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Productivity & Work Social Media Tech

One too many chips

Continuous partial attention makes it too easy to snack. Instead of waiting for the main meal, we fritter our hunger away on too many chips and salsa. We’re full before the entree.

Replace chips with social media, and you start to see the excess wear and tear we put on our bodies and minds. We can’t possibly consume all this information and still devour the main meal. It’s like eating all the popcorn before the movie starts.

Unless we plan on taking the food home with us or putting on some extra weight, we better slow down and refocus our attention on why we decided to eat out in the first place.

If you’re going to snack, do it in moderation, so you’ll still have plenty of room left over to absorb the good stuff.

Categories
Culture News Tech

A medium and its message

The medium is the format in which something works. The selection of media predetermines how content gets disseminated and shared.

The Internet is a mass medium. Newspapers are a medium. TV, radio, podcasts, and books are also mediums.

A medium is any messaging mechanism that connects people together to help facilitate communication. The medium is the fulcrum for storytelling including all its characteristics. Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase, “The medium is the message.”

But some platforms are more powerful than others. Audio, argues Alex Danco in his piece “The Audio Revolution.”

Meanwhile, the physical properties of the medium you choose will also influence the temperature of what’s being communicated. A photograph is hotter than a pencil: they both make pictures, but one makes low-resolution sketches and the other high-definition images.

What’s hottest? You might think that the highest-resolution format of all could be visual, typographic or video. But it’s not. It’s audio.

As much as we think visual-first platforms like Instagram and terse Tweets are the most compelling storytellers, it is the distribution of audio and speech that cut straight to the point.

Listening to George W. Bush galvanize firefighters on top the rubble of 9/11 through his bullhorn with these words is practically a pierce in every Americans’ brain.

“I can hear you!” Bush declared. “The rest of the world hears you! And the people – and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” The crowd firefighters and crew responded with prolonged chants of “USA! USA!”

One doesn’t need to see the footage to feel the aura of the speech.

Writes Danco:

Audio is how you communicate what you really mean, straight into ears, headphones and car radios, intimately and directly. Music is good at this, but speech is even better.

Whatever it is that’s being communicated, audio will heat it up.

Your ears understand what’s really being said, and they seek hot content.

There is no content without a medium. If content is king, then the medium is its own eponymous and gargantuan device.

Categories
News Tech

Automattic (aka WordPress) acquires Tumblr

I used to blog on Tumblr exclusively. But then the community got stale — other users stopped posting cool art and gifs as they gravitated to Instagram.

Even worse, Yahoo acquired the Tumblr platform for $1.1 billion in 2013 and never made any major upgrades to the micro-blogging site other than inserting in invasive and irrelevant ads.

Like Flickr, another great product that went bust under Yahoo’s control, Tumblr dissolved into irrelevancy. The site took a further blow when it banned porn, including artsy content like this.

Don’t get me wrong. I still use Tumblr today but for mere syndication for this blog.

But Automatic, the company that owns WordPress.com, just bought Tumblr from Yahoo for $3 million.

No one’s expecting a revival of Tumblr’s once-creative community but it could signal an effort to get back to the service’s micro-blogging core that made it unique from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and every other social network.

Wrote Automatic CEO and founder Matt Mullenweg on his Tumblr blog:

The Tumblr team also has some exciting functionality they’re eager to unlock once we close the acquisition officially in a few weeks…

Matt Mullenweg

So let’s see what exciting things WordPress has in store for Tumblr. I, for one, might be rediscovering/reblogging content on there in the meantime.

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
Culture Life & Philosophy News

Angels with dirty faces

If you want to be more optimistic, close your Twitter account. Bad news is addicting. But don’t completely bury your head in the sand. #amwriting

If you want to be more optimistic, close your Twitter account. Bad news is addicting. But don’t completely bury your head in the sand.

No one acts in public like they do on social media. People say whatever they want online because they’re shielded behind a mobile screen.

Go to the grocery and the sick-spitting Twitter weirdo behind you is just another dad buying cereal for his kids.

The internet and reality are two-faced. The shift from avatar to face is terribly inconsistent. The silent truth is to acknowledge the web’s nastiness without dancing to its thoughts.

In other words, don’t take the tweets so seriously.

Categories
Arts Nature News

Free the animals 🦁🐘🦓

The design for Animal crackers just got an update.

Due to mounting pressure from animal rights group PETA, Nabisco removed the cages from its iconic cracker box. The updated version shows the animals roaming free.

The redesign of the boxes, now on U.S. store shelves, retains the familiar red and yellow coloring and prominent “Barnum’s Animals” lettering. But instead of showing the animals in cages – implying that they’re traveling in boxcars for the circus – the new boxes feature a zebra, elephant, lion, giraffe and gorilla wandering side-by-side in a grassland. The outline of acacia trees can be seen in the distance.

Said PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman:

“The new box for Barnum’s Animals crackers perfectly reflects that our society no longer tolerates the caging and chaining of wild animals for circus shows.”

This is the first significant redesign since Nabisco launched the crackers in a 1902 partnership with the now-defunct Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus.

“New look, same great taste.”

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The original design
Categories
Culture Politics & Society Tech

The fate of click-bait

At the heart of the web’s self-destruction is contagious media: crazy cat pics and the entire Buzzfeedification of the internet.

Every site, even reputable ones, raced to the bottom because celebrity sideboob and stupid human and pet tricks drove clicks.

Writes Tim Wu in The Attention Merchants:

“Contagious media is the kind of media you immediately want to share with all your friends. This requires that you take pleasure in consuming the media but also pleasure in the social process of passing it on.”

“Contagious media is a form of pop conceptual art” in which “the idea is the machine that makes the art (LeWitt, 1967) and the idea is interesting to ordinary people.”

The clickbait craziness spawned an albatross of more ridiculous news, some of it fake news. As Zeynep Tufekci says in her TED Talk, “We’re building a dystopia just to make people click on ads.”

And now we’re living with the repercussions of confused algorithms and companies like Facebook and Twitter avoiding responsibility.

A cartoon by @lisarothstein. #TNYcartoons

A post shared by The New Yorker Cartoons (@newyorkercartoons) on

 

We are psychologically vulnerable to social media games. If we want stupid, we’ll get stupid. And anything that requires some thought and effort will fade away.

Categories
News Social Media Tech

“Real journalism matters”

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nudd_2018-Jun-06

The medium is the message. And while some of those media messages may stick, most lack substance. Look closely.

“Real journalism matters.” Pics via Columbia Journalism Review.

(h/t @nudd)

Categories
Culture News Video

The world’s most expensive coffee is 💩☕

The world’s most expensive coffee (aka brown gold) is shit, literally.

In other strange coffee news, scientists made a broccoli powder you can dump into your coffee. A broccoli latte sounds nutritious.

Categories
Politics & Society Tech

Slow media in, Zombie scrolling out

giphy
via giphy

The tranquil flood of information died after CNN introduced the 24-hour news cycle. But the internet brushed on a new type of disorder onto the information canvass that prevents us from thinking straight.

We consumed mindlessly, eating more than we could chew. Our brains got overloaded, dulled out, memories stymied by Google and images that told us everything we needed to know.

The good news is that while no one reads anymore, those who do are choosing quality over crap. Premium content is back because it’s trustworthy, well-written, detailed, and shareable.

Of course, the non-traditional sources are there like me. I blog to step back from the chaos and to absorb its connections. I refuse to let the Kardashians and other buffoonery colonize my brain. Blogging is like self-medication, but you can easily do it with a private journal or spending five still minutes reflecting on the day behind or ahead.

The Pilgrims didn’t have to deal with attention seeking missiles, misinformation, and click-baiting darts. Otherwise, they might have stayed home assuming the worst. Now offers the chance to dance with the intrusions by putting novelty aside and embracing the imagination for periods at a time.

“We think we understand the rules when we become adults but what we really experience is a narrowing of the imagination.” — David Lynch

Less news equals more news, squashing stimuli along the way.