Warning: In this series, I’m going to be butchering concepts in UX/UI and community management for the sake of presenting clear parameters to a general audience.
Further reading: Intro | Leadership| Structure| Growth

So you want to start a social media platform?

Great! So do I — but instead of spending too much time trying to learn yet another language or framework myself, I’m going to teach you some of the lessons I’ve tried to tackle in building simple prototypes of all kinds of websites.

This second entry is about how the shape of your platform affects the safety, security…


Warning: In this series, I’m going to be butchering concepts in UX/UI and community management for the sake of presenting clear parameters to a general audience.

So you want to start a new social media platform?

Great! So do I — but instead of spending too much time trying to learn yet another language or framework myself, I’m going to teach you some of the lessons I’ve tried to tackle in building simple prototypes of all kinds of websites.

This is an introduction to a series on social media fundamentals, where we’ll ask the first questions you should address about…


It’s only been a day since a certain Mike Lindell launched a social media platform that seemed to come from nothing.

And like any site that seems to come from nothing…


UPDATE NOTES (22 Jan): The Sunday after this story was published, YouTube quietly rolled out a new caption format, dubbed JSON3. It’s not user-editable, and their implementation as of editing has broken text color completely, in an attempt to restrict them to an 8-bit teletype palette. It’s a bit more user-readable, though.

Closed captions are an often overlooked part of the YouTube experience.

On one hand, it’s used by communities to share in-jokes and comment on the action of a video. On the other hand, it’s treated by professional studios as an obligation, a leftover of FCC and international regulations…


Just 5 years ago, the ideal way for many communities to have a relatively contained means of talking online in real-time was quite different.

The communities of OverClocked ReMix and Kotaku’s reader-run blog Talk Amongst Yourselves were on the popular text-only IRC. Most gaming clans were on TeamSpeak, with the likes of Ventrilo and Mumble close behind. TeamSpeak was, in a way, the Texas Roadhouse of voice-over-IP (VoIP) chats. Other communities with no means of funding a host used Skype groups.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, came Discord, which billed itself as the perfect disruptive platform — a melding of…


Too often, this very statement is ignored or taken for granted. Lately, however, we are forced to ask hard questions about websites and their roles in shaping people’s outlook on life and drive to commit murder.

Virtually every platform has needed to address this question, but only a select few have been created with that very question in mind. Instead, every day we rely on major profit-driven websites that are content with their core functionality being a hindrance to its own goals to bring people together.

This has ended friendships. This has split families. This has killed people.

Square Jello, Round Mold

The first…


Some people saw the controversy around the Super Bowl LIII halftime show as the politics around getting performers late in planning. Some people saw it as the drama of Rihanna turning it down in protest to a rocky NFL season full of politics.

But many people saw the controversy around one song. A song so closely associated to nostalgia that people demanded it to be played to the world in tribute to the creator who made that nostalgia possible. …


It’s a packed day in the Central District Mall. Traffic jams of people bundled up and holding stuffed bags barely manage to pass by. Believe it or not, this city still gets healthy business from this sea of stores and the strip malls surrounding it.

By the corner of Sears and the food court, a big circular popup of the North Pole stands tall, complete with a castle gate, a red carpet, a carriage-like sleigh, and a bunch of polyacrylate-dusted evergreens.

Santa’s in town.

A big queue is nestled against the side of the display, snaking back and forth a…


At this point, it feels like an annual ritual.

Tumblr (currently owned by Verizon’s Oath division alongside AOL and Yahoo) does something heinous to disrupt the fabric of the community it cultivated, people in fragile communities cry foul, word spreads to the rest of the Web, Pillowfort starts opening their trap again, repeat.

Last time, it was their corporate-mandated pivot away from net neutrality. This time, it’s about flagging adult content on their website.

Maybe this could be the one?

But before any other “alternatives” start piping up, let’s take a step back and look at the big picture. Because…


Pop History is a column that digs into the extended lifecycles of overlooked businesses and brands that make the news. Expect a lot of familiar faces between articles.

So this past month marked the end of one of the most high-profile multi-channel networks on the web, and now one of the most infamous.

I’m talking about Defy Media. At its peak, they owned the likes of Smosh, Clevver, Screen Junkies, The Escapist, GameTrailers, Shockwave, the list goes on and on.

I imagine most of you were aware of this specifically because of Smosh, by far the most visible group in…

Jacob Salas

Silent Catalyst. Media Generalist. Writes mainly about pop culture history. Building a not-for-profit social web host.

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