Sad by Design
On Platform Nihilism
Published by Pluto Press, 2019
Why is the internet making us so unhappy? Why is it in capital’s interests to cultivate populations that are depressed and desperate rather than driven by the same irrational exuberance that moves money?
Sadness is now a design problem. The highs and lows of melancholy are coded into social media platforms. After all the clicking, browsing, swiping and liking, all we are left with is the flat and empty aftermath of time lost to the app.
Sad by Design by Geert Lovink offers a critical analysis of the controversies which drive our online media behaviours. Lovink calls for us to embrace the engineered intimacy of social media, messenger apps and selfies because boredom is the first stage of overcoming ‘platform nihilism’.
Geert Lovink speaks to Pierre d’Alancaisez about the frustrations of studying the internet as it evolves from networks to platforms, the politically-contingent notions of online ‘communities’, and cycles of ideological production and capture.
Geert Lovink is a media theorist and internet critic who has chronicled the development of internet and network cultures as they came of age alongside him. He is the author of Zero Comments, Networks Without a Cause, Social Media Abyss, and most recently Struck on the Platform. He is the founder of the Institute of Network Cultures.