Mike Loukides, 2011:
Let’s go back to music: It is meaningful if I tell you that I really like the avant-garde music by Olivier Messiaen. It’s also meaningful to confess that I sometimes relax by listening to Pink Floyd. But if this kind of communication is replaced by a constant pipeline of what’s queued up in Spotify, it all becomes meaningless. There’s no “sharing” at all. Frictionless sharing isn’t better sharing; it’s the absence of sharing. There’s something about the friction, the need to work, the one-on-one contact, that makes the sharing real, not just some cyber phenomenon. If you want to tell me what you listen to, I care. But if it’s just a feed in some social application that’s constantly updated without your volition, why do I care? It’s just another form of spam, particularly if I’m also receiving thousands of updates every day from hundreds of other friends.
Theodor Adorno, 1951:
If time is money, it seems moral to save time, above all one’s own, and such parsimony is excused by consideration for others. One is straightforward. Every sheath interposed between men in their transactions is felt as a disturbance to the functioning of the apparatus, in which they are not only objectively incorporated but with which they proudly identify themselves. That, instead of raising their hats, they greet each other with the hallos of indifference, that, instead of letters, they send each other inter-office communications without address or signature, are random symptoms of a sickness of contact. Estrangement shows itself precisely in the elimination of distance between people.
The programmers of the commercial web have always seen their goal as the elimination of distance and friction from transactions, and that objective has, not surprisingly, come to shape online social networks. But, when carried too far, the minimization of transaction costs in personal relations ends up having the effect of reducing those relationships to mere transactions. Intimacy without distance is not intimacy, and sharing without friction is not sharing. Qualities of tenderness become, in the end, forms of commerce. “The straight line,” Adorno went on to say, as if he were explaining, sixty years before the fact, Facebook’s social graph, “is now regarded as the shortest distance between two people, as if they were points.”