|Rich||Jul 11, 2019|
It’s well worth a read, as it allows you to trace the way the internet has changed over two decades - as the NYT puts it, it really is a “secret history of the internet.”
There are many issues thrown up by the piece, but one thing that struck me in particular is the way in which language is so fundamental to the way digital experiences actually happen to us.
On the one hand this is obvious - when we’re talking about privacy, there’s a necessary legal component that requires documentation. But to go even beyond that, the way in which concepts and relationships are framed by policies - by language - plays an integral part in how we understand them.
The importance of style
But, in actual fact, instead of leaving an inevitable trail of legalese in its wake, as Google’s operation advances, it sharpens up its language in favour of something more concise - maybe even more stylish.
There’s clearly a legal angle to this - the less you say the better, perhaps. But the level of control on display here says a lot about the way digital platforms and organizations depend upon harnessing language to their advantage to ensure they always remain in charge and in control of the relationships we have with them.