As I've gotten back in to listening to podcasts I've been looking out for more and The Verge's video on the topic as part of their The Big Picture series stood out. During the credits, the presenter, Ashley Carman, shouted out her own podcast that she co-hosts. She's also the host of The Verge's In the Making series which focuses on the world of hardware startups and crowdfunding.
Why'd You Push That Button?
Why’d You Push That Button? is a podcast about the choices technology forces us to make, featuring interviews with consumers, developers, friends, and strangers. Hosted by The Verge’s Ashley Carman and Kaitlyn Tiffany, Why’d You Push That Button? asks the hard, weird, occasionally dumb questions about how your tiny tech decisions impact your social life.
I looked it up and the title of every episode of Why'd You Push That Button? and almost every one sounded really interesting. Even the ones that don't specifically address mental and digital health they got me thinking about my relationship with certain apps and how they encourage us to behave.
Dark patterns are all around us and make the internet hard to navigate. From a network of information its evolved to feature traps all over the place. There are also legitimate pieces of functionality that are abused or used in ways that their creators didn't imagine. Just this week, there were plenty of articles about the Superhuman email client that not only tracked when an email was open as part of it's read receipt functionality, it logged each time it was open and where. Mike Davidson put together a lengthy post titled Superhuman is spying on you which covers the 'functionality' he discovered and reported in great detail if you're interested in finding more.
As I've listened to episodes over the past week it's also interesting to see how some bits of functionality is used. Sharing passwords was a particularly odd episode where even the tech savvy amongst us are will to share passwords and unsecured ones at that.
Having kids meant we began taking 10 times as many photos but not all are keepers and while I'm pretty good at tidying up, but they're photos of your kids so it's not always easy to be ruthless. We stumbled across Snapchat and now use that to share throwaway photos and videos of the kids and we have groups where we can all do the same.
Episodes range from about 20 minutes up to almost an hour and the format is a little different, with commentary on top of interviews for example, but it comes together really well. Really looking forward to the next one I have lined up: Does deleting Instagram make you happier?
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