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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
Arts Creativity Tech

Art constitutes thought’s core

We don’t make art because we need to. We do it because we have to. It’s not just an addiction; it is therapy.

Without our work or side projects, we are an empty shell. Each project gives us meaning.

“Art is a line around your thoughts.”

Gustav Klimt, Austrian painter

Yet, the tendency to overthink our work’s value often misconstrues the act of performing it. Sometimes making stuff doesn’t need thought nor interpretation. Like laughter, it just is.

The power to take a picture, draw, run a science experiment, or just write clears the fog of perfection or the need to appease others. The end product is not always for Instagram but for us. Art constitutes our thought’s core.

The homogeneity of stuff begs our mind to make what’s unique to the person. Limits are self-inflicted. Artists are inspired individuals, especially when they are working.

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Life & Philosophy Tech

Refusing technology

gif by Emory Allen

Technology intends to make the mind sharper by acting as our second brain — it intends to provide all the answers while preventing cognitive overload.

Instead, what technology and more specifically, artificial intelligence does, is make us lazier.

Having all the answers to your next playlist, destination, and text means that you don’t really need to think it all. All of your tastes, road routes, and words get decided for you.

There’s no A for effort in the digital world. There’s only a perfect grade for how well you manipulate automation. Swaddled into predictive recipes, humans transform into non-thinking robots themselves.

Letting the computers do all the work is a modern-day addiction. And while tech streamlines communication, it ensures that a body can live without a full brain.

What makes one feel like an automaton is not the outsourcing of thinking, no matter how painful, but the elimination of effort itself.

You need to struggle a little bit to find the answers. After all, God gave people brains to escape from the prison of biology.

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Culture Poetry Tech

Truth, discarded

Racing to get hack our organic operating system, to render us decision-less at the mercy of marketers and AI.

The feeds are distraction machines that intend to blind our own will. We are complicit in the media manipulation.

It is within these information-rich, consumption-based societies that the heart beats but the brain double-thinks.

As the chaos whirls around is, It rules out nuance and complexity. What we see is what get, the truth discarded.

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Life & Philosophy Tech

The loose gate of attention

Attention works like a loose gate. We can’t always control what information sneaks in, nor can we parse the data so it makes sense coming out.

We grind away at the information life throws at us, some of it tangible and worthwhile but most it nonsense.

Like a Google search, the stuff worth keeping is like finding a needle in a haystack. When we discover something of value, it sticks. We share the knowledge with others, recasting it as our own.

Yet, our minds remain terrible aggregators. Who’s in charge, the thinker or the thought?

It’s impossible to unhear and unsee things — conversations, teacher’s lessons, tweets — without getting sucked into the commercialization of attention. The public sphere promotes mindless chatter, so rationalization sinks to the bottom.

The race to become synchronized with the mainstream prevents the interrogation of ideas. The noisy flood of information buffers thought until finally, the chaos settles to the bottom. And pieces of clarity return, unstuck from the confident idiots.

Categories
Culture Politics & Society Social Media Tech

Face the facts

gif by Falcao Lucas

To weave through a world when there’s no anonymity and everything is discoverable — we are one google away from all the answers.

But it doesn’t matter how much we know. People cognize to fit what they want to believe, regardless of the facts.

We tend to throw all the information we don’t want to hear into a deep hole.

The more we deny the truth, the more it snowballs into a series of lies, rubber-stamped onto black screens of irreality. Call it the disinformation highway.

Upon further reflection, we should be forced to deal with what’s no longer pleasant: the real world.

Disagree with it. Run away from it. But live with the doubt that we could be wrong on many issues. Tribes are meant to be broken.

Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy Social Media

What matters isn’t always popular

If you’ve ever published anything on the web you know what it’s like when all you hear are crickets. No likes, no comments, no reshares.

You think your content sucks because no one’s acknowledging you. But it’s a misconception to sell your work short, especially if it’s your labor of love.

There are 2.1 billion+ people on the Internet. If you’re writing, acting, or sharing your music someone’s going to connect with you. They may be a fan, a teacher, or someone you admire within your scenius. But you’re never going to appeal to everyone.

“The less reassurance we can give you the more important the work is.”

Seth Godin

All social media is based on reassurance. That’s why most Instagram content looks the same. If you want to guarantee success, you’ll share photos of beaches, dogs, selfies, and food.

“We were raised to do things that work.”

Seth Godin

But why not challenge sameness by trying something new? Go for some tension. Err on the side of being vulnerable if it means you get to make the stuff that makes you happy.

Unlike politics, creativity asks that you own up to being edgy, different. People that make change stand up and take responsibility for causing a ruckus.

“The internet could save your life because it’ll keep you from a lifetime of being told what to do.”

Seth Godin

Choose yourself. The rest follows.

All quotes above are from Seth Godin’s most recent presentation. Watch it below.

Categories
Culture Social Media Tech

Resisting the influence

gif by Rico Rose

The urge to do the exact opposite of what everyone is doing tingles the predictive soul.

To remain uninfluenced, resisting the harmonization of taste.

Everything interesting must be excruciatingly different — social media endeavors to trap uniqueness with templated styles.

The edited life is all chicanery, one stock cloud too many.

All places and poses scream with sameness, as do the viewers who stare at the screen cooking the mind for imitation.

Lemmings, are we not? Even the most-conscious person gets blindsided into a distraction of taste.

We are the perfect model.

Categories
Culture Tech

We used to pick up the phone

Tethered to the phone hanging on the wall, we forfeited our anonymity to the unknown stranger.

Every call felt like a cold call, with no indication of who was on the other line. Yet it felt surprisingly safe to answer even if it was a telemarketer. “No thanks, we’re eating dinner. Please call back later.” Hang up.

We used to pick up the phone

Now we expect every phone call to be preceded by a text, even if it’s our closest friends and family members. And we’re sure as hell never going to answer an unknown number because chances are it’s a Chinese spammer.

With screen time the default, if we’re going to answer the phone to take us away from whatever else we’re doing — emailing, texting, scrolling Instagram — there better be someone we know or think we know on the other line.

Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy Tech

Where it sings

A mind running on the “factory setting” defaults to organizational distraction. Everydayness overtakes what was inherent fascination.

A mind surrendering to the television or the internet sits stuck in a ludic loop of changing the channels or flicking to the next app.

A mind in search of its stimulation stumbles upon daydreams and mind wandering.

The mysterious power of doing nothing intends to fill in the void. There is no lapse in creativity.

Boredom is where the synapses sing.