Arrested Development shows us the downside to binge-watching

Arrested Development and the case against binge-watching:

How strange that it already feels too late to talk about the return of Arrested Development. After all, fans waited, and lobbied, and agitated for seven years -before the arrival of a treasure trove of 15 fresh episodes of the cult comedy, and as I write this, it’s been only two weeks since Netflix unveiled them in its signature open-all-your-Christmas-presents-at-once style. But it turns out that even a binge viewer’s paradise has a dark side: If supersizing your TV portions is so great, why does Arrested Development feel so…over? And why didn’t people have more fun with something they wanted so badly and were so happy to get?

Going by the Twitter reactions and the recaps that started to appear just hours after the show was made available, many viewers seem to have taken in too much too fast. Some expressed disappointment at the pacing of the episodes; some objected to a complicated and repetitive story line in which jokes pay off only after circling back to the same event multiple times. I’ll leave that debate to more devoted buffs (I’m a latecomer), but I will point out that if you take in several episodes of anything in a row, the word repetitive will likely come to mind. No wonder many AD fans sounded a bit green around the gills in those first few days, like Cartman overeating until all he can do is gasp, “No…more…pie.”

I’ve been spacing out my viewing of the latest season of Arrested Development – I’m only on episode 4 – and so far, I’ve found that I’m enjoying it more than people who rushed through half a season the day it came out.

Of course, some people genuinely don’t like the new format for the show – it’s very different from the three seasons that ran on Fox. If you liked the original series but haven’t given the fourth season a shot, I recommend watching the first two episodes (the first is rather mediocre by itself) and then giving yourself a few days before trying more.

Facebook is becoming a social media hydra

The great defriending of Facebook:

When friends’ posts do show up in your feed, a lot of times they’re just sharing another image or link or video. External content, i.e., stuff that isn’t native to Facebook (memes, articles, pretty science photographs), is the network’s new social currency. Facebook is mutating into a social media hydra, a bit like Twitter, which dominates live events (Facebook even experimenting with hashtags) and a bit like Tumblr, which rules entertainment and fandom. The only problem? Those companies are already the very best at what they do, and to compete against them Facebook has to dilute the highly personal network of real relationships that makes it unique.

Soon you’re going to start judging Facebook friends on how good they are at sharing stuff—not on their actual relationship with you.

Among my friends, Facebook is considered something a necessary evil in the social scene. No one really likes using it, but it’s still where everyone uploads all their photos with friends and family and where we go to set up plans with groups of people. But no company wants to own the site that people feel they have to use despite hating it – that’s like being MySpace in 2007.

(He said as he posted this to The Russell Bulletin’s Facebook page and shared to all his friends.)

Iain Dodsworth leaves Twitter


Iain Dodsworth, founder of the power-user application TweetDeck, announced Friday that he is leaving Twitter, two years after TweetDeck was acquired by the microblogging company.

“Two years since the @TweetDeck acquisition and now feels like a perfect time to start something new. Goodbye @Twitter, it’s been marvellous,” Dodsworth said in a tweet on Friday morning.

It’s a shame to see Iain leave Twitter. He’s a fellow Brit and in TweetDeck built an astoundingly popular piece of software. The move reminds me of Loren Brichter’s departure from Twitter little over a year after Twitter acquired his app, Tweetie, and used it as their official client. Companies that acquire have a habit of taking steps to make apps move away from the original vision. Those steps are usually necessary to make the apps successful in a wider market, but they often disgruntle those behind them in the first place. That said, there’s no implication that this is the case with Iain, I’m just looking beyond what has been said and seeing a possible wider state of affairs.

Twitter Introduces Two-Factor Authentication

Twitter blog:

Today we’re introducing a new security feature to better protect your Twitter account: login verification.This is a form of two-factor authentication. When you sign in to, there’s a second check to make sure it’s really you.

This is great news for security of Twitter accounts. After a large number of high-profile Twitter accounts were hacked, including AP and E! Online, this new feature is undoubtedly in the best interest for users.

Via TechCrunch

Twitter Looks for a Head of News and Journalism

The official Jobs at Twitter site:

Twitter is playing an integral role in the evolution of the news industry — both as a tool for reporters and newsrooms and as a way for consumers to find news in real-time. Twitter has already changed the way news breaks and provided journalists new ways to connect with their readers. We are looking for a seasoned leader to shape and drive the next growth phase of Twitter’s partnership with the news industry.

The obvious assumption to make here is that Twitter has decided to act in the wake of the Boston bombings, during which the social media site was bombarded with a load “information” (rumors) regarding suspects and police events. Telling what was truth from the noise was impossible and Twitter as a platform was criticised after the events for the some of the irresponsible reporting that took place after the tragic events.

The job posting is affirms the idea that Twitter sees breaking news as a key part of its strategy: the posting says the incoming head of department should create a plan that increases “volume and quality of professional news content on Twitter, especially in breaking news”.

Is the posting of the job after a time when some sort of spotlight was on Twitter and its news strategy a coincidence? Probably. But it’ll be interesting to see what the new recruit will do to develop news strategy in the longer term.

Bloomberg adds Twitter to its trading platform

New York Mag:

A Bloomberg spokeswoman wouldn’t give us the full list of Twitter accounts approved for terminal display, but confirmed that there are “several thousand” accounts followed, with more being added constantly. With the help of a terminal user, we’ve patched together a very partial list of the accounts that are displayed on the terminal.

Since Bloomberg’s terminal also captures tweets with selected keywords and stock symbols, it’s possible that not all of these accounts are included on the approved-user list. But many are. The list includes mainstream and financial news services, well-known reporters and columnists, economists and traders, a handful of financial industry watchdogs (like Senator Elizabeth Warren), and a few celebrity oddballs (Donald Trump). There are also some notable absences — like, ahem, @NYMag — but overall, it’s pretty much the list you’d expect.

If you’d like to follow the same accounts as Wall Street traders, you can subscribe to this list and save yourself $20,000/year.

Facebook to introduce hashtags

hashtag twitter

Mike Isaac, for AllThingsD:

At least, not yet. As was previously reported by The Wall Street Journal, and as I’ve verified through sources of my own, Facebook plans to launch its own Linkify’d version of the hashtag, allowing users to connect common themes and trending topics around the social network by adding the simple hashtag symbol to a status update. Clicking through sends a reader down a rabbit hole of information, all connected to the hashtag being followed.

On the plus side, I’m past the age where I’d have to see high school girls using them. #drama

It’s getting harder to be noticed on Facebook

Facebook’s News Feed, A Skittish Gift Horse | TechCrunch:

According to Zuckerberg’s Law Of Sharing, we post twice as much each year, but we’re not doubling how long we spend reading our social streams. On Twitter’s unfiltered feed, that means we read tweets from a shorter period each time we browse. The last 100 tweets may now come from the last hour, when perhaps it took those we follow two hours to conjure up as many quips and cat memes a year ago.

On Facebook’s filtered feed, though, push comes to shove, as Hunter Walk mentions in his response to Bilton. Facebook shows a digest of the most “relevant” posts from the last few hours or since we last logged in. As we share more, the bar climbs, and only the posts with the most likes and comments and those from our closest friends show up.

Facebook also sidesteps its news feed sorting algorithm, unofficially known as EdgeRank, to inject certain pieces of content. For example, ads. Whether they’re posts by Pages we Like that could have appeared but probably wouldn’t make the cut, or non-social ads that are completely artificial, Facebook makes money by sticking them high in the news feed. The volume of advertising in the feed has increased dramatically this year, which Bilton says means “free posts will disappear from people’s feeds as sponsored ads float to the top.”

I wonder whether or not Facebook will reach a point where their push for monetization annoys users enough to make them leave the site en masse. As a college student, I can’t think of a site or app that could replace it for organizing events or communicating with groups.