Extremely Biased

You Really Don't Care Much About Social Media When You Are Looking At Trees

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

Sorry for missing yesterday’s noon CET publishing schedule. Over the Easter weekend I went to the Swedish forest to disconnect from the Internet and look at trees. I hope you had time to connect with friends and families too.

Today’s introduction was written in my notebook while sipping an afternoon coffee in the sun. The setting was great, the coffee was average and the thoughts were messy.

— — —

Sweden, 2019

Today it is easy to find the best. Michelin guides us to the best restaurants. Instagram shows the perfect spot for our photo of the blossoming cherry trees. Udemy has an endless list of top-rated courses for us to learn almost anything.

Together with my friend Antal we are working on indexing the best coffee places (WIP) in the world. We both care about coffee, so when we are in a new town, of course we want to taste the best it has to offer, hence creating a directory.

I have friends who make fun of me for caring about coffee. They just want a regular black coffee. They find it silly to care about the details of coffee, not to mention paying the premium that a bag of really good beans costs. Nespresso, americano, whatever, it really doesn’t matter to them.

All of my friends who mock my coffee enthusiasm have other hobbies or causes they care deeply about. It might be Nordic black metal music, Warhammer figures, natural wines, vintage bikes, Lego, literally anything goes. And surely they’ll be able to tell me war-stories of how they came into possession of certain unique items. Stories that often include eye-opening amount of money.

With limited time and resources it makes sense to want the best. If I had to hire someone, I’d want to hire the best. If I had to decide where to work, I’d want to work at the best place (possible).

If the industrialization invented and celebrated the normal human and the middle class society, after years of celebrating kings, gods and the supernatural, I’d argue we are entering some sort of normalized extreme age. We are no longer satisfied with living yet another average suburban live, we want a unique and fulfilling life — so even when we go digital detoxing, we do it extremely.

Just like there were downsides to kings and gods and the industrialization, I’m sure someone in the future will be able to write meaningful words about the age where we all rushed to the extremes.

Remotely Related Readings

If I had more clarity, these stories would have been included in the opening.

  • How the Idea of a ‘Normal’ Person Got Invented
    This article is a few years old, but still worth reading. I find it fascinating that not long ago humans had no idea of ‘normal’.

  • Online Reviews Are Biased
    When did you last time leave a review online? What rating did you give? Chances are that it was either very good, or very bad.

  • Calling Yourself an Amateur
    Somehow the word ‘amateur’ has negative connotations. Which is weird considered that it means ‘one who loves’. When I listened to Karen Armstrong and Krista Tippett talk, I decided I wanted to be an amateur in more aspects of life (also if amateurs might not be the best).

  • The Deadly Truth About a World Built For Men
    Crash-test dummies based on the average male are just one example of design that forgets about women – and puts lives at risk

  • Human, All Too Human
    Le Corbusier pushed for the idea of the Modular Man, the human size on which his architecture and designs was based. 1.83M tall. This article is about the limits to this thinking. I included it because I’m fascinated about normal.

Five Stories on Technology and Internet Culture

1. Insurers Want to Know How Many Steps You Took Today

Last week I shared the story about how Uber drivers are being rated on their driving skills, based on sensors in their phones. This week I came across how insurance companies are incentivising customers to give them access to the data created by their phones.

2. Snapchat Is the Next Evolution in Photography

Owen Williams who recently writes words I respect, published a story about Snap’s latest product direction announcement. Owen argues that by leveraging community created filters for landmarks, Snapchat is creating a new language for photography. I find the argumentation interesting, but personally I’m less convinced at this point. Wdyt?

3. Instagram needs stars, and it’s built a team to find them

You’d think that Instagram was in a unique position to discover emerging talent on the platform, but after reading this profile of their talent studio, I started to think differently. To spot talents, Instagram hired Justin Antony who has more than 5 years of experience in spotting talents for legacy brands like Nickelodeon and VICE.

4. Social Media at TED2019

The annual TED conference just finished. This year Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey was invited on stage to talk about their work with creating healthier conversations. Chris Anderson has done an incredible job building TED to the cultural institution it is today, but judging on questions like “Is this how you want history to remember you? As the handmaidens to authoritarianism all across the world?” I’d say this interview won’t be known for his best contribution to the world. (TBC next week)

5. Why 536 Was The Worst Year To Be Alive

Take a moment and read about how bad life was for people who lived in 536. Then take a moment and appreciate 2019.

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.

As always a big thanks to the five Naive Friends who chip in every month or year to support me making time to write this newsletter: Nikolaj, Dries, Mikkel, Tina & Angela!

And thanks to Ana for letting me use the photo.