Aaron Swartz was an incredible guy. He was constantly successful in making me feel completely inadequate — which is generally a pretty hard thing to do — and I can claim more success in my life than I would otherwise have had thanks to Aaron’s influence.

The world is worse off without him. My best to all his friends and family.

As a result of Aaron’s passing, I am going to change my recent practice of doing many things on Facebook only. Before, I would also have ensured that my content was made available in places that weren’t Facebook, because I felt that the freedom that other platforms offered me — as well as long term stability — were important. Of late, I have not stuck to that ideal — but the fact that I haven’t is a regression from a belief that I have always had, that sharing things only in walled gardens hurts everyone.

I think this is the kind of thing that I would have frowned upon in myself a decade ago, and there is no less reason now that it should upset me. Sharing information only in a single closed platform is bad for everyone. It’s time to go back to sticking to those principles, and making my information as free as it can be. (There are practical limits to anything, but “I’m a lazy bum” isn’t a good enough excuse.)

4 Responses to “Aaron”

  1. John Cowan Says:

    Well, while you are in this mood, I will ask, “What is the attraction of posting on Facebook?” I’ve never seen the point of it.

  2. crschmidt Says:

    Feedback, for the most part. You are one of the very few commenters on my blog; most don’t bother. I can probably improve this slightly with technology, but only slightly — the amplifying network effect of the Facebook feed is pretty incredible.

    As an example: I posted the first half of this post on Facebook yesterday morning. It got 15 “Like”s — people who were friends with me and Aaron, who expressed similar sentiment. Here, I got nothing — and although I’m sure timing plays a role in that, I think the visibility of the content plays a much more significant role.

    While this might be a poor method of validation, to me, the interactivity of Facebook plays a major role in why I find it a compelling tool. Writing on my blog feels sort of like shouting into the wind, or raving like a lunatic in Central Square; posting on Facebook feels like chatting with my friends at a party.

  3. John Cowan Says:

    Mmm, I see. My sense is that any community as big and reactive as that is going to be shallow. I like a place with more inertia, without of course being so empty you are just, as you say, shouting in the wind.

  4. grr Says:

    grr likes this.

    Hope that helps.