Withhold Opening

Walking Around Bauhaus Buildings Made Me Dream of More Empathy

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

This week’s newsletter is written from my holiday in Tel Aviv. Yesterday I had planned to write and send the newsletter, but instead I ended up walking around the many bauhaus buildings. I always admired bauhaus, but was still stunned by experiencing whole neighbourhoods following the bauhaus school of thought. So sorry for the delay, but then again not really :)

It's not really my problem if others are in trouble and need help.

I strongly disagree with the sentence above. However, if we are to take society at large I might represent the minority - at least if we look at Sara Konrath’s research on empathy, asking questions like the one above and whether people try to imagine how it is to be in somebody’s place before critizing them.

Since the 70s the percentage of young people in America who feel responsible for helping other people and withhold judgement has dropped 40%. Forty percent less empathic! I find number mind-blowing.

Last week Facebook hosted their annual developer conference outlining the development for the next years. Expectedly Facebook seems to continue their push towards groups and communities, something I wrote a draft post about last year after I was invited to their community leadership summit in London. I still have mixed feelings about it, but might try to take another look at the post one of the next week’s and see if I can wrap my head around it (please let me know if you want to give feedback!).

As predictably as Facebook’s focus on community and groups was the critique of everything Mark Zuckerberg on Twitter and the media-landscape at large. The main joke was Mark’s statement that the ‘future is private’. I understand that this is funny given that he claimed privacy dead ten years ago, but then again, he was not the only one claiming privacy dead back then.

More importantly, I’d actually love for people to be able to change their minds. Society and the Internet is a different place than it was ten years ago. Back in 2009 there was around 1.6-1.9 billion Internet users. Today Facebook alone has 2.7 billion users. Back in 2009 Mark Zuckerberg was in his mid-twenties, today he is mid-thirties. Time is changing and let’s allow for it.

I understand that it is easy to pick on Mark Zuckerberg. Not only does he seem social awkward on camera, he also has made plenty of decisions that are not very ethical to say it the least. However, I really wonder if I’d be much different I was being put into his place: a college boy who experienced his creation outgrowing his imagination and age.

Five Stories on Technology and Internet Culture

1. Geocities Homestead Neighborhoods and Suburbs

I never had a Geocities website, but reading this article made me want one. I think the hyper-individualization of vanity urls and handles comes with a price: it forces us to think about ourselves and less about ourselves in relation to other people. Imagine if Facebook had copied the neighborhood idea of Geocities? I’m sure our behaviour would be different.

2. The Information Diet

FutureCrunch is a newsletter I love to receive. In this article one of the writers tells about how he curates his information sources. The list of sources is super relevant, but what makes me share the article here are all the small tidbits about our super-speedy information highway and how it affects how we think about thinking. And I love the advise of always looking for the helpers in disaster stories.

3. The Existential Crisis Plaguing Online Extremism Researchers

How does it feel to give oxygen to misinformation? I really enjoyed reading Rebecca Lewis’ thoughts in this Wired article, especially I find it worth remembering, that it is too easy to focus on technical aspects of online extremists. In reality, online extremism is a complex social issue mirroring the problems we have with extremism in general (not just online). We should not fool ourselves to think that there are simple fixes.

4. Instagram and Facebook Ban Far-Right Extremists

One of the fixes that seem to rise in popularity is to actually ban extremist sharing misinformation. This is quite the change from a few years ago where any platform did everything it could to claim neutrality in defence of freedom of speech - or to avoid being legally responsible for what was posted on their platforms.

5. Think You’re Discreet Online? Think Again

It’s been a while since I last time read anything by Zeynep Tufekci, so I was happy to see her back in my reading list again with this public announcement hidden as an opinion piece. It stresses a fact that I believe many people forget - or digital footprint doesn’t only rely on our own actions, it relies on those we surround ourselves with.

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!

One very very big thank you to my friend Søren who became a paid subscriber this week. Søren is one of the people I know who knows the most about newsletters, having him subscribed feels overwhelming.

I think everyone on this list can thank Søren, Nikolaj, Dries, Mikkel, Tina and Angela for receiving this newsletter today. I really wouldn’t have taken time out of my holiday had it not been for their support. It is weird, but true.