Thursday, April 21, 2016

In Celebtation of the Imperfect Internet

The internet is not perfect, the platforms are not perfect and we all know internet users are not perfect. Users expect the platforms to be perfect, the platforms expect the users to be perfect, but the imperfection of the internet makes the flaws of everyone involved absolutely ideal.

It is good and important that the internet is flawed. Perfect things don't evolve. You can't make perfect better. Improvement is the path to perfection.  We have seen the internet, apps, technology, processes and aspirations improve because they are not perfect. Better does not mean perfect. None of the platforms are perfect. They all have flaws that need to be fixed.

Users, arguably have even more room for growth than the platforms. Inexperience, misconceptions, bad habits and attitudes are rampant in civil society, government, institutions and even start-up internet companies. But this too is a good thing. It motivates and energizes users to demand something that more conforms to their own ideas of a better internet. Sometimes, when it doesn't exist, they make it themselves.

We want perfect. We want safe. We need dynamic and innovative. The only way to get what we need while getting closer to what we want is to accept the wonderfully imperfect way we have to get there.

Monday, April 4, 2016

25 Faces of Hate

We don't rate or judge web content  in any meaningful, objective way; not Blogs, YouTube channels, Facebook pages, Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter accounts. For the vast majority of people web content is good or bad and has x number of likes, shares or views. There have been no successful attempts to establish the parameters that define web content.

The sad result is that web content is viewed very narrowly as good or bad with  likes or dislikes. Equally the reaction is often polar and subjective. The internet isn't that simple.

Not as a solution, but as a place to start the thought process; here are five parameters to give context to web content. For the sake of argument and simplicity, lets assign each parameter a positive, neutral or negative value.

#1- intent - benevolent to malevolent
#2- depth - pictures, articles or combinations
#3- width - how many followers, readers, re-posts
#4- frequency - number of posts, quantity of content
#5- noise - original or  shared content

This means, given the five parameters with plus, neutral and minus values, there are approximately 243 potential  combinations of criteria. Clearly, the criteria are not scientific, there are far more variations that exist for each parameter and not all 243 represent what might be considered hateful content.  So, to be fair, let's say that 10 percent of the 243 criteria variation represent hateful content. That means there are about 25 variations of hate. Each one different in its components, dynamics and impact. Each variation has its own optimum tactics the public can use for addressing, blunting, de-fanging and healing from that specific variation of hate.

Of the 25 faces of hate, no two are the same and no two have the same answer, solution or response. If it were easy to fight hate, there wouldn't be so much of it.