The Case Against Platforms

Anything that you can do online offline, do offline.

There are two related reasons for this. The first is simply that we spend too much time looking at screens. Unless you work is dominated by activities that are physical in nature, the likelihood is that you will spend at least 10 hours a day starting into the sweet caress of that blue light. It means more sitting, more bad posture, more time with hunched shoulders and strained eyes. I think that the damages of this dependency go far beyond the well-documented effects on sleep, however. This brings me to my second point, which is about the dangers of letting a platform determine your work. By adopting technology so deeply and freely, we forget what limitations are created by the platforms we choose. Microsoft Word may be more or less content agnostic, but Instagram certainly isn’t. Beware of the preferences created by the platform Instagram, for example, would have you think that everyone is either a model or just snapped a photo looking out the door of their tent in paradise.

Beyond that, platforms have their own intentions. Almost all of them push content against advertising. Their primary goal will be time spend engaging with the app. 

In the simplest of terms, time spend = money made. 

By necessity, that will mean that the content will not be satisfying, but rather will leave you wanting more. If the app truly satisfied you, you would close it and move on to to doing something else.

While Twitter can be a good place for long-form investigative journalism, where Twitter is most engaging is in live reactions to events (lately the firestorm that is our government) and sharing memes. Pointless? Often not, but almost always unsatisfying. Even if you did find a great piece of something deeper and more satisfying, you might be just as likely to save that for later and keep scrolling on. Ad based platforms litter their apps with candy content. So even though their is certainly good, wholesome food on platforms and social media, you have to eat all the candy to get to it. More often than not, we just save the good stuff for later (and sometimes never get around to it, there’s now a thousand new tweets to look at).

More than anything, ad-based platforms want you to scroll to the next post, which could well be an ad.



Here's Text

What is Lorem Ipsum?

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Why do we use it?

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using 'Content here, content here', making it look like readable English. Many desktop publishing packages and web page editors now use Lorem Ipsum as their default model text, and a search for 'lorem ipsum' will uncover many web sites still in their infancy. Various versions have evolved over the years, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose (injected humour and the like).



Where does it come from?


Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum" (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..", comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

The standard chunk of Lorem Ipsum used since the 1500s is reproduced below for those interested. Sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 from "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum" by Cicero are also reproduced in their exact original form, accompanied by English versions from the 1914 translation by H. Rackham.

Where can I get some?

There are many variations of passages of Lorem Ipsum available, but the majority have suffered alteration in some form, by injected humour, or randomised words which don't look even slightly believable. If you are going to use a passage of Lorem Ipsum, you need to be sure there isn't anything embarrassing hidden in the middle of text. All the Lorem Ipsum generators on the Internet tend to repeat predefined chunks as necessary, making this the first true generator on the Internet. It uses a dictionary of over 200 Latin words, combined with a handful of model sentence structures, to generate Lorem Ipsum which looks reasonable. The generated Lorem Ipsum is therefore always free from repetition, injected humour, or non-characteristic words etc.

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