Mathew Lowry

A hand-picked selection of posts designed to give you something to think about as the year turns.

(note: this first appeared as the December 22 edition of my roughly fortnightly newsletter. Browse all editions and subscribe if you like it.)

Looking back: the 2015 list of 2015 lists

Because now is the season to be listy, here are some resources tagged best15:

(note: since I highlighted the above links on December 22 plenty more resources – some better – have been tagged best15).

Looking forward I.

And because no end of year curation is complete without at least one prediction: you’ll be hearing a lot more about blockchains in 2016, so read How to explain Bitcoin to your grandmother if you haven’t already, because in the last couple of weeks:

More: 29 posts tagged blockchain

Looking Forward II. the news is not good

Two lists not mentioned earlier come from NiemanLab, who gave us The top 10 articles from the year in digital news and social media research before commissioning 106 (no, that’s not a typo – really, one hundred and six!) articles on the future of journalism and media.

I’ve already read and Hubbed some of them, but my favourite 5% would be too many for a newsletter, so instead I’ll add some more about the nature of public discourse today:

If there’s one theme emerging from these and other posts, it is Donald Trump, summarised most pithily by Dave Winer:

Trump is what happens when social media becomes the platform for discourse. There used to be gatekeepers that made sure the crazy candidates looked crazy, but now they get to go direct.
Trump happens

Not that the news over the pond here in Europe is any better, which is why I’d also add a post from my favourite Iranian blogger, who knows something about totalitariaism:

If I’d told you last Christmas that the leading contender for President of the richest and most powerful country on the globe had openly said that he was OK with armbands, internment camps, extra-judicial bans, and blood rights… you probably would have laughed at me.
Why Fascism is Rising Again (And What You Can Learn From It)

What was that? It’s Christmas and you want something more cheerful? Sorry about that, but the overarching theme from many of the 111 above posts – and indeed most of the resources tagged media, news or journalism – is that independent journalism is dying, and people like Trump and Le Pen are busily planning how they’ll fill the vacuum in 2016 as you tuck into that turkey.

This is not something you can spin into a fun meme on Facebook, while ‘Unfriending’ Trump supporters is just another example of how we isolate ourselves online (cue 33 resources tagged filterbubble).

Sticking your head in the sand under the Christmas tree is only going to leave you with your cat’s turds in your hair. So maybe next year you can start thinking about how you can make a difference?

In the meantime, here’s a funny video:

Merry Christmas.

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