What exactly are we doing when we’re spending time online? Who profits from our presence there? And how has being on the internet changed the experience of being human?
View a list of discussion questions related to this episode here.
- Amanda Hess is a critic-at-large at the New York Times and the host of the video series Internetting with Amanda Hess.
- Jenny Odell is a visual artist, a lecturer in visual art at Stanford University, and the author of How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy (Melville House, 2019).
Annie Galvin, this season’s host, is the associate editor at Public Books and a Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Virginia, and her academic and public writing has focused on contemporary global fiction, visual culture, gender and sexuality, and popular music.
Two high-profile writers who cover internet culture meditate on the experience of being a person in the internet age. Social media has presented new phenomena—such as “doom-scrolling” on Twitter or visiting pop-up Instagram “experiences”—for human minds and spirits to contend with. We examine how the attention economy monetizes our time spent online, and Amanda and Jenny consider ways of using the internet that offer spiritual sustenance rather than dread.
View a transcript of the episode here.
Mentioned in this episode
- the Ghost Ship Warehouse fire
- Jenny’s work:
- How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy (2019)
- People Younger than Me Explaining How to Do Things (2013, ongoing)
- Primer (2014)
- Amanda’s work:
- “The Silent Film Returns—on Social Media,” New York Times (2017)
- “The Hidden Language of Hands Videos,” New York Times (2018)
- “The Existential Void of the Pop-Up ‘Experience,’”New York Times (2018)
- “What Happens when People and Companies Are Both Just ‘Brands’?” New York Times Magazine (2018)
- “In Praise of Quarantine Clapping,” New York Times (2020)
- “How Fan Culture Is Swallowing Democracy,” New York Times (2019)
- teamLab (art collective)
- the attention economy
- News Feed Eradicator for Facebook (Google Chrome browser extension)
- Tom Peters, “The Brand Called You,” FastCompany (1997)
- Bird cams: hummingbirds in California, eagles in Iowa, falcons at UC Berkeley
- Real Life Magazine (on internet culture)
- Rachel Cusk’s Outline trilogy of novels: Outline (2015), Transit (2017), Kudos (2018)
- Anna Wiener’s memoir Uncanny Valley (2020)
- Wendy Liu, Abolish Silicon Valley: How to Liberate Technology from Capitalism (2020)
- Joanne McNeil, Lurking: How a Person Became a User (2020)
- Jia Tolentino, Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion (2019)