My Top 10 Most-Read Articles of 2021

Dec 27, 2021 | attention economy, tech ethics

In 2021 I wrote about the attention economy, persuasive tech, AI, online safety and all the most important news stories in the digital world. As an unashamed geek, I spend hours knee-deep in Google Analytics most weeks. So, I did a quick trawl through to see which of my articles were the most popular in 2021. Here’s the round-up:

#10 10 Tech Predictions for 2022

Every year when I ran my digital business (for over 20 years), I used to write my annual digital predictions. There’s been a bit of a lull as I’ve settled into my new working life, but I decided to start doing it again. The first one was this year. In less than two weeks it’s made the Top Ten most viewed articles on my site, so I’ll be repeating it next year. If you missed it, I covered AI, quantum computing, the Metaverse, deep fakes, and the continuing techlash against Big Tech. [Read more]

#9 What’s the matter with the Metaverse?

attention economy in the metaverse
Will the Metaverse be another part of the attention economy?

Mark Zuckerberg relaunched Facebook as Meta in 2021, simultaneously announcing their big plans for the Metaverse. In this article I answered the questions; what is it, and why should we care? [Read more]

#8 The Facebook Oversight Board: Solution or Smokescreen? 

The Facebook Oversight Board, a group of twenty lawyers, journalists, politicians and human rights experts, has faced non-stop criticism since its formation in October 2020. The Board is an attempt to self-moderate content on the platform, without bowing to external regulation. But is it working? In this article I looked at how it’s performing. [Read more]

#7 In Praise of Print: Why Learning on Screens May Be Worse For Our Brains 

The first of two pieces in my Top Ten articles this year on learning on screens versus learning from a printed page. After over a year of students globally learning largely on screens using digital texts, this article looked at the latest research on whether print still has some advantages. [Read more]

#6 Sport’s Social Media Boycott

In April 2021, an 81-hour social media boycott took place by some of UK sport’s biggest organisations, to protest against online racist abuse. This article looked at the background to a rise in incidents which had lead to an unprecedented coming together of the top clubs to make a stand. [Read more]

#5 The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard

Latest research shows that hand writing on paper may be better for our brains than typing on a screen. It may also help us recall information better. This article has all the background. [Read more]

#4 Who Spreads Misinformation, and How Can We Spot It? 

Identifying and dealing with misinformation is a hot topic at all the Q&As for talks I give in the workplace, and in schools. Unsurprisingly, this article was one of the most-read on my website in 2021. I went back to basics explaining how to identify so-called ‘fake news’. I also summarised what we currently know on who might be spreading it. [Read more]

#3 Over half of UK children had a negative experience online in 2020

Ofcom’s 2021 report on screen habits Online Nation held few surprises, coinciding as it did with heightened time indoors due to a global pandemic. But one finding stood out: the extent to which time online proved to be a negative experience for UK children. The Internet may have been a vital lifeline for education and socialising in 2020, but it also increased children’s exposure to frightening and troubling online experiences. This article looked at what young people have been dealing with. [Read more]

#2 Social Media and Mental Health Pressures will not be Eased by Hiding ‘Likes’

A growing awareness of what daily exposure to social media might be doing to mental health has ratcheted up pressure on Big Tech. Instagram announced in 2021 they were experimenting with hiding likes on users’ posts. In this article I looked at whether that’s going to make any difference. [Read more]

#1 Suddenly, Google finds it cares about user privacy

My most popular article in 2021 was all about user privacy, big data and tracking. Google announced plans to stop selling targeted ads based on users’ browser histories. A move it claimed was a response to user privacy concerns. [Read more]

Read more on the attention economy in my book

My Brain Has Too Many Tabs Open by Tanya Goodin

If you enjoyed my writings on the attention economy and persuasive tech in 2021, and want to read more from me on how to fix our relationship with technology, pick up a copy of my new book.

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