Another Monday, Another Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture.
“Why have I described Asteroid B612 in such detail and told you its number? Because of grown-ups. Grown-ups love numbers.”
Eight weeks ago I read The Little Prince. I ended up taking photos of seven pages while reading the 93 page long book. Quite a compliment. Usually I might note down a few quotes in my notebook from a book, but rarely do I take a photo of an entire page to read it later. On my phone I now have 7.5% of The Little Prince captured.
However, this week’s newsletter is not supposed to be about The Little Prince, but numbers. Because as a grown-up I love numbers.
For most of our work and life we have good numbers. We have our salary. We have our tax-rates. We have GNP, GDP, BMI, EBITDA, ROI and thousand other metrics that tell us the state of everything from our personal health to national finances.
But when it comes to the social networks, where most of us spend a significant amount of time, we have few metrics besides user count. User growth, user retention, monthly active users and user churn, are all different variations of user count.
My days go with exploring what makes communities thrive. One of the questions that keeps occupying me in this endeavour is how to quantify community. If you think of a social setting you enjoy being part of, how would you then quantify the experience?
Last December we hosted a live-podcast session with Khalid Albaih. It was a memorable evening, but how should I quantify the experience? Should I count the roughly 20 friends and strangers who joined? Should I focus on the 25% percent of participants who purchased Khalid’s book after the conversation? Or should I’ve measured the tension of the silence? Or the duration of laughs?
Five Stories on Technology and Internet Culture
(!) I’m going to read this article multiple times. Considering it has taken me three weeks to read it in the first place only makes that more insane. If you are interested in what makes social networks grow and die, this is hands-down the best thing I’ve ever read on the topic. It is also what inspired this week’s introduction. When it comes to measuring social capital, we are still in the dark ages.
I would not want to be a future-teller.
I loved this story about how kids are using Google Docs to flirt and share memos without the teachers having any clue.
The World has never been more detailed mapped. As a kid I thought this meant that there were no adventures left. As a grown-up I start to think about who creates the maps? What is shown on the maps? Who is left out of the maps? Where is the center of the map? Reading this manifest felt like an upgrade to those questions. See also how Google maps seem to be moving away from 2D maps.
I find myself often using Gmails’ “Smart Replies” feature. It often feels like the quickest and easiest way to confirm a call. I even started using the text-predictor. Hope I can avoid the Awesome-trap. Let’s see.
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! Also, if you are in Copenhagen, I hope to see you in the cinemas for CPH:DOX. And in any case, thank you for reading this far.
“When you tell them (grown-ups) you made a new friend, they never ask for the essential information. They never say, ‘What’s her voice like?' What games does she like best? Does she collect butterflies?’ They ask you, ‘How old is she? How many brothers has she got? How much does she weigh? How much does her father earn?’ This is how they believe they will get to know her.”