🆕 Never Post! Mailbag, Episode 1-3

We respond to listener comments about independent media co-ops, the disappearance of tween fashion, posting disease, influencer voice, mourning online, and human height throughout history.

We respond to listener comments about independent media co-ops, the disappearance of tween fashion, posting disease, influencer voice, mourning online, and human height throughout history.

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This conversation contains a single, brief mention of suicide.
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Nick's thoughts on "Never Post" and the internet:

1. One interpretation of ""Never Post"" is that it's like the internet version of the taoist wei wu wei which translates to something like ""do by not doing" and reminds us how often trying to accomplish something makes us less likely to succeed. You install a Ring camera for safety and now you're always paranoid. You complement someone for saying something smart and they stop speaking because they're afraid of sounding dumb.

The historian/political scientist/anarchist James Scott borrows the term "iatrogenic" from medicine to describe how many of societies' attempts to control rivers (e.g., levees) only cause the rivers to become more unruly.

Iatrogenic illnesses are ailments caused by medicine or medical care. Iatrogenic systems are ferociously hardy because simple attempts to solve them just feed them. You can think of the capitalist work ethic where the only way (besides inheritance) to secure a life of financial independence outside of capitalist pressures is to dive head first into the capitalist waters and work hard at a lucrative job for a long time (see adherents of the FIRE movement).

Social media seems like a classic iatrogenic system. You dunk or subtweet an egregious post and it makes the poster post more. The truly skilled poster posts by not posting. Never posts. Learning not to repost bad posts is a major spiritual milestone for the internet citizen.

2. An irony is that if the best way to steward the internet is to never post, doesn't the internet disappear under ideal stewardship? Derrida's "Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences" tries to solve a related problem in postmodern discourse. The problem is, every deconstruction, no matter how profound, rests on some logical/linguistic "center" that itself is not real or stable. So every deconstruction can itself be deconstructed and you just have infinite regress. If postmodernists know this, what's even the point of writing for each other any more?

Derrida's solution is freeplay which is about recognizing existience as full of other world with their own "centers" that are yet all connected. A mistake is anchoring yourself to any of those single centers. Freeplay is hopping worlds with "the joyous affirmation of the play of the world and of the innocence of becoming, the affirmation of a world of signs without fault, without truth, and without origin which is offered to an active interpretation".


Never Post's producers are Audrey Evans, Georgia Hampton and The Mysterious Dr. Firstname Lastname. Our senior producer is Hans Buetow. Our executive producer is Jason Oberholtzer. The show's host is Mike Rugnetta. 

Never Post is a production of Charts & Leisure.

Episode Transcript

TX automatically generated by Transistor

Mike Rugnetta: 00:09

Responding to a selection of thoughts shared by our listeners via website comment, email, voice memo, and voice mail to our phone number. As a reminder if you ever ever wanna do any of those things, you can find a list of all of the ways to get a hold of us in the show notes of every episode and on the website neverpo.st. Before we get started responding to comments and voice memos and stuff. Let's go around our Riverside call and just very briefly say, who is here? All of our video is off because my internet is bad so no one else can see that my pointer finger is on my nose signifying that I will not go first to say that I am here.

Audrey Evans: 00:58

I'm Audrey Evans, and I am a researcher, producer, many hats.

Hans Buetow: 01:06

I'm Hans Buetow. I'm senior producer on the show.

Georgia Hampton: 01:09

I'm Georgia. I'm a producer on the show.

Jason Oberholzter: 01:12

I'm Jason Oberholtzer. I'm executive producer on the show.

Mike Rugnetta: 01:16

I'm Mike. I'm the host. I'm also here. So a few things that I wanna stress before we get into responding to things directly. This is, what you're about to hear is nowhere close to all of the comments and stuff that we received.

Mike Rugnetta: 01:29

We loved all of them. They were all really good, and if we don't get to them in this Mailbag episode, please do not take it personally. Please do not take it as a sign that we do not want to hear from you. Send us a a message or a voice mail again. You know, we only have, so much space to respond to everything.

Mike Rugnetta: 01:46

And, sort of on a similar note, if you are listening to this sometime in the future, you know, like weeks or months from now, do not consider the existence of this Mailbag episode to mean that you can't send us your thoughts about things that we talk about here. In the future, you know, we'll have space in other Mailbag episodes for older segments. So please feel free don't feel like you can't talk to us about something or send us messages about stuff that's older we we still want to hear from you we still want to hear about your thoughts on those things. So they're always in play. All right.

Mike Rugnetta: 02:21

Let's get started. Everybody ready to talk about some some comments?

Mike Rugnetta: 02:24

Hell yeah. For anyone who needs

Mike Rugnetta: 02:26

a refresher in episode 0, we talked with Gita Jackson, Alex Sujon Laughlin, and Rusty Foster about being workers at and for independent media cooperatives. We got one comment about this on the website and it's from Alex Viera and I wanna apologize ahead of time for anybody whose name I butcher the pronunciation of. Alex wrote a comment about how they had just joined a startup and, they're working a lot and the problems that they are tackling are quite large. The goals are really big and they're not sure whether or not the goal is so large that it's something that could even be tackled by a looser sort of co op structure. And so they are wondering, are their goals big enough that they can't be addressed by the coop structure, or is there a way that that model works at scale?

Jason Oberholzter: 03:14

I wonder if this question is more thinking about if there are goals that are too big to be addressed by a co op or if there are an amount of people that need to come along for the project that are too numerous to effectively be run as a co op. So remember we were talking about, anarchism a while back, which is not dissimilar from co op, and the challenge of, growing anarchism and meaning how one vets and includes new people into the incredibly bespoke and specific rule sets of an anarchic structure. So I think the same challenge would apply at scale for a co op group. If you can select the people who are involved by some sort of process that helps you manage how and why people are included in what they need to do, I suspect you can get fairly large. If there are obligations for people being involved or an amount of people who need to get involved, I imagine that is where the tension would come from.

Hans Buetow: 04:07

I think that's right. I think there's there's scale of idea and then there's scale of, project working on that idea, and those two things can be commensurate in size or they can be actually very separate in size. I mean, I'd be curious though to see if do you all feel like a nation state is a co op? Like, the republic model, is that a co op that is just too big?

Mike Rugnetta: 04:30

Too big. We just can't do it. Woah.

Hans Buetow: 04:32

Can't quite function, obviously.

Mike Rugnetta: 04:35

I wonder if also there's a an element of time here too where it's like there are ideas that maybe cannot be accomplished, in a, horizontally or like laterally organized group of people, if, you need them accomplished at a quick turnaround, or like brutally fast deadlines. Maybe you do need some sort of, intense hierarchical authoritative structure like a startup or a corporation in order to just have the person at the top being like, do it like this and you do that because you fear me and you want your job, And it needs to be done in 2 months.

Audrey Evans: 05:15

Yes. Yeah. I'd love to hear more about what the goals are that that they feel that the structure is, like, uniquely situated to help them reach that set of goals, because I don't see any reason why the goals themselves would determine whether or not a co op would be, you know, the best. It's more about the politics of how you wanna get your work done and how expediously you wanna get it done. And who is it for?

Audrey Evans: 05:47

This might be the bigger question that brings up for me.

Mike Rugnetta: 05:51

Our next comment is from Oisin Brogan, who has a question, about the tween fashion segment from episode 1. Just a quick refresher, in episode 1, Georgia talked to professor Elizabeth Wissinger about the market forces which have caused the disappearance of tween fashion. And O'Sheen asks, in the first piece, I feel like I missed some nuance or line of thought, but I'm wondering why age got left behind as a feature in the social media and algorithmic space that is the modern Internet. At one point Georgia talks about how you don't want to limit your potential virality by describing your look as for one age group, but then later how you can shoot for goblin core. I guess what I didn't follow slash am asking is why the latter is useful for the algorithm, but the former is not.

Mike Rugnetta: 06:35

Georgia, any responses there? Yes.

Georgia Hampton: 06:41

I think it's truly just the the fact that the Internet is this flattening space that apart from certain algorithmic signifiers, I could see much of the same content that someone, I don't know, 20 years younger than me would be seeing. I think there's just more space for overlap because the Internet is almost like the universe and that it is constantly expanding and and has just this vastness that's sort of impossible to understand or imagine. But we still want categorization and grouping of our interests. But I think it it just is the nature of the Internet to sort of shift away from something like age being a signifier to your aesthetic, your vibe, the kind of person you see yourself as, like, these sort of vaguer identifying terms as being more useful.

Jason Oberholzter: 07:39

Are you saying that, like, the specificity of targeting available is making it so that age is, more limiting than it is helpful? Because I think probably, I don't know, the golden age of Nielsen ratings or television, all you could really do was, you know, age demographic cuts through something. But it turns out there's goblin core across all ages. So if you're going to accept that, you might as well just throw ages out so you get all your good little goblins in the in the team.

Georgia Hampton: 08:04

Yeah. Goblin core, the great equalizer. I mean, yeah, basically. I think I think it's sort of trading one format of categorization for another. It is sort of strange, and I don't think there's one way to do this correctly or incorrectly.

Georgia Hampton: 08:22

I think it is just sort of the nature of the way the Internet and the social Internet especially is structured to kind of encourage grouping around vibe and aesthetic.

Mike Rugnetta: 08:37

Next, we got, this voice mail from someone, talking about posting disease and posters madness and just as a reminder, this is something that I talked to Bijan Steven about, about the impulse that a lot of people have to post online even when it is not in their best interest. And this voice mail goes

Speaker 7: 08:57

Symptoms of posting disease include posting because you're lonely and you're seeking connection the only way you know how, and it is all definitely a form of addiction. Literally talked to my therapist about this recently about how scrolling social media is a form of addiction where you are looking for that easy feel good, don't be moment because you're getting stressed about something else that you can't fix right now. I think all of that can be considered symptoms of posting disease.

Mike Rugnetta: 09:26

So the part that I just wanna focus on is the part where they describe, posting as a way to gain some control, or to find a little bit of a dopamine hit, when you are, maybe a little bit anxious, or upset, or worried about something else that you can't control.

Jason Oberholzter: 09:44

I am confused in that it seems like the thing you have the least control over is to have posted. In a world of I'm not sure what's going to happen next and I can't control this, why would I put something online?

Georgia Hampton: 10:00

It's almost like the snake eating its tail, like this this, like, endless loop problem. Or when people get nervous and they can't stop talking even though they know they're not supposed to talk or that they can't stop themselves from talking.

Jason Oberholzter: 10:14

I certainly feel that way about scrolling where they're just describing like doomscrolling because I think that's the like, if you could if I can just ingest enough information, I will stop feeling bad about this and it

Hans Buetow: 10:23

or do it. Wonder what's next. I wonder what's next. The next thing's gonna be good. The next thing's gonna be interesting.

Hans Buetow: 10:28

The next thing's gonna change my life.

Mike Rugnetta: 10:30

Yeah. I think posting disease is that, but for posting People

Jason Oberholzter: 10:33

like I mean, I guess, they must like posting that much, but

Speaker 8: 10:36

But is it about the post so is it is it more about,

Hans Buetow: 10:38

like, the attention that they're getting? Is that what you're saying, Mike? It's about, like, I'm gonna post and then maybe I'll get an amazing or I'll get any sort of acknowledgment

Mike Rugnetta: 10:44

or addiction and anything you're

Hans Buetow: 10:45

addicted to is the reaction.

Mike Rugnetta: 10:47

Yeah. I think it's both things. I think that you feel some amount of power and agency by putting your thoughts on the Internet and I think that you are then rewarded, for making that decision, through when you gain attention, whether it's good or bad. You can control that. You can modulate, what you say and how and when, in order to get, a bigger or smaller response depending upon what you want and I think it's like or, you know, what you're what you're looking for.

Mike Rugnetta: 11:16

I think when you look at the people who are the characteristic sufferers of posting disease that we talked about, you know, Graham, JK, Elon, etcetera. They are people who can't help themselves. Right? They are always looking for, it seems, that additional reinforcement, that they get through posting.

Georgia Hampton: 11:36

I'm also interested in what they were saying about on a smaller scale if someone's really lonely and they wanna post as a way of fostering connection, having some kind of reaction, some kind of relationship, I think I think there's also something there in in that smaller case. You know, this isn't Elon. This is just, like, somebody in which it's almost like like removing it from your brain and making it an actual thing. Do you know what I mean? Where it's

Mike Rugnetta: 12:04

I think. Yeah.

Georgia Hampton: 12:05

It's it's just this it suddenly, it's a tangible, like, real in the sense that it exists in a space

Mike Rugnetta: 12:13

that can You externalize. You gotta externalize.

Georgia Hampton: 12:16

Yeah. Exactly. That I think I think that can be kind of a satisfying in a very lizard brain base way of being like, get this out of me.

Jason Oberholzter: 12:27

It's, like, definitionally therapeutic.

Georgia Hampton: 12:29

Yeah. Definitely.

Jason Oberholzter: 12:31

I can also speak on this from a position of somebody who had a self imposed posting regimen at one time in their life where I felt obligated to post 12 times a day for about 5 years running I Love Charts for the reason that it vaguely felt like the right content strategy and it was just a habit that I got into and it kept things growing. It felt kind of nice 12 times a day, each time I press the post button and then was immediately followed by fear that the thing I put up would not do what I expected it to do. And it was 12 little moments of happiness followed by the rest of the day of dread and watching numbers between when I got to get another post up to maybe redress the error of the last one not doing as well or try to ride the wave if it did better than I thought. There's a reason I hard burned out and went cold turkey on posting after 5 years of this.

Hans Buetow: 13:22

That makes sense to me. That's my relationship with posting too is it's I thought I get it. It's small urge. I make a small post, and then I'm immediately filled with the anxiety of being seen.

Mike Rugnetta: 13:31

Yeah. I was gonna say I think that that speaks to sort of the fundamental tension of posting and maybe what makes it poisonous is that one maybe looks for a sense of control through posting and what they only find is the surrender of control. Once the things that you are saying are just out in the world, externalized on their own, doing whatever it is that they do, you sort of realize that they are just they're just out there. And so there are 2 ways that you can respond to that. You can say, well, I'm gonna do this less, or when I do it, I'm gonna be more careful about it, or you think, well, the only way to address a post is with more posts.

Mike Rugnetta: 14:07

And then down the rabbit hole you go.

Georgia Hampton: 14:09

Yeah. Completely. I mean, again, it's that snake eating its tail thing. It just goes and goes and goes forever.

Mike Rugnetta: 14:16

Our next comment is from, Madison Swartz who, sent an email, about, well, here. I'm just gonna read it because it's it's good. Although I can viscerally feel the difference between thoughtfully created media and posting disease, sometimes I wonder where the actual line is. The concept of another guy with a podcast has reached memetic status because of the proliferation of dudes who think they have something interesting to say by virtue of being a man who has a thought. At best, many are pointless and annoying and at worst are vectors for hateful politics and disinformation.

Mike Rugnetta: 14:48

To me, they represent the ultimate posting disease. Being so compelled to share your thoughts and so convinced your thoughts are valuable and unique that you buy equipment and try to monetize it. Although never post feels a lot more intentional and it seems like the irony of titling a podcast never post wouldn't be lost on this team. I feel like it's a cop out to say it's better or different just because I like what it has to say more. I would be curious to hear your motivations for writing and posting this show, Why this podcast by a guy about stuff is different and more broadly when it is interesting and important for people to put their thoughts into the world.

Mike Rugnetta: 15:26

I don't I will add that I love when Madison introduces themselves, they do say, I'm currently in a 3rd year PhD, who I'm a 3rd year PhD student whose research is deeply concerned with, what counts as interesting and valuable knowledge. So I feel like we might be about to explain Madison's job to them. Yep. Flash.

Speaker 8: 15:51

Which is

Mike Rugnetta: 15:51

which is maybe a kind of trap that they have set for us.

Jason Oberholzter: 15:55

Yeah. You tell us, Madison. Come on in.

Mike Rugnetta: 15:57

Yeah. Get Madison. Hans and Jason and I as the, the people who have spent the longest directly engaged in making this show, had no shortage of extreme anxiety being 3 middle aged white guys with facial hair who have long worked in audio and, in various ways together making up making a podcast that is men talking about stuff.

Speaker 8: 16:20

We all

Hans Buetow: 16:20

like more games and noise music.

Speaker 8: 16:22

Yeah. Yeah. Oh, boy. Yeah.

Jason Oberholzter: 16:25

I play country now. I'm back in the diatonic.

Georgia Hampton: 16:30

Audrey, they're in the walls. I know. I

Audrey Evans: 16:32

wanna know what they have to say for themselves.

Mike Rugnetta: 16:35

So the way that we talked about this is that, this is a sort of oblique answer to this and that we are we are exactly the people who in this industry are able to spend thousands of unpaid hours, taking the risk to try to get a show off the ground that acts as a platform for people who aren't us. And it's gonna be a little while before we get to fully realize that dream. But like, you know the next episode hopefully fingers crossed if everything works out right is going to have 0 segments hosted by me. So like you know the idea is that this eventually does not become my my podcast where I share my thoughts but a podcast where people can share their thoughts about the internet. But Madison yes, you have correctly identified and called out a massive anxiety held by the team or me at least.

Hans Buetow: 17:29

And a massive accountability that everyone should be held to. We should be asking this question of every project that we see. This is a skepticism that I appreciate being in the world and being applied, like, yes, bring this to everything. This is great. One of the one of my great hopes for this project is that it's actually us asking a lot more questions than giving opinions and answers.

Hans Buetow: 17:48

Yeah. And allowing other people platform to be able to be in dialogue with each other, to be in dialogue with audience, and dialogue with us.

Georgia Hampton: 17:57

The things that to me differentiate a podcast or any piece of media that is genuinely interested and respectful versus one that is just a vanity project is this combination of curiosity and responsibility and and respect. The this idea of a guy with a podcast sharing his every precious thought, the implication there is that guy assumes he's an expert. And they're so grateful for it. Whereas I think what is so precious about this show, I mean, I'm biased, And and shows like this is that there is this curiosity and lack of pride of, like, I would much rather talk to someone who has done this, has studied this subject, has dedicated their life to it for decades than, I don't know, muse about it for 20 minutes. That to me is, like, what's the point of me doing this if not to learn and share that learning with other people who are also curious.

Hans Buetow: 19:16

Yeah. Let's learn together.

Mike Rugnetta: 19:19

Our next comment is an email, from JD and k. This about the tween fashion segment, regarding trends. I'm led to wonder how much changes in how people experience advertising, led to the homogenization of styles across age ranges that's being described. For example, if it's 2,007 I'm watching As Told by Ginger and my mom's watching Damages and we're being exposed to not just different advertising, but different stylistic sensibilities, different clothes sold at different places with different approaches. We make different choices because of those different influences and that's the magic of fashion.

Mike Rugnetta: 19:55

In the example of the mom and daughter on TikTok who've adopted the same style, what stands out to me is not just that they found themselves in the same niche, but that the niche is style influencers who are at once entertainment and advertisement, and probably sent both of them to the same affiliate link. Georgia is snapping in the air. Entertainment.

Hans Buetow: 20:17

As As retrainment. Ad or enter tizement. No.

Hans Buetow: 20:20

Entertainment is better. Who who

Audrey Evans: 20:20

who who who

Audrey Evans: 20:21

who who who who who who who who who who who who who who who

Mike Rugnetta: 20:22

I think all entertainment is entertainment at this point. How enter tizing. Georgia, take

Mike Rugnetta: 20:27

it away. What do you have to say?

Georgia Hampton: 20:28

Okay. I love this. I love this. I mean, this is just the flattening. Right?

Georgia Hampton: 20:33

Like, it's the flattening of everything rather than have, you know, as told by Ginger and damages existing in very different places. You have everything shoved into one place, granted a very big place, the social Internet, that is kind of corralled to a degree in the sense that I'm not getting content about Bluey,

Georgia Hampton: 20:56

for example, or like Paw Patrol or whatever.

Georgia Hampton: 21:00

But, like, I'm not really getting anything that is particularly specific to my age group because that's not really what matters anymore.

Hans Buetow: 21:06

I have another question for you, Georgia.

Georgia Hampton: 21:08


Hans Buetow: 21:08

And I wonder if this factors into it too. When you talk about 2007 versus now, you're talking also about different lengths of continuum of nostalgia where I think about TMNT a lot for a lot of reasons, but I think about TMNT specifically in this instance because you have so many dads my age who are showing their children Ninja Turtles and are raising their children on Ninja Turtles and Star Wars and Marvel and all of the things that they grew up on, and that continuum is the same. There's a bunch of reboots of everything. Everything is now streaming and people are rediscovering The Golden Girls and rediscovering Full House and rediscovering sharing it with other generations. And so, unlike where you used to have the entertainment of 1 generation was walled off, now it seeps through and you have fashion also has noticeably not changed in the past 25 to 30 years in meaningful big ways as it did every decade for a long time before.

Hans Buetow: 22:09

So when you're watching 90210, when you're 13 and watching 90210 with your mom because your mom loved it, those fashions actually look recognizable and kinda hip to you. Like, that's no reason that they can't also be aspirational for you just as they were for mom and suddenly there's a blending on all these levels that suddenly starts to happen. Am I making something up, or does that feel like it could be possible?

Georgia Hampton: 22:33

Oh, I think that's totally possible. I would tweak it ever so slightly in that. I think you're right that fashion hasn't really changed in a super outrageous way. There's a lot of sort of, you know, folding in on itself and things repeating. And I think that's also a component of the flattening of the social Internet in regards to fashion in that trends are the the trend cycle is so fast.

Georgia Hampton: 23:00

All of these fashion trends are so nostalgic and so quick to kind of come in and out. So, like, you have the resurgence of low rise pants, for example, but then you also have countless other pieces of clothing and and trends that will come in on top of that or in alignment with that at the same time, and and they'll get swapped out for each other. Like, it's it's this sort of hodgepodge of all these different aesthetics coming and going, coming in in fashion, coming out of fashion that turns everything again into this, like, flat, like, collage.

Mike Rugnetta: 23:43

Do you agree though that even though it seems like many different vernaculars of of fashion are currently colliding, that has led to a recognizable style.

Georgia Hampton: 23:55

I think it's impossible to say that right now. That's such I mean, it's a cop out to do that. But truly, like, I think I remember when y two k fashion was coming back in style and being like, oh, yeah. I guess I guess that was the whole thing. The jelly shoes and, you know

Hans Buetow: 24:17

And that was only, like, what, a year or 2 ago?

Mike Rugnetta: 24:20

A year or 2 ago. Yeah. Yeah.

Georgia Hampton: 24:21

I mean, yeah, basically. I it might have been a little further back from that. Y two k stuff has had a choke hold for for a while, almost to the point where it never went out of fashion.

Mike Rugnetta: 24:32

That is maybe what I'm talking about when I say that there's this sort of recognizable aesthetic within, the hodgepodge of this flattening that it's like there's at base something sort of y two ks about it, that you then place a lot of other stuff on top of. And maybe it's just that I live on the border of Bushwick, and so everybody just sort of looks away, and that's who I see all the time.

Georgia Hampton: 24:56

Listen. The neighborhood I live in in Chicago is very similar

Georgia Hampton: 25:01

in that regard.

Georgia Hampton: 25:02

So I think there is a degree to which I'm like, everyone has a rat tail now. Right?

Mike Rugnetta: 25:05

Yeah. Okay. Exact okay. Yeah. We are having the same experience.

Georgia Hampton: 25:08

Yeah. Everyone's getting eyebrow piercings.

Mike Rugnetta: 25:11

Yeah. Everyone's t shirts are both somehow way too baggy and a crop top.

Georgia Hampton: 25:16

How dare you come for me like this on the call? No one needed to know that I'm wearing an oversized Scooby Doo monster shark shirt

Mike Rugnetta: 25:24

that I cropped. Cut. Wow.

Audrey Evans: 25:29

I think we needed to know, Georgia.

Georgia Hampton: 25:32

I can't believe this. I can't believe I'm being bullied on air.

Mike Rugnetta: 25:36

So, when is, when is the appointment for you to get your bullring?

Georgia Hampton: 25:40

Listen. I don't wanna talk about it, but I have been talking to my friends about getting a sex offender. I this is this is the worst day of my life.

Audrey Evans: 25:54

Okay. Let's move on. Let's move on. Please.

Mike Rugnetta: 25:58

Everybody stop looking at Georgia.

Georgia Hampton: 26:00

Sounds like you have me. I'm turning my camera off.

Mike Rugnetta: 26:03

There are 2 comments that I just wanted to call out as being good and interesting. The first is, Nick Sharafkin, sent us an email with a bunch of thoughts about the title of the show and about the nature of the Internet that or just they're too they're too good for me to, like, try to summarize. So I will put some of them, in the show notes for this, but one of the things that Nick, ends on is this thought that it is perhaps the case that, journal publication based academia is ground 0 for posting disease.

Audrey Evans: 26:34

Oh, no.

Mike Rugnetta: 26:36

Similar symptoms. People contributing to discourses they no longer even enjoy. Huge amounts of work adjudicating distinctions with little practical difference, total inscrutability to outsiders, etcetera, etcetera. And my single addition to this is made all the more worse, because you have to pay to post and the posts take sometimes decades to finish.

Hans Buetow: 27:01

It's like Ents posting.

Mike Rugnetta: 27:03

It's just oh, that's bleak bleak.

Audrey Evans: 27:07

What a way. What a way to characterize the project of knowledge.

Hans Buetow: 27:10

That's beautiful. That's a beautiful that's beautiful.

Mike Rugnetta: 27:14

Nick, we look forward to hearing from you again. The other is I called this out specifically, in the introduction of episode 2, but Ronald, reached out and Ronald, is the I got it wrong in the episode. Ronald is a psychiatric clinical pharmacist, and Ronald was the one that made the comments about the suitability of posting disease being in the DSM. Ronald sent, a lot of really interesting, thoughts about the the segment. The first one that I wanna share is his reaction to us using the word madness being simply ew, Which,

Speaker 8: 27:50


Mike Rugnetta: 27:50

Fair. Fair. It says kind of cringe kind of a cringe word these days, but I get why they used it. Yeah. Yeah.

Mike Rugnetta: 27:56

You're right. And then the other is is this idea that like Very true. It is not the posting or even the repetitive posting that is the problem. It is when it becomes a problem. It is when the repetitive posting interferes, with other things.

Mike Rugnetta: 28:11

And so Ronald talks through ways that you might think about this and ends with, this sort of formulation of should posting disease be considered for inclusion in the next edition of psych psychiatry's diagnostic and statistical manual? Well, I don't know, but I don't think it's silly to ask. Then after hearing episode 2, Ronald reached out and said that the DSM was looking at including something on Internet gaming disorder, which is a preoccupation with Internet games, withdrawal symptoms when Internet gaming is taken away, the need to spend increasing amounts of time engaged in Internet games. All these other things that you sort of I think appreciate as being signs of an addiction of some kind. Ronald overall gives the APA a d plus on the way that they frame, this potential disorder.

Mike Rugnetta: 29:00

One of the points that is made is use of Internet games to escape or relieve negative mood, which Ronald contextualizes, saying, this sounds like we're stigmatizing a hobby. Ronald also suggests that, there is a way to appreciate Internet gaming disorder where you sort of replace gaming with Internet, and it, you know, doesn't not make sense. And so perhaps in the future there is room for something like wanna make sure I get this right. Maladaptive social Internet use disorder.

Speaker 8: 29:33


Audrey Evans: 29:33

I have such strong thoughts on this. I just really don't think that using, like, the framework of addiction and pathologizing behaviors is ever going to help us, like, wrangle with, like, the rules of, like, culture and agency. And I think that, like, it leads to, like, moral panics. It leads to, like, thinking about these that these problems arise from, like, biological either from a biological interaction with with a technology or, like, that there's some moral component to technology. And I don't think it helps us ask the right questions about what's really happening culturally, socially, politically with our interactions with these systems as we create them.

Audrey Evans: 30:24

And I really want us to maybe in a future episode do a deeper dive on, like, is pathologizing and naming disorders around technology. Is it helpful? What do we I would love to hear what everyone thinks, but I am not into it. My dog is now chewing a bone. So if you hear a dog chewing a bone, just enjoy it now.

Hans Buetow: 30:46

Of Never Post are strong right now. They're

Audrey Evans: 30:48

Yeah. There's something in the there's something in the vibes.

Jason Oberholzter: 30:51

Open revolt.

Hans Buetow: 30:52

So did we did we do an okay thing by having, basically, trying to develop a taxonomy of what this thing is, or are we contributing to that problem?

Georgia Hampton: 31:02

I feel like only time will tell, unfortunately. No.

Audrey Evans: 31:07

I think it's I think the way that it's that we were discussing it was trying to get at what's happening and how are people feeling, how are people reacting. But I don't think we were adding, like, new categories to a diagnostic manual.

Mike Rugnetta: 31:23

Yeah. I will say for my part, as a white man that shares his thoughts on a podcast, I think we're fine.

Georgia Hampton: 31:31

Oh, thank God.

Mike Rugnetta: 31:34

I don't think we did anything wrong. I've conducted an internal investigation, and I have found that we are not at fault. Yeah.

Audrey Evans: 31:46

I'm just drawing I'm drawing the line on adding new DSMB 5 categories.

Mike Rugnetta: 31:51

Because that's, yeah, highly structural. Yeah.

Hans Buetow: 31:53

Yeah. Confidence. Your confidence fills me with such confidence. Really, I feel taken care of.

Georgia Hampton: 31:59

What what what's that like? What's that like?

Mike Rugnetta: 32:03

Oh, I'm not a confident white man. I just play it on the Internet.

Mike Rugnetta: 32:09

I just

Mike Rugnetta: 32:10

play 1 on TV.

Mike Rugnetta: 32:11

Oh, no. Yeah. No. Riddled with anxiety and self doubt. Okay.

Mike Rugnetta: 32:18

And with that, we are gonna take a quick break, and we are gonna say goodbye to Jason and Audrey who have to leave.

Jason Oberholzter: 32:26

Sorry to miss the rest. Have fun everybody.

Mike Rugnetta: 32:28

So thank you for joining us for discussing episode 1. Hans and Georgia and I are gonna stick around and talk about episode 2 and 3 right after this. Let's talk about some listener comments on episode 2. Hans, Georgia, you ready?

Georgia Hampton: 34:55

Hell, yeah.

Mike Rugnetta: 34:56

Yeah. Yeah. K. Our first comment comes from Kevin. Kevin sent a comment about, some of Lisa's perspective on, community transfer of sound change.

Mike Rugnetta: 35:08

So this idea that, like, while people are hanging out together, that is when, sound change in speech actually takes place. Kevin said this.

Kevin: 35:19

Hey, guys. It's Kevin. I love the new episode. I just had a quick comment about the influencer voice segment with Lisa B Davidson. So in the segment, she talks about how, you know, linguistic trends that are happening on places like TikTok or Instagram.

Kevin: 35:38

Maybe don't move through communities in the same way as they do when people are actually gathering in real space and speaking to one another. And I think that's a good point. But when she was talking about these influencers, she was she said something along the lines of, you're not interacting with these people. We're just watching them. And I think that for the majority of, you know, TikTok users in particular, that's true.

Kevin: 35:59

There's a lot more people that just watch TikToks than, actually watch and make them. But I do wonder if she's missing something about an actual, distributed online community forming among the influencers themselves because of course, these influencers are watching each other's videos. And so the the sense that they're all coalescing around one new way of speaking. I think is an example of community exchange even if it's distributed happening through the Internet and not in real space. So I think, I don't know, something was a little bit missed there and even Mike in his, talking about his own experience, he talked about, you know, watching Hank Green videos and actually trying to talk like him.

Kevin: 36:40

So that's an example of even if it's somebody that you're not with in real life or maybe you've not even met, of a community forming among video producers, who are all kind of imitating one another. And obviously, that's a little different than, you know, hanging out, like, in a bar together and starting to talk similar to one another. But it strikes me as, know, more similar than different. And I feel like a real community exchange, is happening there, which the guest seemed to discount. So I just wanted to make that comment.

Mike Rugnetta: 37:11

Okay. I have a lot of thoughts about this. And I wanna preface Yeah. My lots of thoughts with I am not Lisa, and I am not a a linguist.

Speaker 8: 37:19


Mike Rugnetta: 37:20

But I but I wonder the difference between the community transfer of a sound change in speech, and the sort of, like, professional development of a performance style. And so what I think about when I listen to Kevin's comment is whether or not newscasters get together and talk like newscasters to one another when they get drinks at, like, conferences. Yeah. And my guess is no. But it is a very funny thing to imagine.

Georgia Hampton: 37:54

Please let it be. Yes.

Hans Buetow: 37:56

Or, like, pilots talking like pilots on

Speaker 8: 37:58

their jobs where they

Mike Rugnetta: 38:00

hey, John? Yeah.

Speaker 8: 38:03

How are

Hans Buetow: 38:04

Mike, good to see you.

Speaker 8: 38:05

The kids. I hope

Hans Buetow: 38:06

you are doing really well.

Georgia Hampton: 38:09

Oh my God. Spot on fellas.

Mike Rugnetta: 38:15

Because I think of, like again, I can only speak to this from my personal personal experience, but it's like, when I used to do a lot of YouTube stuff and I was hanging out with people who did YouTube stuff, when we were all hanging out together in a social scenario, did we, did we talk that way to one another? Yeah. And, I mean, while that was a while ago, but I don't I don't think the answer I think the answer was no. I think that we did not. I think that we talked the way that we talked and that, you know, then when the camera is on, you start talking the way that you talk on camera.

Mike Rugnetta: 38:47

Right? I was trying to sound like Hank on camera, but not trying to sound like Hank when talking to Hank.

Hans Buetow: 38:53

I think that's the critical question. That's a question I have for you, Mike, is how much do you think that work changed how you speak normally to to, like, your mom?

Mike Rugnetta: 39:03

That was the next thing I was gonna say is, like, I think this is complicated though by the fact that, like, that line gets blurry, and that I definitely changed the way that I talk in all parts of my life Yeah. In response to the things that I learned how to do, making YouTube videos and now making podcasts. Yeah. That being said, it's not it's not as extreme, I don't think. You know?

Mike Rugnetta: 39:25

It's not as performative. It is not as heightened.

Hans Buetow: 39:29

I think about those figures that doctor Davidson talked about. The names of which I can't remember, but that Bill Labov, the, the the the researcher

Mike Rugnetta: 39:40

The sound transfer guy.

Hans Buetow: 39:41

Yeah. He's the one who identified these often, almost always, women who have lots of social connections, who are, like, the drivers of these changes within their communities. And I think the question is, who is the focal point of the community that Kevin is identifying in his question? If the focal point of the community is the influencer, then possibly. But if it's a person who's consuming the things of the influencer, is are they likely to be the one?

Hans Buetow: 40:11

Because they have their own inner purse. They have the people around them. And I think if you're part of a community and everyone is constantly watching these influencers talk and everyone is adjusting with each other all the time, then maybe they have transferred that role onto the influencer. But I read doctor Davidson's point as being, it's almost impossible to give the influencer that role. And that while there's a community, there's not a linguistic community Yeah.

Hans Buetow: 40:39

That exists in that format. That's how I read what she was saying.

Mike Rugnetta: 40:43

I just I gotta know if Alex Earl was hanging out with her pals and talking in that in that clipped uptalkie, you know, and extending way in person. And I think I think she probably has a characteristic way of talking.

Speaker 8: 40:59


Mike Rugnetta: 41:00

But I would be surprised if it's as pronounced as it is as it is in her videos for, you know, performance reasons for the reason that she is often doing a performance, I would assume. And, also, like Lisa said, a lot of those things are technologically determined that the rhythm and cliqueness of speech is a direct result of editing.

Georgia Hampton: 41:19

I also think, though, the TikTok voice, the TikTok influencer voice has something unique about it compared to something like YouTuber voice because these TikTok influencers are in a way trying to bring you into their normal life. So I think it would be very possible that they speak more similarly to this. I I do think there's still gonna be difference because once the camera's on, it's different. You like, everything sort of heightens in a way, I think. But I think I I I wouldn't be surprised if some of these linguistic qualities of someone like Alex Earl do exist off camera when she's talking to her friends because that's the nature of the the scenario in which she's letting you in, that this is like a quotidian daily experience of her.

Georgia Hampton: 42:14

It's not her teaching you necessarily about something.

Speaker 8: 42:17

Do you

Georgia Hampton: 42:17

know what I mean?

Mike Rugnetta: 42:19

Our next comment comes from, a friend of the show and friend of mine, Matt Storm, who says something that to me is scary.

Caller: 42:26

Hi. This is Matt, AKA Stormageddon. I have known, Mike Rugnetta over quite a few years now. And when I had the bizarre realization during episode 2, an influencer voice talk, that I, like Mike before me, was influenced by someone I respected who I watched. Because before knowing Mike, I was a huge fan of the Idea Channel and how Mike spoke on that program.

Caller: 42:51

And now I realize having 3 podcasts to my name, having gotten many live streams and YouTube videos that I too modeled, maybe even unconsciously, a little bit about how I talk similarly to Mike who similarly to Hank Green and kind of broke my brain a little bit. It makes me wonder, though, Ken because I don't recall like Mike says in the episode, he went out of his way to do that. I, however, don't, like I I think I might have clocked that it was pleasing to hear how these creators talked, but I don't know that I ever said, I'm gonna learn to talk like Mike. But I can definitely hear it now that it's been pointed out. Maybe not identically, but definitely there's an influence.

Caller: 43:33

Makes me wonder, can you do this unconsciously? Don't have a good answer for that, but I'm definitely curious. Anyway, great job, Mike. Love the show. Love all the folks working over there with you.

Caller: 43:51

Keep up the cool stuff. This has been Matt.

Speaker 8: 43:54

I have I have a

Mike Rugnetta: 43:55

question for you guys. Yeah? Yeah. Do you think Matt sounds like me?

Georgia Hampton: 44:03

Maybe a little bit. I feel like it's not fair though because I the second he said it, now I'm like, okay. Hold on.

Mike Rugnetta: 44:09

Getting out the magnifying glass.

Georgia Hampton: 44:10

Wait a second. What I

Georgia Hampton: 44:12

was gonna ask you is, how does it feel to be a thought leader?

Hans Buetow: 44:20

Voice leader.

Mike Rugnetta: 44:21

Sorry. I can't hear you. The wind is whipping at the edge of the bridge.

Hans Buetow: 44:27

So is it unconscious? I think you clearly outlined it as being a conscious choice for you. Right, Mike? When you were making these changes.

Mike Rugnetta: 44:34

Yeah. Yeah. And But I think but I think it absolutely you know, this is like what Lisa this to me is related to something that Lisa said, which is, you want your podcast to sound like a podcast. You want your YouTube videos to sound like YouTube videos, and so you might just sort of, step by step get your way towards what it is that you have to do in order for that to be the case, without sitting down and being like, okay. Here's my checklist of things I have to change.

Hans Buetow: 45:01

The voice has so we understand how to read voices so much more powerfully evolutionarily than we do reading or other sorts of cues. And I think we absorb most of it unconsciously, actually. I mean, like, how were we able just to suddenly slip into pilot voice earlier?

Georgia Hampton: 45:24

Yeah. I was gonna say that it's the same thing it's the same thing as if I was to give you a prompt of, like, okay, give me a read as if you're an a lead anchor on the evening news. Like, you know exactly what

Mike Rugnetta: 45:36

that first. Hansi first.

Hans Buetow: 45:40

Well, but it depends what what are we do are we doing, like, and in other news today,

Speaker 8: 45:45

a iguana fell out of a tree.

Audrey Evans: 45:47

Like, is it that sort

Hans Buetow: 45:48

of thing or is

Georgia Hampton: 45:48

it Where they're, like, thank god the fluff piece. Yeah. This dog knows how to speak and spell.

Hans Buetow: 45:55

Yeah. And then you have, like, these layers. Right? Like, am I actually doing Ron Burgundy doing an anchor or am I doing the anchor version itself and I mean, this is how accents work. Right?

Hans Buetow: 46:07

Of, like, do a British accent. You can do a British accent even if you haven't consciously practiced it.

Georgia Hampton: 46:13

Nobody's doing a British accent right now.

Hans Buetow: 46:15

That's true.

Georgia Hampton: 46:15

Don't do it.

Hans Buetow: 46:17

That is a 1000% true.

Mike Rugnetta: 46:19

Molly's Molly's English, so I'm allowed.

Georgia Hampton: 46:23

Listen. That's your prerogative.

Georgia Hampton: 46:26

Governor. In it?

Hans Buetow: 46:32

So I yeah. I think it's absolutely I think the the majority of the nuance of it is unconscious. Whether or not you're making the decision, you just know how to code switch.

Mike Rugnetta: 46:41

Our next voice memo is from, Bennett Williamson, who has some things to say about Merlin and using apps to listen to the world.

Bennett: 46:51

Hey, Never Post. This is Bennett. I enjoyed the Merlin segments on The Last Show, and I like using Merlin a lot. And I was thinking recently about how it's like a classic artist sound walk exercise where as soon as you hit record, you start listening super actively to the world around you and noticing all these sounds that you hadn't paid attention to. And another app that I've been using recently for the same effect is Strava actually.

Bennett: 47:20

And while I think Strava is created more about, like, capturing your data and competing against other people and, like, being the fastest in this segment. The way I'm using it is more just like for walks or, like, casual exercise. And similarly, like, pressing record focuses me on where I am in the world. And I stop a lot more. I take more pictures.

Bennett: 47:43

I'm putting my little notes in there about the urban planning or the urban environment, taking pictures of bulletin boards or lichen or whatever. And, yeah, it's really nice. My friend, Mark, said he likes Strava because you only get to post if you're getting out there. And I was like, yeah. That's, like, when I wanna be posting.

Bennett: 48:04

You know? Like, look at me. I went for a walk. So I would recommend using Strava wrong. It's been working for me.

Mike Rugnetta: 48:11

For anyone who doesn't know, Strava is a running app. It tracks how and where you run. Yeah.

Georgia Hampton: 48:15

I also just love this comparison to an artist sound walk because that it's just I I don't really have much else to say about it other than that's just such a beautiful perspective to approach something like Merlin or Strava from. It's that's just such a wonderful way of kinda jailbreaking it.

Hans Buetow: 48:34

I think this phenomenon is very real. I've it it's been really encouraging to have thought these, felt these things about Merlin, for a while now, experienced them, shared them with some of the people on the team, now shared them with the public, and have people like Bennett say this back because it makes me feel like there is a thing about it. Now I wanna look more into it about, like, the recording effect. I'm sure people have talked about it and studied it. It's not a thing I've ever looked into, but it's a thing I've absolutely experienced and it's part of the reason that I do this work, I think, is just to pay attention to the world differently.

Hans Buetow: 49:07

You hit record and the world changes, and it changes when you're doing video or audio or any sort of recording or or steps, like, all of that stuff changes your relationship to it. The your relationship is mediated differently suddenly. And I think the only thing that I will add is, like, this is exactly why I am one of the big things that I encourage people to do is record their family members, is to sit down and just on your phone hit record when you're talking to your family because it will change the way you talk. And I think a lot of people are scared of that change, that it feels too formal and it doesn't feel natural, but it's focused in a way that you might not have in other ways. You will pay attention differently, they will say something differently.

Hans Buetow: 49:55

It allows you to have a different interaction and pay different attention to the people you love in your life. And I think that it's a valuable thing to have later, but it's equally valuable to experience in the moment because it does change that dynamic. So keep using it wrong, Bennett. Like, there is no wrong. This is not wrong.

Hans Buetow: 50:15

This is the focus of recording, and I What

Speaker 8: 50:17

do you

Mike Rugnetta: 50:17

think this is more right than the app knows?

Georgia Hampton: 50:19

It's the only way.

Mike Rugnetta: 50:23

Okay. Let's chat about episode 3. If anybody needs a refresher in episode 3, Georgia talked to Tamara Nies about the software infrastructure that does and mostly does not support the mourning and grieving process online, and I talked about men who throw ping pong balls into cups. A real one two punch of an episode.

Hans Buetow: 50:45

Receptive, but accurate.

Georgia Hampton: 50:46

Whatever you need, we got it.

Mike Rugnetta: 50:49

So naturally, our first question is then about human evolution.

Speaker 7: 50:55

Hi. Quick question. If people keep getting taller, how tall are people gonna be in, like, 500 years? Thanks. Bye.

Mike Rugnetta: 51:02

So that's my wife.

Speaker 8: 51:04

I was just gonna say

Hans Buetow: 51:05

I was like,

Audrey Evans: 51:06

I know that voice.

Mike Rugnetta: 51:09

I, I think we this might end up being a space where we just answer Molly's questions sometimes.

Georgia Hampton: 51:15

Good question. Molly's corner.

Mike Rugnetta: 51:18

So, yeah. We'll make a little theme for Molly's Corner right here. I went and looked this up. It is true, that over the last 150 or so years, the human race has slowly gotten taller. And so on average.

Mike Rugnetta: 51:34

Right? On average. Yeah. On average. Yep.

Mike Rugnetta: 51:36

Yep. Yep. And and that is largely pegged to improving nutrition across the world.

Georgia Hampton: 51:44

That makes sense.

Mike Rugnetta: 51:45

Yep. And so the question it then arises, I think it makes sense, will that just continue? Will we continue to get to if, like, you know, if nutrition keeps getting better or if nutrition stays the same, like, will people just generally get taller and taller and taller as the human race persists for 100, you know, if not 1000 of years? And the answer appears to be no. That there is a maximum height, that the human genome sort of allows us, to get to and that, in fact, it appears as though, given global conditions, we are getting shorter, because, nutrition improved and now it is disimproving.

Hans Buetow: 52:28

Oh, that's sad.

Mike Rugnetta: 52:28

Yeah. Sad. For another time. Sad sad and bad. Sorry.

Mike Rugnetta: 52:32

This has been Molly's Corner.

Georgia Hampton: 52:35

For better or worse.

Mike Rugnetta: 52:39

Our first voicemail about episode 3 comes from someone who shares some thoughts about a friend of theirs that died.

Caller: 52:47

A recent segment about death and the Internet got me thinking about, a time in 2009 where the separate classroom that I knew had graduated and moved out to Silicon Valley. Like, no separate classroom in my school tended to do. And we used to chat. We used to chat all the time on IRC, Internet Relay chat. And, it was cool.

Caller: 53:10

It was cool to see him online. It was cool to hear about his life. But I I guess he didn't share everything, and and he he committed suicide sometime, after leaving college. And, thing about it in your relay chat is that unless you log off your client or your computer, you're still online and, had a weird moment of being able to chat with the dead. He didn't obviously chat back, but it was a it was a weird moment of closure and, just got me thinking about that moment again.

Caller: 53:43

Anyway, love the show. Thanks.

Mike Rugnetta: 53:46

So, I mean, Georgia, I would love to hear what you think about this. My initial thought of it is just like, it's really beautiful to hear about technology not designed to support the grieving process that does anyway, and it seems like the way that it does that is just by staying out of people's way.

Georgia Hampton: 54:03

Yes. Oh my god. Yeah. I I feel the exact same way where I think this is a moment that I'm sure has been repeated countless times with other people where, yeah, the structure of any given platform, the software that allows for communication on a platform, just by virtue of continuing to exist and not involving itself in any larger way can serve as this this space where I mean, like this person said, you can just continue communicating with someone even though you know they've died and have kind of this tan tangible. It's weird to call it tangible because it doesn't it's on the Internet.

Georgia Hampton: 54:45

It's not actually tangible, but, like, in a way, yeah, like, this this space. It's emotionally tangible. Yeah. Yeah. And maybe I mean, I think that is what's most important here.

Mike Rugnetta: 54:56

This makes me think of, when I was a kid, when my aunts died, and she had of, like, old school, voice mail, machine, like, I forget what we used to call them. But, like, the one that plugged into the phone that was its own little tape player that recorded messages on tape. You would get home, you would push the button, it would rewind, like, all that stuff. Cool. And, her family just kept her outgoing message.

Mike Rugnetta: 55:21

She was the one who recorded the outgoing message, and then every year, for years, people would just call and, like, wish her a happy birthday. Or, like, say, like, hey. I was thinking about you. Like, just whatever. And it was like, in a weird way, the the tape in the machine, like, became her.

Mike Rugnetta: 55:39

Yeah. Yeah. But it was like a just this totally normal, like, I'm gonna give her a call and just say hi.

Georgia Hampton: 55:45

It's so it's so funny you use that as an example because while we were listening, it made me think of of that, of of even pre Internet having a space like a voice mailbox where you can hear that person's voice. It is immortalized to a degree. And you can't it it becomes like a log. It becomes a space where you can send this person thoughts and and have this one-sided communication with them, but that feels like more.

Mike Rugnetta: 56:15

I mean It's still animated in some way. There's some sort of, like, there's some animism to it even if it's not life.

Georgia Hampton: 56:23

Yeah. And I think I think it's it's kind of this procedural ritualistic nature of it, like, of of leaving a message of how normal that is. I think of it it it feels even kinda different than, you know, going to someone's grave and, like, talking to them, which is also a common practice. But, like, something something about this being so normal and so part of just daily life in the same way that, yeah, being in, like, a chat room is just instantly accessible. It's not an event.

Georgia Hampton: 56:51

It's not you going to the place where this body has been laid to rest. It is just part of your daily life, and you get to engage with this person in a in a very I don't know. It's it's a different way.

Mike Rugnetta: 57:05

Wanna follow-up with maybe a irritating question. Maybe not irritating questions, the wrong the wrong, frame for this. I don't wanna respond to any specific comments that we were sent, but I know that but, Giorgio, you and Hans both have a lot to say about people who think there is a right way to express their grief in public or I guess more specifically people who think there is a wrong way that you should ex to express your grief. That there are things that if you are a grieving person, you just, you know, the laws of the world dictate that you should not do them. It seems like chief amongst them being make any content t m, about it.

Mike Rugnetta: 57:52

So I I feel like this is something that we could probably talk for a long long time about.

Georgia Hampton: 57:59

Oh, yes.

Mike Rugnetta: 58:00

But I I would love I just wanna clear some space in at this moment, for, for you guys to just have some of those thoughts in public.

Georgia Hampton: 58:11

Yeah. So I think it's very difficult to trust anything that has a sheen of earnestness to it on the Internet. I think it is very tempting to be online socially with an air of skepticism or bitterness or distrust. And I think there are countless ways in which that is valuable because online, it does often feel like we are always being sold something. We are being given a narrative of something that isn't always necessarily true.

Georgia Hampton: 58:48

We're seeing a version of something that was given to us curated and made particularly for us to see and not to see something else. I understand that, but I think I mean, as I said in the segment and this is abundantly true, grief and loss and mourning are experiences that just cannot ever exist in a neat, codified way. People experience grief very differently from one another, and it can be very uncomfortable to witness that, especially if you're on a social platform in which, for example, a video about someone talking about grieving or sharing their experience with it kinda comes at you out of nowhere. Like, you don't seek it out. It just sort of happens to you.

Georgia Hampton: 59:33

And that can be extremely jarring. It can make you feel very uncomfortable. It can make you feel like, why why would someone do this? I think I think that's that's a question that I imagine quite a lot of people have is be like, why why document this? This is supposed to be something private.

Georgia Hampton: 59:48

This is this is supposed to be personal. Why are you putting it here in this public place? But I also think that grief and especially the experience of it is a profoundly isolating feeling if you've ever experienced it at any level. Doesn't have to be the loss of a parent or someone extremely close to you. Like, it is it is, like, designed to isolate you.

Georgia Hampton: 01:00:11

It is designed to never be something someone else really can understand in the same way. But what I think is kind of an incredible component of the social Internet is having a space in which you can reach out. You can reach out your hand and be like, I'm experiencing this, like, no other thing.

Mike Rugnetta: 01:00:33

Just Yeah.

Mike Rugnetta: 01:00:33

You yeah. There doesn't need to be a second thought. It can just be Yeah.

Georgia Hampton: 01:00:38

Yeah. And, I mean, I think that's extremely risky because you're basically going into, like, the town square of the entire world and being like, hello?

Mike Rugnetta: 01:00:47

I feel bad. Yeah.

Georgia Hampton: 01:00:49

I feel scared and sad. Hello, anyone? And so you're going to obviously get some people who are like, boo.

Mike Rugnetta: 01:00:56

Just don't. Just don't feel that way.

Audrey Evans: 01:00:58

I hate that you're doing this.

Mike Rugnetta: 01:00:59

And also keep it to yourself.

Georgia Hampton: 01:01:01

Yeah. But, like like, something that didn't make it into the episode, but was very impactful to me about that that TikTok I mentioned of the woman picking up her husband's ashes is I immediately went to all the comments, and there's, like, thousands of them. And I'm certain that some of them are these horrible trolls who are like, stop crying,

Georgia Hampton: 01:01:25

woman, or whatever. Like, we're just like,

Georgia Hampton: 01:01:29

I hate that you're doing this. But so many of them, I mean, countless of them, as the ones I saw, the only sentiment was basically of witnessing and completely understanding. I mean, I saw comments from people being like, I had to do this exact thing 2 weeks ago. I just had to do this. Or I lost my husband 2 years ago.

Georgia Hampton: 01:01:50

I think about him every day. I know exactly what feeling you're feeling. Like, just thousands and thousands of comments like this, and I just I can't imagine how comforting that would be.

Hans Buetow: 01:02:03

If we use the word grief porn in this way, and that puritanism to me is is kind of what's at the heart of this. I question whether such a thing actually exists because it's such a personal experience exactly like Georgia said. But I wanna approach it actually from a different perspective of, like, this to me comments like that people should be careful about what they post online or shouldn't be putting their grief in front of me, to me speaks to, you know, the crisis of emotional intelligence that we are experiencing in this country, in this world more generally, which is leading to a lot of problems. And that is that like those people, which is that people have no problem with insanely graphic depictions of death as long as there is no mention of the emotionality of grief. We are surrounded with the violence of the world and the death of the world, but we are chastised for having any feelings about it.

Hans Buetow: 01:03:15

And I think that is something that we should examine a lot more closely as a group, and I think all of us can examine a lot more closely as individuals.

Mike Rugnetta: 01:03:26

Let's end on a I think this is a positive note. We got a an email from Taylor Anderson who talks about what is left behind on the Internet when a person dies. And, Taylor says, I think about a lot of the things that I put a lot of time into, that my loved ones would not be aware of unless I specifically told them about it. Like, my a o three account is under a pseudonym. My letterboxed account has public reviews and kind thoughts about my family that I've never said to their faces that I can safely write because no one in my family has any idea what Letterboxd is.

Mike Rugnetta: 01:03:56

My notes app is completely unintelligible to anyone who isn't me. All of these things would still exist if I died today, but it would be so easy for any one of these to slip through the cracks especially if I never chose to tell them or forgot about them myself. And even if they weren't lost immediately, they're all subject to whatever company is in charge of that particular space continuing to pay the server costs, which obviously will not be the case indefinitely. I'm of 2 minds about this. On the one hand, it's a little sad to think that everything so important to me now will disappear some immediately after I do.

Mike Rugnetta: 01:04:28

But on the other hand, that's always kind of been true.

Georgia Hampton: 01:04:32

I mean, I I Taylor, I

Speaker 8: 01:04:35

love this.

Mike Rugnetta: 01:04:36

It's so good. I I know it's sad, but I think the ephemerality of a lot of these things is what makes these things so powerful. Yeah. I get mad, I think, about the ephemerality of the Internet a lot because it defeats sometimes the active choices that people make to, like, circumvent it. But, like, there's there's also some part of me that's, like, having all these places where you can share yourself that then can just kind of disappear after a while is also kind of nice as long as you got to choose that they disappear and also have the the stable record of your, you know, interior existence.

Audrey Evans: 01:05:18

Yeah. And that that is the problem that you often,

Georgia Hampton: 01:05:22

you often don't get to choose. Yeah. But I am I god. I Taylor, I love this. I love this comment.

Georgia Hampton: 01:05:30

I've thought about it so much because doing this segment very much made me confront something that now feels so obvious to me, which is the temporality of the online world. Because I think there was a huge degree of my experience with it that felt like this was forever. I mean, there's a lot of language around that. Right? Like, the idea of, like, oh, yeah.

Georgia Hampton: 01:05:52

Well, if you delete something from Facebook, it's still there. It's in their data somewhere. But you deleted it, but it's it's gonna be online forever. Like, that whole idea of, like, once something's online, it's online forever in quotes is kind of not totally true. I mean, especially not true because I think there's just so much more transientness.

Georgia Hampton: 01:06:15

There's such a transient quality to the Internet that I think I mean, Taylor's totally right. That has always been true. People, like, you know, hate to break

Georgia Hampton: 01:06:25

it to you.

Georgia Hampton: 01:06:26

But, like, eventually, everything of yours will be lost to time. You will be lost to time. You will cease to exist, and the things you've left behind will cease to exist. And I think that is always going to be weird and uncomfortable and unsettling. And it's almost like we have to realize that again with the social Internet.

Mike Rugnetta: 01:06:47

Okay. That's the end of our first mailbag. Thank you everybody for joining us, and for sharing, your thoughts on thoughts. Thanks for everybody who listened, who sent things in. If you wanna send us anything else that, you would like us to respond to, please do.

Mike Rugnetta: 01:07:04

We love hearing from you, and, we're gonna do more of these. I think we're gonna aim to do them maybe every 3 episodes? Question mark?

Hans Buetow: 01:07:14

Yeah. Something like that.

Mike Rugnetta: 01:07:15

Yeah. Or 4 episodes? So, yeah. And, we'll we'll give you some notice the next time we have one, coming on the horizon so you can make sure you get your thoughts in.

Mike Rugnetta: 01:07:24

But, yeah.

Mike Rugnetta: 01:07:25

That's what we got. Thanks all. Bye.

Emails? You Love 'Em!