Today’s dominant social media platforms are designed to produce, above all else, user engagement. Engaged users contribute increasing amounts of data, transforming platforms from empty containers of nothing into profitable private stores of human behavior and culture. But this production doesn’t happen by itself; it requires careful engineering to craft and present the right message at the right time in a way that compels users to keep scrolling, liking, and posting. Platform Sweet Talk examines a primary tactic Silicon Valley employs to seduce its users into a one-sided relationship: notifications. Based on longitudinal research into a major platform’s notification strategy, this work presents their extensive notification language in a depersonalized form, revealing how notifications operate to encourage, manipulate, and woo users into maximal platform engagement.
- Software for Less (solo), arebyte Gallery, London, UK (premiere)
- The Guardian / Observer (UK): How artist Ben Grosser is cutting Mark Zuckerberg down to size
- Ocula Magazine: Ben Grosser Wants to Mess with Your Socials
- CLOT Magazine (UK): Insight: Ben Grosser’s ‘Software for Less’, a space to reveal what the digital could become
Platform Sweet Talk was created by Ben Grosser and commissioned by arebyte Gallery (London, UK) as part of the solo exhibition Software for Less.