Another day, another tweak. Ignify is an ad-free alternative to Instagram++. Here’s how you can download and install it on your iPhone or iPad. How Ignify works Although Instagram is not as restrictive as Snapchat, it comes with its fair share of…
Another day, another tweak. Ignify is an ad-free alternative to Instagram++. Here’s how you can download and install it on your iPhone or iPad. How Ignify works Although Instagram is not as restrictive as Snapchat, it comes with its fair share of restrictions and challenges. Sure there are plenty of tweaks that you can use to bypass these limitations. However, most of them have advertisements or reserve better features for premium subscribers. That is where this new tweak comes in. Ignify is an ad-free alternative to Instagram++ and Rocket for Instagram. It is developed by Justin Carlson, who is a newcomer
While today’s college graduates are “digital natives,” these natives have been conditioned on Netflix-like interfaces, and aren’t accustomed to laborious software configurations, or the steep learning curves required to master a software platform.
Kids these days take a greater interest in practical things than we give them credit for. For example, this summer my 12-year-old son Leo was at sleepaway camp in Canada. When we received his first letter home, among camp platitudes, the two notable items reported were that one of his counselors was discharged from the Israeli Army a week before camp, while another was recently “mugged by three guys (one had a gun!) and got stabbed in the arm.” Leo reported the cabin was mesmerized when, as a reward, the counselor showed campers his sweater with a knife hole in it.
America’s colleges and universities could learn a thing or two from Leo, because they continue to resist teaching students the practical things they’ll need to know as soon as they graduate; for instance, to get jobs that will allow them to make student loan payments. Digital skills head this list, specifically experience with the high-powered software they’ll be required to use every day in entry-level positions.
But talk to a college president or provost about the importance of Marketo, HubSpot, Pardot, Tableau, Adobe and Autodesk for their graduates, and they’re at a loss for how to integrate last-mile training into their degree programs in order prepare students to work on these essential software platforms.
Enter a new company, Pathstream, which just announced a partnership with tech leader Unity and previously partnered with Facebook. Pathstream supports the delivery of career-critical software skill training in VR/AR and digital marketing at colleges and universities.
According to Pathstream co-founder Eleanor Cooper, the company was created from piecing together two insights. First, graduates aren’t getting the digital skills they need to be hired. Employers are so frustrated that they no longer believe that new grads are qualified for digital jobs; according to a recent survey of more than 95,000 job postings by TalentWorks, 61 percent of positions that say they’re seeking entry-level employees now specify at least three years or more of relevant work experience. Second, tech companies are struggling to reach new generations of learners.
While today’s college graduates are “digital natives,” these natives have been conditioned on Netflix-like interfaces, and aren’t accustomed to laborious software configurations, or the steep learning curves required to master a software platform.
As a result, Cooper says Pathstream makes learning a new software platform live up to student expectations of receiving “joy before pain,” thereby gently nudging college students down the road to mastery. In addition, rather than traditional classroom-based learning, Pathstream’s platform simulates a work environment, where students complete tasks and projects on the platform, build a portfolio of work and earn a certification from both a higher education institution and the software company.
Facebook is using Pathstream to support training students on its digital marketing platform, including social media marketing using Facebook Ad Manager and Instagram . Parisa Zagat, Policy Programs Manager at Facebook, related the partnership with Pathstream to its pledge in June to train 1 million U.S. small business owners on the digital skills they need to compete in today’s workplace.
Unity is focusing its training on VR/AR courses for industry use cases (construction, manufacturing, automotive, enterprise training). Jessica Lindl, Global Head of Education at Unity, said “in order to gain employment in today’s digitally focused world, job-seekers are required to rapidly up-level their skills.”
Image: Getty Images/smartboy10/DigitalVision
“The problem is there’s a significant education gap between those who seek to learn these skills and the programs available to them. With Pathstream, we will be able to provide interactive programs for students of all backgrounds to learn real-world software platforms in their own way, making it easier and more efficient for them to find success in their current career path or a new one.”
While it completes training programs for Facebook and Unity, Pathstream is building out a network of colleges that will offer the curriculum to students. Recently, Facebook announced that Pathstream will be offering digital marketing certificates at Central New Mexico Community College and Des Moines Area Community College. According to Zagat, “By the end of the year, Facebook plans to form a total of 20 partnerships with community colleges across the country, working hand-in-hand with Pathstream and the colleges to build out custom curriculums and programs for these partnerships.”
Cooper says that “colleges and universities understand that their students are focused on employment, and specifically on getting a good first job. Today’s students no longer buy the line that college prepares you for your fifth job, not your first job. They know that if you don’t get a good first job, you’re probably not going to get a good fifth job.” And, as she points out, most good first jobs specifically require one or more technologies like Facebook or Unity — technologies that colleges and universities aren’t teaching.
If Pathstream is able to realize its vision of integrating industry-relevant software training into degree programs in a big way, colleges and universities have a shot at maintaining their stranglehold as the sole pathway to successful careers. If Pathstream’s impact is more limited, watch for millions of students to sidestep traditional colleges, and enroll in emerging faster and cheaper alternative pathways to good first jobs — alternative pathways that will almost certainly integrate the kind of last-mile training being pioneered by Pathstream.
Instagram lets you ask for a friend’s opinion privately by sending them an interactive poll sicker in a direct message. You can even poll everyone in a big group conversation at once, ere’s how to use polls in Direct.
In recent days, hundreds of users have reportedly seen their Instagram accounts hacked. The breaches might have started in Russia.
If you’re having problems accessing your Instagram account, you’re not alone. In recent days, hundreds of users have reportedly seen their accounts hacked. The breaches might have started in Russia, according to Mashable.... Read the rest of this post here
As tech’s social giants wrestle with antisocial demons that appear to be both an emergent property of their platform power, and a consequence of specific leadership and values failures (evident as they publicly fail to enforce even the standards they claim to have), there are still people dreaming of a better way. Of social networking beyond outrage-fuelled […]
As tech’s social giants wrestle with antisocial demons that appear to be both an emergent property of their platform power, and a consequence of specific leadership and values failures (evident as they publicly fail to enforce even the standards they claim to have), there are still people dreaming of a better way. Of social networking beyond outrage-fuelled adtech giants like Facebook and Twitter.
There have been many such attempts to build a ‘better’ social network of course. Most have ended in the deadpool. A few are still around with varying degrees of success/usage (Snapchat, Ello and Mastodon are three that spring to mine). None has usurped Zuckerberg’s throne of course.
This is principally because Facebook acquired Instagram and WhatsApp. It has also bought and closed down smaller potential future rivals (tbh). So by hogging network power, and the resources that flow from that, Facebook the company continues to dominate the social space. But that doesn’t stop people imagining something better — a platform that could win friends and influence the mainstream by being better ethically and in terms of functionality.
And so meet the latest dreamer with a double-sided social mission: Openbook.
The idea (currently it’s just that; a small self-funded team; a manifesto; a prototype; a nearly spent Kickstarter campaign; and, well, a lot of hopeful ambition) is to build an open source platform that rethinks social networking to make it friendly and customizable, rather than sticky and creepy.
Their vision to protect privacy as a for-profit platform involves a business model that’s based on honest fees — and an on-platform digital currency — rather than ever watchful ads and trackers.
There’s nothing exactly new in any of their core ideas. But in the face of massive and flagrant data misuse by platform giants these are ideas that seem to sound increasingly like sense. So the element of timing is perhaps the most notable thing here — with Facebook facing greater scrutiny than ever before, and even taking some hits to user growth and to its perceived valuation as a result of ongoing failures of leadership and a management philosophy that’s been attacked by at least one of its outgoing senior execs as manipulative and ethically out of touch.
The Openbook vision of a better way belongs to Joel Hernández who has been dreaming for a couple of years, brainstorming ideas on the side of other projects, and gathering similarly minded people around him to collectively come up with an alternative social network manifesto — whose primary pledge is a commitment to be honest.
“And then the data scandals started happening and every time they would, they would give me hope. Hope that existing social networks were not a given and immutable thing, that they could be changed, improved, replaced,” he tells TechCrunch.
Rather ironically Hernández says it was overhearing the lunchtime conversation of a group of people sitting near him — complaining about a laundry list of social networking ills; “creepy ads, being spammed with messages and notifications all the time, constantly seeing the same kind of content in their newsfeed” — that gave him the final push to pick up the paper manifesto and have a go at actually building (or, well, trying to fund building… ) an alternative platform.
At the time of writing Openbook’s Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign has a handful of days to go and is only around a third of the way to reaching its (modest) target of $115k, with just over 1,000 backers chipping in. So the funding challenge is looking tough.
The team behind Openbook includes crypto(graphy) royalty, Phil Zimmermann — aka the father of PGP — who is on board as an advisor initially but billed as its “chief cryptographer”, as that’s what he’d be building for the platform if/when the time came.
Hernández worked with Zimmermann at the Dutch telecom KPN building security and privacy tools for internal usage — so called him up and invited him for a coffee to get his thoughts on the idea.
“As soon as I opened the website with the name Openbook, his face lit up like I had never seen before,” says Hernández. “You see, he wanted to use Facebook. He lives far away from his family and facebook was the way to stay in the loop with his family. But using it would also mean giving away his privacy and therefore accepting defeat on his life-long fight for it, so he never did. He was thrilled at the possibility of an actual alternative.”
On the Kickstarter page there’s a video of Zimmermann explaining the ills of the current landscape of for-profit social platforms, as he views it. “If you go back a century, Coca Cola had cocaine in it and we were giving it to children,” he says here. “It’s crazy what we were doing a century ago. I think there will come a time, some years in the future, when we’re going to look back on social networks today, and what we were doing to ourselves, the harm we were doing to ourselves with social networks.”
“We need an alternative to the social network work revenue model that we have today,” he adds. “The problem with having these deep machine learning neural nets that are monitoring our behaviour and pulling us into deeper and deeper engagement is they already seem to know that nothing drives engagement as much as outrage.
“And this outrage deepens the political divides in our culture, it creates attack vectors against democratic institutions, it undermines our elections, it makes people angry at each other and provides opportunities to divide us. And that’s in addition to the destruction of our privacy by revenue models that are all about exploiting our personal information. So we need some alternative to this.”
Hernández actually pinged TechCrunch’s tips line back in April — soon after the Cambridge Analytica Facebook scandal went global — saying “we’re building the first ever privacy and security first, open-source, social network”.
We’ve heard plenty of similar pitches before, of course. Yet Facebook has continued to harvest global eyeballs by the billions. And even now, after a string of massive data and ethics scandals, it’s all but impossible to imagine users leaving the site en masse. Such is the powerful lock-in of The Social Network effect.
Regulation could present a greater threat to Facebook, though others argue more rules will simply cement its current dominance.
Openbook’s challenger idea is to apply product innovation to try to unstick Zuckerberg. Aka “building functionality that could stand for itself”, as Hernández puts it.
“We openly recognise that privacy will never be enough to get any significant user share from existing social networks,” he says. “That’s why we want to create a more customisable, fun and overall social experience. We won’t follow the footsteps of existing social networks.”
Data portability is an important ingredient to even being able to dream this dream — getting people to switch from a dominant network is hard enough without having to ask them to leave all their stuff behind as well as their friends. Which means that “making the transition process as smooth as possible” is another project focus.
Hernández says they’re building data importers that can parse the archive users are able to request from their existing social networks — to “tell you what’s in there and allow you to select what you want to import into Openbook”.
These sorts of efforts are aided by updated regulations in Europe — which bolster portability requirements on controllers of personal data. “I wouldn’t say it made the project possible but… it provided us a with a unique opportunity no other initiative had before,” says Hernández of the EU’s GDPR.
“Whether it will play a significant role in the mass adoption of the network, we can’t tell for sure but it’s simply an opportunity too good to ignore.”
On the product front, he says they have lots of ideas — reeling off a list that includes the likes of “a topic-roulette for chats, embracing Internet challenges as another kind of content, widgets, profile avatars, AR chatrooms…” for starters.
“Some of these might sound silly but the idea is to break the status quo when it comes to the definition of what a social network can do,” he adds.
Asked why he believes other efforts to build ‘ethical’ alternatives to Facebook have failed he argues it’s usually because they’ve focused on technology rather than product.
“This is still the most predominant [reason for failure],” he suggests. “A project comes up offering a radical new way to do social networking behind the scenes. They focus all their efforts in building the brand new tech needed to do the very basic things a social network can already do. Next thing you know, years have passed. They’re still thousands of miles away from anything similar to the functionality of existing social networks and their core supporters have moved into yet another initiative making the same promises. And the cycle goes on.”
He also reckons disruptive efforts have fizzled out because they were too tightly focused on being just a solution to an existing platform problem and nothing more.
So, in other words, people were trying to build an ‘anti-Facebook’, rather than a distinctly interesting service in its own right. (The latter innovation, you could argue, is how Snap managed to carve out a space for itself in spite of Facebook sitting alongside it — even as Facebook has since sought to crush Snap’s creative market opportunity by cloning its products.)
“This one applies not only to social network initiatives but privacy-friendly products too,” argues Hernández. “The problem with that approach is that the problems they solve or claim to solve are most of the time not mainstream. Such as the lack of privacy.
“While these products might do okay with the people that understand the problems, at the end of the day that’s a very tiny percentage of the market. The solution these products often present to this issue is educating the population about the problems. This process takes too long. And in topics like privacy and security, it’s not easy to educate people. They are topics that require a knowledge level beyond the one required to use the technology and are hard to explain with examples without entering into the conspiracy theorist spectrum.”
So the Openbook team’s philosophy is to shake things up by getting people excited for alternative social networking features and opportunities, with merely the added benefit of not being hostile to privacy nor algorithmically chain-linked to stoking fires of human outrage.
The reliance on digital currency for the business model does present another challenge, though, as getting people to buy into this could be tricky. After all payments equal friction.
To begin with, Hernández says the digital currency component of the platform would be used to let users list secondhand items for sale. Down the line, the vision extends to being able to support a community of creators getting a sustainable income — thanks to the same baked in coin mechanism enabling other users to pay to access content or just appreciate it (via a tip).
So, the idea is, that creators on Openbook would be able to benefit from the social network effect via direct financial payments derived from the platform (instead of merely ad-based payments, such as are available to YouTube creators) — albeit, that’s assuming reaching the necessary critical usage mass. Which of course is the really, really tough bit.
“Lower cuts than any existing solution, great content creation tools, great administration and overview panels, fine-grained control over the view-ability of their content and more possibilities for making a stable and predictable income such as creating extra rewards for people that accept to donate for a fixed period of time such as five months instead of a month to month basis,” says Hernández, listing some of the ideas they have to stand out from existing creator platforms.
“Once we have such a platform and people start using tips for this purpose (which is not such a strange use of a digital token), we will start expanding on its capabilities,” he adds. (He’s also written the requisite Medium article discussing some other potential use cases for the digital currency portion of the plan.)
At this nascent prototype and still-not-actually-funded stage they haven’t made any firm technical decisions on this front either. And also don’t want to end up accidentally getting into bed with an unethical tech.
“Digital currency wise, we’re really concerned about the environmental impact and scalability of the blockchain,” he says — which could risk Openbook contradicting stated green aims in its manifesto and looking hypocritical, given its plan is to plough 30% of its revenues into ‘give-back’ projects, such as environmental and sustainability efforts and also education.
“We want a decentralised currency but we don’t want to rush into decisions without some in-depth research. Currently, we’re going through IOTA’s whitepapers,” he adds.
They do also believe in decentralizing the platform — or at least parts of it — though that would not be their first focus on account of the strategic decision to prioritize product. So they’re not going to win fans from the (other) crypto community. Though that’s hardly a big deal given their target user-base is far more mainstream.
“Initially it will be built on a centralised manner. This will allow us to focus in innovating in regards to the user experience and functionality product rather than coming up with a brand new behind the scenes technology,” he says. “In the future, we’re looking into decentralisation from very specific angles and for different things. Application wise, resiliency and data ownership.”
“A project we’re keeping an eye on and that shares some of our vision on this is Tim Berners Lee’s MIT Solid project. It’s all about decoupling applications from the data they use,” he adds.
So that’s the dream. And the dream sounds good and right. The problem is finding enough funding and wider support — call it ‘belief equity’ — in a market so denuded of competitive possibility as a result of monopolistic platform power that few can even dream an alternative digital reality is possible.
In early April, Hernández posted a link to a basic website with details of Openbook to a few online privacy and tech communities asking for feedback. The response was predictably discouraging. “Some 90% of the replies were a mix between critiques and plain discouraging responses such as “keep dreaming”, “it will never happen”, “don’t you have anything better to do”,” he says.
Still, Hernández stuck with it, working on a prototype and launching the Kickstarter. He’s got that far — and wants to build so much more — but getting enough people to believe that a better, fairer social network is even possible might be the biggest challenge of all.
For now, though, Hernández doesn’t want to stop dreaming.
“We are committed to make Openbook happen,” he says. “Our back-up plan involves grants and impact investment capital. Nothing will be as good as getting our first version through Kickstarter though. Kickstarter funding translates to absolute freedom for innovation, no strings attached.”
Facebook recently announced a rather unexpected feature: the social network giant is making it easier to keep track of how much time you’re spending on Facebook and Instagram. To make use of this feature, you’ll need to use the mobile apps. And that’s where a significant caveat comes in: it only tracks how much time you spend on Facebook or Instagram on your phone. Any time spent on Facebook or Instagram in a normal browser won’t be counted. So, that kind of makes it less useful. However, if you’re the kind of person who mainly interacts with Facebook or Instagram…
To make use of this feature, you’ll need to use the mobile apps. And that’s where a significant caveat comes in: it only tracks how much time you spend on Facebook or Instagram on your phone. Any time spent on Facebook or Instagram in a normal browser won’t be counted.
So, that kind of makes it less useful. However, if you’re the kind of person who mainly interacts with Facebook or Instagram on your phone, then it can really help shed light on whether you might be addicted to your smartphone.
To see how much time you spend on Facebook, go to Settings > Your Time on Facebook.
To see how much time you spend on Instagram, go to Settings > Your Activity.
If you’re not seeing the feature yet, it’s because it’s still in the process of rolling out.
Once you do have access to the feature, you should be able to see a chart of how much time you spend on Facebook or Instagram every day, together with an average length of time per day for the week. You can also use the feature to set yourself a daily limit for how much time you spend on Facebook, and the app will notify you when you hit that limit.
One of the early backers of Musical.ly, the short video app that was acquired for $1 billion, is making a major bet that internet radio is one of the next big trends in media. Goodwater Capital, one of a number of backers that won big when ByteDance acquired Musical.ly last year, has joined forces with […]
Goodwater Capital, one of a number of backers that won big when ByteDance acquired Musical.ly last year, has joined forces with Korean duo Softbank Ventures and KB Investment to invest $17 million into Korea’s Spoon Radio. The deal is a Series B for parent company Mykoon, which operates Spoon Radio and previously developed an unsuccessful smartphone battery sharing service.
“We decided to create a service, now known as Spoon Radio, that was inspired by what gave us hope when [previous venture] ‘Plugger’ failed to take off. We wanted to create a service that allowed people to truly connect and share their thoughts with others on everyday, real-life issues like the ups and downs of personal relationships, money, and work.
“Unlike Facebook and Instagram where people pretend to have perfect lives, we wanted to create an accessible space for people to find and interact with influencers that they could relate with on a real and personal level through an audio and pseudo-anonymous format,” Mykoon CEO Neil Choi told TechCrunch via email.
Choi started the company in 2013 with fellow co-founders Choi Hyuk jun and Hee-jae Lee, and today Spoon Radio operates much like an internet radio station.
Users can tune in to talk show or music DJs, and leave comments and make requests in real-time. The service also allows users to broadcast themselves and, like live-streaming, broadcasters — or DJs, as they are called — can monetize by receiving stickers and other virtual gifts from their audience.
Spoon Radio claims 2.5 million downloads and “tens of millions” of audio broadcasts uploaded each day. Most of that userbase is in Korea, but the company said it is seeing growth in markets like Japan, Indonesia and Vietnam. In response to that growth — which Choi said is over 1,000 percent year-on-year — this funding will be used to invest in expanding the service in Southeast Asia, the rest of Asia and beyond.
Audio social media isn’t a new concept.
Singapore’s Bubble Motion raised close to $40 million from investors but it was sold in an underwhelming and undisclosed deal in 2014. Reportedly that was after the firm had failed to find a buyer and been ready to liquidate its assets. Altruist, the India-based mobile services company that bought Bubble Motion has done little to the service. Most changes have been bug fixes and the iOS app, for example, has not been updated for nearly a year.
Things have changed in the last four years, with smartphone growth surging across Asia and worldwide. That could mean different fortunes but there are also differences between the two in terms of strategy.
Bubbly was run like a social network — a ‘Twitter for voice’ — whereas Spoon Radio is focused on a consumption-based model that, as the name suggests, mirrors traditional radio.
“This is mobile consumer internet at its best,” Eric Kim, one of Goodwater Capital’s two founding partners, told TechCrunch in an interview. “Spoon Radio is taking an offline experience that exists in classic radio and making it even better.”
Kim admitted that when he first used the service he didn’t see the appeal — he claimed the same was true for Musical.ly — but he said he changed his tune after talking to listeners and using Spoon Radio. He said it reminded him of being a kid growing up in the U.S. and listening to radio shows avidly.
“It’s a really interesting phenomenon taking off in Asia because of smartphone growth and people being keen for content, but not always able to get video content. It was a net new behavior that we’d never seen before… Musical.ly was in the same bracket as net new content for the new generation, we’ve been paying attention to this category broadly,” Kim — whose firm’s other Korean investments include chat app giant Kakao and fintech startup Toss — explained.
If you spend a lot of time on Instagram, you’ve no doubt come across live videos. If you’d rather watch a live video on your computer as it’s being broadcast, logging into your Instagram account in a browser won’t be any help. Instead, you’re going to need a Chrome extension to view Instagram live videos in your browser. You’re going to specifically need the Chrome extension Chrome IG Story to view live videos from Instagram accounts you follow. If you know someone you follow is going live, open up Chrome IG Story in your Chrome browser, and the live video will show up…
If you spend a lot of time on Instagram, you’ve no doubt come across live videos. If you’d rather watch a live video on your computer as it’s being broadcast, logging into your Instagram account in a browser won’t be any help. Instead, you’re going to need a Chrome extension to view Instagram live videos in your browser.
You’re going to specifically need the Chrome extension Chrome IG Story to view live videos from Instagram accounts you follow.
If you know someone you follow is going live, open up Chrome IG Story in your Chrome browser, and the live video will show up straight away. If the accounts you follow aren’t live, you can check out some of the popular live videos on Instagram at any given time.
In addition to watching live videos, you can also keep up with your friends’ Instagram stories. While you can also easily view Stories on the Instagram website without the need for an extra extension, there are some advantages to using this extension.
You can take your time going through the posts, as they don’t automatically switch to the next post. Instead, you hit the next button to skip to the next image.
You can also view stories and live videos anonymously. According to the developer, you won’t show up on the list of users who have viewed the story or video.
Other features of the extension include search by hashtag or location, the ability to download stories or videos, and the ability to view stories and videos of users you don’t follow.
The removal of conspiracy enthusiast content by InfoWars brings us to an interesting and important point in the history of online discourse. The current form of Internet content distribution has made it a broadcast medium akin to television or radio. Apps distribute our cat pics, our workouts, and our YouTube rants to specific audiences of followers, […]
The removal of conspiracy enthusiast content by InfoWars brings us to an interesting and important point in the history of online discourse. The current form of Internet content distribution has made it a broadcast medium akin to television or radio. Apps distribute our cat pics, our workouts, and our YouTube rants to specific audiences of followers, audiences that were nearly impossible to monetize in the early days of the Internet but, thanks to gullible marketing managers, can be sold as influencer media.
The source of all of this came from Gen X’s deep love of authenticity. They formed a new vein of content that, after breeding DIY music and zines, begat blogging, and, ultimately, created an endless expanse of user generated content (UGC). In the “old days” of the Internet this Cluetrain-manifesto-waving post gatekeeper attitude served the slacker well. But this move from a few institutional voices into a scattered legion of micro-fandoms led us to where we are today: in a shithole of absolute confusion and disruption.
As I wrote a year ago, user generated content supplanted and all but destroyed “real news.” While much of what is published now is true in a journalistic sense, the ability for falsehood and conspiracy to masquerade as truth is the real problem and it is what caused a vacuum as old media slowed down and new media sped up. In this emptiness a number of parasitic organisms sprung up including sites like Gizmodo and TechCrunch, micro-celebrity systems like Instagram and Vine, and sites catering to a different consumer, sites like InfoWars and Stormfront. It should be noted that InfoWars has been spouting its deepstate meanderings since 1999 and Alex Jones himself was a gravelly-voice radio star as early as 1996. The Internet allowed any number of niche content services to juke around the gatekeepers of propriety and give folks like Jones and, arguably, TechCrunch founder Mike Arrington, Gawker founder Nick Denton, and countless members of the “Internet-famous club,” deep influence over the last decades media landscape.
The last twenty years have been good for UGC. You could get rich making it, get informed reading it, and its traditions and habits began redefining how news-gathering operated. There is no longer just a wall between advertising and editorial. There is also a wall between editorial and the myriad bloggers who write about poop on Mt. Everest. In this sort of world we readers find ourselves at a distinct loss. What is true? What is entertainment? When the Internet is made flesh in the form of Pizzagate shootings and Unite the Right Marches, who is to blame?
The simple answer? We are to blame. We are to blame because we scrolled endlessly past bad news to get to the news that was applicable to us. We trained robots to spoon feed us our opinions and then force feed us associated content. We allowed ourselves to enter into a pact with a devil so invisible and pernicious that it easily convinced the most confused among us to mobilize against Quixotic causes and immobilized the smartest among us who were lulled into a Soma-like sleep of liking, sharing, and smileys. And now a new reckoning is coming. We have come full circle.
Once upon a time old gatekeepers were careful to let only carefully controlled views and opinions out over the airwaves. The medium was so immediate that in the 1940s broadcasters forbade the transmission of recordings and instead forced broadcasters to offer only live events. This was wonderful if you had the time to mic a children’s choir at Christmas but this rigidity was bed for a reporter’s health. Take William Shirer and Edward R. Murrow’s complaints about being unable to record and play back bombing raids in Nazi-held territories – their chafing at old ideas are almost palpable to modern bloggers.
There were other handicaps to the ban on recording that hampered us in taking full advantage of this new medium in journalism. On any given day there might be several developments, each of which could have been recorded as it happened and then put together and edited for the evening broadcast. In Berlin, for example, there might be a bellicose proclamation, troop movements through the capital, sensational headlines in the newspapers, a protest by an angry ambassador, a fiery speech by Hitler, Goring or Goebbels threatening Nazi Germany’s next victim—all in the course of the day. We could have recorded them at the moment they happened and put them together for a report in depth at the end of the day. Newspapers could not do this. Only radio could. But [CBS President] Paley forbade it.
Murrow and I tried to point out to him that the ban on recording was not only hampering our efforts to cover the crisis in Europe but would make it impossible to really cover the war, if war came. In order to broadcast live, we had to have a telephone line leading from our mike to a shortwave transmitter. You could not follow an advancing or retreating army dragging a telephone line along with you. You could not get your mike close enough to a battle to cover the sounds of combat. With a compact little recorder you could get into the thick of it and capture the awesome sounds of war.
And so now instead of CBS and the Censorship Bureau we have Facebook and Twitter. Instead of calling for the ability to record and playback an event we want permission to offer our own slants on events, no matter how far removed we are from the action. Instead of working diligently to spread only the truth, we consume the truth as others know it. And that’s what we are now chafing against: the commercialization and professionalization of user generated content.
Every medium goes through this confusion. From Penny Dreadfuls to Pall Mall sponsoring nearly every single new television show in the 1940s, media has grown, entered a disruptive phase that changes all media around it, and is then curtailed into boredom and commoditization. It is important to remember that we are in the era of Peak TV not because we all have more time to watch 20 hours of Breaking Bad. We are in Peak TV because we have gotten so good at making good shows – and the average consumer is ravenous for new content – that there is no financial reason not to take a flyer on a miniseries. In short, it’s gotten boring to make good TV.
And so we are now entering the latest stage of Internet content, the blowback. This blowback is not coming from governments. Trump, for his part, sees something wrong but cannot or will not verbalize it past the idea of “Fake News”. There is absolutely a Fake News problem but it is not what he thinks it is. Instead, the Fake News problem is rooted in the idea that all content deserves equal respect. My Medium post is as good as a CNN which is as good as an InfoWars screed about pedophiles on Mars. In a world defined by free speech then all speech is protected. Until, of course, it affects the bottom line of the company hosting it.
So Facebook and Twitter are walking a thin line. They want to remain true to the ancillary GenX credo that can be best described as “garbage in, garbage out” but many of its readers have taken that deeply open invitation to share their lives far too openly. These platforms have come to define personalities. They have come to define news cycles. They have driven men and women into hiding and they have given the trolls weapons they never had before, including the ability to destroy media organizations at will. They don’t want to censor but now that they have shareholders then they simply must.
So get ready for the next wave of media. And the next. And the next. As it gets more and more boring to visit Facebook I foresee a few other rising and falling media outlets based on new media – perhaps through VR or video – that will knock social media out of the way. And wait for more wholesale destruction of UGC creators new and old as monetization becomes more important than “truth.”
I am not here to weep for InfoWars. I think it’s garbage. I’m here to tell you that InfoWars is the latest in a long line of disrupted modes of distribution that began with the printing press and will end god knows where. There are no chilling effects here, just changes. And we’d best get used to them.
So, you have blocked someone on Instagram for whatever reason, and now it’s time to unblock that someone on Instagram. Blocking can be a great way to stop someone seeing your posts temporarily, but it works best if you set your account to private too. Let’s take a look at how blocking people on Instagram works, and how to unblock people on Instagram on both the web and mobile devices. Don’t forget to check out our guide to building the perfect Instagram profile! How Does Blocking/Unblocking Work on Instagram? When you block a user on Instagram, you prevent them from…
So, you have blocked someone on Instagram for whatever reason, and now it’s time to unblock that someone on Instagram. Blocking can be a great way to stop someone seeing your posts temporarily, but it works best if you set your account to private too.
Let’s take a look at how blocking people on Instagram works, and how to unblock people on Instagram on both the web and mobile devices.
When you block a user on Instagram, you prevent them from being able to:
View your posts and stories
Find you using the search tool
Contacting you via private message
Follow you (when you block someone, they automatically unfollow you)
Content from accounts you’ve blocked will be hidden. Any posts you have liked from that profile will also be hidden until you unblock that user again, at which point your likes return. Remember: If you block a user but leave your account public, they only need to sign out of Instagram in order to see your posts again.
To change your account privacy settings:
On iOS and Android: Tap on your profile tab, then tap on the three dots menu icon. From here select Account privacy and toggle the Private Account option.
On the web: Log in to Instagram.com and click on your profile icon in the top-left corner. Click on the Settings icon (the one that looks like a cog) then select Privacy and Security and toggle the Private Account option
When you unblock someone, they will be able to view your posts and stories, find you again, and send you messages. They will not automatically follow you again though, so you will need to notify them if you want them to do so.
How to Unblock on Instagram Using iPhone or Android
If you know the name of the account you’ve blocked, first, search for the account using the search bar. Tap on the name to bring up the profile, then hit the three-dot menu icon in the corner of the screen. Choose Unblock from the menu that appears.
You will be asked to confirm your decision, hit Unblock to do so. Depending on your device and current app version, you may just be able to hit the big blue Unblock button on the profile page too.
How to Unblock Someone on Instagram Using the Web
While using the web version of Instagram, search for the user you want to unblock. You may find their name appears further down the search results than other similar account names. If you know their exact name, you can go to instagram.com/username (replacing username with the account username).
You can now either click the three dots account menu button, then choose Unblock this User or hit the big blue Unblock button. You will be asked to confirm your decision, hit Unblock to do so.
How to See a List of Instagram Users You’ve Blocked
If you can’t remember the name of a user, or you simply want to review your block list, you can do so from an iOS or Android device. There is no way to access your block list from the web, as yet.
Launch Instagram and select your profile tab. Tap on the three dot menu button in the top corner, then choose Blocked Accounts. Tap on an account to view it, then unblock it using the instructions outlined above.
How to Unblock Someone Who Has Also Blocked You
The old “double block” makes it harder to unblock someone, but there are a few ways around it. It works best if you know the name of the account, assuming the name hasn’t changed:
Compose a new direct message to yourself, include the @username of the account you wish to unblock in the body of the message. Once sent, tap on the username and unblock as normal.
Log in using a web browser at Instagram.com, then type instagram.com/username, replacing username with the name of the account you wish to unblock. When you see the profile, unblock as normal.
Remember to Follow Unblocked Accounts Again!
When you block an account, you automatically unfollow that account. If you’ve decided to unblock someone and you want to actively start seeing their posts again, you’ll need to head back to their profile and re-follow them.