The Gang or a subset made a Clubhouse, longer than a regular show by a good third. The audio-only structure lacked the visual cues that distinguish irony from bad manners, but otherwise it felt familiar if not comfortable. I don’t remember what we talked about, only that I seemed a little more adamant about my opinions than usual. We recorded the meeting, which is close to what it was. Not really a spectacle, more a rally of a political platform without politics. A few friends joined us, several listeners came in and out. Overall, about what I expected.
The next day, I called to get feedback from others. Also on what I expected. That evening, someone hosted a Twitter Spaces event that apparently peaked at 22,000 listeners. The subject was crypto. I remember walking under the Woodstock stage early on the first afternoon of the festival. The fences were down; the concert was declared free, and the crowds began to pile up. The impression of something big filled the air, but I was more concerned with the ominous clouds that gathered at the top of the hill. At one point, as the thunder started to strike, I left and returned to the safety of the town of Woodstock, 40 miles away.
I grew up part-time in Woodstock, the other part of town in my father’s apartment in Greenwich Village. As far back as I can remember, the conversation around the coffee table in the kitchen was about the issues of the day, the music and media of the day, the models of a family marked by divorce, liberalism and the key notion that age had little to do with standing around the table. It has always struck me as profound to be able to be heard and to listen to any topic or feeling, through the multigenerational patchwork of half-siblings, and both in the Village and in Woodstock, a constant stream of ‘artists, musicians and filmmakers engaged the time of the 60s and so on to this day. What I mean is Clubhouse and Twitter and a flattened hierarchy of intentions and opinions is a constant in my life, not a new freedom or a new problem to overcome. It’s the old normal, for me.
On this edition of The Gang, the subject of Amazon’s Sidewalk mesh network arises. Suffice it to say that there are security implications. What happens when a company whose size captured a significant percentage of the global economy during the pandemic offers an unsubscribe service that shares its customers’ high-speed internet access with other Amazon customers ? The potential arrogance of providing a opt-out date after which you’ve agreed to this plan by not saying no is, well, mind-boggling. Forget that the algorithm uses a very small part of your bandwidth cap and is unlikely to affect your access or the price of the network subscription. In a way, this makes the seizure even more Machiavellian than it actually is. But even more egregious is the suggestion that such a mesh network gives potential access not only to bandwidth, but to what you and everyone else in the neighborhood is doing with it. Wherever you go, you are indeed there. Or, here’s the neighborhood.
For now, the fences are down in the new Woodstock. Washington comes for its piece of the pie, and the new post-cookie and privacy-versus-economy rules are being debated. Apple is challenging the newsletter and its economy of logical creators by breaking access to open and click-through rates that drive analytics. Tracking pixels will now open en masse before the start of the viewing process rather than triggering as clicks are generated. The Substack and Revue tools for tracking these user preference hints will need to be replaced with direct calls to preference information, which suggests to me a sort of haggling in terms of subscription cost versus data provided by the user. user. By the way, I really appreciate new subscribers to the Gang newsletter feed, even though we have moved from Substack to Revue and we don’t know why people are subscribing to an empty feed. Come to think of it, the sound of silence might be worth it.
As Professor Corey said, “No, no, I really mean it. What is said may not be the most important part of the deal. Instead, how trust is established and maintained is a core value. The newsletter’s proposal is to get straight to the point, whether through overt messages or by avoiding wasted time on concerns or attitudes already understood by the nature of the relationship entered into. As the cost of production for creators approaches zero, tools are needed to assess the credibility and usefulness of all of these new voices. Where magazines and publishers provided a screening process, the methodology for measuring trust is now becoming critical for the business. How many watch or read what’s still important, but who these people are and how they relate to each other in a retweet / like social culture is more important.
Something similar happens with live audio, where conversation is a representative democratic process where listeners can assess not only what is being said, but also how it is absorbed by others “on stage”. These small signals of discovery between speakers are amplified by the reaction of the public and, painfully, their withdrawal from the room via Leave Quietly. You may hear the moderator (s) respond quickly to such attrition with pivots to more viable topics or new speakers, but overall these adjustments form a roadmap for future “subscriber” participation. In this structure, the subscription is less about the price than the trust that the group places in producers and speakers.
In Woodstock, the downed fences, traffic jams and general chaos of creating a city of half a million people in the blink of an eye produced a difficult management situation where the very acts promoted by the organizers could not reach the stage. Instead, artists like Lovin ‘Spoonful’s John Sebastian (assisting but not on stage) were put in the spotlight for iconic performances that changed not only their careers, but also the pace and drama of the film that resulted. Joni Mitchell was convinced by her manager to skip the event in favor of an appearance on the Dick Cavett show, but her then-boyfriend Graham Nash was there as part of CSN & Y and relayed her impressions of the event while Mitchell sat in it. hotel room. The result was that the song she wrote, recorded by CSNY, became the first single from the group’s upcoming album, Deja Vu, and was released on the film’s end credits.
“We are stardust… golden… I have to go back to the garden.” Joni Mitchell’s web beacons sprinkled over the massive economic disaster known as the Woodstock Festival captured the top of the charts, and with it the moment we remember in history. Altamont, the assassinations, pandemics, bombings of Nixon in Ohio were soon to replace the aura of the hippie trek, but we still celebrate the idea of what we call Woodstock. The cryptos might be right and the translucent pixels can be removed, but I will still take the vibrant harmonies of CSNY any day on my Morning Wheaties. I’m gonna take shows for nothing for 40, Bob.
from the Gillmor Gang newsletter
The Gillmor Gang – Frank Radice, Michael Markman, Keith Teare, Denis Pombriant, Brent Leary and Steve Gillmor. Recorded live on Friday June 4, 2021.
Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gillmor @tinagillmor
@fradice, @mickeleh, @denispombriant, @kteare, @brentleary, @stevegillmor, @gillmorgang
Subscribe to the new Gillmor Gang newsletter and join the backchannel here on Telegram.
The Gillmor Gang on Facebook… and here’s our sister show G3 on Facebook.