Recently, Rob Beschizza–a coder and the managing editor of Boing Boing–released a stripped-down blogging tool called txt.fyi. Write something, reached Publish, and voila: your deathless prose, online.
But here’s the thing: txt.fyi has no social machinists. Nothing. No Like button , no Share button , no notes. No feed depicting which posts are most popular. Each berth has a label telling search engines not to indicator it, so it won’t even show up on Google. The only way anyone will see it is if you send them the URL or announce it somewhere. txt.fyi was an instrument for putting stuff online–but without the usual peculiarities to cure something become a pass-around hit.
I call it antiviral layout. Most programmes work in precise the opposite style. They’re casinoes of quantification, designed to constantly tell us what’s blowing up and what isn’t. We peer at our frail uprights on Twitter or Instagram or LinkedIn and pray for likes, for minds, for a big-smile emoji. Our attention is magnetically drawn to anything with a huge “share” number beneath it–what psychologists call the social proof: If lots of people are paying attention to something, we figure it’s worth our show too.
This lust for virality deforms how we think in public. What do you get if you mentally focus-group every articulation before you announce it? Stuff that’s panderingly gloomy( best not to annoy anyone) or that rests into the kabuki hysteria of a sick sunburn( annoy everyone !). Berths designed specifically to spoof the attentional marketplace.