Shapelink
Skip to content

Johannes Holmberg

UI developer & designer

When I access a public computer screen somewhere around, I can't help but to notice the traces of the worrying machine. At internet cafés, technical resellers, hotel lobbies etc. The person using the screen before me have clearly taken a trip there.

When I take a peak over peoples shoulders, to catch a glimpse of their rectangle, curiously interested in getting to know what they so eagerly scrolling away at; I see that the worrying machine is on. It's like a TV-program on standby, the same show wherever you go.

I've tried and tried again to understand, but I still don't fully grasp it. It feels like people can't even take a step out of their own garden without having to check if they're doing the right thing. It feels like it's the uncertainty about maybe doing something wrong that time and time again leads them back to the worrying machine.

The machine gives you its approval or rejection about the things you're doing. It either gives you a thumbs up if you're doing a good thing or it shines with its depressing cloak of invisibility if you're not. It makes for a painful hole in the stomach, not being approved of. So that way I can put value on myself, what I'm doing and how I'm feeling.

In the worrying machine there's a lot of filters which I can compare myself against, so even if I'm not actively contributing my own experience, I can still check in with the filters to get a sense of how good off I am. In my turn, I can give my own approval to the filters, so the filters are accurate and up to date. And since the filters are what I'm comparing myself with; the circle is complete.

Behind those filters though, are real people living real lives. But because of the principal behind the worrying machine they're not reflecting a first hand experience anymore. First, they'll have to get twirled accurately in line with the machine's standards, so to raise the chances of hopefully getting blessed with a tap on the shoulder saying "Hey, great step there buddy!"

Sometimes when I ask people about it they say that the worrying machine is an amazingly good way of connecting with people. Is it really? I think that the worrying machine is a great way of connecting with filters. With polished and made up copies. But with people? Not sure. Since filters are public they want to reflect an image that looks good in public. And so it will not become a first hand experience. You will not get to learn the person behind the filter. That person is acting as a person who'd be likely to get approved by the worrying machine, not as himself.

That way, by comparing myself with something that isn't even real; I don't know, but I presume it can't be that healthy for the soul. It's confusing work, finding my true way in a fabricated world. I think that the ideals the worrying machine started out on were in fact noble. It was about connecting people. Staying in touch, minimizing the gaps and so on. But somewhere on its course it turned people into filters. It became a screaming place for attention, a setting whose original state imposes a striving for being awed and looked upon.

I like to talk to, write to and get my feeling about people firsthand, word to word or face to face without a public watching. No masks. No filters. Just honest, simple beings. That's a world I love and hope we'll have around for a while longer.