Social Media Tech

This too can be yours: Why ‘AirSpace Style’ is making all places look the same

This too can be yours: Why 'AirSpace Style' is making all places look the same #gif #culture #design

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication but only so far as it avoids leading to sameness. The Verge examines how the minimalist style of AirBnb homes and coffee shops are all becoming alike. You can travel without ever feeling like you leave the house.

“Digital platforms like Foursquare are producing “a harmonization of tastes” across the world”

Social media helps facilitate the conformity of the “modern life space aesthetic.” The technology that connects us also streamlines the experience, like “looking into the foreign from a safe distance.” Seeking such secure personalization is what the author calls the “Airspace style.”

“I personally like the AirSpace style. I can’t say no to a tasteful, clean, modern life space. But thinking through its roots and negative implications makes me reconsider my attachment. It’s hard to identify with something so empty at its core.”

As much as travel is about comfort, it is also about escaping the known and enjoying serendipity. It is ensuring that places in New York, Rio, and Hong Kong do not all feel the same. The world remains interesting only so far as it is different, not when it is interchangeable.

“desirable places should be both specific enough to be interesting and generic enough to be as convenient as possible, consumed quickly and easily — equal parts authentic and expendable.”

The Airspace style reminds me of the obsessive use of filters on Instagram. Once everyone used the presets, all pictures looked the same. But the pendulum is swinging back to the real with fewer touch-ups and more raw Instagram Stories.

Before you click away to find your next vacation home away from home, consider this:

“Seeking out difference is important, particularly when technology makes it so easy to avoid doing so.”

In this hyper-connected and customizable world, we need to pursue discomfort. It’s already hard enough trying to disconnect and cope with boredom.

Apps Tech

Google Maps streamlines look and adds hotspots

Let’s face it. Google Maps is bloated. It’s like the MySpace of maps with a bunch of different custom options and toolbars.

But Google released an update yesterday that promises to declutter its design.

“So as part of this update, we’ve removed elements that aren’t absolutely required (like road outlines).”

Google also added a new feature to spotlight potential “areas of interest.” If there’s anything we learned from Pokemon Go, it’s that people want to explore new places.

“As you explore the new map, you’ll notice areas shaded in orange representing “areas of interest”—places where there’s a lot of activities and things to do.”

Maps are essential to our mobile experience. Without GPS, we’d be lost. While Apple’s Maps app has improved, Google still has more location-based data, something Foursquare is also optimistic about.


Sunday Social Roundup

  1.  YouTube stars are the new Hollywood.  They’ve got millions of subscribers and crying fans.  All because these YouTubers decided to record themselves having fun or teaching what they love.  It’s a DIY world.  

  2.  All social networks seem to be unbundling their apps to do niche things. Foursquare spun off check-ins in its new Swarm app.  LinkedIn has an app dedicated to job search.  Facebook just forced all it’s users this week to download the Messenger app.  I’m not so sure this is a winning strategy.  

  3.  Posit: Getting replaced by ‘Facebook Places’ in Instagram’s geo-tag was the beginning of the end for Foursquare.  There’s just no way Foursquare can last, unless it sells all that valuable check-in data to another company.  

  4. Pinterest launched a direct messenger tool in its platform.  It’s less about chat than it is about speaking through aspirational images.  It’s already much better than Twitter’s DM service.

    + Here’s a graph showing that Internet users prefer to share privately much more than publicly. Vehicles for sharing real life outperform our publicly edited shared lives. Dark social wins.

  5.  Social media is not about shopping just yet. Would you like to buy something while socializing in a bar?  Nonetheless, Twitter seems to think it can make social shopping happen.


How Your Location Data Is Being Used to Predict the Events You Will Want to Attend

I’m generally not a fan of predictive algorithms because I believe in spontaneity, discovery, and sharing. But this one makes sense.

Foursquare is sitting on heaps of influential data. Everyone wants to know what’s going on, they just don’t know where to look to find out. There’s Eventbrite,, and of course our own networks (Twitter and Facebook), but we need a recommendation on where to go when we’re just out and about.

This could be huge.


Search engines + social networks = social search  The wisdom of the crowds.  
Search engines + social networks = social search  The wisdom of the crowds.  


Permanent Social Zones

The dust has settled. Certain social areas are owned.

  • Foursquare owns check ins.
  • Instagram owns photos.
  • Twitter owns mobile communication/sharing.
  • Facebook owns all the above and more, as a content dump, primary for some.

At one point each of these networks tried to emulate the other. Facebook pushed ‘Places’ and capitulated. Facebook recently introduced filters that nobody uses. Twitter is also pushing its own filters, a risible threat to Instagram.

We can be certain now that some social networks have primacy in their respective areas of expertise.

Permanence is ultimately better for the users. Island hopping between different apps that do the same thing leads to inconsistent publication and a bored fan base. Better to fish where the fish are and produce captivating content.


These are some things I just assume are Internet habits:

  • Images that get tweeted natively on the Twitter platform aren’t good enough for Instagram.
  • Facebook is intentionally boring and useful to keep you coming back. 
  • People see your Tweets but don’t always respond either because they’re busy, lazy, or can’t generate a countering thought.  
  • It’s easy to see when other people steal your ideas for their own work and don’t give you a hat tip. 
  • Those that publish something digitally every day in the morning (blog post, tweet, etc) are generally successful. 
  • Those that track their workout habits are incentivized to workout more. 
  • Soccer (football) fans are religious about their sport online and off.  
  • Minimalists hoard digital items but collect very few physical things. 
  • Most bloggers lack originality.  Tech bloggers all write about the same things using different words.  Creative bloggers post the same images.
  • The medium is the message.  Twitter forces people to think in brevity.  An Instagram is the best status post. 
  • The majority of people still don’t know how to use RSS feeds effectively.  
  • Smart people still read books, digital or physical, because they long for paying attention to the story. 
  • Downloading music is old school.  No one wants to buy an extra hard drive. 
  • Older digital users want a stylus for tablets and smartphones and a keyboard.  Younger digital users have bad handwriting, can’t spell, and can type just as fast on touch screens. 
  • Emails are text messages. 
  • Online writers explain less because they can hyperlink out more.  
  • A tweet back/retweet from a celebrity is the new autograph.  
  • Facebook is still slow on mobile despite the recent upgrade. 
  • Foursquare users aren’t going away. 
  • On the whole, people just read headlines and forget the details.  
  • Painters make unnecessary use of Instagram frames.
  • It’s hard to discover music on Spotify due to lack of catalog. 

Safe to assume?



In more and more fields, the originator of the novel idea reaps an outsize share of the benefits. – Seth Godin

Foursquare, Twitter, and Square were first and are reaping the benefits.  Novelty is a tough act to follow. 


I’ve got a few simple frameworks for thinking about things. In social media, one of my main ones is the tenet that 1% of the users will create content, 10% will curate it, and the rest will consume it.

Fred Wilson

Fred goes on to say that 10 million Foursquare users are content creators, half of Foursquare’s total user base. I just re-downloaded the app for the third time. Again, it’s one of the best designed apps out there. And it’s very user friendly.

But it’s just one of those apps I don’t use as a creator, curator, nor consumer. I check in with Instagram and search for places and hotspots on Google. Maybe I should give Foursquare another shot even if it’s just asking it for the nearest Wifi.

I’d like to see Apple gobble Foursquare on the cheap and import its 20+ million mobile user community (data) into its new maps app. Forget Ping.

Foursquare is going somewhere but the roadmap is hard to predict.