Weekly output: Elon Musk buying Twitter, chief impact officers, U.S.-led Internet declaration, airBaltic’s NFT ambitions

Work took me on a short trip to the Baltics this week–one made a little longer on the way home by a date-validation glitch in a COVID-testing app. Have I mentioned how much I hate the CDC testing rule for returning international flights that has no counterpart for domestic flights?

This week’s bonus for Patreon readers: a post unpacking a curious case of a telecom company’s publicists going out of their way to avoid telling the press about a welcome development in their product lineup.

4/25/2018: Elon Musk buying Twitter, Al Jazeera

Somehow, my only paid-for opining about the Tesla and SpaceX billionaire’s bid to buy Twitter came in this appearance on the Arabic-language news channel. Please note that I didn’t write “somehow” as a synonym for “regretfully.”

Photo of the TechChill logo as seen on a display in front of the stage in Riga, Latvia4/28/2022: What do Chief Impact Officers Really Do?, TechChill

I led a discussion about this new c-suite slot with two recently-hired chief impact officers: Contentsquare’s Kat Borlongan, who appeared via video, and Maanch’s Sianne Haldane, who joined me onstage.

4/29/2022: US Gets 60 Countries to Sign ‘Declaration for the Future of the Internet’, PCMag

I contrasted this White House-led declaration of open-Internet principles with a list of countries that indulged in Internet shutoffs most often in 2021–meaning India and then everybody else.

4/29/2022: AirBaltic CEO Touts Cryptocurrency Experiments, Predicts NFT Airline Tickets. PCMag

A TechChill panel featured airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss holding forth on the airline’s ambitions to rebuild such core functions as ticketing on NFT foundations. I get that these announcements win the carrier some extra publicity (as seen in this post), but the real reason to fly airBaltic (should their routes match your travel patterns) is their flying the Airbus A220, one of the finest regional jets ever made.

Weekly output: budget phones, Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse pitch, SXSW 2022, Check My Ads, Mark Vena podcast, Flickr limits free accounts

It was a real treat to get back to Austin after three years and eat at least a dozen tacos over five days.

Screenshot of story as seen in Firefox in Windows 113/14/2022: The best budget phones in 2022, CNN Underscored

My first byline at a CNN property since the fall of 2012 ran at CNN’s new reviews site. My take on under-$500 phones after trying out this batch: The convenient truth here is that you now give up very little if you decline to spend $1,000 or more on a flagship smartphone, but camera quality remains the biggest tradeoff.

3/16/2022: Do You Care About the Metaverse More Than Mark Zuckerberg?, PCMag

I wrote up Mark Zuckerberg’s profoundly detached video appearance at SXSW.

3/16/2022: At SXSW, in-person networking resumes – along with the struggle to tame tech, USA Today

In my USA Today column, I tried to sum up my SXSW experience in 500 words and change. One thing that helped: Future Today Institute founder Amy Webb provided me with the perfect quote to open this piece in her talk last Sunday morning.

3/17/2022: To fight disinformation, follow the money—and the ads, Fast Company

My next SXSW recap came in this post about Check My Ads’ efforts to defund disinformation sites, one ad exchange at a time.

3/17/2022: S02 E11 – SmartTechCheck Podcast, Mark Vena

My part of this podcast this week was telling listeners (and viewers) about SXSW, which mostly consisted of me talking about Zuckerberg’s profoundly detached video appearance.

3/18/2022: Flickr Limits NSFW Photo Sharing to Paid Accounts, PCMag

When I pitched my editors about writing up two policy shifts at Flickr that further emphasize paid memberships, I thought the photo-sharing service’s mobile apps would rank higher than it appears they do.