A smashing essay on Kyro Beshay's site about the relationship between sociability and privacy is a must-read:
Social networks and services have definitely given us new and seamless ways to communicate with people from across the globe, pushing the boundaries of what in our lives is deemed acceptable to share, but a wall has been hit and the efforts to tear it down have left me uncomfortable. I’m specifically talking about this new move to broadcast what pages and messages we’ve viewed, without our consent. Services like BBM have long been guilty of this, but the idea has seen increased adoption recently with services like FB Messenger and Apple’s iMessage. In fact, this whole push for “passive sharing” has been gaining momentum, with Quora as the latest transgressor.
We’re now forced into an obligation to respond to a person’s message, almost immediately. With email and texting, there exists a wall of privacy and discretion where the person on the receiving end is given full power to read, ignore, or respond without being bound by deadlines or expectations. I may not want to read or reply to a message for a myriad of reasons – I need time to think of a proper response, I’m waiting on other plans to get sorted, or the sender is just someone who really annoys me. My question is: Is this sort of stuff increasing the value of our social interactions? I don’t think so. In fact, I’d argue that it’s making our interactions less enjoyable. Many friends have mentioned how others knowing when they’ve read a message has made for many awkward situations; and I wholeheartedly agree.
Being Social Is About Being Private
It's an old story: someone searches Google for a common keyword -- "jews," "women," "black people" -- and gets back a bunch of far-right conspiracist/genocidal garbage; Google gets embarrassed, twiddles some search-weighting knobs, and the results change.
Twitter has a setting that (nominally) allows you to turn off its default of showing you "top" tweets (as selected by its engagement-maximizing, conflict-seeking algorithm), but periodically, Twitter just ignores that setting and starts nonconsensually eyeball-fucking you with inflammatory headlines.
When social media was young, it was obvious that it had some pathologies -- perverse incentives that drove people toward antisocial behaviour. Back in those days, a company named Flickr did some radical things that made it (briefly) the best social network on the internet (until Yahoo bought it and all but destroyed it): among […]
Everybody could use a little improvement, especially those of us on the hunt for new careers. Each job requires a different set of skills, and that list can change from year to year or even month to month as new technologies emerge. When you’re in that race and need to learn fast, the old model […]
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