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Culture Politics & Society Social Media

How status and likability affect your health 


Popular people live longer.

As social animals, the number of friends predetermines our well-being and lifespan. The gregarious live long than loners.

But life hinges on authenticity — it is not a popularity contest.

The number of people we know means nothing if there’s zero reciprocation. The other person(s) have to like us back. There’s a real benefit to solid relationships.

Think back to high school: were you amiable to a few trusted friends or sworn to attention?

The same question applies to our behavior online. It’s rare to have both status — millions of followers — and likability. The difference between the two is subtle.

Explains Mitch Prinstein, UNC psychology professor and author of the book Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World:

“Likability is markedly different from status — an ultimately less satisfying form of popularity that reflects visibility, influence, power, and prestige. Status can be quantified by social media followers; likability cannot.”

Mitch Prinstein

If we’re looking for happiness in the credibility of numbers, social media is the wrong game to play. Happiness links to likeability, not our number of followers.

It pays to be both well-known and well-liked if we want to extend our lives. So how do we start? For one, we can be kind to others, remembering their name, and seek a thread of commonality.

gif via Tony Babel

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy Music Politics & Society

Trent Reznor on musicians addressing politics

I was doing press with somebody in the mid-90s, and they made an argument that stayed with me: that I have influence, and that it’s my job to call out whatever needs to be called out, because there are people who feel the same way but need someone to articulate it. And I think about that today, because it seemed like it was a lot easier to just keep your mouth shut and let it go back then. You don’t hear a lot from the Taylor Swifts of the world, and top-tier, needle-moving cultural youth, because they are concerned about their brand, their demographic and their success and career and whatnot.

Read Trent Reznor Thinks Artists Should Speak Out

Categories
Photography Politics & Society

Photos by Jesco Denzel

Jesco Denzel 1

Jesco Denzel 2

Jesco Denzel 3

I’m sure you’ve seen Angela Merkel’s brilliant staredown at Donald Trump across the interweb. The photo was taken by German government photographer Jesco Denzel, who also won World Press Photo of the year in 2017 for the image in Lagos.

Extraordinary eye for timing and composition.

Categories
Politics & Society

No laughing matter

The current situation of the United States is obscene, insane, and incredible. If someone had pitched it for a thriller novel or film a few years ago, they would’ve been laughed out of whatever office their proposal made it to because fiction ought to be plausible. It isn’t plausible that a solipsistic buffoon and his retinue of petty crooks made it to the White House, but they did and there they are, wreaking more havoc than anyone would have imagined possible, from environmental laws to Iran nuclear deals. It is not plausible that the party in control of the federal government is for the most part a kleptomaniac criminal syndicate.

— Rebecca Solnit

Whatever your beliefs are, Solnit’s sharp writing will never let you down. Amafessionals like a race to the bottom.

Categories
Culture Politics & Society

The Wild West of data manipulation

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gif by Ryan Seslow

Tech entrepreneurs are coming to realize their moral responsibility.

Outside parties were abusing stolen Facebook data to develop psychological profiles of voters. The data-mining company Cambridge Analytica was central to the information warfare. They allegedly worked with Russians to stoke fears in the UK and America on immigration and other polarizing issues. So people got fake news and conspiracy theories in their feeds which led to Brexit and Trump.

28-year-old whistleblower Christopher Wylie who admittedly ‘made Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool’ at Cambridge Analytica is leading the charge against the product he helped build.

If data is the new oil, social platforms are the biggest propaganda machines.

Facebook is like an adult video game. People are obsessed with the sensational. And reality pays the price of fabricated events.

‘Move fast and break things’ may be a popular hacker’s motto but it’s shown to breed more carelessness than good. Thankfully, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are facing up to the truth that while their tools bring us closer together but they also tear the world apart.

The damage has been done. The question now is how will they fix it? Some argue that the crackdown on Cambridge Analytic is just the start. Others like Om Malik are less optimistic. Pumping users and engagement are in Facebook’s DNA regardless of the consequences. Om writes:

Facebook is about making money by keeping us addicted to Facebook. It always has been — and that’s why all of our angst and headlines are not going to change a damn thing.

More to chew on here…

Categories
Arts Creativity Culture Politics & Society

Banksy takes his art to Bethlehem

Promotional art by Banksy

Banksy opened up The Walled Off Hotel earlier this year along the wall of the occupied West Bank with the “with the worst view in the world.” More recently, he teamed up with producer Danny Boyl to put together a film called ‘The Alternativity’ which features local children and their families singing Christmas carols ‘Jingle Bells‘ and ‘Silent Night’ in Arabic and English.

The film drops just in time with Trump’s controversial move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, which he also proclaimed Israel’s capital. The intermixing of art and politics is intrinsic to Banksy’s street art, but he’s hoping this event will have a real-life impact:

“There aren’t many situations where a street artist is much use. Most of my politics is for display purposes only. But in Palestine there’s a slim chance the art could have something useful to add — anything that appeals to young people, specifically young Israelis, can only help.”

Banksy

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Categories
Culture Politics & Society

A reversal of fortunes

We are in an age of dumbness, where going forward means going back to the ugliness of man: a lack of reasoning, suffering of fools, a mockery of politics as entertainment.

The internet released information from the prison of expertise, but it also unleashed amateurs who spread misinformation and conspiracy theories. While we write the future with technology, the rotten eggs abuse it to cast their primordial nature.

The truth never expires. Neither does the awe of human intelligence when used for the benefit of all mankind.

Categories
Culture Politics & Society

A Night at The Garden

On February 20, 1939, 20,000 people gathered at Madison Square Garden in New York City to celebrate the rise of Nazism.

Film producer Marshall Curry worked with an archivist to pull together the clips of footage to tell a cohesive story. Not surprisingly, it looks eerily similar to today’s events with some Americans succumbing to such evil. Said Curry:

 They attack the press, using sarcasm and humor. They tell their followers that they are the true Americans (or Germans or Spartans or…). And they encourage their followers to “take their country back” from whatever minority group has ruined it.

History is a GIF loop.

Categories
Culture

How to cope with assholes

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via giphy

“I never could figure out why he was so serene in the face of certain assholes, especially in particular a petty tyrant we have in our midst. But what he does is he pretends when people are nasty that he’s a doctor who specializes in studying assholism. And he says to himself, ‘Oh, what a fascinating subject or specimen. I can’t believe how lucky I am to see this close up,’ which is funny, because I guess that’s partly who I am.” He also likes a strategy he calls “time travel”: “Think about it like it’s tonight and you’re looking back at it, and it won’t seem so bad.””

This Stanford Professor Has a Theory on Why 2017 Is Filled With Jerks

Categories
Life & Philosophy

Curiosity: the cure for a post-fact world

Lies are seductive. They linger because people are motivated to protect their tribal desires while the liars themselves will do anything to distract you from giving meaning to the facts.

Does smoking kill? Is the Trump administration complicit in Russia’s election hacking? It appears so, but both tobacco and party alike want you hanging on to your doubts. They rather you distract you with other stuff, like beneficent special research they’re funding or tweets to Snoop Dog and Nordstrom’s.

How do we get people to step outside their narrow window and look at the supportive evidence? As Tim Harford surmises, the key ingredient to opening eyes is curiosity.

“Facts rarely stand up for themselves — they need someone to make us care about them, to make us curious.”

Curiosity makes the facts juicer, the same way fear lights up your amygdala. It’s a sad state that the only way to get people’s attention in a post-fact world is by entertaining their senses. But the challenge in selling curiosity will be such.

Read The Problem With Facts