Life is Chronological, But Social Media Can’t Be

In March 2016, Twitter made the switch away from a purely chronological timeline to one partially ordered by algorithms. By looking at Twitter’s origins — a simple way to update groups of people — the switch away from ordering information chronologically is more interesting than it first seems, and represents the state of the internet and the way we use it in 2017.

The origins of Twitter

When it started, Twitter (or twttr as it was then called) was just an SMS service linked to a website.

Famously influential tech critic Om Malik wrote the world’s first blog post on Twitter a few months after it launched.…   [continue reading]

The Internet Should be a Communist Utopia. It’s Not, Because of the Filter Bubble

When you talk about the filter bubble, you’re talking about something quite specific. It’s the heavily curated ecosystem of the internet. A set of rules that filter all of the world’s information and organize it into what algorithms expect you to want to see — algorithms that suggest your next video on YouTube, or show you an article on Facebook.

At first, it can seem like a user friendly way to prioritize and curate the internet according to a set of personalized boundaries. You only see relevant content, and it brings order to the sprawling, chaotic internet.

In the era where fake news and propaganda virally populates Facebook — the world’s biggest news aggregation platform — it’s gone from being a user-friendly convenience to a threat to how we perceive the world around us.…   [continue reading]

I’m Not Saying Andy Tyrrell Should Join Twitter

This is written in response to an article here by Andy Tyrrell, my father.

Est Pater meus, cunnus; it is true that my father is a cunt. Puffed up by the bitter fats of aged failure, only a taxi driver could spit such vitriol at something he doesn’t understand. This is why, as a hackney carriage operator himself, Andy Tyrrell concentrates on pedantry for the base of his criticism. None of this is to denigrate his obvious intelligence either, which is clear from his rampant eloquence.  Where my dad falls down, however, probably lies in the fact that he has no Twitter account.…   [continue reading]

Snapchat’s Design and the Ephemerality of Modern Life

I’m 23, have written for major tech publications, and will freely admit that I find Snapchat’s design confusing. It took me ages to figure it out.

The thing is, the interface is not confusing because it’s illogical or random. It’s not badly designed at all. The weird thing is that it makes total sense. It’s just that we’ve grown to expect UIs to behave in a certain way.

We think in a hierarchical way thanks to every OS we’ve ever used: windows within windows, x’ing down the layers.

And that’s not how Snapchat works:

Its main menu is flat, like a deconstructed cardboard cube.…   [continue reading]