When Did You Last Time Go Foraging?
Another Sunday, Another Naive Weekly - Observations From The Internet Wilderness.
There is an immense beauty in wildflowers; their fragile neck, slender stem and colourful petals. Carving out spaces along the side of the roads, wildflowers defy any logical explanation of being. They just are. Means without ends.
It is impossible to spot the wildflowers while hiding inside. And as I race down the street, my fast pace blurs their existence. To observe wildflowers requires to open my door, step out and forget about time.
On the Internet we spent most of our time inside mega cities and cruising super highways. Where Google is the super highway, Facebook is the mega city. Perfectly designed platforms delivering as promised across every device we own. Incredible achievements connecting us to eternal information and almost every breathing human.
It is popular to blame the mega cities and super highways for the monoculture the Internet has become. They are to blame for the loss of everything we once loved. Gone are the nerdy forums, inspiring blogs, personal websites, and curated directories.
I’m not here to cast any blame. Instead I want to encourage you to step out of your comfortable apartment in the mega city. I want to encourage you to take another road. Forget about time. And see what you discover. The Internet Wilderness is as beautiful as ever, if you make the effort.
Inês Catarina Pinto has written one of the most beautiful love letters I have ever read. She is also the founder and editor of Nevoazul, an independent magazine exploring our relationship with media and she writes a promising monthly newsletter called Telegram. I first started to interact with Inês due to common appreciation for Murakami, we’ve yet to meet in person, but I am looking forward to the day it happens.
K: What was one rabbit hole you recently fell into?
Inês: Lately, I'm kind of obsessed with language. It started with readings about Wikipedia bias on biographies and then it quickly escalated to how the "generic masculine" is not that generic. As Carolina Criado Perez puts it in the book Invisible Woman: "When it's used, people are more likely to recall famous men than famous women, to estimate a profession as male-dominated, to suggest male candidates for jobs and political appointments." The next step down the rabbit hole is to explore how we should decolonize the Internet’s languages to center the knowledge of marginalized communities. Whose Knowledge 2020 report is my starting point.
K: What is your most frequently used emoji?
Inês: I use the herb emoji a lot! Or the sunflower one, if I'm feeling particularly cheerful. Using nature emojis is a way to introduce some offline elements to the conversation. When we talk with someone outside, or even indoors, there are always some elements around us that catch our attention. Like the wind messing our hair or the sun peeking between the curtains. When we are online it's easy to lose our connection with the earth. Sending a four-leaf clover or a crescent moon emoji is my naive attempt to be more grounded even when I'm behind a screen.
K: What is the size of your internet?
Inês: It's expanding. I'm trying to move towards different universes. The Internet is an ever-growing space but if we spend our time consuming only information that mimics our views of the world, it can look pretty small. Platforms like #diversifyyourfeed and Proporti helped me acknowledge the lack of diversity in my feeds. When I realized how limited my online circles were, I started to browse for different voices and ideas. The moments I spend online should be like exploring a galaxy, not a house of mirrors.
K: How do you think about time?
Inês: Time is probably the most valuable and underrated resource we have. Last year, New Philosopher magazine launched an interesting issue dedicated exclusively to the idea of time. One of my favorite articles was "Outrunning the Sun", by Patrick Stokes, about how time was turned into a commodity and sold in increments. That made me think about how productivity apps break our days into a never-ending collection of task blocks. Why would we want to shred our days into tiny pieces? Our productivity may increase, but we are getting away from life cycles. I use the app Daylight to see if I have more or fewer minutes of daylight each day. It's a personal reminder to use my time wisely, without feeling the need to control it. I also enjoy checking how different calendars mark the time. We may be in 2020, but by the Hebrew calendar the year is 5780. As time keeps slipping, it's good to remember that we are each other's pasts, presents, and futures.
K: What question would you ask a tree?
Inês: Is stillness the answer?
Request your personal cloud. Mine took two weeks to arrive.
Apply for a job at Shitspan. Made by an ex-employee of Kingspan.
Get Bye, an email service that automatically responds with an insult.
Words can't describe your *beauty*...
But numbers can.
Sent with BYE, the worst email service.
Drive through cities while listening to local radio.
Algorithms not only decide what we consume, they also influence what gets created. Sadly I am not surprised to read that on Instagram, “posts that contained pictures of women in undergarment or bikini were 54% more likely to appear in the newsfeed.”
“In big cultural concepts like music or fashion, things have a way of coming around full circle. When I look at some of the trends on the web today, I wonder if we’re at that point yet." I’d not only agree, but argue that the 90s web has been here all along.
If you find the article disturbing, wait until you discover the subreddit for users of the app.
CATCHES FROM THE DEEP OCEAN
"Building a mouse that doesn't let a person click on advertisements or buy buttons or add to cart buttons or... when the mouse moves over or past an advertisement the mouse will violently shake (or if safety were of no concern it would get really hot so that a person would have to wait until it cooled down)."
Discovered by Søren. Catch your own creature.
Hi, I’m Kristoffer and you have just read Naive Weekly - Observations from the Internet Wilderness.
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Photograph by Ana Santl.