The place for web regulation

“Any system that allows for automated processing of messages is subject to directed, sophisticated abuse. The place for regulation is not in advertising (even though that’s where it’s begun with the Honest Ads Act), it’s in how the system works architecturally.”

The Internet Must Change. To Get There, Start With the Data (Newco Shift)

The 20th century was about infrastructure. The 21st century is about data.

Television and radio broadcasters are subject to regulation. Telcos are subject to regulation. Google (YouTube), Amazon (Twitch), and Facebook (Instagram, WhatsApp) are the 21st century equivalents. So why aren’t they held to the same level of accountability?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for an open web, and I agree that government involvement can be a burden. But when you hit the scale and scope of a company like Facebook, where the decisions made behind closed doors can have such a dramatic impact on the public, I believe you’ve crossed an important threshold where oversight is absolutely warranted.

Design ethics in tech

“When we think about design ethics, especially in tech, it’s about slowing down and being more conscientious and intentional about what we are creating and what we’re putting out into the world.”

What We Talk About When We Talk About Design Ethics (99u)

My not-so-hot take: ethics in technology will be a dominant topic for the next decade.

Morten Rand-Hendriksen (@mor10) is ahead of the curve. He’s an instructor with LinkedIn Learning and has a course coming out on the subject.

Pulling from a recent-ish post on his blog:

“Part of the problem is the term “ethics” is often equated with statements like “do no harm” or practices to avoid legal issues. In reality, ethics refers to the principles and practices we agree upon as a society to judge the goodness and rightness of acts.”

ASPIRE: An acronym for better web practice (MOR10)

Give the whole thing a read.

IMO, up until now, ethics in tech felt like an afterthought. Important? Sure, in a we’ll-get-around-to-it-eventually sort of way.

Accessibility and inclusive design. Data privacy. Information security. Fake news. Harassment. Moderation. Censorship. The list goes on and on.

We rolled into the 2010’s high on rapid growth. Now, ten years later, we’re reeling from it. Ethics matter more than ever.

Consumers search online, buy offline

What most marketers still don’t fully appreciate is that most online research results in an offline purchase. This is the dominant use case now for non-informational searches: a user on a smartphone looking for a product or service, where the transaction or fulfillment is offline.”

Google Maps the dominant local search tool (Search Engine Land)

This is absolutely how I shop. For example: I’m doing a lot of housework this week, so I keep checking the Home Depot and Canadian Tire sites to browse their inventory.

If I see something I need, I’ll add it to my shopping list, and then pop up to the shops to buy everything in one go.

If I’m looking for a new local store to buy from, I’ll check Google Maps for business-level information: where they’re located, what their hours are, the reviews, and if they have it, a link to their site. Ditto for restaurants.

Professional writer = professional reader

Being a professional writer now means I can be a professional reader. Montaigne said he made bouquets out of other men’s flowers, but he was the one who provided the string to tie them together. I like that image, except bouquets eventually die, and the great thing about books is that they are paper bouquets that never die: they can be torn to their pieces and rearranged indefinitely.”

An intercourse with the world (Austin Kleon)

I’m a voracious reader. I think my blog proves that. I used to feel guilty for all my reading — I felt like I wasn’t producing enough, or doing enough — but not so much anymore. All these inputs are the raw material, and when the time comes, when I need to, I can remix what I’ve learned to create something new.

Invest in success every single day

“It’s easy to overestimate the importance of luck on success and underestimate the importance of investing in success every single day.”

The Surprising Power of the Long Game (Farnam Street)

This goes hand-in-hand with another FS post I shared last week: repetition is a better way to learn. Together, both embrace a sort of maintenance-first approach.

Increasingly, I’m thinking of life in a set of “buckets”:

  • My home — house > neighbourhood > town > province > country
  • My career — my work at GoDaddy, but more broadly as well
  • My health — physical and mental
  • My relationships — family and friends
  • My hobbies — art, reading, writing, tinkering with tech

And every week I try — albeit not always successfully — to move things forward in each bucket. That might be doing stuff around the house, hitting the gym a few times, meeting with friends, chomping through some new books, studying something new.

My hope is that all of that adds up to a successful life.