Note: this is a statement I made online on the doaskdotellnotes domain in the late afternoon of Wednesday, February 27, 2019. I reproduce it here as an archive for my own public records.
The text follows:
Today I need to talk about my own future as a “citizen journalist”, blogger, and author. I had started this discussion here with a post Oct. 19, 2018.
Several major renewals happen in this next year, and given the increasingly volatile and polarized political climate and how it consumes Internet user-generated content, I have to be concerned that questions can come my way.
I want to state that I feel committed to keeping the blogs and websites as they are into the middle of 2021, after the 2020 election cycle and the beginning of a new term. I will turn 78 on July 10, 2021. On October 18, 2021 I will have been living in my current condo four years. I do believe that I will need to sunset most of this online presence in the second half of 2021 unless it starts paying its own way or I can find others able to run pieces of it.
There is one small detail: I had intended to eliminate the little site “billboushka.com” in March. As of now, I expect that to happen in July, 2019.
A sunset would mean that as of a certain date probably in the 3Q of 2021, posting ceases, and the blog content is removed from online view by the end of the year. However it will be saved and available offline for anyone interested or for any estate executor. Content closely related to the books (like additional footnotes) would stay but probably require user logon.
Staying on this schedule depends on not having major external disruptions, as from providers or hosts or litigation.
I do have a 5-year arrangement (through 2023) to support the third of the DADT books (ad site) I expect to have a novel available and some arrangement for some of my music (accumulated over a lifetime). There will be an arrangement for the more usual kind of user web interface typical to sell physical or electronic (Kindle) copies of a book and to have music performed by third parties. This would need to be in place sometime in 3Q 2021 at the latest. Soon there will be more information on my current progress with these; there will need to be at least two travel events in 2Q 2019 to set up the novel.
I am beginning to look at the use of blockchain to save my content, and have set up accounts on both Minds and Steemit. I have very limited content on each right now. I have discovered that it is necessary to set oneself up with cryptocurrency accounts and the appropriate passcodes and digital or paper wallet and be active and fluent with tokens and cryptocurrency first before using the sites much. Although the amount of funds would not be much, I do need to say that any such funds must come from accounts only in my own name (funds from either of the two trusts may not be used). There will be hardware and software purchases to facilitate music and screenplay production by the end of 1Q 2019. John W Boushka (but not mother’s) trust money can be used for these two trips and for the equipment.
One of the trends driving my actions is my lack of confidence that the world of user generated content, as we have come to know it, is really sustainable in its current form, particularly in a global political climate with increased identarianism and tribalism than I had expected before the election of Donald Trump. But it is worldwide.
Most of us get UGC through major social media platforms, which, as have been widely noted, have become vulnerable to foreign manipulation and driving into echo chambers. There are multiple stress points on both social media companies and now, since Charlottesville, hosting companies, which over time will increase the risk to them and lower the potential profits they can earn in supporting amateur UGC. The loss of network neutrality in the US has not been as important as has FOSTA (Backpage) and then the enormous pressure on platforms from identarian politics. One of the most important is the likely adoption of mandatory pre-upload filters (Article 13) and link licenses (Article 11) in the EU, where the mentality suggests that amateur users have “no rights” worth saving. It is not clear yet how these pressures could eventually apply to crypto sites, which claim to be much more immune to political pressures.
I want to affirm my belief in the value of independent media, which tends to keep establishment media in check because of its nimbleness. I regard myself as part of independent media, but my “right” to continue to do so could be challenged. We saw the importance of independent media in recent reporting on the Covington School incident, at least one victimization hoax, and on the unrest in France. Independent journalism often includes commentary that brings into play lesser known experiences from one’s own background, which in my case has plenty of ironies.
Most of the well known independent channels are financed by advertising – with increased pressure on YouTube especially for censorship – and patronage. Most content itself is “free” the way broadcast TV is.
But it’s obvious that mainstream and larger media companies fear loss of revenue and jobs as smaller operators capture their audiences. This is particularly what is driving the Copyright Directive in the EU where platforms are to be viewed now as publishers totally responsible for what goes out and with little incentive to allow amateurs to stay. This is all about protectionism.
My content has minimal advertising and does not ask for money. I fund it with assets from other sources. But that has conceptual disadvantages in a lack of transparency, from the viewpoint of the public. That leads to reactive questions – which I often get – which I don’t have the space to deal with today but will cover soon. It gets very personal.
(Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at 4 PM EST)