Rhythmic Pleasure Machines

In October 2009 Facebook’s newsfeed was updated. Phasing out chronological order, the newsfeed began sorting posts according to algorithmically defined engagement rates. Distancing itself from Google search, Facebook understood that the organizing and distribution of information and, more specifically, of images, didn’t have to necessarily follow user-defined informational or utilitarian parameters. In fact, the information presented to the user was not even determined by a prior search query. Facebook realized that the most economically profitable form of distribution followed the apparently arbitrary principles of leisure and distraction. It could also be argued that the device that made the scrolling revolution possible, the iPhone, was also obsessed with distraction rather than utility. The touch screen is first and foremost a sensorial (or even sensous) experience. It wasn’t more useful than the BlackBerry’s physical keyboard. And yet, the entire fantasy of an uber-device for the optimization of businessmen was proven wrong as a dying Balckberry couldn’t see that they weren’t making business tools, but rhythmic pleasure machines.