Coronavirus, Jobs, Ellis Marsalis Jr.: Your Thursday Briefing

Coronavirus, Jobs, Ellis Marsalis Jr.: Your Thursday Briefing

(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying at home.

We just introduced On Tech, a newsletter about how technology is reshaping our world. Shira Ovide, its host, chatted with The Times’s tech columnist Kevin Roose about his recent article on kindness on the internet. Sign up for the newsletter, and read the first one.

So the internet is good now? Did you forget about everything you’ve ever written?

Kevin: It’s not so much that the internet is “good” now — these tools haven’t changed, after all — but I do think we’ve seen people using the internet in a more pro-social way, which is great. I hope it lasts.

What can all of us do to keep this pleasant?

Kevin: I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I think the answer is we need to contribute more. In normal times, we — and I include myself — are much more passive about using the internet. There’s some research that shows we’re happier when we use social media actively rather than passively scrolling.

The more good people use social media, the less the bad people are able to commandeer the megaphone. Now, it’s not only the opportunists who are getting amplified — it’s also doctors, nurses, epidemiologists and people organizing face mask drives.

But doctors won’t keep posting forever. And does the world really need photos of my boring oatmeal?

Kevin: Yes, be boring! Living through a pandemic is terrifying. We should all be legally required to post photos of our boring breakfasts. It’s what people used to knock Instagram for — “Oh, it’s just people posting their avocado toast.” But honestly, that sounds amazing right now — an all-avocado-toast social network!

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Chris

Thank you
Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at

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