Here is how platforms die: first, they are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die.
I call this enshittification, and it is a seemingly inevitable consequence arising from the combination of the ease of changing how a platform allocates value, combined with the nature of a “two sided market,” where a platform sits between buyers and sellers, holding each hostage to the other, raking off an ever-larger share of the value that passes between them.
While the rest of the world’s smart phone adoption began with the iPhone, Japan was years ahead – but alone. This article points out:
[Japanese cellphones had] e-mail capabilities in 1999, camera phones in 2000, third-generation networks in 2001, full music downloads in 2002, electronic payments in 2004 and digital TV in 2005.
The result was that Japan’s smart phone culture evolved separately from the rest of the world. There was less emphasis on large pictures and text was more acceptable since it had been the norm since the early days.
Maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s fascinating to see how this sort of stuff differs in different cultures and regions. Makes you wonder what sort of further shifts in technology will influence design in the future (looking at you, Vision Pro).
The slow train wreck that is Elon’s Twitter continues to both entertain and dismay. Damion Schubert has a solid summary of the latest mess (blue-check/verification shenanigans), and why it’s yet another example of a tone-deaf cock-up by the owner. I particularly liked this gem from his post:
The problem is that status isn’t why the blue checkmark was important . And because he didn’t understand it, now the status associated with the blue checkmark is roughly as desirable to wear as a dead fish found in the anus of a rotting skunk.
Listing news organizations like NPR as state-run media (who aren’t) while removing the state-run media tag from other organizations like RT (who are). (NPR finally had enough and has left Twitter, and I don’t blame them.)
I’ve not been talking much about this tire fire lately, partly because I haven’t been blogging much at all, but also because it’s the sort of thing that you probably either a) don’t care about, or b) are already following along and are aware. But still, sometimes it’s useful just to touch base. It’s not frequent that you get to see as major a service as Twitter actively implode. It feels kind of like if you were able to get an accelerated, bird’s eye view of the fall of Rome.
The idea of an open web where actors use common standards to communicate is as old as, well, the web. “The dreams of the ’90s are alive in the Fediverse,” Lemmer-Webber told me.
In the late ’00s, there were more than enough siloed, incompatible networking and sharing systems like Boxee, Flickr, Brightkite, Last.fm, Flux, Ma.gnolia, Windows Live, Foursquare, Facebook, and many others we loved, hated, forgot about, or wish we could forget about. Various independent efforts to standardize interoperation across silos generally coalesced into the Activity Streams v1 standard.
Both the original Activity Streams standard, and the current W3C Activity Streams 2.0 standard used by Mastodon and friends, offer a grammar for expressing things a user might do, like “create a post” or “like👍 a post with a given ID” or “request to befriend a certain user.” The vocabulary one would use with this grammar is split into its own sub-standard, the Activity Vocabulary.
Surprising no one, I’m very in favor of moving back towards decentralization, open standards, and interoperability. Getting a few more high visibility projects would be a great step in the right direction.
Been pondering on a longer post, but in the meantime, I wanted to welcome the Nielsen Haydens back to the blogging fold. Theirs was always a thriving community above and beyond being a blog, and I’m glad to see them back. (Also, as mentioned in their post, and again here, if you have experience migrating a complex blog from old Movable Type system to something more modern like WordPress, do please reach out to them – they’re good folks.)
Don’t understand someone’s desire to use neo pronouns? None of your business. Can’t understand why someone is a furry? None of your business. Curious about how someone who talks about being poor can have a Starbucks in that last selfie they posted? None of your damn business.
If you have genuine questions from a place of good faith (i.e. what inspired you to use neopronouns?/what do you pronouns mean to you?) Go for it. But if you’re only asking questions to draw negative attention to someone or make them feel bad or to other them, you’re just being a nosy asshole.
Minding your own business is also good for you because – and I mean this genuinely – feeling entitled and superior is fucking exhausting. I know, because I’ve been 20 before. You will have a way better time online if you just stop caring about shit that doesn’t concern you.
Over at Vulture, Bilge Ebiri has a great interview/retrospective discussing Lilo & Stitch, and what made it so good. It’s worth a read if you liked the movie, or even if you just wanted a better sense of the inside scoop of how things get made.
DeBlois: When we arrived in Florida, we knew these people because we had worked on Mulan with them. That was a difficult film to finish. There were lots of divorces and ailments that came out of that process. I remember myself working daily until well past 11 p.m., listening to people riding the Tower of Terror and poor custodians pushing around vacuum cleaners in these trailer buildings. So we made a decision. We sat down with the entire crew when we got there. We said, “Okay, here’s the deal. We have a lot less money. We have less time. But we want to figure out how we can make this movie so that everybody goes home at night to have dinner with their loved ones. Everybody gets a weekend. We’ll figure out how to make this and be happy doing it.” That became the spirit of making the film.
I still remember the first time I saw the movie – it was 2002, it was hot out, and we wanted to catch a movie since the theater would be air conditioned. I think we’d seen a trailer for it somewhere, figured it’d be cute, and so we went. I’m really glad we did.
Now, I don’t want to make it out to be some revelatory experience – it’s not going to blow your mind. But it is a remarkably well made, thoughtful, fun film. It has a lot of heart, both in the story and performance, but also in the animation and the subtle details. It wasn’t “designed by committee” and you can tell.
From Melanie Curtin over at Inc: the average amount of productive work that happens at work is lower than you think.
Research suggests that in an eight-hour day, the average worker is only productive for two hours and 53 minutes.
That’s right–you’re probably only productive for around three hours a day.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American works 8.8 hours every day. Yet a study of nearly 2,000 full-time office workers revealed that most people aren’t working for most of the time they’re at work.
What really made me laugh is that when the “missing” time is broken down, it’s not even including stuff that is unproductive but still technically work, like being stuck in often endless meetings that often don’t really matter for half the people in them. It’s literally just other random cruft like socializing, reading news sites, et cetera. (This article reminded me of a conversation I had with an old boss. During a 1:1, I was lamenting that I felt like I should be making better use of my time. He pointed out that if you were productive for even 5.5 hours on average, you were frankly a top performer. Something I continue to try and bear in mind when I’m feeling bad about the occasional unproductive day.)
Obviously, you should make the most of the productive time you actually manage to get! But also, maybe don’t beat yourself up too much when you end up having an off day.