When we started on iPhone, we could envision that phones would change forever and get better. We could envision that we could surf the web on them. We could envision that we could get our email. We could envision that it would replace our iPod one day. All those things we could see. But the magical thing that happened along the journey of iPhone is that it also became our most important device in our life. That transition in how we interact with the world is something that I don’t think anyone could completely understand, until we were living with these and using them. – Phil Schiller, Phil Schiller on iPhone’s Launch
People wonder why their daughter is taking 10,000 photos a day. What they don’t realize is that she isn’t preserving images. She’s talking. It’s not about an accumulation of photos defining who you are. It’s about instant expression and who you are right now. Internet-connected photography is really a reinvention of the camera. And what it does is allow you to share your experience of the world while also seeing everyone else’s experience of the world, everywhere, all the time.
In Nausea (1938) Jean-Paul Sartre wrote: ‘a man is always a teller of stories, he lives surrounded by his stories and the stories of others, he sees everything that happens to him in terms of these stories and he tries to live his life as if he were recounting it’. Pics or it didn’t happen. But then he must have asked himself, sitting at the Café de Flore: Am I really going to tell someone about this cup of coffee I’m drinking now? Do I really recount everything I do, and do everything just to recount it? ‘You have to choose,’ he concluded, ‘to live or to tell.’ Either enjoy the coffee or post it to Instagram. — Why watching people take selfies feels so awkward
There was the sense of diminishment I always get from our culture of images: no matter how finely you chop life into a sequence of photographs, no matter how closely in time the photographs are spaced, what the sequence always ends up conveying to me most strongly is what it leaves out. — Jonathan Franzen, A Voyage to the End of the World
Your problem is that you make shit. A lot of shit. Cheap shit. And no one cares about you or your cheap shit. And an increasingly aware, connected, and mutable audience is onto your cheap shit. They don’t want your cheap shit. They want the good shit. And they will go to find it somewhere. Hell, they’ll even pay for it.
The truth is that the best and most important things the media (let’s say specifically the news media) has ever made were not made to reach the most people — they were made to reach the right people. Because human beings exist, and we are not content consumption machines. What will save the media industry — or at least the part worth saving — is when we start making Real Things for people again, instead of programming for algorithms or New Things.
If I had to summarize it, it’s this: Our phone puts a new choice on life’s menu, in any moment, that’s “sweeter” than reality. If, at any moment, reality gets dull or boring, our phone offers something more pleasurable, more productive and even more educational than whatever reality gives us.
But it also changes us on the inside. We grow less and less patient for reality as it is, especially when it’s boring or uncomfortable. We come to expect more from the world, more rapidly. And because reality can’t live up to our expectations, it reinforces how often we want to turn to our screens. A self-reinforcing feedback loop. — Tristan Harris
The war against ad blockers didn’t start when users began using the software. It started when online outlets refused to understand that content is advertising and advertising is content, and if any part of that equation is bad, the whole thing falls apart. There’s a reason why users use ad blockers after all: many online ads suck harder than a vacuum cleaner looking for love. But they don’t have to. Everyone has their stories about ads they have liked or loved. Some readers will always block ads, but not most of them. If ads were good and fun, they wouldn’t need to be blocked and users wouldn’t want to block them.
La Storia, senza pudore, è entrata anche nella vita privata. Chissà se è colpa di certi francesi; quando abbiamo letto le vite private nel Medioevo di Jacques Le Goff, abbiamo subito pensato: prepariamo anche la nostra vita quotidiana per un Le Goff del futuro che ci studierà. Quindi, quella che Carlo Emilio Gadda chiamava la primavoltità, e cioè quella serie di eventi che nella vita di un singolo individuo accadono una sola volta con il sapore dell’inedito — il primo giorno delle elementari, il primo bacio, il primo canestro, il primo incidente in motorino, il primo tradimento — ecco, tutto questo, nel clima di rappresentazione storica che ci circonda, abbiamo cominciato a viverlo come un fatto epocale, da tramandare ai posteri. Scriviamo sui social con enfasi, e ci hanno detto che le nostre pagine sono incancellabili, rimarranno per sempre. E non fa niente allora, se tutte queste primevoltità capitano a ognuno, senza distinzione di epoche, latitudini ed età. Non ce ne importa: se la comunichiamo immediatamente al mondo, in qualche modo stiamo contribuendo alla Storia, o quantomeno alla microstoria (se proprio si conserva un po’ di umiltà).
What if the future of computing is chaos? We’ll have smartphones and then a dizzying array of desktops, laptops, tablets and hybrid devices — and different people, for different reasons, will choose different sets of each. — Farhad Manjoo
Is it so bad to prefer talking with a long-distance partner using a smartphone than with someone who does not interest me but happens to be next to me? To prefer reading how the people you’ve followed by years on Twitter are doing instead of making smalltalk with that friend of a friend sitting across the subway car? Maybe you think that yes, it is bad, that people should always prioritize physical interaction to digital one. I disagree. Except for obvious occasions (a work meeting, an actual conversation that is taking place between you and someone, etc.), I think people should be able to interact with whomever they please without being judged by people for using a smartphone to do so. — Héctor L. Carral, Stop saying technology is causing social isolation
Ad blockers are one of the few tools that we as users have if we want to push back against the perverse design logic that has cannibalized the soul of the Web. If enough of us used ad blockers, it could help force a systemic shift away from the attention economy altogether—and the ultimate benefit to our lives would not just be “better ads.” It would be better products: better informational environments that are fundamentally designed to be on our side, to respect our increasingly scarce attention, and to help us navigate under the stars of our own goals and values. Isn’t that what technology is for? Given all this, the question should not be whether ad blocking is ethical, but whether it is a moral obligation. — Why It’s OK to Block Ads, Practical Ethics (University of Oxford)
[M]y guess is that within three years, it will be normal for news organizations of even modest scale to be publishing to some combination of their own websites, a separate mobile app, Facebook Instant Articles, Apple News, Snapchat, RSS, Facebook Video, Twitter Video, YouTube, Flipboard, and at least one or two major players yet to be named. The biggest publishers will be publishing to all of these simultaneously. […] The publishers of tomorrow will become like the wire services of today, pushing their content across a large number of platforms they don’t control and didn’t design.
If someone time travelled from 1990 (let alone from 1900) to 2015 and was asked to describe the difference between then and now, they might report back: “Well, people don’t use light bulbs any more; they use these things called LED lights, which I guess save energy, but the light they cast is cold. What else? Teenagers seem to no longer have acne or cavities, cars are much quieter, but the weirdest thing is that everyone everywhere is looking at little pieces of glass they’re holding in their hands, and people everywhere have tiny earphones in their ears. And if you do find someone without a piece of glass or earphones, their faces have this pained expression as if to say, “Where is my little piece of glass?” What could possibly be in or on that little piece of glass that could so completely dominate a species in one generation?” — Douglas Coupland, Moody
The reality in media right now is that there is an enormous amount of noise. There are countless outlets (both old and new) vying for your attention, desperate not just to capture some audience, but all the audience. And in doing that, it feels like there’s a tremendous watering down of the quality and uniqueness of what is being made. Everything looks the same, reads the same, and seems to be competing for the same eyeballs. In both execution and content, I find myself increasingly frustrated with the rat race for maximum audience at any expense. It’s cynical and it’s cyclical — which makes for an exhausting and frankly boring experience. — Joshua Topolsky, riguardo la decisione di abbandonare Bloomberg
When contemplating the future, we place far too much emphasis on flavour-of-the-month inventions and the latest killer apps, while underestimating the role of traditional technology. […] In the past, I sympathised with a so-called ‘early adopters’, the breed of people who cannot survive without the latest iPhone. I thought they were ahead of their time. Now I regard them as irrational and suffering from a kind of sickness: neomania. To them, it is of minor importance if an invention provides tangible benefits; novelty matters more. […] I suggest this rule of thumb: whatever has survived for X years will last another X years. Taleb wagers that the ‘bullshit filter of history’ will sort the gimmicks from the game changers. And that’s one bet I’m willing to back. — Rolf Dobelli, The Art of Thinking Clearly (via Offscreen Magazine)