I Don’t Get This Internet Thing

Welcome back all. Here is Digitally Literate, issue #323.

I posted the following this week:

Make sure you take some time to tell someone that you love them.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe if you would like this newsletter to show up in your inbox. Reach out and say hello at hello@digitallyliterate.net.

What is Internet? Explained by Bill Gates on the David Letterman Show

Charlie Warzel indicates that technologists have been sharing this clip around the internet for a long time. In this post, Warzel asks whether we’re living through a replay of the ’90s, when most people just didn’t get “this internet thing”?

This is partially due to the influx of talk about blockchain, Web3, distributed technologies, and NFTs.

Facebook Has a Superuser-Supremacy Problem

Matthew Hindman, Nathaniel Lubin, and Trevor Davis pointing out that most public activity on Facebook comes from a tiny, hyperactive group of abusive users. The social network relies on them to decide what everyone sees.

Recommendation algorithms change over time, and Facebook is notoriously secretive about its inner workings. Our research captures an important but still-limited snapshot of the platform. But so long as user engagement remains the most important ingredient in how Facebook recommends content, it will continue to give its worst users the most influence. And if things are this bad in the United States, where Facebook’s moderation efforts are most active, they are likely much worse everywhere else.


How Telegram Became the Anti-Facebook

Telegram is a freeware, cross-platform, cloud-based instant messaging service.

What the article misses is that Telegram and Facebook serve two different purposes. Facebook has a focus on finding groups that might be interesting to you in order to keep you using the platform. Telegram has no comprehensive group search feature and is great for messaging people you already know, and joining groups that you already know about.

Telegram has been shown to be essential during the Ukraine invasion.

Please note, Telegram is not designed for privacy as it doesn’t use end-to-end encryption for messages, and may be no better than Whatsapp.

If you’re looking for privacy and security in your messaging, Signal is the way to go.


Facebook And Twitter Have Been Blocked In Russia

In previous issues of DL, we’ve discussed Russia’s build up of their own private internet. The Russian government blocked access to Facebook and Twitter in the country as part of the government’s broader attempt to control the narrative of the war by clamping down on what it considers fake news.

Russian citizens can still access most sites via Telegram or through personal VPNs, but many Russian independent news organizations have already pulled content about Ukraine or simply shut down due to tighter censorship policies from the Kremlin.


Schoolkids Are Falling Victim to Disinformation and Conspiracy Fantasies

Children are ripe targets for fake news. Age 14 is when kids often start believing in unproven conspiratorial ideas, according to a recent study. What’s the best way to fix that?

The post shares an overview of much of the theory and research in digital media literacy.

The challenge is an indication that some approaches to media literacy not only don’t work but might actually backfire by increasing students’ cynicism.


I’m a creator. You’re a creator. We’re all creators!

More than 50 million people worldwide now consider themselves creators, a term that encompasses everything from YouTubers to podcasters to writers to artists to people who sell courses online to people aspiring to be any of those things. When did everybody start calling themselves content creators?

Rebecca Jennings writes about the ubiquity of “creator,” a term that connotes art + innovation but so often means the opposite.

On a related topic, Jennings writes about the line between being a sex worker and an influencer online. This quote has been haunting me from that piece:

Social media forced everyone to learn how to offer themselves up for digital consumption.

How to retain what you learn

A tactical, science-based framework for learning retention from Sahil Bloom.

The retention framework involves five steps:

  1. Inspired Consumption – Is your learning forced (compelled) or inspired (something you want to do)? Inspired consumption is the foundation of retention.
  2. Unstructured Note-Taking – When you learn, you should take notes. The simple act of writing helps ideas stick. The first pass of notes is intended to be unstructured.
  3. Consolidation – Zoom out and review your unstructured notes. Consolidation is when knowledge begins to stick.
  4. Analogize – Search for a connection point—something to tie this newly-learned information to some existing information in your brain.
  5. Idea Exercise – Think of this new idea as a muscle. Use it or lose it. Exercise it early and often.

The structure is sequential, but its practice is often dynamic & iterative.

It is the certainty that they possess the truth that makes men cruel.

Anatole France

Found on Reddit – 15 years of beatboxing. 🙂

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