Mother Jones: Inside the Facebook Group Where Doctors Process Their Immense Coronavirus Grief. “As she sat on her couch in her house, alone, sick with COVID-19, an unwelcome series of thoughts crept into Erica Bial’s mind. If I die here, she wondered, who would ever notice? How long would the neighbor’s cat take to find me? Bial, a neurosurgeon living in Massachusetts, works at Lahey Hospitals northwest of Boston. She was two weeks into her self-imposed isolation with the disease, when it took a turn for the worse on her 45th birthday. ‘I had been—I thought—getting better,’ she said.”
Search Engine Journal: How to Find Subject Matter Experts Using Slack & Other Web Communities. “It is blatantly obvious when a non-expert tries to write something for an expert audience. To succeed at SEO through non-branded educational content, brands and websites must attempt to raise their editorial standards to that of a magazine or newspaper. This starts with developing relationships and making connections with experts in the community of people interested in the topic you are publishing about.”
Ars Technica: Anonymous “Anonymous Cowards” are, for now, not welcome on Slashdot . “On August 9, tech news aggregator Slashdot quietly removed one of its earliest features, which had been available to all visitors since its founding in 1997: the ability to post comments as an ‘Anonymous Coward.’ And while the feature returned within five days, it returned in a largely nerfed format.”
University of California Davis: Internet Communities Can Teach Amateurs to Build Personalized Governments. “The internet has its perils with privacy breaches and fake news, but on the plus side, a whole generation of youth have been teaching themselves skills in leadership and community-building, according to a new University of California, Davis, study.”
Search Engine Roundtable: Google Moving & Closing Support Forums. “We saw it happen with a number of support forums already, including the Google News forums. But now it looks like all Google support forums are moving to the new platform. The interesting part is they are not migrating content from the old to the new platform, instead, they are making the old platform read only and opening up the new platform for new topics.”
Popular Science: How to block toxic comments all over the web. “Some corners of the internet act as bastions of healthy discussion, but out there on the wild web, discourse appears worse than ever before. If you’re tired of feeling your blood boil every time you get to the bottom of an article or open up your social media app of choice, here’s how to clean up your internet conversations.”
BBC: My disabled son’s amazing gaming life in the World of Warcraft. “Robert and Trude mourned what they thought had been a lonely and isolated life for their disabled son. But when Mats died, they discovered that people all over Europe lit candles in his memory.” Before you read this make sure you have some tissues handy.
Nieman Lab: “So many times we forget to listen”: How Spaceship Media moderated a Facebook group of 400 political women without it going off the rails. “When I spoke with Spaceship Media’s cofounders a year ago, they were about to embark on creating arguably the most ambitious news-centric Facebook group in existence: A goal of 5,000 women with diverse views in one group, talking about politics without everything self-imploding.” Forum moderation is an incredibly tough and thankless job, but when it’s done well, it’s amazing.
Nature: How Facebook and Twitter could be the next disruptive force in clinical trials. “Amber Sapp was browsing the Internet late one night in August when she happened to find out that her 12-year-old son’s clinical trial had failed…. The thought of wasting Garrett’s limited time with a failed trial was hard enough. The news was all the more disturbing because it didn’t come from the trial organizers, but through a Facebook post from another parent.”
Quartzy: The Cruelty And Kindness Of Social Media In The Midst Of A Disaster. “There was a time, long before social media was blamed for many of the world’s biggest problems, that digital communities were posited as the utopian replacement to the small-mindedness of staying close to home, close to what we know. Of course, that didn’t turn out so well. We know now that compassion, empathy, and community can’t be provided by a large tech company with a clear profit motive for winning our attention. In times of disaster as well as in times of normalcy, that part is up to us.”
The Atlantic: Facebook Groups as Therapy. “Over the past year, the company has been consciously emphasizing groups—part of an effort, per Mark Zuckerberg, to ‘give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.’ These groups cover interests ranging as widely as the human imagination. Many are ‘closed,’ which in Facebook terminology means they are findable, but only members can see their content. Some are ‘secret’ and unsearchable, and membership is by invitation only. It’s not surprising, then, that Facebook has turned into a gathering place for strangers sharing their deepest secrets.”
University of Arizona: Facebook Status: Sick. How People Use the Internet to Cope with Illness. “In his new book, ‘Coping with Illness Digitally,’ University of Arizona communication professor Stephen Rains explores how people use digital tools like social media, online health forums, medical information websites and even email correspondence with physicians to cope with illness.”
ScienceDaily: How to win friends online: It’s not which groups you join, but how many . “Your chances of forming online friendships depend mainly on the number of groups and organizations you join, not their types, according to an analysis of six online social networks by Rice University data scientists.”
Elon University: Megan Squire: Deep dive into data sheds light on toxic online commmunities. “For her work in the area of open online communities and open source software, Squire has generated international acclaim as a global leader in the area. In 2004, Squire launched FLOSSmole, an online effort to gather, share and analyze data from free and open source software projects that has offered insight into how computer programmers interact with each other and online communities.”
Engadget: Instagram is testing virtual communities for college students. “Facebook’s pledge to ‘spark conversations and meaningful interactions’ apparently extends to Instagram. The photo-sharing app has started testing a feature designed to bring college students going to the same university together in a virtual community.”