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What goes into the technical choices that change our culture? Entrepreneur, activist and writer Anil Dash sits down with the developers behind some of the world's best-known apps, games and services, and also talks with users, critics and culture experts to unpack the effects of these features. Produced by Glitch and the Vox Media Podcast Network.
Behind the Rising Labor Movement in Tech
On November 1, 2018, thousands of Google employees around the world staged a mass walkout in protest of how the company handled claims of sexual misconduct. While this is not the first time we have seen protests at this scale, it does signal to the larger community that workers at huge tech companies like these are at an inflection point. When is enough, enough?
This week on Function, we take a look at the rising labor movement in tech by hearing from those whose advocacy was instrumental in setting the foundation for what we see today around the dissent from tech workers.
Anil talks to Leigh Honeywell, CEO and founder of Tall Poppy and creator of the Never Again pledge, about how her early work, along with others, helped galvanize tech workers to connect the dots between different issues in tech.
Next, Anil speaks to Former Facebook manager Mark S. Luckie about his recent memo that's swept the Internet, and Mark details steps that tech companies can do to make conditions better for employees of color.
Lastly, Anil sits down with Matt Rivitz: one of the key people behind the grassroots campaign Sleeping Giants which caused thousands of advertisers to remove their ads from Breitbart News. According to Matt, there needs to be an awakening in the tech industry, and he illustrates that all of us can take small actions which can come together to make a massive change.
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|Dec 10, 2018|
The Wild World of Podcast Ads
Squarespace, Mailchimp, Casper, Blue Apron; If you're a regular podcast listener, then there's no doubt you've heard ads from these companies. Podcasting's reach has grown exponentially over the past few years, and companies like these are spending millions of dollars to reach listeners whenever, wherever and however they tune in. But is this truly effective? What type of ads work best? And if you're not a podcast from a big media organization, how can you can get a piece of the pie?
This week on Function, we examine the world of podcast advertising. Anil sits down with Francesco Baschieri, president of Voxnest, and talks about some of the trends and technology behind podcast ads. We also hear from New York City podcasting duo Jade + XD of Jade + X.D: The Blackest show about nothing to pull back the curtain on advertising and monetization from an independent media perspective.
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|Dec 03, 2018|
Why Are Copyrights on YouTube So Confusing?
YouTube is one of the most popular websites on the Internet, and millions of users upload all kinds of videos to it every day. Some of these are original productions, but there are also song covers, clips from television or movies, and lots of other content that occupy a murky gray area with respect to copyright. Including a caption like "no copyright infringement intended" doesn't actually protect you from copyright violation claims and YouTube's Content ID system could ensure that your video is demonetized or blocked from the platform completely.
On this week's episode of Function, we look into YouTube and copyright infringement with entertainment lawyer Gordon Firemark and YouTuber and musician Paul Davids. Gordon specializes in theatre, film, television, and new media law. He breaks down how a work becomes copyrighted and the concept of fair use. He also explains why a copyright disclaimer could do more harm than good.
Later, Anil speaks with Paul about how YouTube's Content ID system flagged him for violating the copyright on an original song he composed. Paul describes the incident and how it changed the way he shares content.
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|Nov 26, 2018|
Should Twitter Have an Edit Button?
If you're an active Twitter user, you've probably made a typo or a mistake in a tweet before that you wish you could correct. You could delete the tweet and just write another one, or Twitter could create a feature that users have adamantly requested for years -- an edit button. Even Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey has mulled over this feature, and according to recent news, it may just happen.
Enabling a button to edit your tweets sounds like an easy thing to set up from a user standpoint, but like most technological features, implementing it comes with its own positives and negatives.
We talk to Andy Carvin, author, professor, and former social media editor for NPR. Andy knows firsthand how one misinformed tweet can have a dangerous ripple effect. He talked about how an edit feature could be used to report the news more responsibly.
Then we talk with Leslie Miley, chief technology officer for the Obama Foundation and former engineering manager at Twitter, about the technical and ethical considerations around creating an edit feature.
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|Nov 19, 2018|
How GIFs Became Embedded in Our Culture
Ah, the humble animated GIF. We use them on social media or in text messages as a way to signify a reaction, tell a story, or just to have a laugh.
This week on Function, we explore the origins of GIFs; their place in internet culture; and why GIFs have flown under the copyright radar. Anil speaks with Kenyatta Cheese, a long-time Internet historian and co-creator of Know Your Meme, talks about the history of the GIF format and how GIFs became a fundamental part of meme and internet culture.
Then he's joined by T. Kyle MacMahon, digital and social producer for Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. about his website RealityTVGIFs, his thoughts on how animated GIFs have influenced modern television, and why these images aren't going away any time soon.
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|Nov 12, 2018|
What Makes the Apple Notes App Good for Apologies and Grocery Lists?
What does the latest celebrity mea culpa and your weekend shopping list have in common? If your answer is the Apple Notes app, then congratulations! You're not alone.
Apple Notes has become the de facto tool of choice for social media apologies. But why?
We explore the reasons, motivations, and compromises behind Apple Notes apologies with writer and culture expert Kara Brown and senior user experience designer Regine Gilbert. Together, we look at what the evolving use of Apple Notes means for the ways in which we interact with technology.
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|Nov 05, 2018|
What Does Epic Games Owe the Artists Who Inspire Fortnite Emotes?
Epic Games' Fortnite is one of the most popular video games in the world, and a big part of that popularity comes from their emotes -- dances and other gestures which are used in the game as taunts or celebratory moves. However, many have called out Epic Games for these emotes, claiming that they have been stolen and renamed in Fortnite without permission or citation from their creators or sources.
On this week's episode of Function, we explore the concept of commodifying culture through video games. We talk with Ty Robinson, a former game animator for Konami's Dance Dance Revolution, about the technology behind putting dance moves into video games. And we also speak with Brooklyn rapper 2 Milly, an artist at the center of the controversy surrounding Epic Games' and their use of his dance, the Milly Rock.
|Oct 29, 2018|
Introducing Function with Anil Dash
Anil Dash is a world-renowned technology expert and the CEO of Glitch. From the Obama White House to the Lower Eastside Girls Club, he’s spent decades advising people on the ways tech can transform government, society, and culture. On Function, he’ll bring those conversations to you, offering insight into the way makers think, users act, and communities shift with new technologies and products.
|Oct 20, 2018|