Subway Reads: Thursday, March 17

Longer reads you may have missed on Thursday, March 17, from around the internet. Instapaper them for the ride home if you’re still sober enough to read. 

“4chan’s Chaos Theory,” Variety. Attempts to be the definitive breakdown of the 4chan phenomenon for the mainstream reader. Writer Vanessa Grigoriadis’s treatment is a bit breathless (“He’s as cute and wholesome as a teen idol…it’s hard not to think that if Anonymous looked like him they would show their faces more”) and she tiptoes around the nastier elements, namely cyberbullying, misogynism and pedophilia, but overall a pretty astute explainer of the imageboard’s mechanisms.

“The Internet, for Better or for Worse,” New York Review of Books. “It is irrefutable that social media have had a part in the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, as well as in ongoing protests in other Arab and Muslim nations, particularly those with sizable online and urban populations, such as Morocco and Bahrain. Facebook and other digital networks can speed political communication and provide efficient tools for organizing protests.”

A Letter to Our Readers About Digital Subscriptions,” New York Times. “Today marks a significant transition for The New York Times as we introduce digital subscriptions. It’s an important step that we hope you will see as an investment in The Times, one that will strengthen our ability to provide high-quality journalism to readers around the world and on any platform.”

“THE INFORMATION: How the Internet gets inside us,” New Yorker. “When the first Harry Potter book appeared, in 1997, it was just a year before the universal search engine Google was launched. And so Hermione Granger, that charming grind, still goes to the Hogwarts library and spends hours and hours working her way through the stacks, finding out what a basilisk is or how to make a love potion… while the kids who have since come of age nudge their parents. ‘Why is she doing that?’ they whisper. ‘Why doesn’t she just Google it?'”

“Reflections on Twitter, and on Ending Innovation,” Steve Streza. “When Twitter launched in 2006, there were two ways to interact with it. The website (which has now come to be known as #OldTwitter), and SMS. There was no Twitter client, no desktop experience, and no mobile experience. Oh, and they had an API. For the non-programmers in the audience, this API basically consists of a standardized way for apps to contact Twitter and get data in and out. Just about every Twitter app (client or service) you’ve ever used has used Twitter’s API to do its bidding.”

“The Potato Colada,” The Hairpin. BECAUSE JUST FOR FUN.

Subway Reads: Thursday, March 17