We Are What We Share, Says Tumblr's Lead Designer

Just as sharing things in real life, like clothes and music, help us define who we are, a community-based online ethos could overcome the narcissism which people accuse the Web of facilitating.

What's the Latest Development?

You might expect the lead designer of Tumblr to espouse the virtues of limitless creativity, but in fact, Peter Vidani feels at the top of his game when there are boundaries to work within. They represent a challenge to accomplish more with less, he said, referring to making a Tumblr app for the iPad: "It was an opportunity for us to start fresh with the hierarchy and the aesthetic of some pieces. We did a lot of stuff that we should carry back to the site. When you work in those sort of restrictions you get clever." Vidani also suggests cross-departmental conversations so that engineers and designers can improve their work through collaboration. 

What's the Big Idea?

Despite past philosophies of immutable souls, today's concept of identity relies more than ever on what we share online, even though our memes seem increasingly transitory and ephemeral. "But are we the things we share? That's a big question. In real life, that could hold up. ... I don't think anyone can create a new de facto way to represent identity, but we can get closer and closer to how we're getting along in real life." And just as sharing things in real life, like clothes and music, enriches our culture, understanding that identity is created through interaction with others could stem the narcissism the Web is often accused of facilitating. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


Compelling speakers do these 4 things every single time

The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth

The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.

Keep reading Show less

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Keep reading Show less

Preserving truth: How to confront and correct fake news

Journalism got a big wake up call in 2016. Can we be optimistic about the future of media?

  • "[T]o have a democracy that thrives and actually that manages to stay alive at all, you need regular citizens being able to get good, solid information," says Craig Newmark.
  • The only constructive way to deal with fake news? Support trustworthy media. In 2018, Newmark was announced as a major donor of two new media organizations, The City, which will report on New York City-area stories which may have otherwise gone unreported, and The Markup, which will report on technology.
  • Greater transparency of fact-checking within media organizations could help confront and correct fake news. Organizations already exist to make media more trustworthy — are we using them? There's The Trust Project, International Fact-Checkers Network, and Tech & Check.
Keep reading Show less