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Wait, Do We Need MORE Friction?

I loved this from Ezra Klein (and I love most things from Ezra Klein, including his take on why Twitter stinks and why he doesn’t read it anymore).

But as I look around today, I find myself yearning for a bit more of the friction of yesteryear. Twitter is almost perfectly frictionless — no editors, no formatting, built for instant reaction and in-group applause — and Trump is the result. YouTube, with its recommendation algorithm automatically directing us to more extreme content, is a powerful force for radicalization. Cable news is fast, reactive, competitive, and thus sensationalistic, tribal, and conflictual.

Friction creates space in the system where judgment can intercede, where second thoughts can be had, where decisions can be made. Look at organizations with longer time lags and more editors and you get better, calmer, more considered coverage. I believe that one reason podcasts have exploded is that they carry so much friction: They’re long and messy, they often take weeks or months to produce, they’re hard to clip and share and skim — and as a result, they’re calmer, more human, more judicious, less crazy-making.