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Category Archives: Facebook


The Rise of the High-Minded Startup

Ello’s manifesto is the key to understanding its relative success, and how it has managed to sign up hundreds of thousands of users despite offering a wafer-thin feature set. Read more »

Speaking with pixels

On the Facebook Newsfeed, it’s now possible to click a tiny smiley face inside almost any textbox to bring up a series of thumbnail images: an alligator bawling into a tissue, say, or a whistling fox dropping a turd, or a green owl vomiting rainbows. Read more »

The Web as an Empathy Machine

Ad hoc Twitter projects like #RaceSwapExp neatly draw together all that is terrific and all that is terrible about the web as a system. Depending on how it is used, the web can either allow us to retreat into callousness, cliques, and fixed ways of thinking or it can function as the world’s most sophisticated and effective empathy machine. Read more »

BuzzFeed quizzes understand me

If you use social media regularly – Facebook, in particular – you’ll have completed a BuzzFeed quiz during the past month. Don’t deny it. Even if you didn’t share your results online, deep down you’re still feeling smug because the ‘What Should You Actually Eat For Lunch?’ quiz confirmed that eating ice cream was, in fact, an appropriate meal for your personality type. Read more »

Peak sharing and sustainable ‘Likes’

Sometime around 1970, oil production peaked in the continental United States. This was perhaps a little surprising, as over the preceding few years, production had continued to increase at a relatively steady rate. The peak wasn’t followed by a sudden decline in production, either. Rather, as it … Read more »

Loneliness in the Twittersphere

When I quit Facebook a year and a half ago, I told myself it was because I didn’t want so much personal information in the public domain. Not that I’d been a particularly avid Facebooker – I’d always made as few status updates as possible, and hardly … Read more »

Post from the past: the fifty-three-year old letter

Most days when you open your mailbox for the postal lucky dip, you expect to reveal an unfortunate bill or shiny takeaway menu, not a personalised letter. So when I read that 71-year-old Scott McMurry received a postcard 53-years (!) after his mother sent it from the … Read more »

Talkin’ ‘Bout Whose Generation?

I’m going to say this once, and you won’t hear it again from me. You’ll read it in every newspaper in the country, you’ll see it on TV, you’ll find it in online spaces like this, but you won’t hear it again from me. Gen Y. This … Read more »

Goodbye God, Hello Genius: A Review of The Social Network

As I go through my morning ritual of scanning several online newspapers, the sheer number of references to Facebook or its founder Mark Zuckerberg leaves me nonplussed. There is Richard Harper’s Guardian piece on Facebook’s revamping of age-old email technology, and another in the Age that compares … Read more »