“You have to do the work now, because you don't have forever.”
— Spike Jonze
“You have to do the work now, because you don't have forever.”
— Spike Jonze
Between Friday's Internet outage and the Cleveland Indians LeBroning it into the World Series, it feels like 1997 all over again. That being said, below are some interesting articles and tunes I discovered this week.
Given culture’s categorizations, people always conform to a certain type regardless of how big or small a niche. Culture’s resistance to sameness guarantees uniqueness and plasticity while continuing to evolve; unless you’re author Mark Grief who appears to be against everything:
The cultural critic’s conceptual enemy is the smoothing formula known as “the wisdom of crowds”: if you are doing what everyone around you is doing, you are not thinking, and you are missing out on your own life.
The artist treads a fine line between a unique creative process to one that can become manufactured. Take the case of MIA; the Internet made her a star and removed her underground status along with it. As she makes a comeback with her new album AIM, now she blames the web for getting her lost in the shuffle.
When I first happened in 2005, you could have multi-streams. You could have independent streams, underground, or the mainstream. You had those options, and now you don’t really have that. I feel like your art only gets judged through “everybody’s looking at it” or “nobody’s looking at it.” And if no one’s looking at it, then it’s irrelevant. That’s how we’ve trained our brains in the last five years. But at that time, you used the internet to make spaces that were a genuine counterculture to the mainstream. Now the internet is the mainstream.
Novelist Chuck Wendig is no stranger to establishing ruthless writing habits. He puts down 3,000 words a day regardless of the circumstances, following the old Pressfield adage to put your ass in the seat and get to work. He argues that quantity, the habit, is the only way to get to quality; that is to say, the more you make, the more you have to play with.
The only thing that matters is FORWARD MOTHERFUCKING MOMENTUM. One step at a time. One leap. One sprint. Find a reasonable goal and hit it regularly. And when you don’t hit that goal – Don’t beat yourself up.
While it’s not clear how Twitter would disappear, or how your profile would renew, some of Twitter’s longest and most passionate users like Navneet Alang, find it hard to imagine a life without looking through the lens of the blue bird. Below are some of the highlights from his think-piece on the cultural and neurocognitive impact of Twitter.
Twitter has colonized my mind. Almost every day for just under a decade, I have checked the site, have tweeted, retweeted, been subtweeted. My mental map is the frontier surrendered, and Twitter is the empire. To become occupied by a social network is to internalize its gaze.
If you want to expand the discoverability of your Instagrams, try Focal Mark's ‘data-driven, human-curated hashtags.' It's simple as finding the category of your photo and copy-paste the most relevant hashtags from FocalMark.
“The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.”
— Anton Chekhov
Your success depends on your ability to focus for extended periods of time. Whether you're a writer, a musician, or basketball player, the goal should be to practice your craft at least an hour a day.
To focus is a discipline. It takes work, just as being happy is a decision that requires consistent effort. It's easy to procrastinate and let distractions come to us so we can appear busy. Busyness often gets confused with checking email or social networking, even if it's just for a couple of minutes waiting to pay at the grocery. You're better off using that dull time to observe, listen, or mull over your own thoughts. Perhaps there's something you forgot to do.
Your mind works like a dishwasher even when you're awake to clean out the crap that's not worth hanging on to. The internet more often adds to the noise and produces little signal. You want a brain that's clear and connective rather than cloudy and chaotic.
The author Neil Gaiman believes that the best way to write a book is to be so bored you don't have a choice. Imagine all the things you could accomplish if you used your time doing the work instead of dreaming about it.
Scroll through at least ten Instagram profiles, and you'll see the word ‘enthusiast' attached to occupations such as photography and travel. They're even kite enthusiasts.
Enthusiasts are scared hobbyists. They want to take the leap and become experts, but they're not courageous enough. Notice how you don't see mentions of soccer enthusiast or model enthusiast; those jobs are harder to fake and obtain. Enthusiasts are wannabe professionals who are afraid to take the next step toward being a professional.
Some proclaimed ‘enthusiasts' are pretty good. You can even call them amaffesionals because they make good art. But the real game requires a different mentality and skill set; just because you dominate street ball doesn't mean you'll make it in the NBA. If you want to go pro, get serious about it– but start, by first removing the word ‘enthusiast' from your profile.
Wouldn't it be great to vote via Facebook and get this election over with? Until then, here are some interesting read and new tunes I collected this week.
On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog. No one knows your political views either until they spot your comments in an echo chamber of callousness on Reddit. When did it become ok to ignore the facts and revert to coercion? Interesting reflections on today's world from Cognitive Edge's Dave Snowden:
Empathy, the ability to see things from different perspectives is creating something sustainable.
Rupi Kaur is a twenty-two year old artist from Ontario. Originally from Punjab, India, she sketches and posts poems on Instagram and Tumblr about love and relationships. Kaur recently published a book that sold 17,000 copies. While love verses are a fan favorite, she says that talking about interesting topics like violence and sexual abuse are what give her the edge.
For me writing is a form of healing, so it’s never been about the audience. Obviously I want people to like my work, but the most important thing is that I like it. I have to completely feel it”
Clickbait is the result of a 24/7 news cycle. Media companies create stories of unimportance so that they can get another click to drive up revenues. The entire operation intends to suck your attention and waste your time, along with depleting your brain cells. In short, the news makes your brain fat. Shane Parrish of the educational Farnam Street blog recently dissected the abundance of media:
“Clickbait media is not a nutritious diet. Most people brush this off and say that it doesn’t matter … that it’s just harmless entertainment. But it’s not harmless at all. Worse, it’s like cocaine. It causes our brains to light up and feel good. The more of it we consume, the more of it we want. It’s a vicious cycle.”
Millennials may have ushered in the era of narcissism, but they are no longer responsible for its durability. Everyone else has caught up to the “toxic self-absorption” that plagues the western world. Writer Kristin Dombeck offers some ideas on how to identify a modern day narcissist in the n+1 magazine.
“Narcissists are the most popular kids at school. They are rock stars. They are movie stars. They are not really rock stars or movie stars, but they seem like they are. They may tell you that you are the only one who really sees them for who they really are, which is probably a trick.”
Imagine if offline advertising were just as advanced in its trackability as online ads. Through “grouplization,” Yahoo is proposing an advanced system of smart “sensory system” billboards that halo Orwell's 1984.
These digital billboards—which Yahoo envisions being placed along freeways and in bars, airports, planes, ferries, buses, trains, and other public spaces—might rely on video cameras, satellites, drones, microphones, motion detectors, and “biometric sensors” such as fingerprint, retinal, and facial recognition devices.