Welcome to issue #210 of meshedsociety weekly. Thanks for being a subscriber.
Let's get right to this week's recommendations.
Note: Some of the publications may use “soft” paywalls. If you are denied access, open the URL in your browser’s incognito/private mode (or subscribe if you find yourself reading a lot of the content on a specific site and want to support it).
- Stages, Structures, and the Work of Being Yourself
(thefrailestthing.com, 8 minutes)
Profound essay! If one, as suggested by the sociologist Erving Goffman in the book “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life” from 1956, sees every interaction with others similar to being on stage at a theater, where people perform impression management, then in a virtual environment and particularly on social media, the stage is potentially everywhere, leading us to internalize the performative mode, while at the same time being exposed to a constantly expanding variety of perspectives, stances, and forms of life performed by others. Like at a theater, after a while, everybody needs a backstage. And backstages are increasingly rare.
- In Andrew Yang, Internet Finds a Meme-Worthy Candidate
(nytimes.com, 6 minutes)
The 44-year old Yang is among the many candidates who want to become the Democratic party’s candidate for the US presidential election. He’s an entrepreneur, political neophyte, and in favor of introducing a monthly $1,000 basic income.
- Wikipedia and the Wisdom of Polarized Crowds
(nautil.us, 10 minutes)
A study of 205,000 Wikipedia topics and their associated “talk pages” reveals that the highest quality articles are overseen or written by an ideologically diverse group of people. Politically diverse editor teams on Wikipedia put out better entries—articles with higher accuracy or completeness—than uniformly liberal or conservative or moderate teams.
- What Would Happen to Uber & Lyft if the Economy Went Downhill?
(therideshareguy.com, 7 minutes)
Uber and its rival Lyft never had to deal with a recession, because the economy has been doing well during most of their growth phase. Worth pondering what a worsening economy would do to their already shaky economics.
- Do one thing every day that an algorithm didn’t choose for you
(medium.com, 3 minutes)
Nice little suggestion for a daily task. I have an additional one (although it can be combined) which I have been trying to implement myself lately: Do one thing every day that the algorithms which know your patterns likely would not have predicted.
- The News Audit: An Easy Way to Make Time to Be Productive
(nickwignall.com, 13 minutes)
The psychologist Nick Wignall outlines his structured approach to eliminating unnecessary news consumption, which he calls “News Audit”.
- I Rode an E-Scooter as Far From Civilization as Its Batteries Could Take Me
(gizmodo.com, 8 minutes)
An amusing report from what the author speculates might be the “deepest ride into the wilderness on a startup e-scooter in human history“. For the 134 minute ride into the outskirts of San Francisco, he paid $34.50, plus an expected $25 drop off charge for a ride which ended outside of the service territory area.
- Human chipping – will it ever go mainstream?
(sifted.eu, 9 minutes)
You might have read about the Swedes who have chosen to put a chip under their skin. Here is a status update on that trend, as well as a personal experience report by the author, Mimi Billing. She writes that since two years ago she has a microchip implant, but so far she never got the chance to use it.
- Let big data unlock the secrets of our bodies
(theguardian.com, 3 minutes)
Ida Tin, co-founder of Berlin-based women’s health app Clue, on how femtech could provide a technological liberation of women.
- Lean ICT: Towards Digital Sobriety
(theshiftproject.org, 7 minutes)
According to a report published by the French carbon transition think tank The Shift Project, the share of ICT in global greenhouse gases emissions has increased by half since 2013, rising from 2.5% to 3.7% of global emissions – with no change of this trend in sight. The solution according to the organization is an approach it calls “Lean ICT”, which includes measures such as buying the least powerful equipment possible, changing equipment as rarely as possible, and reducing unnecessary energy-intensive uses.
- I tried to understand location tracking. It’s nearly impossible
(fastcompany.com, 8 minutes)
Hyperbolic headline, but informative article on where New York-based tech company Foursquare gets its vast trove of realtime location data from: Lots of apps that use Foursquare’s location technology and for which users have chosen to activate constant location tracking.
- Being An Instagram Influencer Is Hard Work, So This Guy Made A Bot To Do It For Him
(buzzfeednews.com, 5 minutes)
If you know how to code, you can automate the whole process involved in becoming an influencer on Instagram, and then use your newly won credibility and great follower count to ask for free stuff.
- Increasingly, Your Brand Is Its Reviews
(streetfight.com, 6 minutes)
Insightful exchange on the importance of reviews for people’s choices and brands’ perception.
- Inverting the Effects of Facebook
(haxel.ca, 8 minutes)
A theoretical concept of how an hypothetical “Anti-Facebook” could look like. “No longer is it a system of zombified consumption but is instead a system of self-sustaining and meaningful social reciprocity.”
- The New Social Network That Isn’t New at All
(nytimes.com, 6 minutes)
In the meantime, there are newsletters as social network ;) (from a curator perspective at least).
- Finding Gold in the AI Value Stack
(medium.com, 9 minutes)
A look at the best entrepreneurial opportunities in the mainstream adoption of machine learning.
- The Crash of the Boeing 737 Max Is a Warning for Drivers, Too
(slate.com, 6 minutes)
When the role of automation reaches a point at which humans become the backup, problems arise. Catchy quote from the text: “Robots make excellent backup drivers to humans. Humans make terrible backup drivers to robots”.
- Britain’s porn watchers likely to be caught with their pants down by porn block
(yougov.co.uk, 2 minutes)
In April the UK will implement a restriction for visitors to porn sites which is a first of its kind anywhere in the world: They have to confirm their age using a driving license, credit card, passport or mobile SMS. As this survey shows, many Brits are unaware. Gotta love the headline, by the way.
- 130 EU businesses sign open letter against Copyright directive Art. 11 & 13 (nextcloud.com)
The European Parliament is due to vote on the controversial Copyright directive next week, March 26. As a protest against it, German Wikipedia has been blacked out today.
Quotation of the week:
- “The bulk of the systems we currently interact with online are designed on purpose to appeal to our cognitive biases instead of helping us overcome them.”
Albert Wenger in Freedom to Learn (continuations.com, 4 minutes)
Podcast episode of the week:
Last issue's top 3 most clicked articles:
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