Universal Pet Peeves
Maybe We Should Not Try To Solve All Problems With Just One Solution
Another Monday, Another Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture.
What are your digital pet peeves? What is the one thing you can’t stop complaining about online? Last week a few of the newsletters I’m subscribed to each touched on some of my favourite digital pet peeves.
First Jake Knapp dedicated an entire newsletter to talking about email, more specifically gmail. I never understood why Google has neglected that product so much. I bet for many people, their inbox is the one place they spend the most time on their laptop while at work, yet it is so under-developed.
While Google has been sitting on their hands, people are requesting to pay 30USD per month for Superhuman, an email app made for 2019. And now the previous lead designer of Gmail released a free Chrome extension to reduce the clutter in Gmail, an extension that quickly made waves on the Internet.
Then Peter Bihr wrote about people sending calendar invites without asking first. Can we all agree that it is super frustrating when you suddenly see an unexpected, unwanted claim of your time ticking in? It is almost as annoying as people who use 60 minutes as the default calendar setting.
Finally Kai Brach wrote about digital distractions in his (excellent) Dense Discovery. I can talk at great length about the annoyance of notifications and how it destroys my ability for deep thinking. Kai writes, “instead of scuba diving, my mind is now riding a jet-ski.” Amen to that. The only peace I can find in digital distractions is reading about how medieval monks also struggled with keeping their attention on deep-thinking.
Five Stories on Technology and Internet Culture
Really impressive tale of the evolution of art communities on the Internet. The story is relevant to read even if you are not particularly interested in art. The evolution from bulletin boards to dedicated community spaces reflects how the online world evolved in nearly any vertical. According to the article, the art communities are nearly dead today, as Instagram and other homogene platforms have taken over. These platforms are streamlined and easy to use, but also nudges a more passive and less creative use.
I’m increasingly thinking that the like button will be remembered as a parenthesis in web history. Following discussions by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey about hiding the amount of likes on Twitter, a recent discovery shows that Instagram is considering hiding the button too. And while it is yet to be decided for Twitter and Instagram, the new version of Vine has already decided to hide likes. (Before you get too excited about the death of the like button, I think it won’t mean the death of algorithmic curation)
Apparently the largest accounts on Instagram are struggling with keeping their following numbers as the platform experiences a shift in aesthetics. The new look is more authentic, less filtered.
I enjoyed reading about the less fast-paced side of the online streaming platform Twitch. Most of us know Twitch from gaming streams, but apparently there is a long tail of video-streamers who are reading books out loud, cooking, knitting, putting on make-up and even sleeping.
The thought of cameras recognizing everywhere you go is rather scary. I’d like to walk the streets without constantly being tracked. Therefore it is pretty interesting to read that researchers at KU Leuven has designed a simple print that is able to fool the algorithm so it doesn’t recognize us. Today the main wave of fashion seems to be producing more ethical and sustainable clothes, but as we see more and more surveillance cameras with the ability to identify humans, the next wave of clothing could very well be around designing for privacy.
This week I’d like to recommend listening to Solana talking with Severin about Mozilla’s Internet Health Report. The latest version of the Internet Health Report was released last week and is probably the single best reading on the state of the internet. I’m quite proud that two so smart people are reading this newsletter.
This week’s opening visual is by Wolfgang et al.