We’re hypnotised by the social media giants. We’ve convinced ourselves they’re impossible to deal with. They’re not.

The more frantic we become about the wickedness and power of the platforms, the more we confirm that power. The more action we demand of police and legislators, the more we confirm their exceptional status, their transcendence. The standard position now —in the mainstream anyway?—?is that the social media platforms ‘wield too much power’, that… Continue reading We’re hypnotised by the social media giants. We’ve convinced ourselves they’re impossible to deal with. They’re not.

Bluetooth should be our model for the next internet. Seriously.

Everybody knows now, we built the wrong internet. Instead of a democratic, participatory playground we seem to have built something predatory and exploitive. The solution—bear with me—is more awkwardness, more friction—Bluetooth! (Listen, do not @ me about this. I know everything evil about the current internet could ultimately be reproduced in a more constrained environment,… Continue reading Bluetooth should be our model for the next internet. Seriously.

Destroy Bitcoin. Smash the mining rigs

I first published this at Medium.com, where it’s become my most popular post. It’s a disaster. There’s no point messing around. Let’s kill it now Bitcoin (and its many mutations and outgrowths) is a planetary-scale mistake, a whiny tech-bro fantasy and an environmental catastrophe that’s already happening. A sane world would pass a UN resolution,… Continue reading Destroy Bitcoin. Smash the mining rigs

Podcasting—the platform battle

aIf podcasting is going to become a real business it’s going to have to leave the commercial dark ages behind, evolve some more sophisticated audio platforms and —let’s face it— pick a winner. This is the second of two posts about the evolution of podcasting. Part one is about the explosion of new formats. How… Continue reading Podcasting—the platform battle

Podcasting—welcome to the symphonic era

This is not about the 90% of podcasts that are still three people at a table talking about something. Nor is it about all those podcasts that are basically a byproduct of radio production. It’s about the new stuff—the bigger, glossier, narrative formats that are going to change audio and storytelling for good. This is… Continue reading Podcasting—welcome to the symphonic era

11 essentials for the modern podcast

This is one of a short series of posts about the evolution of podcasting. The first one’s about the new wave of ambitious, highly-produced storytelling formats – I’m calling it ‘the symphonic era‘ and the second is about the epic platform battle that has just begun. So I thought I’d collect some of the basic… Continue reading 11 essentials for the modern podcast

Seven things I learnt from the British Library’s Magna Carta show

The British Library has a terrific, totally absorbing show about Magna Carta – which is the cornerstone of world democracy or a sort of baronial shopping list weirdly granted in a field by a King who didn’t mean it – depending on your perspective. It includes two original 1215 manuscripts and dozens of other beautiful… Continue reading Seven things I learnt from the British Library’s Magna Carta show

In praise of friction

Install Privacy Badger. It’s a plug-in from the EFF that blocks the nasty stuff that web site owners silently insert into your browser – tracking code, cookies and code from third-parties. It works in Firefox and Chrome (but only on a computer, not on your mobile). Now enjoy the genuinely freaky experience of wandering the… Continue reading In praise of friction