Post-it Note Affirmations and the Amazon Dash():

Our actions are guided by what we tell ourselves we can do.

Sometimes, we use affirmations to breakdown what society has encoded in us, through gender essentialism or racist structures, and recode what we believe we're capable of. Sometimes, we use affirmations to help us feel better, or do more, or simply to remember to pick up laundry detergent.

These affirmations appear as morning mantras, or in browser extensions, software, and specially structured journals. Often they show up as post it notes, stuck to your bathroom mirror, effective because they are persistently in view, telling you:

You are beautiful.

You got this.

Audrey's dinner party 12/20


The amazon dash is a pinnacle of modern web design. It's one of the most intrusive, complex, and resource-dependent devices we've introduced into our homes, yet it appears as a simple oval with a single button for a single use. The use is absurdly narrow: the button will have a picture of Tide detergent, and when you press the button, Tide detergent is sent to your door.

Now, for this to actually function the dash needs access to your wireless network, your amazon credentials, your credit card, your home address, and a shipping network to send that detergent to you. Amazon gets a lot out of this: they ensure brand loyalty to both the licensed detergent and Amazon, they can do behavioral economics through algorithmically adjusted prices to see what you're willing to spend, and they have incredible marketing data for the frequency of your purchases and how this correlates to your income, family status, location, and online profile. They can sell the results of all this data for a profit far above the profit they're already making on the detergent.

You get something out of this exchange too, beyond the detergent. Every time you open the cabinet, see that you're low on detergent, then see the dash button attached to the wall like a post-it note, you get the persistent affirmations:

Yes, I don't have time to go shopping.

Yes, I don't want to leave the house.

Yes, shopping was a tedious bore anyway.

By hiding the technical processes, and simplifying the onboarding and engagement of their services, Amazon can continually reinforce your depression for a profit--- and you can get name-brand laundry detergent faster.