I Can Do Better

I am privileged to have an audience to share my voice with every week. With this privilege comes responsibility. A responsibility to do better.

Another Sunday, Another Naive Weekly - Observations From The Internet Wilderness.

Words contain meaning. They carry a message from the sender to the receiver. Whether intentional or not, the words we use influence the minds and hearts of those we reach. Words give us the power to spark joy, grief, boredom, fear, anger.

Words are an instrument of power. They are used to shape reality. They are used to create realities. Everyone working with technology has heard or used words such as whitelist, blacklist, master, and slave. Two weeks ago I wrote to Angela, the Naive Weekly reader I am interviewing in this week’s newsletter. I thanked her for reminding me that the world is rarely black/white.

I am privileged to have an audience to share my voice with every week. With this privilege comes responsibility. A responsibility to do better.


WAYS YOU CAN HELP

I found this simple website useful.


READER INTERVIEWS

In 2018 my skepticism of Facebook was peaking. I’d agonize every move by the company at any given opportunity, and I blocked out any indications that challenged my worldview. Then I met Angela Pham, a Facebook employee, at a conference. Her humble, smart, and balanced attitude to the world passed through my filter. I started to follow her on Twitter where she is a frequent link sharer, and over the years, many of her links have made it to this newsletter.

Thank you for that Angela, but more importantly, thank you for reminding me to withhold judgement. The world is rarely binary.

K: Where do you go to get lost?

Angela: It is hard to get lost in Manhattan right now, which is where I quarantine, but this book, New Slow City, helped me practice appreciating unseen elements of the city. If you read it, strive to disregard the privilege and ego of the author, and instead home in on the encouragement to Look Up. I have been wandering streets with my dog, and whenever we come to a stop, I try to study the fire escapes, the architecture, the treetops and the silhouettes in the high-rise windows more than I had before.

K: What emotion is lost online?

Angela: Spontaneity without intrusiveness? I think a lot of online platforms are trying to replicate that, but… Houseparty and Zoom are not able to capture online how it feels to run into a neighbour on the street. Or the coincidence of seeing the same stranger in two places in one night, laughing together without knowing each other, or smiling at someone at random and knowing they’re smiling back behind their mask. To be honest, my best Zoom calls are never as compelling as my most mundane stranger interactions, so I maintain that the optimal COVID-19 for healthy, low-risk people is socially-distantly wandering the streets instead of staring at a screen.

K: What is your most frequently used emoji?

Angela: The smiling face with sunglasses. It is reassuring, even-keeled, cynical, incognito. All at once!

K: What was one rabbit hole you recently fell into?

Angela: My most addictive recent reading: This LA Times series, “Dirty John,” is from 2017, but I didn’t read it until this year. It’s a true-crime story of a man who cons a woman and her family to the darkest depths, and it is just so very dark, very Los Angeles, very Modern Love. I was so riveted from the first article that I immediately paid for a month of LA Times access because I could not sleep until I found out what happened. If you are ever bored, this will un-bore you fast.

K: Where do you go fishing for different feeds?

Angela: I am a loyal RSS reader (first Google Reader, then Digg, now Feedly) and I add subscriptions to it carefully because I don’t want to strain the manageable stream of content in it. Some RSS favourites: Granola Shotgun for thoughtful socioeconomic and urbanism musings;  womenswear brand MM LaFleur’s blog for interviews with diverse women; Tiny Love Stories by NYTimes; We Live Young for photography and beautiful words, even if she hasn’t shared since 2018.


ROADSIDE FLOWERS

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Explore things to do in the USA through the eyes of tourists or locals.

Observe intimate moments from people’s lives around the globe as you float in space.


INTERNET STORIES

  1. Why People Become Internet Trolls

    “If you tweet something mean and make me cry, no amount of emojis can convey what the sight of a grown man weeping can.” The richness of nonverbal feedback is reduced when we communicate online, this leads to an empathy deficit, bringing out the troll that exists in most of us.

  2. AI Generating Photorealistic Faces From Pencil Sketches

    A group of researchers has developed a program that turns freehand drawings into photorealistic faces in real-time. I didn’t understand the technical details written in the article, but I did enjoy watching the video showing how it works.

  3. Of Course Technology Perpetuates Racism

    “We often call on technology to help solve problems. But when society defines, frames, and represents people of colour as “the problem,” those solutions often do more harm than good.”


Naive Weekly

Hi, I’m Kristoffer and you have just read Naive Weekly - Observations from the Internet Wilderness.

I had never thought I’d reach twenty paying subscribers. Yet, this week it happened when Cecilie become a paying subscriber. Thank you so much.

Last week this newsletter was sent to 542 subscribers. Twenty people are crazy enough to chip in every month/year to support me making time to write this newsletter: Nikolaj, DitteAntal, Cecilie, SørenDriesSarper, Joshua, Thomas, Mikkel, Aydo, Lukas, Hans, Csongor, Dad, Ida Marie, Yinka, Stine, TroelsAngela!

Photograph by Ana Santl.

<3

Kristoffer