allthingslinguistic: linustorvalds: now that we don’t have replies I’ve been thinking abt how the…



now that we don’t have replies I’ve been thinking abt how the type of communication differs between asks, replies, IM, and reblog commentary.

you might reply to a post with “omg”, but sending an ask with “omg that post” is unnecessary and is probably never sent. reblogs with “omg” are looked down upon and rarely used anymore, while in IM you might message the person with maybe more information than simply “omg” if you know them already or if you’re mutuals.

idk, it’s interesting to me bc I’m also a linguistics major aside from CS.

@allthingslinguistic what do you think? is this even worth pointing out?

The closest I could get would be to reblog with omg in the tags, I think. But that’s a stronger omg than simply replying with omg, because you’re also amplifying the audience who sees it – and this is especially relevant with replies because they only show (showed, I guess, RIP) on original posts from mutuals/people you’ve been following for a while, which may be precisely the more personal posts that you wouldn’t want to reblog. 

More broadly, it’s interesting to see how the tools that we use influence how we speak to each other. I think that’s why people get so upset when @staff changes something or when other social networking sites change things about their communication: it’s like someone has reached into the conversations you’ve been having with people and altered how you’re having them. 

I mean, this would be ridiculous in offline communication: “No, I’m sorry, you’re not allowed to make jazzhands or say the word “groovy” anymore, but we’ve introduced this great new elbow zig-zag which you’re going to LOVE!!!” It’s not that I have anything against new options, but even if people weren’t really using jazzhands or groovy as much as we used to, we’ve gotten used to having the potential of them for our conversations. (I’m not sure that replies were actually falling into disuse, but tumblr seems to have thought they wouldn’t be missed.)

I think the new tumblr IM is cool since it expands the communicative options available to us, but losing replies is just that – a loss. And it reminds me that tumblr isn’t really my own space, it’s a space that I occupy at the whims of an organization which can mould my communication however it sees fit. Maybe it thinks it’s helping me, but if you sneak into my house and rearrange my bookshelves, I’m still going to be confused and angry even if the new organization is “better” by some objective standard. I’ve kind of gotten used to the fact that tech companies sometimes rearrange my digital furniture, but I still don’t think they’re careful enough about it. (If anything, I was hoping we were getting a smoother way of replying to replies, like a properly-integrated version of the xkit feature). 

As it stands, well, it’s like someone telling me I can’t whisper anymore. It’s not censorship – I can still express any thoughts I want, I just have to say them at a different volume. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still feel like a part of my conversational repertoire isn’t what it used to be. 

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