It’s Thursday 18 March, 2021.
For some reason, the ability to delete a Substack account appears to have… disappeared? Can’t think why. So I’m kind of half-in, half-out? How awkward.
This part is partly paraphrasing the notice stacy-marie ishmael put at the head of her last newsletter, The Main Event.
Soon, the Substack version of this newsletter at danhon.substack.com will 404. Archives won’t be there anymore.
This doesn’t change anything for subscribers or supporters: everything should Just Work, and I’ve been talking to Justin about how everything works on the Stripe billing end. If there’s a problem, please do get in touch.
Supporting this newsletter has gotten a little easier if only because Buttondown doesn’t have as fine-grained payment options as Substack, so the options are now USD $7/month and $70/year.
Some quick housekeeping links:
OK. Let’s get on with the show. Just one thing today. It’s been… a week.
Will Slack noticed that Twitter will let you know you have a notification, and that the notification is “turn on notifications”.
This is obviously irritating (see also: turning on notifications from applications that involve, say, delivery, is generally binary — notifications are either on, or off — which means that while you might want notifications for is my package here yet, you will also receive unsolicited promotions and offers).
The “we’ve invented a notification that is not the kind of notification you might expect” reminded me about a behavior I think I’ve seen in Facebook, which is to implement some sort of notification floor, where a minimum level of notifications is maintained. Here’s how I think it works. A long time ago, you might use Facebook and the types of notifications that appeared were only of the class of action on a post that you had directly interacted with: for example, when someone has liked or commented on a post. Maybe even when someone has liked or commented on one of your comments. But the notifications didn’t really extend beyond that.
So there was a window of time, I’m sure, that if you just used Facebook less, you’d get fewer notifications. Because there were just fewer things to be notified about.
But then, of course, the drive for growth (after all, what is Facebook, but the persistent drive for growth?) begat the need for more product interaction.
So now, new and exciting notifications are inserted into your notifications! This is what I’d call a notification floor where there’s always some notifications, even if you’ve done nothing. For example, my notifications now include someone’s birthday, that someone shared a post, that someone posted in a group I’m in (that I haven’t even looked at in months) that a Cafe I once followed “added an event that might interest you” and so on.
These… aren’t exactly the notifications I want? They are, instead, a new feed. They are recommendations and prompts. Sure, technically, they are notifications. But it makes more sense now, to make a distinction between a channel of communication which is primarily notifications about actions, and a notifications channel of recommendations. The latter is a content feed. And, of course, this is irritating to me because of course I kind of want to see if our childrens’ grandparents have posted a comment on a photo of them, but honestly, now I have to wade through what now appears like 90% recommendations and exhortations to use different parts of the product, and 10% stuff I actually care about. I dislike this noise and this wading through a river.
Of course, the way to deal with this is to customize your notifications feed. I see that these are the customization categories I can control in my Facebook notification settings:
The power (thus, responsibility) is delegated to the user, then, almost like a well, you shouldn’t have dressed that way, should you. What a wonderful illustration of the power of defaults.
(An aside: while noodling around Facebook’s settings for this, I went and set my Memorialization Settings for my Legacy Contact, and Chose Someone To Look After Your Account After You Pass Away, for which a) I am glad exists, and b) wow, a lot to unpack.)
Phew, okay. Hopefully all of that worked. How are you? I am tired! It’s still daylight saving time!