Engaged Reading Digest: a changing language, unfluencers and dodging state surveillance

Some interesting reading on how the internet is changing language, reverse influencer psychology and apps in pretests.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

For only the second time out on my new link post format, I've changed it again. Ghost, my blog platform, just introduced a bookmark card, so I'm using those for the posst I'm linking to. As ever, let me know what you think.

The Internet is changing our language

Well, now, this is a fascinating idea:

Most writing used to be regulated (or self-regulated); there were postcards and diary entries, but even those had standards. It’s only with the rise of the Internet that a truly casual, willfully ephemeral prose has ascended—and become central to daily life.

This piece makes a strong argument that the internet is causing a fundemental shift in how people use language to communicate.

Is the Internet Making Writing Better?
A new book, “Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language,” argues that our richest, most eloquent language is found online.

The book it's based on — Because internet: Understanding how language is changing — just shot to the top of my reading list.

Meet The Unfluencers

The psychology of influencer marketing is under-explored, and the possibility that it could be counter-productive in some cases is intriguing:

An unfluencer has the power to mess with your head, setting you off balance and making you question what you like and don’t like, what you know to be cool and what is corny. It makes me wonder, in the back of my mind, if the arbiters of taste I follow — say, the cool Chinatown-dwelling girls always dressed in vintage Issey Miyake — are maybe not so cool in real life?
Meet the Unfluencers
Notes on the people ruining vacations, golden lattes, and wide-leg pants everywhere.

Circumventing state intervention in chat apps

Apps that work peer-to-peer, connecting from phone to phone in a mesh network, have been around for a while now. But they're becoming critical in the Hong Kong protests:

As pro-democracy rallies rage in the territory, protestors are increasingly giving up on SMS, emails and China’s social media Swiss army knife WeChat in favor of peer-to-peer mesh networking apps like Bridgefy and FireChat.

This is one of the reasons that trying to control tech use at a nation state level is so hard - it's really good at finding ways around your control. You're locked into an arms race you can't win, without becoming an utterly oppressive regime.

How Hong Kong protesters are embracing ‘offline’ messaging apps to avoid being snooped on
As pro-democracy rallies rage in Hong Kong, protestors are increasingly switching to peer-to-peer mesh networking apps like Bridgefy and FireChat.
chat appsappsinfluencerssocial influenceengaged reading digestlanguagePoliticsprotests

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.