possible principles of interest
epistemic status: spitballing
local by default
This doesn’t necessarily mean physically local, though I have a lot of thoughts about that as well. Think about how on Twitter, if you get started following comedians and celebrities, it’s pretty hard to get into the groove of the platform. Hook into the network of, say, women backend devs with strong opinions on mechanical keyboards, though, and you will start to see the interactions that make Twitter more than an SMS broadcast. What’s the difference? Those backend folks, they follow each other, so you are introduced to more of them through the ones you already know. That’s a kind of social network locality, I think.
There can still be content you want to present to the world–but patterns around this shouldn’t elide the difference between sharing something with your friends and sharing it with Everyone. There should be friction in the conversion–real speed bumps to help people be thoughtful about this distinction. Prompting could also go the other way. “Your friends loved XYZ post. Want to share it more widely?” only where appropriate. Context collapse: it shouldn’t feel the same to DM someone as to message into a group chat of hundreds.
Re: geographic locality: why was YikYak a cesspool? Why is Nextdoor?
vernacular (to combat content collapse)
Still crystallizing some thoughts here, but I believe strongly in web experiences communicating more than content. Not everything should be Wordpress. Not everything should be handwritten HTML. Myspace profiles were Good, Actually. I probably need to read more about vernacular architecture in order to make the comparison properly.
What are ‘local materials’ in a digital world?
algorithms to accommodate asynchrony, not always-on engagement
Algorithms that order content in ways other than chronological shouldn’t be aiming to suck us into endless scrolling, but should help us feel like we’re all caught up. “Hey, I noticed you haven’t logged in in a while–here’s what you missed that mattered.” How can this be transparent to the user?
identity: plural, but meaningful
Real Name Policies are terrible. The Internet ought to be a place where we can present different facets of our selves in different contexts. At the same time, cost-free anonymity promotes a lot of griefing. Reputational systems are really interesting – though probably overengineering what ought to be communicated by people in words. (“I know so-and-so, his articles on this are good…”)