Categories
Psychology Social Media Tech

Tech this out

Technology controls us. The companies that make the hardware and software hijack our attention and turn us into distraction-seeking mice. None of this is good for our cognition.

Reward and pleasure are addicting, so much so we get anxious when the pellets stop showing up. That’s when we reach into our pockets and pull out the slot machine disguised as a smartphone for another hit of dopamine.

That Instagram heart, the Twitter retweet, the Facebook like–they are all designed to steal our conscious attention. They say sitting is the new smoking; how about pecking at our smartphones? Walk down a busy street; both walkers and drivers are looking down. Self-driving cars can’t come soon enough!

This continuous partial attention is not only causing cognitive load, but it’s also putting our lives at risk. We’ve become transfixed on creating and consuming bite-sized rewards.

Learn to focus. Learn to be bored. Learn to daydream.

Categories
Business Culture Photography Social Media

Taste at first sight 👁👀👁

rachael-gorjestani-154907.jpg

“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.

Table top advertising or food marketing is no different than any other product marketing: the illusion never matches with 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. Bad assery 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
Social Media Tech Video

Watch a Chimpanzee using Instagram

Watch a Chimpanzee using Instagram

This video of a chimpanzee scrolling through Instagram is eye-opening.

Touch is intuitive, the candy-colored screen all too addicting. Generation thumbs transcend humans.

But can the chimpanzee access the Stories feature? This video reminds me of this snippet from the Yuval Noah Harari book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind:

We control the world basically because we are the only animals that can cooperate flexibly in very large numbers. And if you examine any large-scale human cooperation, you will always find that it is based on some fiction like the nation, like money, like human rights. These are all things that do not exist objectively, but they exist only in the stories that we tell and that we spread around. This is something very unique to us, perhaps the most unique feature of our species.

You can never, for example, convince a chimpanzee to do something for you by promising that, “Look, after you die, you will go to chimpanzee heaven and there you will receive lots and lots of bananas for your good deeds here on earth, so now do what I tell you to do.”

But humans do believe such stories and this is the basic reason why we control the world whereas chimpanzees are locked up in zoos and research laboratories.

Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Categories
Culture Tech

Hearts manipulated at scale

Art by @annasalmi

Hearts manipulated at scale. It’s as if social media is the new religion. The double-tap ❤️ permeates everything, so much that we stopped going on vacation for pleasure — instead, we travel for the purpose of accumulating likes.

Studies show that if your phone is in your field of vision you won’t be able to resist it. Do you think you can go without your phone for a whole minute? No way! Not if it’s within reach.

Overstimulation is an impediment to insight. Self-knowledge and new ideas percolate in disconnection. Yet it pains people even a minute to sit with their own thoughts.

The tug of war between consciousness and screen addiction is real. The lite brite is there to kill different avenues of thought. Fidget spinners are just sops. Give your mind permission to dodge the hook.

Categories
Culture Social Media Tech

Taste the rainbow, on loop

There it was, crushing the human will. It was the antithesis to my Kindle Jenner, a screen of sanctity for focus and learning.

The lite brite is an attention thief. Like a fresh bag of Skittles, it begs you to consume your favorite colors first.

The rainbow hue of Instagram may be the shiniest of them all. Beautiful photos have a smell, as love does.

On the go or at home, there is no sanctuary. The barrage of dopamine erases all head consciousness. Enter wonderland.

The only escape is Gmail, that insignificant other who instills a feeling of control. Yet, it too is goose chase to unproductivity.

The internet never ends. Like a perpetual wave of Hokusai-like talons, buffering into the collective consciousness. Altered attention, altered thoughts, altered beliefs, forever planted at the altar of distraction.

Categories
Arts Creativity Culture Photography Social Media Tech

Sharing sameness on the gram

I’ve blogged about it before but it’s worth repeating: Instagram homogenizes creativity.

Scroll your feed, and I bet one of the pictures that comes up includes the following: a selfie, a coffee cup in hand, someone standing on a rock, riding in a canoe, or feet up in the sand or mountains, etc. It all looks the same!

Of course, similar cliche-looking pictures can be seen on Unsplash, where I often pluck images to share on my blog.

Thankfully we have accounts like @insta_repeat to remind people, especially adventure influencers, of their mimetic desire to copy each other. The creator of the account is an unknown artist of their own, with no intention than to call out the patterns of sameness in the digital space.

From Quartz

The creator of Insta_Repeat is a 27-year-old filmmaker and artist, who wants to remain anonymous. “I’m not trying to be the arbiter of what photos have value and what don’t. I am just making observations about the homogeneous content that is popular on Instagram,” she told Quartz over email. She says she is baffled by how many shots there are of humans in canoes and atop SUVs—but does see the positives in the repetitive nature of Instagram. “I also think there’s an incredible amount of value in emulation both when someone is learning and continuing their craft,” she says. “Improving upon and building upon what has been done…is an important part the evolution of art.”

The art of conformity is real. If at first, we copy, then we deduce, mixing and meshing what others do until we develop our own unique style. That’s a creator’s ambition anyway, to do something novel.   

Below are some of the most recent posts from the @insta_repeat account. Make sure to follow along for the latest collages.

34682292_2167553993480307_1374409338814201856_n.jpg
37785601_1976587885976139_7999270494517854208_n.jpg
Categories
Cool Products Productivity & Work Tech

Firing Table: Grow your Instagram account organically

firing-table-logo-vector-09
$29.95 per month gets you your own Instagram account management

Instagram users spend as much time on the app as they do on Facebook. Some even predict that Instagram will be as big as Facebook in the next five years with over 2 billion users.

If you’re a business, an influencer, or just want to get your work seen, you need to be actively publishing and engaging on Instagram. But if you’re like me, you either don’t have the time nor want to waste all your energy poking at the mobile screen while your primary focus should be scheduling awesome content. That’s why I recommend outsourcing that labor, not to bots, but to real people.

Firing Table is a service that grows Instagram accounts quickly and organically. They interact within designated parameters 24 hours a day on behalf of their clients. This constant interaction leads to more exposure and in turn more followers and interaction for businesses. And they do all of this based on information given to us at signup so the users that are seeing your account are relevant.

Customers can grow accounts by up to 100 followers per day. These are all real people who choose to follow and interact.

The service is $29.95 per month and customers can cancel anytime you want. Don’t buy Instagram followers. Grow your account organically instead.

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE SEE THE DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

Categories
News Social Media Tech

Instagram tweaks its algorithm to favor fresher posts

gif by Denis Sazhin

Instagram is making tweaks to the algorithmic feed it introduced two years ago. While the social network won’t bring back the chronological feed, it will emphasize newer posts first. You’ll also be able to manually refresh your feeds instead of kicked up to the to while browsing.

From the Instagram blog:

We’ve heard it can feel unexpected when your feed refreshes and automatically bumps you to the top. So today we’re testing a “New Posts” button that lets you choose when you want to refresh, rather than it happening automatically. Tap the button and you’ll be taken to new posts at the top of feed — don’t tap, and you’ll stay where you are. We hope this makes browsing Instagram much more enjoyable.

Based on your feedback, we’re also making changes to ensure that newer posts are more likely to appear first in feed. With these changes, your feed will feel more fresh, and you won’t miss the moments you care about. So if your best friend shares a selfie from her vacation in Australia, it will be waiting for you when you wake up.

I no longer use Instagram like I used to because the feed feels like a disorganized mosh pit. Timestamps are all over the place and my friends’ posts went missing at the cost of brands.

At least now it appears that Instagram is listening, sort of.

I’d still like the ability to create lists like Twitter. I’d create one feed specific to street photographers and another for my closest friends. An ad-less version of Instagram would be a bonus as well, even at the price of a monthly subscription.

Categories
Arts Creativity Photo Challenge Photography photoJournal

Visuals: Faceless portrAits

Atop

Adrift

Adjacent

Afar

All photos by Wells Baum

People from behind + Story + Favorite place + Faceless