Butterfly Attacks

Butterfly Attacks
Digitally Lit #265 – 10/24/2020

Welcome back to Digitally Literate and issue #265. Thanks for showing up this week. I appreciate you.

This week I worked on the following:

  • Innovation & Execution – When innovating, ideas without implementation mean nothing. Basically, talk is cheap. Back things up with action.
  • How to cultivate self-awareness – The struggle between internal self-awareness (how well you know yourself) and external self-awareness (how well you understand how others see you)…
  • Look for the Good Apples – A great primer on culture, the barrel…and being the good apple in the barrel while not getting spoiled.
  • Fail Hard – If you set your goals high…you’ll fail above everyone else’s success.
  • Computational Thinking – I’ll have a series of posts upcoming about computational thinking. Here’s the first one.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe if you would like this newsletter to show up in your inbox. Feel free to reach out and let me know what you think of this work at hello@digitallyliterate.net.


Hilarious Halloween Mashup Combining the Beastie Boys’ ‘Intergalactic’ With the ‘Ghostbusters’ Theme

In keeping with his Halloween tradition, music meme creator William Maranci has hilariously combined the Beastie Boys song “Intergalactic” with the perfectly fitting “Ghostbusters” theme song by Ray Parker Jr.

You should also check out this remix of Nine Inch Nails and the Ghostbusters theme song by Maranci.


It’s Google’s World. We Just Live in It.

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On Tuesday, the Justice Department sued it for anticompetitive practices, in the most significant antitrust action by the U.S. government against a technology company in decades. The government’s case focused on Google’s search and how it appeared to create a monopoly through exclusive business contracts and agreements that locked out rivals.

Google responded that this was a deeply flawed lawsuit that would only hurt consumers.

Karl Bode in TechDirt suggests that this is a weaponized farce from Bill Barr and the US Department of Justice before the election.

Ben Thompson is a bit more measured in the review, while explaining a bit more about Aggregation Theory, is endemic to digital markets. Read more at his original Aggregation Theory Article.

It will be interesting to see how this case progresses. For now…pay attention and educate yourself. You also need to read up on aggregation theory and store that info for later. You’ll need it on the quiz. 🙂

An Exam Surveillance Company Is Trying to Silence Critics With Lawsuits

Between August 23rd and 24th, Ian Linkletter, a learning technology specialist at the University of British Columbia, began researching and tweeting about Proctorio, an online test-proctoring tool that monitors students for suspicious behavior while they take virtual exams. Linkletter has become the target of a lawsuit, and says he has drained his savings while fighting back against the company’s attempts to silence him.

You might consider donating to the GoFundMe page set up by Linkletter to fight this lawsuit.

Read more here from Stephen Downes.

2020 Student Technology Report: Supporting the Whole Student

This report presents results from EDUCAUSE’s 2020 research on students’ experience with information technology, which included 16,162 undergraduate students from 71 US institutions.

Findings identify next steps institutions can take and opportunities for connecting with peers who are implementing innovative practices in the areas of student success, technology use and environmental preferences, data privacy, online harassment, and accessibility.

How to retweet using Twitter’s new temporary format

This is really interesting. In the remaining weeks before the 2020 US Elections, Twitter is limiting your ability to retweet content from others. More specifically, Twitter is urging you to give some context in your re-share…as opposed to blindly boosting the message of others.

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Butterfly Attack: The Origins of Fake Social Media Accounts

As I follow online information trends, it’s interesting to see the terms used to describe many of these practices. Here’s some new info for your lexicon.

Throughout 2017, pranksters and extremists utilized parody accounts to discredit the antifascist movement in the US, taking advantage of available and official-sounding Twitter handles and public confusion about antifascists to spread narratives about antifa violence and drive wedges between antifascists, Black Lives Matter activists, and liberals. These butterfly attacks used keyword squatting to capture attention during breaking news events, and tactically adjusted over the course of the year.


Don’t let the need for webcams trick you

Think more deeply about the requirements to have all students use their webcams during class.



This is a beautiful life we lead in spite of whatever things come against us or whatever team loses or wins.

Killer Mike

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Great piece about bottling memories and moments…when we cannot travel.

I also love this piece about tech, fashion, and innovation.

Connect at hello@digitallyliterate.net or on the social network of your choice.

1 comment

  1. Aaron Davis
    October 26, 2020 at 6:55 am

    Ian, moments like this when Twitter tries to fix things on the fly remind me of a comment Ian Guest once made:

    I share some of your concerns, but I don’t feel as … unsettled? A couple of hypotheticals I’ll throw into the pot to see what bubbles to the surface.

    What would happen (for you) if Twitter’s ‘fail whale’ reappeared tomorrow and suddenly Twitter was gone?
    What if you deactivated your original account and started afresh? Knowing what you know and bearing in mind what you wrote in this post, how would you do things differently, if at all? Is ‘making Twitter great again’ within your capacity?
    If Twitter is broken beyond repair and neither Mastodon nor micro.blog quite cut it, if you had the wherewithall, what would you design as a replacement? What would it need to have or be able to do?

    So often the aim is to make things as easy and simple as possible, but I find there is something about the friction of carving out responses from my own site. I feel that it certainly makes me more mindful of my digital actions. As Clay Shirky suggests:

    The thing I can least afford is to get things working so perfectly that I don’t notice what’s changing in the environment anymore.

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