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Culture Politics & Society Social Media

How status and likability affect your health 


Popular people live longer.

As social animals, the number of friends predetermines our well-being and lifespan. The gregarious live long than loners.

But life hinges on authenticity — it is not a popularity contest.

The number of people we know means nothing if there’s zero reciprocation. The other person(s) have to like us back. There’s a real benefit to solid relationships.

Think back to high school: were you amiable to a few trusted friends or sworn to attention?

The same question applies to our behavior online. It’s rare to have both status — millions of followers — and likability. The difference between the two is subtle.

Explains Mitch Prinstein, UNC psychology professor and author of the book Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World:

“Likability is markedly different from status — an ultimately less satisfying form of popularity that reflects visibility, influence, power, and prestige. Status can be quantified by social media followers; likability cannot.”

Mitch Prinstein

If we’re looking for happiness in the credibility of numbers, social media is the wrong game to play. Happiness links to likeability, not our number of followers.

It pays to be both well-known and well-liked if we want to extend our lives. So how do we start? For one, we can be kind to others, remembering their name, and seek a thread of commonality.

gif via Tony Babel

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Culture Politics & Society

Consuming valueless info

Image of eyeball in neck, neat graphic art from giphy

The tabloids will always outsell good books because people like valueless info. 

Instead of chasing the interesting, our eyeballs fall into the hands of attention merchants who monetize our dopamine-obsessed heads with precision drone strikes. We sell our souls to click on ads

The outcome of a Brave New World is short-attention spans and foolish entertainment. Even in a environment of niches, all this consumption amounts to an escape from the self. Variable rewards increase the appetite for more and deplete the things that matter. 

We need new ideas and different ways of doing things.  Otherwise, we are lost ships sailing to beliefs of nothing. 

gif by tessieng

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy Politics & Society

Turning heads in the sand

With peace comes prosperity, until people get bored. They want to start a raucous to make themselves to feel alive again. So they gulp down and share tabloid rumors. #gif #amwriting
via giphy

With peace comes prosperity, until people get bored. They want to start a raucous to make themselves to feel alive again. So they gulp down and share tabloid rumors.

Meanwhile, some folks prefer to turn their heads in the sand so they can ignore the swathe of breaking news. They prefer ignorance over heaps of information.

Still, a third party of people refuse both illusion and disconnection. They want and act on the facts. They rest on human intelligence.

Whatever the party, the quest for an active, minimalist, and efficient mind is a voluntary effort blending with the preferences of others in a mass heap.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Politics & Society

Why people deny the facts

The partisan brain is real and nonsense. Say and hear anything enough and of course, it’ll feel true. Such mimetic behavior even dupes so-called intellectuals from grasping the reality of the facts. #gif

Everyone gets it.

That rush of blood to the head when something or someone reconfirms your beliefs. You just knew it!

But how often is that perspective the result of wearing blinders?

The partisan brain is real and nonsense. Say and hear anything enough and of course it’ll feel true. Such mimetic behavior even dupes so-called intellectuals from grasping the reality of the facts.

The sidedness has to stop. Remixing and replaying the tribe’s view does little good to resolve the long-term problem, especially when the solution of acceptance is right under their noses.

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Politics & Society Tech

Punching back against nihilism

It’s not a matter of if we combat the firepower of irreality, but a matter of when. But then it might be too late to punch back. #gif

The brain is stuck on hype rather than facts and figures. It devours the external stimuli of incessant feeds and 24/7 news and predictably shuns the details.

If we want to overthrow the swathe of nihilism, then we need to create a system that supports credibility. The algorithm failed to do it. Pre-programmed maths exposed the human biases and fragility.

It’s not a matter of combatting the firepower of irreality but how well we can protect against its ailments. Keep in in mind that it might be too late to punch back.

art via giphy

Categories
Culture Politics & Society

Cultivating disparate views

Cultivating disparate views #gif

Two America’s, two different realities. If you can shape your own feeds and build an arsenal of self-confirming information, why do you ever have to see the other side?

But that’s precisely the problem. Inundated with reassurances and accelerated culture, people promptly ignore what they disagree with. Technology is not neutral; instead, it is weaponized to meet group ends.

Democracies thrive in open environments. They need proper dissent and discourse. Above all, a healthy system of government needs a continuity of ideas.

Secondly, democracies need your own thoughts and reflections. If your first opinion is usually someone else’s, the latter should be based on your aggregate experiences and education.

Listen to your views like you listen to your life. Is your interpretation still accurate? Challenge yourself, and read this book for extra credit — you’ll thank me later. 

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Culture Politics & Society Tech

Relic of the past

A combination of elements, a mere idea transforms into something new.

From Polaroid to Instagram, railroad to internet, snail mail to email, what is the future but a remix of stems mashed up and built on top of extant systems.

We introduce new things and promptly forget that they already existed, in the guise of an outdated format.

What is new are the experiences and artifacts. We cultivate a new culture from upgrades in a medium. But novelty is not always benevolent.

For instance, once a beacon of hope, the internet went from green fields of opportunity to havens of extreme darkness.

But just as trying to escape demons gives them power, finding little pockets of light sprinkle elements of hope.

Some carry on, clinging to the optimism of 1994. For many others, 1984 is just getting started.

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Culture Life & Philosophy Politics & Society

Regression in time

You’re part of an idea. So is every variety of human.

One idea is that democracy is the best form of government. But we can’t hide its flaws. It still allows for bombastic celebrities to take charge.

Humans are also part of nature. We are to climate change what the asteroid was to the dinosaur.

Society happens to progress, but if it gives up the ideal efforts it withers. The epidemic of distraction caused by pervasive connectivity only drives the insouciance.

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Books Culture Politics & Society Quotes

America, the paperback version 🔖

“I think of Europe as a hardcover book, America as the paperback version”

Don DeLillo, The Names (Amazon)
Categories
Life & Philosophy Politics & Society

Embrace the void

Most people can’t stand to be left out the loop.

The urge to know is what keeps them on their feet, building a knowledge base of facts that usually amounts to gossip.

Ignorance is therefore a discipline.

Just as we can’t do everything, we can’t stay totally informed either. Ambient awareness already cultivates more information than we can handle.

Reasons why things happen will always outpace the reasoners. There is such thing in the perfection of anything, no reason to grapple with issues out of your control.

Embrace the gaping void.

Gif via akaidaia