is that of the user the best paradigm to understand online activity at large?
what other paradigms of online activity are there? do human agents behave more as admins or moderators than users?
to be clear: the admin is technically another type of user, but you get what i mean
wikipedia: "Users of computer systems and software products generally lack the technical expertise required to fully understand how they work."
Let's put it like this, using a thought experiment. The offline world suddenly disappears: no cities, no buildings, no bodies, no objects. Human agents are only able to interact through and within current digital interfaces. How human activity would differ? How our understanding of current online activities would differ?
is world-building, understood as building a durable interface with the totality of the real, still possible online?
more fundamentally, is the "online" a world?
again, following Arendt, one could say that a website is a work/object, while a platform is a machine
While acting for her means breaking the "fateful automation of sheer happening". Sounds familiar?
Reminded now that in his reflections on the "automatic society" Stiegler describes a shift from the everyday life to the administered life. Might be the 'Vita Administrativa' (both administering and being administering) the crucial sphere of activity missing in Arendt's model of human practical capacities?
the user uses, the agent acts
if I were to point out a fundamental paradigm shift of user behavior in terms of interaction with an interface, due to the advent of the corporate web, I'd say that the user was reconfigured as a scroller, and therefore as passive consumer because the interaction is purely mechanical and only accidentally performed manually.
the paradox seems to be that web 2.0 which was supposed to bring MORE interactivity, eventually reduced it
ok, I put some of these notes quickly together on the blog. Main idea: proletarisation of user interaction. Comments welcome! https://networkcultures.org/entreprecariat/infinite-scroll-proletarisation/
apropos, Simondon argues that the machine replaces the tool-equipped individual (the worker)
and soon this book on "lurking" will be out! Subtitle: "How a person became a user" https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/02/lurking-by-joanne-mcneil-a-lurkers-history-of-online.html
i guess the fundamental question is: can we really consider the web a metamedium?
forgot about Striphas notion of "controlled consumption", which is quite related to the user condition I'd say (source is my thesis)
and now I'm in the rabbit hole of understanding the evolution of AJAX and XMLHttpRequest. Is it true that the "killer app" for the technology was Gmail?
ok, so here's my tentative chronology of XMLHttpRequest/ AJAX:
2000: Microsoft comes up with XMLHttpRequest (the cornerstone of AJAX) and implements it in Outlook Mail: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XMLHttpRequest#History
2004: Google borrows several ideas from Oddpost to create Gmail: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oddpost
Apparently at the time there was some discomfort with the idea of turning webpages into apps. Where can I find more about this?
this might have been the historical bifurcation moment: "There were two implementations [of Outlook Web Access] that got started, one based on serving up straight web pages as efficiently as possible with straight HTML, and another one that started playing with the cool user interface you could build with DHTML." https://web.archive.org/web/20070623125327/http://www.alexhopmann.com/xmlhttp.htm
automatism > automation
shall we talk of misusers?
Paul Graham in 2005: "Near my house there is a car with a bumper sticker that reads "death before inconvenience." Most people, most of the time, will take whatever choice requires least work. If Web-based software wins, it will be because it's more convenient. And it looks as if it will be, for users and developers both." http://www.paulgraham.com/road.html
atm "The User Condition" magnum opus (which obviously will never see the light) has the following chapters:
- Multidimensional Agencies
- Interface Proletarization
- Vita Administrativa
subchapter title: Infinite Scroll and the Paginated Mind
ok, I tried to put together a tentative chronology of this idea of Interface Industrialization, connecting the emergence of web apps, the invention of the infinite scroll, the appearance of syndication and aggregation, the introduction of smartphones and thus the swipe gesture. Spoiler: it ends with a US Senator wanting to ban infinite scroll
gesture producing a single meaningful action, i.e. *being* the action (fully manual) : Angry Birds
gesture modulating an external autonomous flow (full automation): Flappy Bird
Convenience, seamlessness and straightforwardness are other names the backgrounding of low-level agencies.
action != behavior
action = disruption of behavior
behavior = absence of action
greeting someone with "howdy" = behavior
greeting someone with "the end is near" = action
agency = the capacity to disrupt behavior
p.s. action movies should be called behavior movies
<<Nguyen [creator of Flappy Bird] wanted to make games for people like himself: busy, harried, always on the move. “I pictured how people play,” he says, as he taps his iPhone and reaches his other hand in the air. “One hand holding the train strap.” He’d make a game for them.>> https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/the-flight-of-the-birdman-flappy-bird-creator-dong-nguyen-speaks-out-112457/
"There is no variation or evolution in gameplay throughout the game, as the pipes always have the same gap between them and there is no end to the running track, having only the flap and ding sounds and the rising score as rewards." again Flappy Bird
"We could have games for anything. Games for attending classes, co-working, and making art. Games for work. Games for just hanging out. We're going to make these kinds of games. But at this point, it's time we stop thinking about them as games and start considering them part of a broader field: spatial interfaces." https://darkblueheaven.com/spatialinterfaces/
"The accumulation of gadgets hides these meanings Those who use these devices do not understand them; those who invent them do not understand much else. That is why we may *not*, without great ambiguity, use technological abundance as the index of human quality and cultural progress." Wright Mills (1959)
interface proletarization: disappearance of navigation, the user doesn't go anywhere, things come to them
a good interface: one that, despite its complexity, you can understand so well that you can forget about it
e.g. the theremin
"I realized that we can't have a single good term to describe what we do with digital media for a reason.
In the 1960s-1970s digital media pioneers like Alan Kay systematically simulated most existing mediums in a computer. Computers, and various computing devices which followed (such as "smart" phones)came to support reading, viewing, participating, playing, remixing, collaborating.. and also many new functions.
This is why 20th century term s- reader, viewer, participant, publisher, player, user - all apply."
Lev Manovich in 2011
currently in the rabbit hole of ppl programming on their mobile
manipulation vs customization
if agency is the ability to interrupt automatized behavior, then rewiring the computer means acquiring agency in a computer system
"From the perspective of system developers, a utilitarian morality governs technology use. The good user is one who adopts the systems we design and uses them as we envisioned (Redmiles et al., 2005). Similarly, the bad or problematic user is the one who does not embrace the system or device. This creates a moral problem, a stain to be eradicated." https://www.ics.uci.edu/~djp3/classes/2012_01_INF134/papers/nonuse-ozchi.pdf
ok, I finally have a synthetic table of what I mean by "user proletarianization" https://networkcultures.org/entreprecariat/the-user-condition-03-user-proletarianization/
in other words, user proletarianization is a form of functional integration
angry birds (action) vs flappy bird (behavior) for now in Italian, but soon to be translated and expanded
@entreprecariat [about the banner of your post] this image reinforce the idea that apple "invented" the touchscreen... but it has been around since the 90's at least: https://www.popularmechanics.com/culture/web/a14764511/a-crt-touchscreen-from-the-90s-shows-how-far-weve-come/
i'm aware it is not the topic of your essay, just that maybe using this image as a banner is not the best choice :)
thanks for building an history of web interface by the way!
@frankiezafe hey thanks I'm aware that Apple didn't invent the touchscreen, as it didn't even the mouse either. I chose it because it's a synthetic rendition of the idea of the chronology!
@entreprecariat sorry, my anti-apple condition is stronger that my common sense
@frankiezafe i feel you :)
@entreprecariat that last sentence convinced me to read it
@joop clickbait ;)
@entreprecariat well it worked. I think it's interesting that the concept of pages still exists though, in an infinite scroll setting. Like DDG showing results and adding more but putting a little 'page 2' somewhere inbetween. Makes me wonder why they do that
@joop what's DDG?
@joop based on what i read, people don't paginate much when it comes to web search, so it's not a big deal to click a couple of times on the "more" button, which in image search people would have to click that button a lot
@entreprecariat I don't like the word, not only because I am allergic to Marxism (having lived in the paradise delivered) but also because word's origin is coming back to people who only own their children. Maybe the Vatican Latin dictionary has some root words for people who only own a smartphone?
@saper yeah, the term is heavy. I borrow this specific understanding from Bernard Stiegler. I'm also pondering if bringing Marxism to the table is necessary or not (alienation/estrangement are useful concepts). A simple way to solve it, is to turn the focus to the means and speak therefore of "interface industrialization"
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