Humor Science Fiction The Internet

Read Several People are Typing

Read Several People Are Typing

Told entirely through clever and captivating Slack messages, this irresistible, relatable satire of both virtual work and contemporary life is The Office for a new world.

Gerald, a mid-level employee of a New York–based public relations firm has been uploaded into the company’s internal Slack channels—at least his consciousness has. His colleagues assume it’s an elaborate gag to exploit the new work-from home policy, but now that Gerald’s productivity is through the roof, his bosses are only too happy to let him work from . . . wherever he says he is.

Faced with the looming abyss of a disembodied life online, Gerald enlists his co-worker Pradeep to help him escape, and to find out what happened to his body. But the longer Gerald stays in the void, the more alluring and absurd his reality becomes.

Meanwhile, Gerald’s colleagues have PR catastrophes of their own to handle in the real world. Their biggest client, a high-end dog food company, is in the midst of recalling a bad batch of food that’s allegedly poisoning Pomeranians nationwide. And their CEO suspects someone is sabotaging his office furniture. And if Gerald gets to work from home all the time, why can’t everyone? Is true love possible between two people, when one is just a line of text in an app? And what in the hell does the :dusty-stick: emoji mean?

Just short enough for the format to not wear thin. I liked how it switched between different conversations / channels to move the storyline along. Some of the “realistic” office chatter could have been cut down a bit, as well as the boss’ notes to self, I think — they seemed more included for general humor than adding to the story.

Future Building

Discord, the Internet’s Third Place

Liked How Discord (somewhat accidentally) invented the future of the internet by David Pierce (Protocol)

Discord’s founders just wanted to create a way to talk to their gamer friends. They created something much bigger.

I’ve started using Discord during the pandemic and it’s been an incredible tool to stay in touch with friends. We set up a text channel where we’d regularly hang out on weekend mornings when we used to hit the coffee shop together, then added weekly video hangouts on the nights we used to meet up in person. We started using video chat to accompany DnD on Roll20, since we tend to play theater of the mind and character focused games. And now we’re using a Discord video channel to do NaNoWriMo together this month. It has become our virtual Third Place to get together in real time.

Funny how I didn’t make that connection earlier this year thinking about what online public spaces look like. On top of hanging out with my friends, I also attended a Discord conference, with each track bring held in a different channel. I’m also using it for one to one connections like old school AIM. If this is the future of the internet, so far it’s working out pretty well for me.