I am in the process of deleting my presence on the last social networking website I have left, LinkedIn. This has been triggered by their latest breach 1.
I also noticed my LinkedIn data, including contact information, publicly available on data brokers such as Apollo.io. Apollo too was breached in 2018, when they exposed their database unprotected on the open web.
The most value I’ve ever derived from LinkedIn has been finding out when old friends are in town for a conference or for work.
In “You Are Not A Gadget”, Jaron Larnier argues that the choices when designing a technology, such as the limitations made for simplicity’s sake, can shape the way we think about not just the piece of technology itself, but also the domain it applies to. 1 That process of lock-in, for especially persistent and successful designs, can end up shaping the way we interact with the real world. 2
Social media as it is currently designed is an answer to the question, “what if we made a database of people?
In no particular order.
Listening to podcasts. I’m very fond of podcasts. Having something interesting to listen to all the time has gotten me to walk more, do more dishes, and enjoy an otherwise bad commute (remember those?) Plus, like any new medium, it feels like a close community: there are so many creators I feel very close to. Many years in, however, the downsides are very clear: constant craving for novelty and entertainment, mindlessness, reluctance to connect to people nearby (the few people who are not wearing headphones anyway.
After re-reading some of the papers from Bell Labs, something clicked in my mind, and I’m hooked. I’m now reading “The UNIX Programming Environment”, by Kernighan and Pike. It’s got that fun style you’re probably familiar with, if you’ve read K&R or the blue book. One of the first exercise questions, on the chapter on file systems:
(harder) How does the pwd command operate?
Seems like a fun one.