The Digital Native Bragging List

Rare Behaviours In the Normcore Interconnected World Wide Web

Another Monday, Another Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture.

“Probably it has never been more difficult to clock out of the world, to just disappear. The world is following you to the most isolated places.”

I’m on track with my new year’s resolutions. Two weeks into 2019 I’ve managed to put on my running shoes regularly. I’ve prioritized evenings alone. And I’m close to finish the third book of the year.

The quote is from the first book I read this year, The Story of Asta by Icelandic author Jon Kalman Stefansson. It is a book about life in Iceland. It is a book about the complex nature of love, family and relationships. And it is a book about generations.

The book struck a chord with me. By simultaneously telling the life of a father and a daughter, it covered a wide time-span of Icelandic life, from a not so distant past of fishermen and wilderness, to today’s tourist-doomed, hyper-connected world where people are flokking to Iceland for authentic nature experiences and the Northern Light.

My friends with kids are often boasting about the accomplishments of their offsprings. I’m happy to give an audience and enjoy watching my friends glow as they talk about sleep-patterns, growth predictions or balance-skills. However, the one thing that parents consistently seem to admire is their kids’ abilities with phones: How fast and easy the kids get a hang of operating phones and tablets to watch and play what they want.

Reading The Story of Asta made me question whether an understanding of mobile user interfaces accounts as being digital native. Does being able to find Peppa Pig on YouTube really ensures that the kid has a bright digital future?

All of us has a mother tongue native to the country where we are born. My first word was celebrated by my parents who’d made an effort in stimulating me to talk. By the time I started school, I was able to express what was on my mind and have a conversation with those who cared to listen. Yet I had 13 years of Danish classes ahead of me, learning about gramma, poetry and comprehension.

Starting from around 4th grade we’d also have courses in digital skills. We had to achieve the equivalent of a digital driver’s license by showing that we knew the basic search functions for search engines, knew how to format text in Microsoft Word (Word Art <3) or ask relevant questions to the mother of all chatbots, Microsoft Clippy.

To me these skills are all equivalent to my friend’s kids watching Peppa Pig. Useful for sure, but ultimately it only covers the how of using the internet — leaving out the why, what and when.

On a sidenote it should be added that I don’t know if these questions were covered later in the course. After one or two lessons in digital skills I went to the headmaster with one of my friends complaining about the teacher’s lack of digital skills. To navigate the computer we were using keyboard shortcuts, this was strictly forbidden according to the teacher because you never knew what it would do… The headmaster solved the situation by allowing us skip the course.

Humble bragging aside, what skills should a kid (or an adult for that matter) show to brag about being digital native? I don’t think it comes down to keyboard shortcuts, understanding user interfaces, creating memes, using emojis or advanced search tools.

The Digital Native Bragging List

Rather than understanding mobile interfaces, below is a list of digital skills I hope kids will show. If your kid does any if these, please come bragging to me.

  • Clock out - It has never been easier to connect with friends, family and information. When the world is following you everywhere you go, it becomes a virtue to disconnect, to let your own thoughts grow.

  • Source criticism - With a constant flow of deepfakes, sponsored content and fakenews, it becomes more important to check the validity of information than to find information.

  • Take initiative - Billions of people are connected to the internet, billions of people are stuck in an endless flow of up-next entertainment, whether it is on YouTube, Nytimes or Facebook. The power is not to comply and consume, but to take initiative to create, participate and lead (communities).

  • Too much information - Everything you share, search or consume is recorded. By this you feed companies with the most intimate details of your desires, allowing them to target products and services to you. And if you are a political activist (or thinking of becoming one), you quickly put a target on yourself. In any case, it is less about how to share and more about when and what you share.

  • One year later - Instant notifications, real-time chatting and search results delivered in the fraction of a second, the internet has increased the tempo since the dial up modem. When we are used to instant gratifications, we sometime forget that it takes years to acquire a skill, build an audience or grow a plant.

What skills would you add to the digital native bragging list?

Due Diligence

Few stories following up on past weeks’ issues.

Startups are finding reasons and ways to avoid venture capital

Instagram comments seem to be the new online fora

The polite Fortnite society

How we lost the internet

11,000 books from 1923 are now public available for free

Naive Weekly

Hi, I’m Kristoffer and I’m one of the founders of co-matter. You just read Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture.

Thanks to Antal, Aydo and Nikolaj who all got back to me following last week’s newsletter.

<3

Kristoffer

This Floss Is Your Floss

If Value Then Copy

Another Monday, Another Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture.

Epic, the publisher of the popular game Fortnite, managed to make $3 billion in profit in 2018. The company that was once known for producing one of the leading gaming engines, Unreal Engine, is today hyped for gathering 125 million players in an online Battle Royal game.

Fortnite is free to play, yet it is becoming a lucrative business for Epic. In the game players buy Battle Passes. A Battle Pass does not give players any special abilities or increase the likelihood of winning, it merely allows for players to collect and unlock varies cosmetic upgrades - from new skins to dance moves.

Back in 2017 one of the rewards was The Floss Dance. If you are not sure what The Floss Dance is, then spend a minute watching Ninja explain the dance to the people gathering at Time Square for New Year’s Eve (hint: fun to watch even if you know the dance).

Recently, “The Backpack Kid” sued Epic for copyright infringement over The Floss Dance. The Backpack Kid is generally known for being the person who invented the dance after he performed the dance during a Katy Perry performance on Saturday Night Live.

And the Backpack Kid is not alone in suing Epic for a dance that players can unlock in Fortnite. For example, Alfonso Ribeiro is arguing that Epic copied one of his dances to make The Carlton Dance.

The lawsuits come around the same time as copyrighted works published in 1923 fell into the public domain. This is the first time previously copyrighted work fell into public domain in 21 years! In the past two decades various extensions have protected copyright works to become available for the public to republish and adopt.

It also comes around the same time as the European Parlament is figuring out the details of The European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. A directive that made waves on the internet for especially two articles, Article 11 and Article 13, better known as “meme-ban” and “link-tax”.

I understand and believe that creators and publishers should get rewarded for their creations. Yet it feels like law-makers are pushing rules from systems radical different to the internet to ensure rewards.

The internet connects billions of humans. It allows for inspiration, sharing and collaboration at an unprecedented scale. Six years before The Backpack Kid flossed on Saturday Night Live, someone uploaded an identical dance on YouTube. Four years ago Alfonso Ribeiro explained in The Real that The Carlton Dance is a remix of Eddy Murphy and Courteney Cox.

Instead of killing mosquitoes with elephants, we ought to figure out a better system for rewarding creators. Or maybe, maybe we ought to think of systems rewarding creations instead of creators (and right holders).

Due Diligence

Few stories following up on past weeks’ issues.

  • The Kids Are Alright

    Some parents could use a lesson in how to behave on the internet. Washington Post started the year out with publishing a story about a mom who’ve been violating the privacy of her daughter by thoughtless sharing intimate stories of her life on the internet. It doesn’t make the story better that it is written by the mom herself. Hey Parent! Leave the kids alone!

  • Real <> Fake

    More than 40% of the internet traffic is fake. Excellent article by Max Read arguing that metrics, people, businesses, content, politics and ourselves are all fake. Everything faked to appear in a specific way. Therefore the internet is not causing a death of truth, it is causing a death of trust. We don’t trust that the things and people we encounter are what the present themselves to be. Are you human?

  • Internet Love

    In a few of weeks Severin and I gather 50 entrepreneurs, investors, researchers and humans to explore How we gather in the Post Social Media Age. The summit is invite-only, but we have saved a handful of spots for open applications. If you like this newsletter, I bet you’ll find the summit interesting. Apply here.

Naive Weekly

Hi, I’m Kristoffer and I’m one of the founders of co-matter. You just read Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture.

Thanks to Antal, Aydo, Paul, Severin, Anne-Mette and Martin who all got back to me following last week’s newsletter. It always makes me happy to hear from you, so please don’t forget that I’m only one reply away.

<3

Kristoffer

Traveling Blindly in 2019

If You Really Want Truth, You Need to Escape the Blackhole of Power

Another Monday, Another Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture.

The other week I read a story about backpacking in Asia by Kevin Kelly. Most of us probably know Kevin as the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine. But the experiences Kevin described in the article pre-dated Wired with 20 years.

In my early twenties I went on a couple of backpacking trips myself. I remember buying my first Moleskin notebook while sitting in Copenhagen Airport before my first trip. I was anxious for what was to come. I had never traveled alone before and I knew little of what the next six weeks would bring.

I hoped that sharing my anxieties in the notebook would calm me down. This was in 2008. I already had a Facebook profile, but I did not yet have a smartphone. The last bit of communication I did was a couple of texts to a few selected friends wishing them a good summer holiday. I was more sad than happy when I wrote those text messages.

The anxiety was of course largely my own fault. Inspired by one of my favourite Donald Duck cartoons I decided to follow the Flipism, letting the flip of a coin decide my next destination as I moved around Central and Eastern Europe.

In theory it was a method to bring me to places I wouldn’t have gone otherwise. In practice it was much more similar to Stefan’s realization in the recent Bandersnatch episode of Black Mirror: In designing a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-Game, the creator mainly presents the player with pseudo-decisions. More or less the same outcome happens no matter what the player picks.

Some of my most cherished memories are from these backpacking trips in my early twenties. Of course it was a coming-of-age thing. But it was also pushing myself into something I did not know what would be. I was anxious and excited.

Kevin Kelly’s backpacking trips didn’t happen in the 00s, but in the 70s. And while the importance and essence of the trips seem similar to mine, the setup was utterly different.

In my backpack I had the latest edition of Lonely Planet’s “Europe on a Shoestring” book. I could always find an internet café where I could book accommodation on Hostel World and read about the places on Wiki Travel. And in my hands I had a digital camera allowing me to take (unlimited) photos and upload them once in a while to Facebook.

Kevin had no internet. He shot on film that would only be developed months or years after he returned. He had to go a great length to communicate with friends and family.

Where I was traveling by the flip of a coin, Kevin was travling blindly. Kevin did not have access to information without asking locals and other travellers.

Today the world travels into 2019. The Long Now Foundation would write 02019. The Internet would write 2k19. And in China they wait until February 5 to commence the Year of the Pig.

2019, 02019, 2k19, pigs… It doesn’t really matter how you define the year. When reading this newsletter you live in a hyper-dense information age. It has numerous advantages, but traveling blindly is not one of them.

Happy Blind New Year!

Devoted readers might recognize some stories from the Joy of Missing Out edition of the newsletter

My New Year Resolutions

I’ve never fulfilled any of my New Year Resolutions and largely agree that willpower is overrated. Yet, I want to use this opportunity to devote myself to some goals I’m likely to fail.

In 2019, my overall goal is to bring rhythm to my life. In proper goal setting this means:

  • Thinking - Read 52 books

    A few years ago I made an effort in reducing the time spent reading Twitter and Facebook and increasing my time reading articles. Launching this newsletter was part of this effort and one of the best things I’ve done for my thinking. Yet, articles quickly become repetitive and rarely goes beyond the surface. The past months I’ve increased the time spent reading books and I aim to continue this in the year to come.

  • Resting - Spent two evenings alone every week

    I rarely stand still. I want to do that more, and do it without external stimuli.

  • Exercising - Run a marathon in <3:30hr

    In the fall I signed up for Crossfit. In total I went 10 times over two months before late November and December distracted my habit. Crossfit is way better for my body than running, but looking myself in the mirror, I’m more likely to succeed making running a sticky habit. And while I like the idea of building muscles, at this point it is more important to keep exercising. It also provides the opportunity to beat my last marathon time.

The Web’s New Year Resolution

The critique of the current state of the Internet continued the past weeks. I’ve turned three of the readings from the past weeks into resolutions for the web.

The overall goal for the web is Post Social Media. I’m sure the web will fail too.

  • Conscious Consumption - End the ad-supported web

    Instead of celebrating ad-based content that doesn’t charge your wallet, it is time to move forward. Julien Genestoux asks if we have got the business model of the Internet wrong in “The End of the Ad-Supported Web”.

  • Social Web - The new social spaces are not media

    The power of Fortnite is not to entertain, but to connect. We’ve been used to our social interactions on the internet happening over social media, in 2019 we’ll get used to our social interactions happening in entirely new online spaces. Owen Williams explains this perfectly in “Fortnite isn’t a game, it’s a place”.

  • Independent Places - Own your thoughts and creations

    In Vice, Jason Koebler argues that we should turn to email and personal websites to share about our lives. His main point is that we’ve given away too much control to the social media platforms in directing and monetizing our creations. I’d add that we should not trust companies in hosting and distributing our creations.

Due Diligence

Few stories following up on past weeks’ issues.

Influencers are faking sponsored stories to look cool

Twitter is launching a feature re-introducing the chronological feed

Nymag argues PewDiePie is a gateway drug. (I disagree)

Screen time is not by itself bad for kids

Excellent interview with Kevin Kelly

Half of phising websites now have “the secure padlock”

Naive Weekly

Hi, I’m Kristoffer and I’m one of the founders of co-matter. You just read Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture.

Thanks for Severin sending you love after last week’s issue. And extra thanks for Martin for adding a quote from my last newsletter in his own. It always makes me happy to hear from you, so please don’t forget that I’m only one reply away.

<3

Kristoffer

The Kids Are Alright

Information War, Model T and Resistance

Another Monday, Another Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture.

Tencent has introduced age restrictions for their video games in China. Players under 18 are limited to play two hours per day, while those younger than 12 are limited to one hour of gaming per day.

To enforce the restrictions, Tencent verifies the identity of players by tapping into a government database of Chinese citizen. Every new player is required to provide personal information, and a photo.

To play an unlimited amount of hours, kids are creating false profiles using the identities of their parents and grandparents. This process includes taking a photo of their parent while they are sound asleep, holding their identity card in front of the sleeping parent.

Today there is a lot of discussion around the unintended consequence of technology. ‘Closer together, further apart’ is used to describe the paradox of how we have never been more connected, while never been more lonely. Other mentioned consequences ranges from an inability to withhold concentration to the breakdown of the democratic state.

I’m still optimistic when it comes to technology.

The Internet as a technology is still young. Only last year did more than half of the World’s population get access to the Internet. The social media platforms that get a lot of blame these days are even younger. Facebook was created in 2004. Instagram in 2010. Fortnite in 2017.

When the first Model T was produced in 1908 it didn’t include safety features like seat belt and flashing lights. Those are industry standards today, but weren’t hundred years ago. It took continued innovation and regulation to reach the safety levels of today (still 37,461 people were killed in car accidents in 2016 in the US alone).

If Facebook was Model T, many of the safety features of are still to be invented.

It is said that humans have suffered three big loses in modern time. First Copernicus showed that The Earth is not the center of the universe. Then Darwin’s evolution theory proved that humans through natural selection originates from apes, making us not much different from other beings. Finally Freud’s psychoanalytic theory showed that many of our actions are controlled by our unconscious mind.

The one thing that makes me slightly itchy when it comes to the Internet is that we somehow seem to be on the verge of another loss. As more of our actions and thinking happens while connected to the internet, our unconscious mind is no longer private.

We search for answers to doubt, sickness and fear on the internet. I’m rarely very conscious of what I actually do online, nor where I do it. It all just happens.

A few weeks ago Renee DiResta published one of the best articles I’ve read this year. It is titled “The Digital Maginot Line”, and in it Renee argues that there is a war going on, and that we are all involved.

When we think of wars, we imagine soldiers, drones, nukes. But all of these images of war are outdated. Today’s war is based on information. The territory is the human mind. And Renee argues that if you aren’t a combatant, you are the territory.

When I read stories of how Chinese kids are hacking the system I become happy. It restores my hope in our ability to do resistance in the information war. It reminds me of how I found loopholes in technology back in my school days. It shows how it is still possible to go off-road on the information highway.

If you feel somehow similar, you might enjoy a few of the examples shared in this Twitter thread. My favorite is the kid activating screen-recording to figure out the password of their parent.

Due Diligence

Few stories following up on last week’s issue.

YouTube Rewind 2018 is now officially the most disliked video on YouTube. Of everything that is written and said on the topic, I think Marques Brownlee has the best analysis of what is wrong with this year’s rewind video.

A recent episode of the a16z podcast adds some interesting thoughts and perspective on how video will develop in the mobile age. It is worth a listen for anyone interested in technology and entertainment.

Short bits

Big tech has your kid’s data — and you probably gave it to them

How children lost the right to roam in four generations

Taylor Swift used facial recognition to track her stalkers at a concert

In praise of being mediocre

How The Wall Street Journal is preparing its journalists to detect deepfakes

A bot now tells Financial Times reporters if they’re only quoting men

An AI created quality memes

Naive Weekly

Hi, I’m Kristoffer and I’m one of the founders of co-matter. You just read Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture.

Thanks for Louis sending you love after last week’s issue. It always makes me happy, so please don’t forget that I’m only one reply away.

<3

Kristoffer

Trust and Fear

The World Is Not As Bad As YouTube Rewind 2018

Another Monday, Another Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture.

Last year I started a page in my notebook titled “what holds you back”. It has five bullets. In-reverse order the bullets are: auto-pilot/too narrow focus, not letting go, (hunger), tiredness and fear.

I was reminded of the list the other day. I had just picked up Rachel Botsman’s latest book “Who Can You Trust”. In it Rachel explains how trust historical has been used to bridge the unknown, especially for technology companies.

The challenge Airbnb faced was not technological, but cultural: we were not used to sleep in the same flat as strangers. Not alone were we not used to sleeping in strangers’ flats, since childhood have we been wired not to trust strangers.

One of Rachel’s main arguments is that we are in the midst of a historic shift in trust. From trust being institutional, trust is today increasingly becoming individualised. Having graduated from Harvard is no longer worth as much as a lot of followers or a strong portfolio. Trust is no longer centralized, it is distributed.

The link between trust and fear is not straight forward. There is no mention of fear in the description of trust, and vice versa. Yet I feel they are probably not too distant cousins. Each of them reflects on future expectations: either through confidence or danger.

In his recent post called The Fear Virus, Angus Hervey reminds us that we live in times that by almost every single measurement is better than before, encouraging us not to let the fear virus get us, simply by not spreading the fear stories. (Angus does this himself with an excellent newsletter called Future Crunch).

Before reading Angus’ post I was about to share a few stories of recent political fear-mongering from my back-yards in Denmark and Hungary. Instead I’ll assume you already follow the news, put on my coughing mask, get back to work and look forward to speaking to you soon.

Flip Your Screen

YouTube is rolling out Instagram-like stories to more creators. It can seem like a small and silly feature for the world’s second largest search engine to launch, yet I think it is a feature that top management at YouTube and Google are following closely.

From TV to cinemas, we’ve been used to consuming video horizontally. The whole production and distribution systems of broadcasting and film has been created and optimised for horizontal.

However, today most of the video consumed and produced in the world is on smartphones. While it is not too hard to flip your phone while recording a video, it is much easier to just hold it as you always do.

With the success of TikTok (formerly Music.ly), Snapchat and Instagram Stories you probably already aware of this. My guess is that it won’t take many years before the majority of video is vertical and 16:9 will look at outdated as 4:3.

… and now for a free business ideas: A vertical video streaming app focused on gaming. It can probably be executed by combining the front-facing camera and screen-recording.

Year Review

It is that time of the year where everyone is too busy with finishing up their work before a new fiscal year begins. Instead of taking a break, I see an overwhelming amount of annual lists.

From people sharing their most listened songs on Spotify to their top 9 most popular Instagram photos. Of all the lists out there, YouTube’s “Rewind 2018” is probably the worst. In just four days it has become the second most disliked video on all of YouTube with more than 6M dislikes.

On the other end of the spectrum, the best list I’ve seen so far is Tom Whitwell’s “52 Things I Learned in 2018”. It is the fifth year he publishes the list, each of them as good as the previous.

… and trust me, I’ll share an annual list soon enough.

Reader’s Corner

A few stories and links you shared with me after last week’s newsletter.

Nynne urged me to check out Luba’s newsletter. It passed the initial skimming test, so now I’m subscribed.

Five Short bits

Living with a TikTok influencer is a nightmare

Founder of Vine is back with Byte and got 500 beta-testers in under a minute

Amazing map of how wolf packs avoid each other

You should think of attention as an experience, not a resource

Scientists have made a commenting bot that can’t be distinguished from a humans (“HYPE!”)

Naive Weekly

Hi, I’m Kristoffer and I’m one of the founders of co-matter. You just read Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture.

Please remember, I’m only a reply away. Thanks to Martin and Nynne for sharing that last week’s newsletter was their favorite so far. And an extra shout-out to Nynne for getting this newsletter five new subscribers after her tweet.

<3

Kristoffer

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