Conversation 3: Attention

Expiration Date

Laurel: In my own periphery, I’m noticing people starting to approach their projects more with a specific end date, for instance. For example, recently a potential client of my roommate’s was talking about making a publication that’s specifically nine issues long, and that’s all it’s going to be. I think people are a lot more aware of the life of things and how finitude is meaningful.

Dan: That was a big realization in social network platforms, too. Like with the expiring message of Snapchat, suddenly people realized actually it’s a good thing. Because everybody thought, “Oh, having my stuff archived on my blog forever, that’s fantastic.” And there’s sort of a complete transformation now—having my stuff expire immediately is fantastic. But this idea of having a platform expire seems like a logical next step.

Ayham: It does seem important to highlight that ceased to exist because Yahoo leaked a presentation slide that said they were going to get rid of it. Then there was a mass exodus. And that seemed like such a unique thing that couldn’t have been planned. Is there a way sunsetting could happen in the software as part of the plan for the project? I feel like even signifying an end date wouldn’t have the mass exodus that this Yahoo slide created. It was such an interesting thing.

Laurel: And would people participate in your platform if you told them it was only going to live for two years?

Dan: Ah, well that’s the problem.

Bryce: People are using Peach right now. I don’t use Peach myself, but apparently there's a rumor circulating among its users that says it’s going to go down any day now. But people still use it.

Laurel: Best platform out there.

Katelyn: Actually, if that were the case, I think people would approach these websites a lot differently.There’s this humanistic aspect that it doesn’t live forever, and so you feel a sense of shared responsibility or maintenance.

Dan: You’d use it, but you wouldn’t invest in it. That seems like it could be totally healthy.

I think the concept of things having and expiration date leads people to be more free with how they express themselves. The lack of permanence allows for mistakes to happen, which often will eventually lead to something great. But it’s interesting that people aren’t interested in using a product or platform that doesn’t hold some permanence to it. They themselves want to take advantage of expiration dates, but when it’s the expiration date of the platform on the line they leave. But this may have just been unique to the Yahoo case. Overall, this leads me to believe that although people appreciation the lack of permanence, they still desire it to some degree. People are drawn to ending platforms like Peach because there is some permanence in their participation, although it may not be visible to outsiders. It creates a sense of exclusivity that people enjoy.