Internet Seasons

I Saw the Spirit of Spring

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

This week I finished The Moth Snowstorm by Michael McCarthy. I think it is the 12th book or so I finish this year, so I’m quite behind on my New Year’s Resolution. However, the year is not over yet and I already surpassed the amount of books I read last year, so the goal partially seems to have worked.

The chapter that touched me the most was titled Joy in the Calendar. Generally speaking I’m not a big fan of calendars. I easily get a feeling of rushing from appointment to appointment, from commitment to commitment when my calendar gets too packed.

Therefore I started the chapter with a decent dose of scepticism. Fortunately the chapter was not about making time, productivity hacks or meeting practices, instead it was about our relationship with seasons.

Humans used to rely heavily on the weather and the seasons. The natural calendar dictated what we ate, when we woke up and when we went to sleep. We were very attuned to the indicators of changing seasons, from the early signs of spring to winter solstice.

Today most of us live in cities. One of the effects of our urban life is that we no longer have direct access to nature, nor are influenced by the rhythms of the natural growth-cycle. Our super markets offer more or less the same choices throughout the year, and the star signs are blinded by the street lights.

Michael McCarthy argues that we with the disconnection to the natural calendar we lose out on an important lesson taught by spring and the solstice: rebirth. New life should arrive just as old life should die.

When I read Michael write about the seasons I got to think back to the first time I fell in love with autumn. Usually I’d always hate on the gray, windy and wet season that wasn’t really good for anything. But in 2009 I had skipped autumn while traveling in South East Asia, so when the leaves turned yellow, red and brown in the fall of 2010 I was mind blown. It was the most beautiful sight I’d never appreciated.

Since you read this newsletter about technology and Internet culture, there is a good chance that you too live in a city. There is also a really good chance that the Internet is an essential part of your work and personal life.

More than thinking about the beauty of the autumn, I started to think about the absolute lack of Internet seasons. Granted the Internet is slower on public holidays. Granted people share different gifs in July than in December, but really how much does the internet actually change during a year? Can you tell me what is the cadence and pulse of the Internet?

If I’d describe the Internet, I’d not use seasons. Instead I’d describe it as one long, uninterrupted cadence of push, push, push.

Five Stories on Technology and Internet Culture

1. Behind Twitter’s Plan To Get People To Stop Yelling At One Another

Buzzfeed spent a few days together with the team at Twitter who are working on the future of the platform. For me it is interesting to read about how Twitter is moving towards thinking of everything as conversations instead of single tweets. A move that also implies moving away from engagement, towards what engagement does.

2. Part Of The Conversation

Bob Lefsetz shares the story of a friend who spent weeks binge-watching every episode of Game of Thrones just to feel part of the public conversation around the TV show. I think it is a good observation that we crave conversations for everyone to be part of in today’s hyper individualized and perzonalized online world.

3. The Groups Bringing Forum Culture to Facebook

I’m not a heavy Facebook user, so this trend of “tag groups” have completely slipped under my radar. These are groups people join with the purpose of tagging the group in the comment section to other posts. For example, the group “The bar was already so low, but this man had a shovel” is used to tag homophobic posts. Kinda already love it.

4. Can “Indie” Social Media Save Us?

Annoying title to an otherwise good post from Cal Newport about IndieWeb. Cal Newport argues that the key for a healthier social media is ownership of the servers, because if we don’t own the servers, we are ultimately (free) data workers for other companies.

5. [Nothing]

I didn’t read enough articles this week to find five stories I felt worth sharing in this newsletter. So instead I’ll let you breathe and hug a friend.

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 six Naive Friends who chip in every month or year to support me making time to write this newsletter: Nikolaj, Søren, Dries, Mikkel, Tina & Angela!

And thanks to Ana for the photo.