Designers use metrics and a/b splitting experiments to maximize engagement with their products, seeking out the phrases that trigger emotional responses in users -- like a smart scale that congratulates you on losing weight -- but these systems are context-blind, so they are unable to distinguish between people who might be traumatized by their messages (say, a woman who's just miscarried late in her pregnancy, being congratulated on her "weight loss"). Read the rest
McMansion Hell is a hilarious blog where Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute graduate student Kate Wagner posts scorching critiques of the architecture of McMansions -- but this week, Wagner announced that she had shut down her blog after spurious legal threats from Zillow, which admits that it doesn't even hold the copyrights to the images it wants Wagner to stop using. Read the rest
Yahoo's sale to Verizon means that Yahoo's sub-companies -- Flickr, Tumblr and a host of others -- are now divisions of a phone company, and as you might expect, being on the payroll of a notorious neutracidal maniac with a long history of sleazy, invasive, privacy-destroying, monopolistic, deceptive, anti-competitive, scumbag shakedowns has changed the public positions these companies are allowed to take. Read the rest
With winter officially here, it’s time to revisit the unique practice that is “Chicago dibs.” Read the rest
An anonymous reader writes, "(Anonymous) Macedonian designers have submitted posters calling for a vote against a dictatorship on the 11th December. Their motto "#GlasamProtiv [#VoteAgainst] is an initiative by a group of Macedonian designers to topple the dictatorship that has all of us captive. Vote your will on the 11-th of December and stand AGAINST corruption, crime, freedom of speech, party harassment, torture, submission..." Read the rest
"Liftblr" is the informal, amorphous community of shoplifters who post their hauls to Tumblr using pseudonymous accounts, offering each other support and encouragement. Most seem to be young women, and their community's discourse often circles back to class war, politics, gender and consumerism. Read the rest
Beginning in July 2014 and continuing to April 2015, someone (possibly Ian Bogost) maintained an obsessive Tumblr site about whether Ian Bogost, an eminent and brilliant video games critic and editor of a spectacular series on everyday objects, would buy a pressure washer, and if so, which one. Read the rest
Regular Boing Boing readers have seen me credit This Isn't Happiness many times for wonderful visual and audio finds. We've been linking to Peter Nidzgorski's work since way back in 2008. Recently, his wonderful tumblog—a mix of art, music, film, urban ennui, and sexy design ephemera—went dark. No! Why? Automated DMCA takedowns, spurred by the complaint of a well-known copyright troll. Read the rest
When the Hogwarts kids finally got fed up at the lack of Internet access at school, the administration caved and hired Jonathan Dart, a muggle IT guy, who needs to figure out how to get the wifi working everywhere on campus, even at the bottom of Slytherin's stupid lake (it turns out that Slytherins will help you do this if you show them how to tune in emo music on Spotify). Read the rest
Read Elspeth Reeve's fabulous article about Pizza, one of the most popular Tumblogs, the "secret lives" of Tumblr Teens, and mistakes made.
It has everything. The wonderful creativity of the users; its incomprehensible architecture; the emergent support mechanisms; the toxic call-out culture; and everything ultimately, inevitably being ruined after Yahoo buys it.
Then it happened. On August 19, just days before his twentieth birthday, Lilley tried to log in to So-Relatable but couldn’t. Greenfield checked the site, which redirected to an error page: “There’s nothing here. Whatever you were looking for doesn’t currently exist at this address.” They’d been terminated, their blogs revoked by Tumblr for violating its terms of service.
Tumblr had just dissolved the sites of some of its most popular teenage users, an estimated 30 million follows gone. Including Pizza. Blogs that had brought relief from unremitting high school agony and then miraculously made their teen creators more money than they could have ever imagined, were erased from the internet, except for fragments reblogged on other sites. The day before, if they’d had a funny thought, they could share it with half a million people. And now, nothing.
“That feeling when you hit a million followers, make more money than your mom, push a diet pill scheme, lose your blog, and turn 16.” Not something most of us can relate to, but most of us aren't Tumblr Superstar Teens. Read the rest
A dumbass posted a thought experiment "proving" that homosexuality was wrong posited three islands: a gay island, a lesbian island and a straight island, in which the two former dwindle away without replenishment while the latter thrives. Read the rest