Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #195

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Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete Web Monitoring, Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks and Lean Analytics), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person "must see".

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another:

  • Interviewing the algorithm: How reporting and reverse engineering could build a beat to understand the code that influences us – Nieman Journalism Lab. "This is an important topic. Many of the decisions we’re going to face in the coming years will be made by machines, optimizing and ranking our lives and choices. But those algorithms are black boxes, opaque and arcane. How does Facebook know which stories to show you? An algorithm — and probably not one that serves your needs, but rather, those of Facebook’s: getting you to click links, and double-down on already-popular stories, while missing small updates from long-lost friends. If we want to report on the future, we need to understand the decisions these algorithms make." (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Here’s What Happens When The Internet Decides A Newspaper’s Front Page – BuzzFeed. "Is crowdsourcing good? Or just pictures of cats all the way down? Editors decide what makes the front page — but what happens when the popularity of stories on social platforms decides what newspapers should cover? As it turns out, it’s not bad." (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Between two Ferns Director Scott Aukerman on Obama’s Comedy Skills – GQ. "Unless you have been living under a fern, you have probably seen Obama’s recent comedy/communications coup to promote Here’s the story of how it happened." (Hugh for Alistair).
  • Reaching 400K followers on @CBCNews – CBC. "This one is for Canadian history books, with a funny bit of local colour. Way back in 2007, a friend and ex-Montrealer, illustrator/animator, Matt Forsythe, decided that CBC News should have a Twitter feed. He registered @CBCNews, and started posting tweets with links to news items. Eventually CBC mucky-mucks got wind, and were shamed into joining Twitter: Matt, a nice fellow, handed the account over. A few short years (SIX YEARS!! WHAT?!?) later, @CBCNews has 400,000 followers." (Hugh for Mitch).
  • Move over, small-time Bitcoin exchange startups–Wall Street has arrived – ArsTechnica. "Here’s my theory: as fragmented and uncoupled as the general news has become, we still only follow the same stories. If you really want to better understand what is happening in this world, you have dig a little deeper. Stores like this are the ones that we need to be paying attention to. When people think of BitCoin or virtual currency, they tend to think of either the people who are running these businesses into the ground or the wild fluctuations that the currency experiences (is it a bubble or isn’t it?). Well, while these more generic and mass media appealing stories block the sun, stuff like this is going on. Now, we’re going to have trading bots and high speed trading for BitCoin and other cryptocurrencies and exchanges. In short: things are about to get really crazy over there." (Mitch for Alistair).
  • No, His Name Is Not Ted – The New York Times. "I begin my annual pilgrimage out West to the TED conference on Monday (it’s now being held in Vancouver). I have been going since 2009 (can’t believe it has been that long). It’s a controversial conference that is constantly being slapped around in the media. I understand why, but it has no bearing on my decision to go. It is the one time a year that I do something (somewhat) selfish for myself. I go out there, I seclude myself from the rest of the world (with the exception of any emergencies) and drown myself in ideas, conversations, learning and my own thoughts. I fill up a notebook with my thoughts, spend time with old friends discussing new challenges and make no qualms about whether it is elitist or if the talks are like infomercials for intellects (I think the price is minor compared to the value and most of the talks inspire me in one way, shape or form). I find most of criticism against TED (and the people who create it) coming from people who don’t have an interest in this type of conference or who are simply there to poke holes in it. I’m lucky, as a professional speaker, I get to attend hundreds of events every year. For my dollar, my time and my personal growth, nothing has ever come close to TED (with the exception of the Google Zeitgeist event – which also helps me rethink everything). While this piece takes some shots at TED, it did nothing but get me even more excited for what’s to come next week. Can’t wait!" (Mitch for Hugh).

Now it’s your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.