton suddenly appeared (36:54 here).

facebook-by-bill-ferriter
Shared by Bill Ferriter CC By-NC 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/plugusin/15147354484/

The goal of an app is to keep you in there, so that you can be tracked, and fed a diet of personalized advertising.  The longer you are there, the more information the app has about your interests, and the algorithm can then feed you the very things that you like – enticing you to stay longer and create more advertising revenue.

Like Brodie Fenton says, “Aleppo doesn’t share well” (unless it is packaged as an image of a child that entices clicks).  On the apps, world news looks exactly like cat videos, pictures of our “friends”,  and advertising, and the platforms are set up to discourage further exploration, handing you the simple like/share buttons to touch on your phone before you move on.

What are the social consequences of seeing only what you like, and what you enjoy?

Human curators can make mistakes, if they don’t have good judgement. But human curators can also explain their choices and actions.

Algorithms are secret, can’t be held responsible, can change without notice, and filter based on discriminatory practices.

This is censorship on a grand scale.

Kin Lane, in the Tech Gypsies Podcast episode below, pulled out this quote:

“And Facebook is just one player in complex ecology of algorithmically-supplemented determinations with little external monitoring to see how decisions are made or what the effects might be.”

Kate Crawford and Meredith Whittaker

According to Hossein Derakhshan,  right now, algorithms are determining “who we date, what we eat, where we shop, what we see, what we buy” without oversight.

He argues that the algorithms should be both viewable and customizable by us.

What if, instead of popularity and newness, we valued diversity and quality?

How would that change the experience of so many people for hours every day?  How might that impact thinking and behaviour both inside and outside the corporately controlled digital environments we enter into so willingly?

Facebook is a “technology” company, and therefore is not subject to the same restrictions as a “media” company.

Is government involvement needed in digital environments to ensure democratic values are upheld online?

Featured image by ApolitikNow CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

All of the posts in this series can be found here:

3/10 – How the “smart phone” and mobile apps have changed the way we interact online

4/10 – Historical perspective – the co-created open web to corporately owned platforms

6/10 – Information Literacy: What will your lesson plan look like now?

7/10 – Videos and Images – From Facts to Feelings

8/10 – Popularity over Importance: Celebrity culture in a time of wicked world problems

9/10 – The Attention Economy

10/10 – Escape Your [Filter] Bubble

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This post is part of a 10 day posting challenge issued by Tina Zita. You can’t be a connected educator if you don’t contribute. Sometimes we need a nudge to remember that if nobody shares, nobody learns. Thanks Tina! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A caution about this post: I am a learner, not an expert.  

I have set out here to use my #10posts10days  (#10days10posts) challenge to explore this area that deeply interests me, in an open way that lets others see what I am learning.  If you know more than I do, please correct me if necessary, and share! If you have more questions, please post those in the comments too.  Let’s learn more together.

All of the posts in this series can be found here: You Live in a Bubble

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Your Smart Phone Changed Everything 3/10

This post is part of a 10 day posting challenge issued by Tina Zita. You can’t be a connected educator if you don’t contribute. Sometimes we need a nudge to remember that if nobody shares, nobody learns. Thanks Tina! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A caution as you read this: I am a learner, not an expert.  

I have set out here to use my #10posts10days challenge to explore this area that deeply interests me, in an open way that lets others see what I am learning.  If you know more than I do, please correct me if necessary, and share! If you have more questions, please post those in the comments too.  Let’s learn more together.

All of the posts in this series can be found here: You Live in a Bubble

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It’s been 10 years since Steve Jobs first announced the invention of the iPhone.  Prior to 2007, how did you access information online?

Over the past decade, we have gone from primarily desktop and laptop access, to using our phones for most of our online activity.

This has profoundly changed when, where and how we access the web.

iphone-by-gerry
Image shared by Gerry CC BY 2.0

As you look around and see friends, family, and co-workers busy on their phones, consider how much of that time is being spent INSIDE Apps?

Why is that important?

At one time, the web was a place that was democratizing voices – allowing people to write, publish, communicate – without all the barriers to publication that were there for print media.  But as we moved inside the “walled gardens”, and changed our access patterns so that we existed online inside apps that tracked us, and fed us only what we wanted, some of the best content stopped reaching us.

Hossein Derakhshan, on CBC Ideas (9:20)

“I would describe the change in one simple argument, that the internet used to be like books, but now it’s like television.  That entails that a few elements, a few core elements and features of the internet and web, pre- the emergence of social media have also changed, so decentralization, non-linearity, it’s much less diverse now, and it’s become quite popularity driven, in a way.  If you write something that not many people support somehow, then it’s very likely that it wouldn’t be visible to very many people, even the people who are following you, and that’s a very key difference here.  Now, when you follow someone, let’s say on Twitter or Facebook, you don’t even see all their posts. That’s a huge change. You only get to see the ones the algorithms decide you should see, based on your previous engagements, based on the topics, and based on the amount of engagement they have attracted, likes and reshares, retweets and all that.”

He goes on to say that Web 2.0 has “transformed into social networks”, something which is now dominating in essentially every country.  This is probably even more predominant in developing countries where up to 50% of the people can think that the internet IS Facebook.

Apps have created convenience for us.  By spending time inside these corporately-owned spaces, we trade our privacy for that convenience.  According to Kin Lane, people who really understand the web are using this information to sort us into “comfortable little groups” so they can sell things to us.

So what basic understanding do we need to see what is happening to us based on our digital habits? To begin with, we need to understand what domains are, and who is behind them.  Domain Literacy, defined here by Kin Lane, is an important digital literacy.  Without this understanding, we are left to behave in our bubbles just as the app owners direct us to.

From Kin Lane:

“Increasingly startups are building tools to separate, segment, and personalize the web for “you”, leaving out all the bits about where you exist only in their sales funnel. They have a single focus, to identify you, target you, and put you into a bucket where they can monitor, track, and sell you things, on the way to their business exit (cha-ching).”

Tomorrow, I will take a closer look at the history of how our behaviour online has changed so much over the past 10-20 years.  In the meantime, I recommend the references below if you want to pursue this idea further.

Featured image by Frank McKenna on Unsplash

All of the posts in this series can be found here:

4/10 – Historical perspective – the co-created open web to corporately owned platforms

5/10 – Algorithms: What’s controlling what you see and read?

6/10 – Information Literacy: What will your lesson plan look like now?

7/10 – Videos and Images – From Facts to Feelings

8/10 – Popularity over Importance: Celebrity culture in a time of wicked world problems

9/10 – The Attention Economy

10/10 – Escape Your [Filter] Bubble

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Resources

Hacking the Attention Economy by danah boyd

Why America is Self-Segregating by danah boyd

The Social Bubbles we Experienced During Election is the Future of the Web by Kin Lane

Screened Off – The Dangers of the Insular Web – CBC Ideas Podcast

Post-Truth Fact Check – Canadaland Podcast

Facebook Dismissive of Censorship and Abuse Concerns

Iran’s blogfather: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are killing the web – Hossein Derakhshan

Millions of Facebook users have no idea they’re using the internet

#ONEWORDONT #ONEWORD2017

Back in August, Carlo Fusco invited me to speak on his podcast about my education passions, and the things that were keeping me up at night.

(The podcast can be found here)

In the podcast, I quickly outline my concern about the gap between what I see happening in schools, and what we need to learn to thrive in 2017 and beyond in the digital economy.

However, it was later in 2016 that I listened to Audrey Watters and Kin Lane in the Tech Gypsies Podcast, when they talked about each and every one of us being responsible to learn the things we must learn to make sense of the world, and to make good decisions.

The entire podcast is worth your time, and I highly recommend listening to it regularly.  If you only have a few minutes, begin around 35:00 (36:45 if you are really short on time, and Caution: Language can be explicit at times)

We need a more digitally literate society.  There are so many examples of why this is true, and I will be exploring those further this week.

Fullan's 6 C's don't require technologyEven when we consider the thinking around 21st Century Learning, and the 6 C’s (or 4 C’s) that we so readily accept, we are missing the part where digital literacies are critical to making good decisions for ourselves and for our children.

 

 

 

Throughout 2016, I worked to craft careful messages to influence others about the importance of digital literacies.

In 2017, rather than a focus on trying to convince others that digital literacies are important, I am committed to providing an open structure where others can learn more about technology with me.

I am convinced that in this world where facts are difficult to find, each and every one of us needs to find our voice and lead learning that will ensure that our connections are creating positive change in our world.

My focus word for 2017 is

LEAD

[rhymes with seed, feed, need]

 

This spoken word piece, written and performed by Chinaka Hodge at TEDWomen 2016, pushes all of us to find the leader inside ourselves.