I've listened to podcasts pretty heavily for about 13 years now, since Apple added a podcast directory to iTunes. (I probably manually downloaded a few podcasts even before then, but the process was pretty cumbersome.) But I'm not here to brag about my podcast cred, which would be incredibly nerdy even by my standards, but to outline how the structure of podcast distribution is almost ideal for people who are concerned with private platforms having too much control over speech. It can serve as a model for how cool internet services don't have to come at the cost of enabling monopolistic private platforms or giving up your privacy.
So you have a popular Instagram account on which you post original memes for mass consumption and potential monetization. Everything is going great: you’re racking up thousands of followers per day, each post getting hundreds of thousands of likes—life is good. You have managed to create a career for yourself just by being Very Online and humorous, and we are all jealous of you. Good job.
Focusing blame Google and Facebook for the decline of in-depth news reporting and print journalism ignores the real and long-standing problems that lie at the heart of our troubled relationship with corporate media. Insisting that these companies should fund existing corporate media, or that we should solve the problem by allowing even more consolidation, would be a disaster for democracy.
Forget bitcoin; human information has become the true cryptocurrency of our world. Online discrimination and privacy breaches are happening at an alarming rate and affecting those most vulnerable in our society: minority groups, mothers, and the elderly.
In moving off my university’s campus, I experienced one of today’s newest and least revered rites of passage into adulthood: frustration with my cable provider. Aside from my appointment being rescheduled twice and the representative on the phone trying to convince me that bundling my services was a matter of life or death, I found there to be a surprise or two in my bill. Cable companies advertise a certain price, but then upon receiving their bill consumers learn of the staggering number of fees that are often tacked on.