is that of the user the best paradigm to understand online activity at large?

what other paradigms of online activity are there? do human agents behave more as admins or moderators than users?

to be clear: the admin is technically another type of user, but you get what i mean

wikipedia: "Users of computer systems and software products generally lack the technical expertise required to fully understand how they work."

Let's put it like this, using a thought experiment. The offline world suddenly disappears: no cities, no buildings, no bodies, no objects. Human agents are only able to interact through and within current digital interfaces. How human activity would differ? How our understanding of current online activities would differ?

is world-building, understood as building a durable interface with the totality of the real, still possible online?

more fundamentally, is the "online" a world?

again, following Arendt, one could say that a website is a work/object, while a platform is a machine

While acting for her means breaking the "fateful automation of sheer happening". Sounds familiar?

Reminded now that in his reflections on the "automatic society" Stiegler describes a shift from the everyday life to the administered life. Might be the 'Vita Administrativa' (both administering and being administering) the crucial sphere of activity missing in Arendt's model of human practical capacities?

@entreprecariat There is a paragraph in “The Human Condition“ in which Arendt writes that familiarity with the world arises from the use of things. As we use them, we become used and accustomed. It’s the chapter on labor, I think. Might be an approach to think about the term “user“.

@jine Yes, indeed! I think it's in the chapter devoted to "work". Actually that book is the main inspiration for this thread, which is also a small research project entitled "The User Condition". Some messy notes about it here:

@entreprecariat Oh, great! And thanks for the thread. I find it very interesting to see how users of the Internet have understood themselves over the last twenty years or so and how they were and are addressed. The ‘netizens’ would be just one example. Do I consider myself as a user while writing a toot over here?

@jine Thank you for contributing to it! Another example is Don Norman crusade against the word 'user'

@entreprecariat @jine Norman is a good reference. I always found this line of argument (and frankly most of his rhetoric) silly and conformist. If facebook "users" are "people" does that mean that non-users are not people? If I'm asleep and not actively "using" facebook am I still a person? Are designers so stupid or cynical that they forget that the end-users are human? Do carpenters feel unfairly stereotyped as drug addicts when someone points out that they "use" hammers, saws and drills?

@entreprecariat @jine I still sometimes come back to this really nice paper¹ from Christine Satchell and Paul Dourish where they argue that the reasons and practices of not using technology can be at least as interesting and revealing as studying use.


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