What Would You Do With Your Last Day of Internet? | GOOD
Since, on average, American adults spend 11 hours a day on digital media—checking email, stalking exes, watching cat videos, and otherwise letting our brains slowly die—maybe a more interesting question these days would be “What would you do on your last day of internet?”
So … what would you do on your last day of internet?
What would you do if they were going to shut it all down tomorrow? (Don’t ask why, this isn’t that kind of thought experiment.) For people whose lives and careers remain so inextricably attached to their Wi-Fi, what would their final hours online look like? Would they make peace with their vaguely racist high school friend who wants to defund Planned Parenthood? Would they finally—after months, years of contemplating—sign up for Amazon Prime, just to enjoy 24 hours of straight streaming heaven? Or are their interests more pornographic? Would they spend a full day exploring uncharted sites, bold and brazen new categories, discovering their grossest selves in the process? Who would they friend? Defriend? Caps-lock comma-free call out?
We here at GOOD decided that we’d waste some of our favorite internet people’s time by asking them how they’d spend their final remaining hours on the digital grid.
How Facebook Squashed Twitter – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
The idea of a “smartphone” that could connect to the Internet and run applications was around long before 2007; Apple, though, was the first to put the entire package together, including the device, user interface, and interaction paradigm, which is why the first iPhone is considered the start date of the mobile revolution.
Similarly, the idea of a feed of information developed over many years; blogs were based on the format, and RSS allowed users to compile multiple news sources into a single stream. However, the introduction of Twitter in March of 2006, along with the Facebook News Feed, in September 2006, were the two seminal products that brought all the essential components together: users, content, and a place to read. I would argue it’s a date that is just as significant.
Today, having a feed that users willingly return to day-after-day is the foundation of successful mobile advertising companies, especially Facebook. As I noted back in 2013 the feed allows for an advertising unit that is actually superior to anything found on the desktop: users have no choice but to at least visually engage with whatever is dominating the screen of the mobile device that is the center of their lives.
In fact, I would argue that the feed is so important that its development — or lack thereof — is the core reason why Facebook has soared over the last ten years, while Twitter has slumped after a beginning that suggested the exact opposite sort of outcome.
The Problem with Digital Reading is Paper – LiquidText
A lot of people over thirty-five tend to think they prefer paper books/documents because they’re old. They may see digital as being better in some abstract way and, with a tone somewhere between apology and lament, see themselves as too old to get on board. The beauty of Rosenwald’s piece is that it helps us all get a little closer to the root of the problem with digital reading. The signs are that it’s less of an incompatibility with our childhood habits, as with our psychological and cognitive requirements as people.
Kindle is really designed for casual reading; the place where digital has fallen short, as Rosenwald explains, is with things like digital textbooks. And while Rosenwald focuses on academic reading, other studies have shown similar preferences among professional knowledge workers, about 80% of whom like to print their documents to read them. This kind of professional and academic reading usually involves what academics call “active reading” since it necessitates a more proactive engagement with a text, and especially the physical medium of a text. Taking notes, comparisons, writing excerpts, searching, are all examples.
So why is active reading so hard on digital devices? Partly it’s the nature of a digital device that invites distraction and, on tablets and PCs, the irritating lighting of an emissive display. But a major component is more about what the devices are capable of and how that matches to what people need when they read. Back in the 90s Kenton O’Hara studied what goes into the active reading process at Xerox’s research labs in the UK. He found many of the usual suspects: annotation like highlighting and margin notes, bookmarking, etc. But he found nuances that are less obvious—having good ways to retrieve notes, support for non-linear reading, viewing different document sections in parallel, diagramming, etc.
Think about it—many of the best attributes of paper require it being composed of physical pages. So we’re left in a difficult spot: our digital active reading products are inspired by paper, inherit its problems, and avoid its advantages.
How to Judge the Cover of a Book — re:form — Medium
If you choose to publish an old-fashioned paper book in this internet age, the whole book matters, not just the text between the covers. Books are portable works of art.
A Conversation With Erik Spiekermann
Erik: Learn as much about our culture as you possibly can, by reading, by traveling, by involving yourself in things that go on. But don’t become an artist. Don’t think, “I’ll do it intuitively.” You have to learn if not to code at least to appreciate code, to understand code. Because code is what nuts and bolts were a hundred years ago.
If you don’t know anything about mechanics, you can’t survive in this world. If you don’t know anything about how a computer works or code works, as a communicator, which is what a designer is — the interface between machines and man, that’s what we are. We are the interface, we interpret what the machine says into visible language. If you don’t understand how the machine works, you’re going to be laughed out of the room by the engineering guys, because you can’t communicate with them.
Proust Was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer – review | Books | The Guardian
Scientific accounts of the world offer us a user’s manual – a description of how we interact with the world. They say nothing whatsoever about the way the world really works – what vision scientist Donald Hoffman in 1998 dubbed “the relational realm”: “We might hope that the theories of science will converge to a true theory of the relational realm. This is the hope of scientific realism. But it’s a hope as yet unrealised, and a hope that cannot be proved true.”
Proust Was a Neuroscientist – Jonah Lehrer – Book Review
At 25, he has already been a Rhodes scholar, worked in the lab of a Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist and been a line chef in the kitchens of Le Cirque 2000 and Le Bernardin. He writes a blog on science issues affiliated with Seed magazine, where he is an editor, and now has written “Proust Was a Neuroscientist,” a precocious and engaging book that tries to mend the century-old tear between the literary and scientific cultures.
In college, Lehrer did a double major in neuroscience and English. One day, during a break in molecular experiments on the nature of memory, which involved “performing the strange verbs of bench science: amplifying, vortexing, pipetting,” he picked up “Swann’s Way.” “All I expected from Proust was a little entertainment, or perhaps an education in the art of constructing sentences,” he writes. What he got instead was the surprise Virgil gave Dante: Proust had already discovered what Lehrer was trying to find out. He knew 1) that smell and taste produce uniquely intense memories, and 2) that memory is dependent on the moment and mood of the individual remembering. These were facts scientists didn’t establish until a few years ago. And here was Proust making the same point in 1913.