Melancholy has always been with us. Nowadays, though, it’s a design problem—its highs and lows coded into the social media platforms on which we spend so much of our lives. We click, we scroll; we swipe, we like. And after it all, we wonder where the time went, and what, other than a flat and empty feeling, we got for it.
Sad by Design offers a critical analysis of our social media environment and what it’s doing to us. Geert Lovink analyzes the problems of toxic viral memes, online addiction, and the lure of fake news. He shows how attempts to design sites to solve these problems have, in their studied efforts to be apolitical, been unable to generate either a serious critique or legitimate alternatives. But there is an answer: Lovink calls for us to acknowledge the engineered intimacy of these sites—because boredom, he argues, is the first stage of overcoming “platform nihilism,” which can free us to organize to stop the data harvesting industries that run them
Geert Lovink is a Dutch media theorist and activist, one of the key figures of critical network culture in past thirty years: from Digital City Amsterdam and nettime to Institute of Network Cultures. He wrote and edited more than twenty books.
— the talk was organized by Kurziv and Multimedia Institute