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Half-Baked Futures - Literature Notes

Last updated Aug 15, 2023

See Sources/Half-Baked Futures - Newsletter #literaturenotes

# All the world’s a stage + communicative friction

But our friends lists grew longer and further from the notion of friendship, a phenomenon that Internet scholar danah boyd dubbed ==“context collapse”.== We began to filter our words: Is this important enough to post? Will I start an argument? What will people think of me? Social media was not a casual hangout, we realized; it was something entirely different.

In The Presentation of Self In Everyday Life, famed sociologist Erving Goffman conceptualized the ==“front stage” and “back stage” of social life.== If a primary Twitter profile is a public, ritualized performance on the “front stage”, an alt account is the “back stage,” where you’re free to slip off script and let out steam. The main difference is impression management: Are you in a setting where your reputation’s on the line?

If meditation challenges practitioners to acknowledge their thoughts and let them pass, then alt-tweeting is a ==cleansing ritual for the 21st-century mind.==

==The dream of Web 2.0 was to join all of humanity in conversation—empowering everyone to enact change on the world stage.== But increasingly, that ambition feels disconnected from social media’s reality. Crowdsourced advocacy and intellectual collaboration is accompanied by bells and whistles, takes and pretenses, and never-ending games of status and rhetoric and wit. In the tireless quest for significance (and those sweet, sweet engagement dollars), ==we’ve become distracted from our immediate needs: rest, closeness, self-expression.==

Communiciative friction describes ==the aggregate effect of many tiny barriers to self-expression on a social platform.== For example, communicative friction is the ==moment of hesitation== before sending a message or the number of times a user edits a post before hitting “Submit.” For live video and voice chat, communicative friction appears before a person even opens an app — it’s the ==activation energy== required to schedule or join a call in the first place… Creating friction can lead to purposeful engagements rather than dispassionate ones, or thought-out messages instead of impulsive reactions. Therefore, designing ==vibrant social experiences== requires deciding when and how to add friction to the user journey: which behaviors should feel effortless, and which should be filtered. These decisions will shape the who, what, when, where, and why of your platform