Categories
Business Culture Photography Social Media

Taste at first sight 👁👀👁

“The first taste is always with your eyes.”

Everything is contrived, from the glowing burger buns, fresh lettuce and tomatoes, to the juicy fresh meat. Video takes food advertising even further, making it come alive from its static state.

Tabletop advertising or food marketing is no different from any other product marketing: the illusion never matches the reality of creating it. In reality, the food has been dressed up and augmented to look fresh and mouth-watering like those lobsters in Red Lobster commercials.

Fashion advertising is similar. The model is always more enticing wearing makeup and sporting a six-pack. When models make commercials, they never smile. Badassery sells.

Not surprisingly, food porn and selfies are huge on Instagram too, the people’s marketing platform. A little bit of shoot preparation and filters make both food and faces look better than they actually are.

Today, anyone can use technology to create a Hollywood look. Everyone’s deceiving and buying lies at the same time. We all desire better versions of ourselves, including what appears on our plates.

Learn more

Categories
Arts Culture Fashion Social Media

Devouring optical information

There’s optical information everywhere — on cereal boxes, to ads atop taxicabs, to the best quiche recipe on Pinterest.

We are bombarded by the same signals we signal right back, purchasing the Nike sneaker posted on Instagram yesterday.

Communicating through images negotiates a plausible reality. We consume and project, show and inspire others. Assume everything can be experienced, to a degree.

But the ordinary person lacks power. The influencers and marketers, once copycats, still dictate trends. Clout is an information advantage.

The evolution and ubiquity of images choke the world, tarnishing the concept of bear-naked nothingness.

The screen (never) fades to black.

Categories
Culture Music Social Media

Digging in the crates

It had that barbershop vibe, the relaxed atmosphere where people kicked back, dug the crates, and talked music.

There were posters and promotional displays but they couldn’t outshine the album artwork. Marketing started from the bottom up. Consumption was based on peer recommendations.

The record shop was a place of giver’s gain, where the information shared upfront by one crate digger to another got reciprocated down the road.

Back then, music collecting was truly social. Today, social algorithms make recommendations.

While the data is getting smarter, popularity reigns because the wisdom of crowds leans popular, making music suggestions more mimetic and less random. Pop music exists because people are too shallow, lazy, or genuinely uninterested in looking deeper.

You only need to listen to a few DJs and curators to know what’s good. These are the same crate diggers you used to speak to in the record stores which are now mostly nonexistent.

Taste is not universal. It’s personal yet relatable and trustworthy, especially if it’s coming from a respected source.

Stepping into a particular record store once meant openness and experimentation, the willingness to try new sounds and share tracks with others.

In the absence of music shops, music lost some of its frequency and culture fell on deaf ears.

Categories
Psychology Social Media Tech

Hooked on artifice and spin

Twitter’s removal of millions of fake accounts reminds us that not everything is what it seems. The internet is full of bots, replicating humans, even programmed to act more human than the humans themselves.

We too are conscious automata, no more authentic than the droids themselves. People are just savvy editors. We present our best selves online to increase our self-worth and to make other people envious.

Artifice defeats authenticity in all chess matches of the irreality we crave.

Yet, the push to be at our best could be the resolution to our proposed mediocrity. Why shoot ourselves down when a quasi-celebrity lifestyle sits at our fingertips.

Fame happens to the mobile holder. Stuck in a ludic loop, we are the host of our own Truman Show. Attention captured, republished, and released. We’re neither superior to bots nor are we consciously behind.

Categories
Psychology Social Media Tech

Ludic loop

In his blog post on breaking phone addiction, Erik Barker uses a quote from NYU marketing and psychology professor Adam Antler to explain why we keep checking our phones again and again. The process is called a “ludic loop.”

The “ludic loop” is this idea that when you’re engaged in an addictive experience, like playing slot machines, you get into this lulled state of tranquility where you just keep doing the thing over and over again. It just becomes the comfortable state for you. You don’t stop until you’re shaken out of that state by something.

So how we do we keep ourselves from going down the Facebook and Instagram rabbit hole? We employ a “stopping rule.”

It’s a rule that says at this point it’s time for me to stop. It breaks the reverie and makes you think of something else; it gets you outside of the space you’ve been in. The best thing to do is to use a declarative statement like, “I don’t watch more than two episodes of a show in a row, that’s just not who I am.”

As Barker points, you can also remove the dopamine hitting apps from your phone and replace them with something useful like the Kindle app to encourage more reading. And in the worst-case scenario, you can throw your phone into the ocean, or just leave it in an inconvenient place to prevent the urge to take another futile gamble.

Categories
Social Media Tech

Walking billboards

We are all walking billboards. Logos and sponsors aren’t restricted to the chest of professional soccer and basketball uniforms.

As consumers, we signal our own catalog of attention triggers — the Nike Swoosh, the Adidas stripe, the Bauhaus-inspired Apple AirPods, etc.

We’ve been working for brands all along. Social media and the proliferation of images intensify the ubiquity of advertising.

Facebook long understood its users were the best advertisers, helping brands generate impressions through the return of reshares, likes, and comments. Harvesting attention is a $1.2 trillion annual business, with influencers acting as the newest sensation in image marketing.

Subtle like soft power, we sell without selling, creating an endless gif loop of buying — all to confirm the story in our heads.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Social Media Tech

A blank screen, an external reality

A blank screen, an external reality. To project oneself as an influencer of good.

The unemployment rate is at its lowest since 1969 — but is it masked by the gig economy?

The side gig wants to survive in a world rather than know it. Instant gratification is the latest raison d’être. But it also comes with financial gain — selfies put food on the table.

Writes Rosie Spinks for Quartz:

“The internet influencer is the apotheosis of all this striving, this modern set of values taken to its grotesque extreme: Nothing is sacred, art has been replaced by “content,” and everything is for sale”

There’s no surprise that in this culture of meness is a whole lot of sameness. Such simple thinking gets amassed and deduced to pictures on a retina wall.

So we keep slouching, in the hopes that a little text neck prods us beyond permanent mediocrity.

Categories
Culture Social Media

All the internet’s a stage

We can all assume that a social media persona is different than that in real life. Writes Jonathan Crossfield in Chief Content Officer Magazine: “Strategy or no strategy, all social media is artifice and spin.”

No one is going to post in public what they Google in private. We’d rather tweet about playing 18 holes than revealing a Saturday afternoon doing the dishes.

We curate our avatars, acting like celebrities and influencers to build up our personal brands.

If Instagram and Twitter present an edited version of life, reality is a theater full of false mirrors and digital half-truths.

We create the appearance of authenticity online

We invent polished experiences so we can share them. We manipulate the public microphone to project the best self, even if that ephemeral five-second clip disappears the next day.

All the internet’s a stage. As online entertainers, it is no surprise that we often fail to live up to the shinier version of ourselves offline. Screens provide neither knowledge nor truth so the personal image never gets accurately reflected.

We set the bar too high like the movies, performing a Hollywood script that injects a personal image into a mirror that we cannot touch.

Shouldn’t we be the one that we are?

Categories
Creativity Social Media Tech

Werner Herzog talks filmmaking, Pokemon Go, and how to manage our online life

The Verge interviewed legendary director Werner Herzog about his online class where both aspiring filmmakers and professionals can learn his tips and secrets on moviemaking.

Not surprisingly, Herzog practices an unusual style of teaching too. He encourages his students to break the rules of storytelling and make up their assignments.

“don’t wait for the system to accept you. You create your own system, create your own [budget] and make your own first feature film or your first own documentary.”

For all the affordable technology today though comes our self-inflicted barriers of Internet addictiveness. To avoid the pitfalls of a “parallel surrogate life,” filmmakers need to get offline and touch things. Herzog only owns a cell phone for emergencies.

On the contrary, he reveals a fascination with technology, particularly Bitcoin, as it relates to news ways of storytelling.

“I’m interested how can I commit a bank robbery holding up the bank and getting away with loot of something that you cannot even touch”

The funniest part of the interview is when Herzog needs an explainer on Pokemon Go. He does not think the game is moronic, only that it is not for him, at least not as real as the human connection. Talking about virtual reality, he still prefers it when you get on your two feet and encounter the world and others face to face.

The conversation over Pokemon leads to some of his deeper thoughts on the role of technology in our lives. At the end of the day, humans are morally responsible for their tools.

“Sure, and the question — is this technology good or bad? — is an incompetent question. It’s humans who are good or bad.”

Read the entire interview here.

Categories
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