Our era is defined by polarization.

Our era is defined by polarization, warring ideological gangs that yield no ground. Division, however, isn’t the root cause of our unworkable system. There are many causes, but a primary problem is conformism. Facebook has nurtured two hive minds, each residing in an informational ecosystem that yields head-nodding agreement and penalizes dissenting views.

Source: How Silicon Valley is erasing your individuality

Developers and startups are pushed to create viral habit-forming loops that reinforce the echo chamber. Everything in pursuit of the almighty DAU, impressions, engagement. This is the result.

Every comment thread devolves into a two-sided argument. There’s no middle ground. How do we fix that?

Photo by CloudVisual on Unsplash

WhatsApp sharing data with Facebook

Two years later, in a move that is rankling some of the company’s more than one billion users, WhatsApp will soon begin to share some member information with Facebook.

Source: Relaxing Privacy Vow, WhatsApp Will Share Some Data With Facebook – The New York Times

It’s not surprising. Facebook wouldn’t drop $22 billion on WhatsApp if there wasn’t a data or platform aspect to leverage at some point. (And here we are!)

Stories fill Instagram’s content hole.

How that will impact the social media landscape remains to be seen. Built atop the massively popular Instagram feed, this content hole will compel users to fill it. Adults who want to play with Snapchat’s creation tools, but in front of an audience they’ve already built, will probably enjoy it.

Source: Instagram CEO on Stories: Snapchat deserves all the credit | TechCrunch

Stories — these self-destructing, bite-sized chunks of content — are a format, the same way status updates are a format. It was just a matter of time for another app to pick up on that.

So what’s the difference between Snapchat and Instagram now?

Here’s my take on it:

I only follow a couple of folks on Snapchat, and I’ve never felt compelled to snap back. If I want 1:1 conversations I can turn to Facebook Messenger or SMS.

The Snapchat UX felt weird, and I didn’t appreciate the lack of discovery tools for finding new content.

Meanwhile Instagram is a never-ending flood of friends’ updates, easy-to-find visual inspiration, amateur event coverage, strangers’ slice-of-life snapshots, etc.

And that sums it up for me. Instagram is open. Snapchat is closed. And I prefer open.

I enjoy posting to Instagram because I’m contributing to something bigger, e.g. an ever-growing collection of Toronto snapshots.