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Pop Loser No. 102

by Tyler Hellard


How Tiny Red Dots Took Over Your Life

Dots are deceptively, insidiously simple: They are either there or they’re not; they contain a number, and that number has a value. But they imbue whatever they touch with a spirit of urgency, reminding us that behind each otherwise static icon is unfinished business. They don’t so much inform us or guide us as correct us: You’re looking there, but you should be looking here. They’re a lawn that must be mowed. Boils that must be lanced, or at least scabs that itch to be picked. They’re Bubble Wrap laid over your entire digital existence.

I like the dots—they let me turn off the alerts, but when I'm ready I can look at my phone and see what's up quickly—four new emails, three Twitter mentions and so on. I prefer that to the screaming LOOK AT ME NOW stuff. 


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