Thoughts & Essays

YouTube, social media, Trump & more

Reading list! Here’s a couple of articles about the effect of social media campaigns – specifically Russian and other state-actor influence operations – on real world attitudes, a thing I’m slightly dubious about, plus fun reading about Trump’s prenup with Marla Maples, YouTube’s desperate attempts to get itself out of trouble, and more.

🚫 New York Times: YouTube to Remove Thousands of Videos Pushing Extreme Views
YouTube’s having a hell of a time lately, as they should, because their policies suck.

📱 Politico: Russia’s manipulation of Twitter was far vaster than believed
So, I’m a bit hesitant to add this story because I think the research it’s based on got debunked yesterday, which calls this story into question. But I’m putting it in because I’ve been a little dubious of the actual effect of the Russian interference operations for awhile. Not dubious of them happening – clearly they did. I’m just not sure it had the massive effect that some people like to claim it did. I think maybe we want to believe Russian influence operations had a huge effect because we don’t want to face the idea that we did this to ourselves. Also, people tend to over estimate the effect online movements have on the real world, particularly where Twitter is involved. So, y’know. Grain of salt where this sort of thing is concerned.

📱 Zeit Online: Digital Incendiaries
This story is more solid than Politico’s – based on better research, etc. Still, I remain somewhat dubious. You can influence the discourse on a social platform, but how does that translate to real life? I work in marketing, specifically social media marketing, and as I like to say at work, “But does it convert?” What’s the ROI on this activity, and can it be proven in real numbers? I’m not saying this stuff doesn’t have an effect. Clearly it does, and if I didn’t believe that I wouldn’t be working in SMM. I’m just a bit hesitant to buy the size of the effect it’s having, and that the effect is entirely due to bots and Russian trolls on Twitter.

⚖️ ABC News: State Dept. panel to redefine human rights based on ‘natural law and natural rights’
Friendly reminder that Trump’s entire administration is staffed by monsters and nightmares.

🇳🇱 The Guardian: Dutch girl was not ‘legally euthanised’ and died at home
You might have seen this story getting passed around on Facebook and Twitter, that the Netherlands euthanized a 17 year old girl due to her “unbearable suffering,” and FYI, the story is inaccurate. The girl requested euthanasia and was turned down because she was so young. After that, apparently she voluntarily refused food and further medical treatment until she passed away at home.

👰 Vanity Fair: “Marla Was Under Duress”: Revealed in His Marla Maples Prenup, Donald Trump’s Draconian Art of the Marriage Deal
Here’s a deep dive into Trump’s prenup agreement with Marla Maples. It’s, uh, it’s a ride.

🎞️ FilmJoy: Movies with Mikey: Does The Matrix Hold Up?
Mikey tackles The Matrix. I love his videos – they’re fantastic and if you’ve never seen them before, feel free to dive in and watch the entire Movies with Mikey playlist.