by adam mathes
archive · subscribe

The Misrepresentation of Digital Lives

In my upcoming book “Present Shock,” I chronicle some of what happens when we can no longer manage our many online presences. I have always argued for engaging with technology as conscious human beings and dispensing with technologies that take that agency away.

Facebook is just such a technology. It does things on our behalf when we’re not even there. It actively misrepresents us to our friends, and worse misrepresents those who have befriended us to still others. To enable this dysfunctional situation – I call it “digiphrenia” – would be at the very least hypocritical. But to participate on Facebook as an author, in a way specifically intended to draw out the “likes” and resulting vulnerability of others, is untenable.

Douglas Rushkoff, Why I’m quitting Facebook


All software – social software even more so – embodies a set of conventions between computer and user.

Software is itself a contract. We move a mouse, we type, and then we expect the software to act on our behalf to do what we expect.

The Principle of Least Astonishment states that the result of performing some operation should be obvious, consistent, and predictable, based upon the name of the operation and other clues.

Facebook continually finds ways to break with its own conventions and astonish in the worst possible ways.

· · ·

If you enjoyed this post, please join my mailing list