I was glad to read Susan Jacoby’s op-ed today, pushing back against the Brown-Quinn thesis that women are somehow victims of sexting culture and not full, eager participants. She makes some of the points I did last week: There is no force involved here; people of both sexes are able to block unwanted advances. Women … Continue reading What’s So Wrong About Virtual Sex?
As Megan Garber considers a new high-tech device for capturing smells – called the Madeleine, demonstrated above – she runs through many predecessors: The tradition of scent-mapping goes back, it seems, to the 1790s, when the physician and pioneering hygienist Jean-Noël Hallé embarked on an odor-recording expedition of Paris. Hallé had a grand vision that was technologically limited: the equipment he … Continue reading Saving A Scent For Later
Michael Moran claims that “in peacetime, sex is technology’s primary driver”: It’s been suggested that it was the greater availability of porn on VHS formats that helped it to win the video format wars over Betamax. And there’s a reason why Polaroid’s innovative camera that eliminated embarrassing trips to the chemist was called the Swinger. Nowhere … Continue reading Technology’s Sex Drive
Google has threatened to evict thousands of blogs on its Blogger platform following a terms-of-service change to crack down on pornographic ads. Felix is worried: What I fear is that the entire web is basically becoming a slow-motion Snapchat, where content lives for some unknowable amount of time before it dies, lost forever. Sites like archive.org can’t … Continue reading An Ephemeral Web
Chris Albon longs for an online experience with less permanence: The Web is quickly coming to the point that everything you say or do online can be used against you in the court of public opinion. Some say we could be looking at the end of forgetting, where the past can be accessed with the click … Continue reading The Transitory Web
Felix Gillette covers Snapchat, the app that deletes a photo seconds after the receiver views it: [Viktor] Mayer-Schönberger [author of Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age] argues that all information created online should come with customizable expiration dates. Not every piece of data would have to expire after a few seconds as photos on Snapchat do. … Continue reading A Self-Destruct Button For Your Digital Self
This is Snapchat’s cultural triumph over Facebook: It is a social network where sex is comfortably integrated into a user's wider digital life. On Snapchat, sexual identity isn’t cemented through a series of boxes and menus. User profiles are nearly nonexistent, and even private messages are fleeting (though the app has some loopholes yet to close). That’s a winning formula for teenagers, who are highly invested in exploring their sexualities, but face strong cultural shaming from both peers and adults for doing so. Snapchat allows users to behave sexually without that behavior defining them—not for more than a few seconds, anyway.
While acknowledging its myriad flaws, Mark Wilson offers a defense of Facebook's new app:
[F]or whatever Poke may lack in polish, it makes up for in acknowledging the failures of social networking–namely, that social networks lack one of the most important parts of socializing: The safe spontaneity that stems from the forgetfulness of the human mind.
Kevin Roose is puzzled by the Instagram backlash:
Instagram is a business, not a public utility. You were given access to it for free, and it currently has the financial weight of Facebook behind it, but Instagram needs to make money at some point, or else it will cease to exist. Think of it like a 30-day software trial period. Eventually, that period has to end. And when it does, it only has a few options for charging you, one of which is direct (making you pay $5 or $10 a month to belong), and the other of which is indirect (keeping it free for members but making advertisers pay for licensing). You may not like that Instagram is choosing option B over option A, but realize that it had to choose one or the other at some point.
Nilay Patel explains exactly what Instagram can and can't do with your photos:
Some are less savvy than others:
Sarah Nicole Prickett craves a good sext:
Consider what’s required in a formal sentence: the rhythm of punctuation, of course, but also knowing when to start, when to stop. Consider too the devastating effects of a well-timed ellipsis; read some Bataille. Erotic grammar is good grammar. Sexting has sped up seduction, but if you write it right, it can still torture.
I have a long-distance lover now and our text exchanges are fragmentary and agonizing and great. We met in person and had sex in person which helps fill in the ellipses, and I still always want to have sex in person, especially because we can’t. But wanting is sometimes as close to ecstasy as having.