Why'd You Push That Button?

Why'd You Push That Button? Podcast

Why’d you like that celebrity photo on Instagram? Why’d you leave that restaurant review on Yelp? Why’d you text in lowercase, or turn on read receipts, or share your location? Ashley Carman and Kaitlyn Tiffany ask real people the hard, meta, and occasionally silly questions about the way technology influences our thinking, changes our behavior, and affects our social lives. Produced by The Verge and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

What does ‘being verified’ actually mean?
I have sad news today: we’re publishing the season 4 finale of Why’d You Push That Button? The good news, though, is that it’s a really great episode! Today, Kaitlyn Tiffany and I (Ashley Carman) are asking what verification on social media accounts really means. To some, it represents more than a badge of authenticity. We wonder why people want to be verified and what they’re willing to do to get the blue checkmark.  I tell the story of my own journey to Instagram verification (weird flex, I know) and ask ...

Why do you use Close Friends on Instagram?
Instagram introduced its Close Friends feature, the ability for users to assign followers to a Close Friends list and only post Stories for them, nearly a year ago. At the time, it seemed like an official product response to the user behavior of Finstagrams, or accounts that people created solely to post less-curated, raw material to a select group of friends. On this week’s episode of Why’d You Push That Button?, Kaitlyn Tiffany and Ashley Carman want to know how Close Friends is going. Who’s using it? Why...

Why you’ll never quit Amazon Prime
Land of the Giants is a new podcast from Recode and the Vox Media Podcast Network about the five major technology companies (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google – or “FAANG”) that have reshaped our world. Each season focuses on one of the giants and explores the ways that it’s changed our lives – for better and for worse. The first season is about The Rise of Amazon and is hosted by Recode’s Jason Del Rey. Enjoy this special preview of the first episode, Why You’ll Never Quit Amazon Prime, and subs...


What keeps people on Snapchat?
In the social media world, Instagram has dominated as the most used app in 2019, but what happened to Snapchat? Ashley Carman and Kaitlyn Tiffany dive into where Snapchat is after Instagram stole their innovative "story" feature, and what the people who still use it are using it for.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

Why do you slide into DMs?
In 2019, what's really going down in people's Instagram and Twitter direct messages? How has the behavior and usage changed over the past few years? Kaitlyn Tiffany and Ashley Carman interview people who found love in the DMs and others who didn't. Later, the director of product management at Instagram reveals why people use DMs, and how Instagram makes it easier for users to slide into them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

Is auto-replying ruining email?
Do you use Gmail's "smart reply" feature when answering e-mails? Ashley Carman and Kaitlyn Tiffany explore the world of the automated email responses and how it makes us feel as both the sender and the recipient.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...


Death Online: When celebrities die
In the third and final episode of the Death Online series, Ashley Carman and Kaitlyn Tiffany analyze why people flock to Twitter after a celebrity dies. Guests include a reporter who is all too familiar with the phenomenon, a writer who fears the day his favorite celebrity passes, a musician we force to think about her own death, and a sociologist who contextualizes "celebrity death Twitter" in the broader history of public mourning.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

Death Online: Mourning a robot
What happens when your robot friend dies? Ashley Carman explores the grieving community surrounding the short-lived social robot Jibo. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

Death Online: Planning your digital afterlife
What’s going to happen to all of your tweets, Instagram photos, and emails when you die? To kick off a special three-part miniseries about Death Online, Ashley and Kaitlyn are in search of the perfect digital afterlife — and the skills they’ll need to clean up after themselves from beyond the grave. In this episode, they talk to an estate planner, a Tumblr star, an advice columnist, and a Why’d You Push That Button? listener who has no interest in being a Facebook ghost. Long story short: if you want to RIP...


Does deleting Instagram make you happier?
People are becoming more conscious of their phone and app usage to a point that tech companies, including Google and Apple, are building software to deter them from scrolling through apps like Instagram and Twitter.  On this episode, Kaitlyn deactivates her Instagram account to try and feel happier. Does it actually work? She and Ashley talk to users who have taken breaks from Instagram, a professor who studied social media abstinence, and Google to learn more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaph...

Why are you anonymous online?
Anonymous accounts can be essential for creatives on the internet and also a tool for others to detach themselves from their work. This week, The Verge’s Ashley Carman and Vox’s Kaitlyn Tiffany talk to users who feel the need to keep their personal life out of their Instagram accounts; a reporter who was the victim of an anonymous Twitter parody account; and a media researcher who studies the reasons people want to be anonymous. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

Why do you promote your tweets?
Promoting a tweet has been a tool for brands, influencers, and entrepreneurs to spread their message, but why do regular users promote their tweets? Ashley Carman of The Verge and Kaitlyn Tiffany of The Goods by Vox talk to Twitter users, an engagement editor, and an expert on personal branding to find answers. Kaitlyn also sacrifices her vanity and promotes her own tweet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...


Why do iPhone users judge people with green text bubbles?
Do you scoff at people who appear in iMessage as a green bubble? Or are you the person with the green bubble that has been unaware of your friends secretly judging you? In the season premiere, Ashley Carman of The Verge and Kaitlyn Tiffany of The Goods by Vox talk to experts and users about how Apple's design and color choice in iMessage can cause rifts in relationships. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

We’re back this week!
A new season of Why’d You Push That Button? is coming May 15th! Ashley Carman of The Verge and Kaitlyn Tiffany of The Goods by Vox will explore more of the tiny decisions that technology forces us to make, like why iPhone users judge people with green bubbles in iMessage; why people use anonymous online accounts; and why anyone would promote a tweet. Also, in a special three-part series, Ashley and Kaitlyn will explore the choices we have to make when it comes to death and the internet. Subscribe to get new...

Should we be kind to our smart assistants?
Hosts Ashley Carman and Kaitlyn Tiffany travel to Las Vegas for CES 2019 and chat about what it means to have smart speakers in our homes and as part of our families. Do we need to be kind to them? Director of Product Management for the Google Assistant Lillian Rincon and Editor of Voicebot.ai Bret Kinsella join Ashley and Kaitlyn to give their expert takes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...


Why do you use an exclusive dating app?
It’s the season finale of Why’d You Push That Button, and this week, hosts Ashley Carman and Kaitlyn Tiffany discuss exclusive dating apps. Unlike Tinder, Facebook Dating, Hinge, or most other dating apps, these exclusive versions require users to apply and then only approve a select group. The most popular exclusive dating apps include Raya and The League. For this episode, Ashley and Kaitlyn want to know why people spend time applying to these services, and why these apps were created. To find out, Ashley...

Why do you ask questions anonymously?
My Instagram followers want to know whether I like veggie chips and how many push-ups I can do in a row. The answer is no and one. On this week’s Why’d You Push That Button, Vox.com’s Kaitlyn Tiffany and I (Ashley Carman) discuss anonymous question-and-answer apps — why do people use them, both to ask and receive questions? First, I chat with my pal Vanessa about how they use Instagram’s question and answer feature to build community. Then, Kaitlyn chats with a minor Tumblr celebrity, Klaudia, about how she...

Why do you post on fake holidays?
The Verge’s Why’d You Push That Button squad is in the holiday spirit, so in this week’s episode, hosts Ashley Carman and Kaitlyn Tiffany discuss hashtag holidays. You might not know the term, but you definitely know the phenomenon. Maybe you’ve seen people participate in #NationalSiblingsDay, or #WorldNutellaDay, or maybe even #NationalBoyfriendDay. Why do people post, and why do they use those hashtags? Also, who invents these holidays? Kaitlyn and Ashley chat with one of their producers, Bridget Armstron...


Why do you send voice messages?
The people who love voice messages love voice messages. Vox.com’s Kaitlyn Tiffany and The Verge’s Ashley Carman aren’t those people. On this week’s Why’d You Push That Button, they discuss voice messages and why people send them. They also try to figure out why people like them in the first place. Ashley talks to her best friend, Casey, about her habit of sending voice messages, and Kaitlyn interviews The Verge’s very own AI reporter James Vincent and his mom, Bridget, about their family texting dynamics. I...

How do you choose your emoji skin tone?
How do you choose which emoji skin tone to use? This week on Why’d You Push That Button, Vox’s Kaitlyn Tiffany and The Verge's Ashley Carman discuss the five emoji skin tones (not counting the default gold option) and how people decide which color best represents them. The tones debuted in 2015, and now, three years later, people have studied how they’re used and how commonly people opt to change the default option. The choice isn’t as simple as you might think. We also change the show up this week. Instead...

What makes a place Instagram-worthy?
What makes you post a photo to Instagram? What space is truly worthy of a post? Are we willing to destroy nature for a good pic? This week on Why’d You Push That Button, Vox’s Kaitlyn Tiffany and The Verge's Ashley Carman discuss the characteristics that create an Instagram-worthy place. First things first, we talk to former social media manager at The Verge, Zainab Hasnain, about all of the Instagram-oriented pop-ups she’s visited. We also chat with Kristina Alaneisse about parties she hosts at local cool-...


What have you bought on Instagram?
It’s nearly Black Friday, and we’re gearing up with a podcast about shopping, of course. This week on Why’d You Push That Button, Vox’s Kaitlyn Tiffany and The Verge's Ashley Carman discuss Instagram shopping: why do we buy stuff? They chat with Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel about all of the horrible gadgets he’s bought, as well as Vox reporter Rebecca Jennings about how the Instagram algorithm learns what we love and then targets us with it. Then they talk to Choosy, an Instagram-made company that use...

Who is your Instagram boyfriend?
This week on Why’d You Push That Button, Vox.com’s Kaitlyn Tiffany and The Verge's Ashley Carman give the people behind the camera some attention. We’re talking about Instagram boyfriends, or simply, the photographers who take everyone’s Instagram photos. The unsung heroes. We want to know how these people feel and how influencers decide who to ask to take their photo. We chat with Meredith Haggerty about the time she hired an Instagram boyfriend for Fashion Week in New York City a couple years ago. She wro...

Why do you text like that?
This week, Vox’s Kaitlyn Tiffany and The Verge's Ashley Carman ask why we type the way we do. Are we really that cool? First, they chat with Ashley's friend Laura who also types in all lowercase all the time. Then, Kaitlyn interviews The Verge’s copy editor Kara Verlaney about her thoughts on proper punctuation across the internet and all its forms. Finally, they interview linguist Lauren Collister about whether we’re just psychoanalyzing all of our typing habits for no reason, or if there’s real research a...


Why did you leave the group chat?
Some of us love our group chats. Others of us hate them and would love nothing more than to leave them all. But why do we want to leave? Maybe you’ve had someone leave a group without giving you a reason as to why, and maybe it hurt a little bit. Vox.com’s Kaitlyn Tiffany and The Verge's Ashley Carman are here to help you work through that pain with this episode of Why’d You Push That Button. First, they chat with Ashley's friend Liz who tells us about her current and past group chat drama.  Then Kaitlyn in...

When is it okay to record someone?
Sometimes you see something happening out in the world, and you feel compelled to record it. You just have to capture it. Is that okay? Legally, are you allowed to record someone without their permission? And what happens if you go viral, then what? It’s murky territory, both legally and as human beings, but we’re going to tackle it on Why’d You Push That Button this week. On this episode, we talk to Porscha Coleman, who recorded an infamous Apple Store Vine, as well as Carlye Wisel, who was once fashion-sh...

Why do you delete your tweets?
Why’d You Push That Button is back for season 3, and our first episode is a relatively serious one. Vox’s Kaitlyn Tiffany and I catch up on our summers and then dive into everyone’s favorite social media platform: Twitter. We need to discuss tweets. Are they worth deleting, or should we preserve our limited-character history? Who needs to worry about their tweets? What happens if a potential employer searches your Twitter? What will they find? Kaitlyn and Ashley reflect on their tweet history, and we take i...


Here's what we're asking about in Season 3
We’re back at it again. Why’d You Push That Button, The Verge’s podcast about all the choices technology forces us to make, is returning for a third season on October 17th. As usual, we’ll cover pressing issues of our time, like why you left your friends’ group chat, what it’s like to be an Instagram boyfriend, and why you refuse to type with uppercase letters. We’ll also be tackling more timely topics, like how people decide when it’s time to delete their tweets and why, and how they choose their emoji ski...

How do you break up on Instagram?
The time has come, everyone. Summer is basically here, and Why’d You Push That Buttonis wrapping season two just in time for us to get our butts to the beach. But before we do, we have an episode for you. It’s about relationships, Facebook statuses, Instagram posts, and breakups. I would say this is our “personal” episode. We came to talk about whether the Facebook relationship status matters anymore, and we get some answers. Definitely. First we talk to Nayomi Reghay, The Daily Dots’ advice columnist, abou...

Have you turned off push notifications?
I’m deeming this year the year of the push notification solely because of the disaster that was Hawaii’s accidental ballistic missile alert. On this week’s Why’d You Push That Button, Kaitlyn Tiffany and I look into why people turn push notifications on, especially for news. Are they masochists? What makes us turn them off? I don’t hate push notifications, so much as I wish they were more targeted and accurate. Kaitlyn resolutely hates them, and that’s fine. This episode packs a lot of content and interview...


Why did you unfollow me?
I’m calling this week’s episode of Why’d You Push That Button the “politics of unfollowing.” What makes someone click that unfollow button, and why does it hurt our feelings when they do? Kaitlyn and I talk to two of our Verge colleagues: Managing Editor T.C. Sottek and Senior Features Editor Michael Zelenko about why they unfollow people. T.C. only follows six people on Twitter! And he only started following me and Kaitlyn after we produced this episode. We appreciate that kind gesture. Michael, on the oth...

How do you save your Tinder date's phone number?
On this special throwback episode of Why’d You Push That Button, Kaitlyn and Ashley revisit an old, one-off podcast episode from Verge Extras about saving phone numbers of people they meet online. They call one of Ashley’s exes to learn how he’s been doing since they dated. They and The Verge’s Lizzie Plaugic then evaluate all the options for saving a phone number and whether it’s weird to ask for someone’s last name.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

Why is it so hard to build a successful music social network?
We’re chugging along with Why’d You Push That Button. We’ve got a few more episodes left in the season, and today’s is about music social networks. Kaitlyn loves stalking her friends’ Spotify feeds, whereas I keep my account hidden from everyone. I just want to listen to Britney Spears in peace. I can’t have Kaitlyn texting me every time I listen, you know? Spotify used to let people direct message tracks, but it has since removed that feature, which just leaves us with the friend feed. Why isn’t Spotify bu...


Why do you leave restaurant reviews?
Kaitlyn and I love food; take that above photo of us as proof. We’re often conflicted about leaving reviews for restaurants, however. Kaitlyn has never written a Yelp review, whereas I’ve written only one. We worry about reviews as a whole. Should everyone be a reviewer? Are people good? Do they want to intentionally ruin each others’ livelihoods? For this week’s episode of Why’d You Push That Button, we look into restaurant reviews and why people leave them. We talk to a Yelp Elite member, Dominek, as well...

Why do you have a finstagram?
This week on Why’d You Push That Button, Kaitlyn and Ashley analyze fake Instagrams, aka finstas, to find some truth. We talk to a teen, a model, and a reporter to get answers about why people keep a finsta. I don’t want to spoil anything, but we basically learned that finstas are probably the most authentic social media platform, aside from Venmo. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

Why did you ignore my Facebook event invite?
I know you only have a Facebook account for event invites, and I get it. This week on Why’d You Push That Button, Kaitlyn and I explore ignored Facebook events. More specifically, we talk about the check mark and “seen” that Facebook puts under any guest’s name who has opened an invite but not responded. Why do people hate to RSVP? Why do we get hurt when they ignore us? Why are we all so rude? What can Facebook do to fix this problem? We’ve got answers. I talked to a woman named Carrie who tells us about a...


Do you take selfies in public?
Do you take selfies? Do you take them in public? Do you watch other people take selfies in public and judge them harshly, as if it is any of your business? Or, uh, why does anyone have an opinion on the selfie behaviors of others? I don’t take them; Ashley does. Who cares? This is our question on Why’d You Push That Button this week — with a long detour to defend Kim Kardashian, the tryingest social media pioneer and performance artist of our time — and we’re going to get to the bottom of it. We spoke to Al...

Does tech encourage ghosting?
Kaitlyn and I went to Texas, ate breakfast tacos, each gained five pounds of happy weight, and more or less became certified brands. We had a good time together. We also successfully pulled off our first live episode of Why’d You Push That Button. We tried to figure out why people ghost and ended up learning that humans are lazy and need a manager-type hanging over their heads to keep them accountable at all times. Still, I’d like to think this is just a rough patch in our collective dating experience, so h...

Who owns a meme?
Our first episode of season 2 is about memes and the law, which sounds both boring and scary and is neither. First, we chatted with Vox Media’s Sara Reinis, who told us an unsettling story about her first viral tweet. In short: Her life was turned a little upside down because she made a meme using a photo of some birds, and did not realize the birds were someone’s family. Fair enough, Sara, but maybe all of our listeners will learn from your mistakes! Then we talked to Drew Scanlon, best known as the “white...


Season 2 starts at SXSW 2018
Hello, subscribers! Why’d You Push That Button is back! Season 2 starts on March 6th, and we’re kicking off the week with an additional episode LIVE at SXSW 2018 in Austin, Texas, on March 10th featuring special guests. Come visit us!...

Holiday Spectacular 2017
We've done it, fam. We've finished season one of the podcast. Because it's also the season of giving, and because we love you all, today's episode is dedicated to you. In today's Holiday Spectacular — I told you it was coming — Kaitlyn and I listen to the audio clips you've sent us over the past few months. We also sit by the fireplace here in our podcast studio to look back at the season. We've learned so much, mainly how tech companies manipulate our minds :) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaph...

Why do you share your location?
We only have a week left in season one of Why'd You Push That Button?. So savor this episode. Really, soak it up. It's all you'll have to get through winter, other than our Holiday Spectacular episode next week. This week, we're asking why you share your location. Do you share with your boyfriend? Does your mom make you do it? Maybe you've gotten lost in a park because your friend didn't know how to drop a pin and you wished they'd share their location. We get it. Our guests include a woman named Michelle S...


Why do you hold on to text threads?
This week on Why’d You Push That Button, we’ve been hypnotized by the romance of New York in December and we’re acting accordingly! Twinkle lights, snow banks, and love letters. I recommend listening with a cup of hot chocolate or a bucket of that popcorn that has the little paper dividers between the three flavors. Get cozy; hold hands. The big question: how do you decide to delete or save text threads from friends, family, or significant others? If you have 3GB of texts from an ex, you’re never actually g...

How do you send nudes?
This week on Why'd You Push That Button?, we're talking about sending nudes. Sending a naked photo of yourself in 2017 doesn't need to be complicated, but with hundreds of thousands of messaging apps to choose from, deciding how to send that nude can require some thought. Do you take to Snapchat, iMessage, or Instagram DMs? What about sending them through your dating app? We talked to two people about how they make sense of this messaging app utopia. An anonymous man named Frank primarily uses gay dating ap...

Why do you rewatch your own Instagram stories?
Why'd You Push That Button? is back. We took a break last week to feast on Thanksgiving side dishes, and now we've returned to break down why we snack on our own Instagram content. More specifically, we want to know why people rewatch their own Instagram stories and obsessively check who's viewed them. We talk to our friend and true influencer Claire Carusillo about her foray into Instagram stories and how she's focused on the platform after ending her beauty newsletter. We also chat with The Verge's senior...


Why do you stalk people on Venmo?
This week on Why’d You Push That Button, we’re getting into one of the real soap operas of modern life: Venmo’s public activity feed. Some people never look at it; some people scroll through it during their daily commute, inexplicably curious about why their friends are exchanging money. The payment app launched in 2009 and is now popular enough to work as a verb: “I’ll Venmo you,” meaning “I’ll hit you back right now and accompany the payment with some emoji or a dumb inside joke.” Yet, somehow, despite it...

Why do you share streaming service passwords?
This week on Why’d You Push That Button, we’re talking about a series of buttons. Specifically, the buttons on your keyboard that you have to use to type out the password to your Netflix, Hulu, or HBOGo account and send them to another person. Do you do that? Do you ever regret it? Do you have to boot ex-boyfriends who keep watching half of the new episode of Game of Thrones before you can get to it, spoiling the latest dragon spectacle? Has your password gotten away from you, whispered down the telephone l...

Why do you like celebrity photos on Instagram?
We aren't stopping here at Why'd You Push That Button? HQ, aka The Verge's offices. We've still got more episodes, and this week, we're asking: why do you like celebrity photos on Instagram? This question might sound familiar if you're a Verge reader. I asked it months ago in this iconic post: "Why did my boyfriend like Emily Ratajkowski's butt on Instagram?" We now have the definitive, audio version of the article. We're going to get through it together as a family. For this episode, Kaitlyn and I talk to ...


Why do you turn on read receipts?
Here it is! The second episode of a new Verge podcast called Why’d You Push That Button. On this show, my colleague, Circuit Breaker’s Ashley Carman, and me, the Culture section’s most self-indulgent blogger, talk about all the tiny decisions your gadgets and apps force you to make every day. All day, every day, we’re pushing buttons and thinking about the intended or unintended consequences. We’re interviewing consumers — including friends, co-workers, loved ones, and some strangers — and then we’re talkin...

Why do you Super Like people on Tinder?
Our podcast has arrived. You made it. Thank you. In Why'd You Push That Button, my friend and colleague Kaitlyn Tiffany and I, Ashley Carman, ask the questions you're probably already talking about with your friends. We analyze the small, seemingly insignificant decisions we make every day with technology, and how they impact our social lives. This week, we investigate Super Likes on Tinder and SuperSwipes on Bumble. Why do people use them? We talk to a man named Matt who I describe as a "reformed Super Lik...

Coming soon: Why'd You Push That Button?
Why’d You Push That Button? is a podcast about the choices technology forces us to make, featuring interviews with consumers, developers, friends, and strangers. Hosted by The Verge’s Ashley Carman and Kaitlyn Tiffany, Why’d You Push That Button? asks the hard, weird, occasionally dumb questions about how your tiny tech decisions impact your social life.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...