Tag Archives: stratechery

Friction and silo dead-ends

Instagram is experimenting with a repost feature. From The Next Web:

Instagram appears to be finally working on a native Regram button. It’s a feature many users have been waiting for for some time. Currently, users wanting to reshare content have to either save the image or video to their device and re-share it from their own account, or call upon one of several third party apps like Regram, a popular Android option.

I wrote last year about how I thought the lack of Instagram reposts was deliberate. Early versions of Instagram were built carefully, and it seemed designed to encourage posting your own photos:

When you have to put a little work into posting, you take it more seriously. I wonder if fake news would have spread so quickly on Facebook if it was a little more difficult to share an article before you’ve read more than the headline.

If Instagram ships this, it will likely increase memes and other non-photos in your timeline. Along with ads, it will make the timeline feel even more cluttered.

Meanwhile, Ben Thompson covers Facebook’s curation efforts and how the lack of friction on social networks is both a good and bad thing. If it’s difficult to post, fewer people will do it. But if it’s too easy — with few limits on what is appropriate to share with your followers — you’ll get the dumpster fire that we currently have.

I believe in a middle-ground solution. Make it easier to post to your blog. That’s what indie microblogging is all about, why I’m writing a book on it, and why I built Micro.blog. But don’t make thoughtless re-sharing completely frictionless. That’s what leads to fake news spreading, why hateful tweets are exposed in algorithmic trends, and why safe communities must have some amount of curation.

Facebook is right to hire 10,000 curators. But what they’re missing is the balance between curation and an open platform, with the freedom to post to your own site. That’s why Facebook is a dead-end for the web.

iPhone 8 review, X pre-orders

Jason Snell mentioned on this week’s Upgrade that he had found a way to frame his iPhone 8 review, and today he posted it. Where most iPhone 8 reviews last month seemed overshadowed by the upcoming iPhone X, I think Jason’s review may have benefited from a little distance from the September Apple event.

It also reminded me about the missing headphone jack, which in the excitement of the pre-orders I had forgotten about. Sigh. From the review:

These upgraders also get to experience for the first time what the rest of us had to come to terms with a year ago: A one-way ticket to Dongletown, courtesy of a Lightning-to-headphone-jack adapter required by the removal of the headphone jack.

And on wireless charging, which I’m equally skeptical about:

Inductive charging is slower than USB charging, so if I’m trying to top up my battery before heading out, I’ll invariably prefer plugging in a Lightning cable. Dropping the phone on top of the small circle of the charging pad so that it’s properly aligned for the charge—the phone indicates that it’s charging and a small light appears on the charger base—is not really any less difficult in terms of mental focus than plugging in a Lightning cable.

As Daniel and I have discussed at several points on Core Intuition, I think Apple really gambled on splitting the product line between the 8 and X, and the pronunciation fumbles only add to the confusion and perception that the 8 isn’t a cutting-edge product. It’s at once the best phone in the world and old news.

It remains to be seen whether this split will impact sales. I’ll be watching for the quarterly results and Ben Thompson’s take.

Meanwhile, I’ve stuck to my first impression that it’s time for me to have a phone with the best cameras again. That means the iPhone X. I’ll miss the size of the iPhone SE, but now that my iPhone X pre-order is wrapped up, I’m looking forward to trying something new, and hoping that it captures a little of that first-generation iPhone feeling, when we knew we were holding a bit of the future.