The Politics of Empathy and the Politics of Technology — The Message

Then there’s the question of automated changing of profile pictures to express sympathy, a form of emotional disaster relief. We first saw this phenomenon when Facebook created an easy way for people to apply a rainbow overlay to their profile pictures to support and celebrate a civil rights win: marriage equality. Even if you approve of rainbowing profiles, you have to acknowledge that by encouraging rainbows, Facebook was making another political choice, like the way Safety Check was a political decision.

The Politics of Empathy and the Politics of Technology — The Message

Audience as affordance: Twitter versus Facebook — Remains of the Day

In reference to Matt Haughey’s essay:

What could I possibly write as a status update that would be interesting to my father, one of my coworkers from my first job out of college, the friend of a friend who met me at a pub crawl and friended me, and someone who followed me because of a blog post I wrote about technology? This odd assortment of people all friended me on Facebook because they know me, and that doesn’t feel like a natural audience for any content except random life updates, like relationship status changes, the birth of children, job changes, the occasional photo so people know what you look like now. So unlike Haughey, what I struggle with about Facebook is not the constraint to be consistent with a single conception of myself, it’s the struggle to target content to match multiple versions of myself.

Audience as affordance: Twitter versus Facebook — Remains of the Day

The New Inquiry: Comfortably Alone

Shyness had made me so deficient in empathic experience that I could only view social life in terms of risk rather than opportunity. The best way to manage that risk, I thought, was to be unapproachable but legibly fascinating at a distance, to present myself as an object to be read but with a message that’s inscrutable and fleeting, one that could convey the complexity of the real me without reducing it to something superficial. I could not get past the wish to broadcast my identity without having to interact with anyone.

Facebook, of course, caters to that desire.

The New Inquiry: Comfortably Alone

The Social Network

The Social Network. No joke, this is a pretty amazing movie. Just like everyone says. Great tale, whether accurate or not. It’s refreshing to see a movie about this kind of creativity and this kind of business. Great editing. I didn’t like the soundtrack much when I listened through it as a stand-alone, but it’s just about perfect in context. Of the David Fincher films I’ve seen, I’d rank this one first or second, with Zodiac giving it stiff competition. Maybe Fight Club slightly edges Seven, but neither one is nearly as good as the other two.