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 Productivity & Work

Is adult playtime over?

Adults can’t handle free time — unstructured activity makes them anxious.

From high school on, all people are trained to do is work. So they forget how to play.

Yet, children always seem to find a creative outlet. They have no problem building something out of Legos or using their imagination to draw.

On the contrary, the adult version of playtime usually consists of material consumption. We work to buy things we can enjoy when we are not working. Americans cling to purchases as a substitute for boredom.

When we get bored at our jobs, we procrastinate and chase down the nearest source of dopamine. We check email and social media to appear “busy” at work.

Office environments can inspire a cycle of procrastination:

We live to work, and we work to live. We feel meaningless without a title and a checklist.

But what if the office was like a jungle gym or a treehouse where workers would want to play again?

Playtime may be over but it that doesn’t mean the crayons need to end.

Categories
Culture Social Media Tech

Disattention is the new attention

A gif of a mask around a woman Silhouette with white eyes

There’s no cap on freedom of speech, nor is there one on attention. The latter, unfettered, encumbers our thinking with the juiciest of distractions.

Facts no longer keep attention. It’s all about the design, bluster, the infomercial, and the story. Distortion runs rampant because in the age of social media tribes bias controls the narrative. The downsizing from mass to niches means our grip on the world is more illusory than ever.

What information consumes is rather obvious. It consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.

Herbert Simon

Hiding behind our screens of self-promotion does nothing to generate change. A digital identity is full of artifice and spin.

The key to unlocking the facade is to see through its pixel-less value. Avatars are mere masks. The real world still needs impactful design, a far stretch from craving the irreality of a facelift.

gif by @elinanikkinen

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy Poetry Tech

The sound of the future

First came the radio, then television, and now the pocket-sized smartphone. Each iteration seemed to enhance our addiction to glow. #gif
via giphy

We used to drive horses, then cabs, and now Uber. Ideas, hardly new, get retranslated to match the demands of modern times.

First came the radio, then television, and now the pocket-sized smartphone. Each iteration seemed to enhance our addiction to glow.

From snail mail to email, to instant messaging — this time is different they say, confusing progress with advancement.

Categories
Quotes Social Media

“Build it and they will come” only works in the movies.

“Build it and they will come” only works in the movies. Social Media is “build it, nurture it, engage them, and they may come and stay.”

Seth Godin
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 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
Life & Philosophy Social Media Tech

Hobbying for hobbies sake

Whether it’s trying surfing or playing the guitar when’s the last time you did something out of pure joy?

In this Instagram-edited era where everyone gets their own stage, people only like to do things they’re good at. The thought goes: ‘if I can’t share it and show my best self, why do it?’

The aim for perfection limits the urge to enjoy hobbies for hobbies sake. As the author Tim Wu notes:

“But there’s a deeper reason, I’ve come to think, that so many people don’t have hobbies: We’re afraid of being bad at them. Or rather, we are intimidated by the expectation — itself a hallmark of our intensely public, performative age — that we must actually be skilled at what we do in our free time.”

The comedian never knows how their material will reciprocate until they get on stage and try their material. The jazz musician tweaks their tempo to test audience reaction. The writer publishes a first chapter of the book for feedback. In terms of professional life, showing your work is critical. But as a hobbyist, you don’t need reassurance. Again, writes Wu:

“Lost here is the gentle pursuit of a modest competence, the doing of something just because you enjoy it, not because you are good at it.”

Playing is natural, reception is artificial. It is hobbies that feed the soul with pure goodness. Showcasing the hobby is not necessary, but if so, neither is acing it.

Hobbies shouldn’t feel like work. They are a process to enjoy.

“The physical universe is basically playful. There is no necessity for it whatsoever. It isn’t going anywhere. It doesn’t have a destination that it ought to arrive at. But it is best understood by its analogy to music. Because music as an art form is essentially playful. We say you play the piano, you don’t work the piano.”

Alan Watts
Categories
Health Social Media Tech

Hashtag heaven

Luxury today and tomorrow will be defined by the ability to disconnect, to live a secret life where there’s no need to stay constantly connected for the sole purpose of a future job or fear of missing out.

Social media is a poor insurance policy. Except disconnecting is not the goal — moderation is.

An excess of anything will make you sick, your eyes roll and stomach turn. The culprits: beer, candy, coffee, tv, and screen opiates.

Drunk and unconscious, the dopamine on loop — you aren’t meant to pursue hedonism all the time. You need time to restore some willpower.

The connective power of the internet is uncanny. Mobile tech is too good to be true. But we don’t need to be a millionaire to stem its negative impact.

The key to unlocking hashtag heaven is to take a deliberate break every once in a while. Leave your phone behind or you’ll unconsciously use it.

Instead, grab a leash and take your thoughts for a walk. That’s wellness that works.

Categories
Culture Psychology Social Media Tech

The sharing virus

The biggest threat to a virus is its own exhaustion. It wants to be said, repeated, and spread until it cements into a meme.

Words, ideas, and apps are all types of viruses. Pretty much anything that spreads. Most are benign of course but perhaps none is more pervasive and self-inflicted than the sickness of self-promotion.

The social media age is plagued with envy, where everyone tries to one-up each other with their next best post. The cycle of jealousy shatters reality into shards of half-truths.

The sharing virus constricts people to a 1080 x 1080 square. Meanwhile, portrait mode constrains satisfaction. Spiraling into overextension, overworked trends and habits start to leak.

We like to think we’re dabbling in the next niche before the entire market even knows it.