Tech conversation starters for your Thanksgiving dinner


The Verge’s Why’d You Push That Button podcast is all about stirring the pot. We love a little controversy and drama, which, coincidentally, also contributes to a great Thanksgiving meal. Avoid talking about politics, religion, and whatever else your random uncle wants to go off about, and, instead, try these topics. We’ve already tested them for you as conversation starters, and we don’t mind if you steal them. Here are five questions from the show that you can drop at family dinner and then sit back and watch everyone get heated.

Why do you text like that?

I’ll admit it: I often tweet in all lowercase because I want to seem chill and nonchalant. I know this is dumb. I know it, but I can’t resist. I’m a relaxed person! This week, Vox’s Kaitlyn Tiffany and I ask why we type the way we do. Are we really that cool?

Why did you ignore my Facebook event invite?

I know you only have a Facebook account for event invites, and I get it. 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?

When is it okay to record someone in public?

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 if you go viral, then what? It’s murky territory, both legally and as human beings, but we’re going to tackle it.

Why do you leave restaurant reviews?

Kaitlyn and I are often conflicted about leaving reviews for restaurants. 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? Leaving a restaurant review could destroy a business!

Why do you share streaming service passwords?

We’re talking about a series of buttons — specifically, the buttons on your keyboard that you have to use to type the password to your Netflix, Hulu, or HBO Go 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 line until it was in the hands of complete strangers? Are you a password giver or taker, and what does that say about you? Does… anyone actually pay for Netflix?

Of course, feel free to subscribe anywhere you typically get your podcasts. You know our usual places: Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and our RSS feed. Subscribe your friends and family, too! Steal their phones and just sign them up for the podcast; they’ll love it.



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