Archive for the ‘internet culture’ tag

#  Visualizing the History of Reddit →

June 12th, 2014 at 10:00 // In Worth Seeing 

I love Reddit. While it sometimes gets bad-mouthed for harboring some offensive communities, the meta-community, and the specific experience you can shape for yourself there is in incredible. Randy Olson recently used a copious number of graphs to explain it’s history. It’s a great experience, here’s just one chart:



#  How Heartbleed Happened →

May 23rd, 2014 at 17:01 // In Worth Reading 

By now the drama of the Heartbleed bug has mostly come and gone — though if you’ve not changed any passwords you’d be heartbroken to see comprised, you still need to — this little piece about the reality of the way the open source software that allowed it was being built is a pleasant little yarn.

The come-and-go, casual nature of the group means that hierarchies aren’t formalized. Marquess can’t say exactly how many people help out with its development at any one time, but directs me to a list on the foundation’s website naming seven active contributors. He points out that until April 23 the list was out of date — and included at least one person who is deceased.

As a result, OpenSSL’s code is a slurry of cobbled-together snippets that work — but only just. It’s strewn with developers’ comments to one another, sandwiched between slashes. Some of them are aesthetic, like, “BIG UGLY WARNING! This is so damn ugly I wanna puke … ARGH! ARGH! ARGH! Let’s get rid of this macro package. Please?” Some are outright petrifying, like the comment that reads, “EEK! Experimental code starts.” They’re unflinchingly honest, yes, but they give an insight into the chaotic nature of the code that makes the program.

#  The Grammar of Clickbait →

May 9th, 2014 at 14:21 // In Worth Reading 

I linked a little essay about Upworthy-style headlines in January, but I like the grammatical analysis of this one a lot. Enough to merit revisiting the topic:

The second sentence is intentionally vague: click here to finish the thought, answer the question, solve the riddle! And, like most unfinished stories, the conclusion is rarely satisfying. But as someone who rarely clicks on Upworthy links, I have come to appreciate the beauty of these teases. Read the above titles again, but without registering the hyperlink: now they read like Buddhist koans. You want to know how you might be a war mercenary, but can you know, really? Bask in the not-knowing. 

(via Merlin Mann)

#  Who Gets in Internet Fights? →

April 29th, 2014 at 16:41 // In Worth Distraction 

This is a simple small chart that points to a deeper and subtler truth. Worth a quick click.

(via Language Log)

#  The Constructive Internet →

February 7th, 2014 at 16:10 // In Worth Watching 

Mike Rugnetta is a really great presenter, and I should really watch Idea Channel more, but his XOXO 2013 talk is worth a watch if you have any interest in “internet culture” and its virtues.

#  The six things that make stories go viral will amaze, and maybe infuriate, you →

January 29th, 2014 at 10:35 // In Worth Reading 

Maria Konnikova pens a nice think-piece about virality on the internet. And while it’s fitting that the New Yorker would name a piece like it would be easy to digest and then not deliver, it is honestly annoying me a little bit that not only does the piece lack a list, but it even lacks something approximating it within the structure. But this is intersting:

First, he told me, you need to create social currency—something that makes people feel that they’re not only smart but in the know. “Memes like LOLcats, I think, are a perfect example of social currency, an insider culture or handshake,” Berger told me. “Your ability to pass it on and riff on it shows that you understand. It’s the ultimate, subtle insider signal: I know without yelling that I know. When your mom sees an LOLcat, she has no idea what it is.”

via NextDraft

#  Technology is Changing How We Punctuate →

January 14th, 2014 at 14:32 // In Worth Considering 

I’d not really thought about it, but it’s probably true. I type a lot less periods than I should for the amount of text I write, and this may well be the reason:

I’ve noticed it in my text messages and online chats, where people use the period not simply to conclude a sentence, but to announce “I am not happy about the sentence I just concluded.”


#  Being a Woman Online →

January 10th, 2014 at 10:43 // In Worth Knowing 

A good read about the perils of being a woman on the internet. Sadly nothing with which I wasn’t vaguely familiar, though the specifics drive the point home. The overview is pretty simply expressed by this point:

Abusers tend to operate anonymously, or under pseudonyms. But the women they target often write on professional platforms, under their given names, and in the context of their real lives. Victims don’t have the luxury of separating themselves from the crime. When it comes to online threats, “one person is feeling the reality of the Internet very viscerally: the person who is being threatened,” says Jurgenson. “It’s a lot easier for the person who made the threat—and the person who is investigating the threat—to believe that what’s happening on the Internet isn’t real.”

(via Next Draft)

#  The Rise of the Ask Me Anything →

January 8th, 2014 at 10:36 // In Worth Considering 

Alexis Madrigal wrote a mini-history of the Reddit AMA format, along with some thoughts about what the form means. Most notable to me, the author’s fondness for a particular recent example:

Back to the two-penised guy.

You’d expect that particular Q&A to devolve into the worst kind of terribleness. I mean, it’s a guy with two penises answering questions on the Internet! What could go wrong? Everything, that’s what.

(via NextDraft)

#  The Internet and God →

June 27th, 2012 at 11:40 // In Worth Considering 

Ben Jackson spends some time with an under-regarded question: how does spirituality fit into internet culture? And while I understand your concern that all you’ll get on that topic at BuzzFeed is snark masquerading as value, but I’d encourage you to give him some of your time.

Religion was a pervasive theme during the panel, with Vasquez [of Double Rainbow fame] stating, “I need to bring spirituality to humanity.” He explained that his repeated cries of “Oh my god” were caused by the rainbow forming what appeared to him to be a giant eye, which he considered to be the eye of god.