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My quick thoughts, back stage, and rants as I try to Teach kids about the Web while learning how to help others build a better Web.

Greg McVerry

I Can No Longer Recommend WordPress.Com For the Beautiful People of Tumblr

3 min read

Tumblr's that special place on the web. The refuge, the gallery, the club, the home of people you probably do not understand, and that's okay,

Folks who discuss the story of Tumblr and what's happening through a lens of porn miss the point. Tumblr's that part of the web for those who seek a beauty in a new world due to the ugliness of the old. It's not online or offline. Tumblr's different.

Truthfully I have never really played there. Just when I started getting into Tumblr I started my own blog and forgot, and I got older. Networks gravitate around different forces. 

Yet I feel compelled to reach out to folks on Tumblr asking about what to do next. Plus I am having one helluva good time. Like seriously this place is so cool. So tolerant. So beautiful.

I am a teacher. I have many students I personally know who have found a level of acceptance on Tumblr that was deeply missing in their households. I want to help them all. To hug them, to help grow as artists and writers. All of it. I can't help myself. Art is the ultimate expression of democracy.

Dewey was right.

I also believe that even with Tumblr's beauty the best path forward for people. Especially, the most vulnerable among us,is to own your own data on your own website style.

No Longer Recommending 

I love WordPress. It drives the web. My website uses WordPress. All my students have accounts as they onboard on the web. Naturally, I recommended to Tumblr users

I can not anymore.

Not until I know Automatic, the company behind takes steps to ensure third-party ad services that make Automatic money do not put at risk populations in danger.

My student wrote a heartfelt post on her struggle of surviving with an eating disorder and the ads that get served up...mermaids and fat shaming.

Fat shaming on a post about eating disorders. I am so angry. I blame Automatic. I blame, the third party as a company, I blame the artist who draws the ad, and I blame myself. 

I should have never trusted the ad-supported web for vulnerable students no matter how much I trust Automatic.

I wish it wasn't an isolated case it gets worse:

  • the fat-shaming ads appeared only on female students in class. Never male, not once. Though I do not have conclusive numbers and no students who identify as male blogged about health or feelings.
  • the fat-shaming ads only came on posts about diet, exercise, mental health, anxiety or eating disorders. Every time. This is predatory to the core. 
  • posts about relationship abuse were served up ads about a CheaterTracker app. The men in class got this add as well.

This problem is so solvable. Var = eating disorder { fat-shaming ad: false}. This problem is solvable. Put people in charge of algorithms. Do not rely on keyword matches sold by third parties. Look what happens, bad things that can actually kill people. 

Tumblr users, especially those who paint the world with your own palette, try to invest in your own website. I fear will not be safe. Not until we get some reassurances. 


Greg McVerry

Agency and the Act of Blogging #mb

2 min read

@Tonz and @kevinmarks have been my connections on earlier blogging research. One thing that struck me was the demise of research at BlogCon.

While the file formats stink I can find much of the conference research up to 2004...Then when the conference remerged in 2006 it was about SEO and building reach.

What happened? We went from building networks to trying to dominate someone else's platform. 

A loss of agency as the world migrated away from the holistic world of blogging to the prescriptive world of social media.

The research agenda shifted from agency to being an ad agency.

Teachers Keep Flame Burning

Meanwhile across the USA teachers wanted to bring the power of social media to the classroom. Yet due to the dangers of social media, plus some technopanic, we kept students in even stricter silos.

Yet often time this was blogging. 

Many of us also adopted production based pedagogies for writing that embraced agentive writing. 

Blogs were built for this. Many of us just lost the way as we got distracted by shiny new objects...and the social media did reduce barriers of access to what was, and still is in many ways,  a majority white male world online. 

Hard to Hold a Candle Against a Firehose

As the world went all in on social media teachers from kindergarten to college kept the blogosphere alive. Blogger, Edublogs, SeeSaw, School website CMSs. In almost every district everywhere there was a minimum of one teacher blogging with students the last ten years.

That's a ton of people, many now reaching young adult age, who hunger for more agency online.

We could never keep the fire burning one at a time, but if we all stick together maybe the fire can burn bright enough. 

Greg McVerry

Greg McVerry

Greg McVerry

Annual Department of Curriculum and Learning

Annual Department of Curriculum and Learning

Every year we meet to analyze the curriculum  This year we are mapping skills to EDTPA and our classes. 

Greg McVerry

Brad better to use Marcus Povey's website now Yes latest install requires setting up Mysql database and then pushing latest build with SFTP.

You have the skills and I bet your shared host makes this easy.

Greg McVerry

Replied to a post on : you should do a chapter on that in our Open Pedagogy book (one I am finishing in December) already will have chapters. Real short case study free of academic jargon. Openly published.

Greg McVerry

Make sure to read comment I posted. I explain why we can never be StrongBad.

Greg McVerry

I am disgusted that my students blogging about eating disorders on their websites get served up body shaming ads.... Like pitchfork burn this place down angry.... Where do these ad networks come from?

Greg McVerry

Wow!!! @mte90 just mentioning ClassicPress on @WordPress forums is now enough to get your account flagged....