Insular Bubbles

Mike Rockwell:

The problem with insular bubbles isn’t just that you’re surrounded by people that share the same world view. It’s also terribly problematic that every time an opposing viewpoint pokes through, it’s re-told and framed through the lens of someone that already disagrees with it.
You can’t expect to understand the argument unless you actually listen to someone that believes it whole-heartedly.

I am not sure what provoked Mike’s post, but it could be about any number of things in recent times. Living in a bubble feels amazingly great, you’re rewarded for feeling the same as everyone else and protected by people that feel the same as you. It’s simple biology that may be hardwired to enable us to find safe communities.

As pointed out above, this is dangerous for balanced thought and just general understanding of other people. Building a tolerance to other threads of thought is impossible to achieve when you are not even interested in the other side of the coin.

But why should we? AI and algorithms understand us better than other people, so we are quite contented living in our little bubble and have content surfaced for us to hit that little dopamine bubble. When someone crosses our path that has different beliefs than our own, why should we tolerate it?

To be a better human that’s why!

Classifying Yourself

Kaitlyn Tiffany on Cottagecore:

The impulse for classification is a staple of internet life—tag yourself; add your interests; pick your favourite croissant, and we’ll tell you the Taylor Swift song that sums up your life.

I had no idea what on earth cottage core was when I clicked on this. Turns out it’s yet another way for people to get attention online.

But this statement really stuck out to me. Classifying yourself as something seems to be so important to people, and even fleeting trends on social media seem to need a name.

This label thing seems to be huge in tech. “I’m and Apple guy”. “I’m a manga nerd”. “You’re an Android user”. The need to exist in a group runs deep into our core (see what I did there) and we cling to labels in almost everything we do.

When thinking about who you are, it’s important to know these things and recognise their importance in your life — but don’t make labels important to your existence.

Strategy and tactics and Powerpoint

Seth wrote

If you’re not trying to cause an action or some other change in attitude or belief, then what’s the purpose of the deck?

I keep trying to instill these thoughts in every person I come across that requests a meeting or creates a deck for one.

What are you trying to achieve? What change do you want to make to attendees actions or mindset? Because if there isn’t a clear message then we are just going to watch slides full of information we could of read on an email.

It’s a business cliche that half the meetings should be emails, yet the meeting and pointless decks keep coming. I follow a few simple rules to clean my diary of guff.

  1. No agenda = no meeting
  2. No possible solutions outlined = no meeting
  3. A way to solve this with a meeting = no meeting.

Adopt The Opposite Position

Chris Wilson in Learn Create Share:

Sometimes we can get so caught in our ways of thinking, we become blind to what is right in front of us. One way around that is to adopt the opposite idea for a while. This could be a big idea (like a world view) or something small (like “wide angle lenses are the best for street photography”). When you adopt the opposite view, you may confirm your traditional belief or approach. But you may also notice something different, something unexpected. Sometimes it’s a small thing (isolating a subject can lead to great effects in street photography) and sometimes its revolutionary.

Dare I admit this, but I have a habit of, as my Grandad would say, not seeing the wood for the trees. I often get bogged down in minute details that are incorrect but miss the larger meaning or intent of the opposing view.

In my defense some of my closest friends, including my wife, often have opposing view points I enjoy nothing more than trying to see where they are coming from and use this to better my own understanding. However, it’s always good to be reminded of our ability to adopt the other position, because sit quite often leads to great results.

Why Does Every Advert Look The Same?

Josh Gabert-Doyon wrote:

It involves the use of simple, well-bounded scenes of flat cartoon figures in action, often with a slight distortion in proportions (the most common of which being long, bendy arms) to signal that a company is fun and creative. Corporate Memphis is inoffensive and easy to pull off, and while its roots remain in tech marketing and user interface design, the trend has started to consume the visual world at large. It’s also drawing intense criticisms from those within the design world.

I quite enjoy it when opinionated designers loose their cool. It makes them seem more human and not on the pedestal they often put themselves on. But on this occasion I do somewhat understand the annoyance, but they fail to communicate it very well.

Dubbed Corporate Memphis, we’ve see this coming for a long time. Todoist introduced the tiny heads illustrations that seemed to leak into every other app and now the same style is everywhere. Brands are loosing their uniqueness out of laziness more than anything.

There is a high level of pattern matching going on, but that doesn’t mean you can’t turn this style to display your brand. As someone that uses this style a little it has made some of our more information dense work more approachable by displaying images that customer are used to seeing, and I am certainly not put off using it because other designers get a bit snooty about it.

Using this style indeed makes the barrier to entry of designing something professional much smaller, and as with photographers, that tends to hurt creatives a little. Yet I can understand the argument at least a little.

Digital Social Distancing

Michael wrote:

some of the people I unfollowed are genuine friends of mine. But I’ve sort-of reached a breaking point. I was becoming more and more miserable with each passing day and my Twitter timeline — a place that used to be filled with links to neat applications, interesting gadgets, and positive ideas — was filled with political stories that just made me unhappy.

I know this feeling well. Some of the people I have unfollowed is simply because of the way some of their posts make me feel. I have moved quite a few people to lists and just checking in on them every so often. I’ve also opted to send the odd email to people instead of replying to their tweet, or move it to somewhere I am more comfortable to reply.

This is a huge problem with social media and its catch all approach, I deeply care for some of the people I used to follow on Social Media but I need to be distanced from the noise.

One thing that has taught me though is the people that reach out to you are the ones that are really worth following.

I Am Not Ready To Go Back

Chaitanya wrote

For most part of the 12 months I was eager to go back, but there has been a change in the last few months. I think it hit me too late that I have been without physical human interactions for so long. I have now bundled down into myself which does not want to get exposed.

I know this feeling well. I love working from home and I don’t want to go back to a place of work full time but I wonder if this isn’t going to be good for me long term.

I am both perfectly happy and lonely at the same time and it’s only if some checks on me that a state is observed.

Schrödinger’s working from home

Supporting The Feed

CJ Chilvers wrote:

Most writers started writing to please the search engines (later just one search engine). To feed the beast, more “original” content was needed. The sharing moved to social media and got lost with the ephemera. Writers burned out producing longer and longer posts for ad pennies over trust and community.

This has been playing on my mind recently and CJ sparked a thought in my head before it had formulated properly. I too love writing link posts, just taking a paragraph or two and expanding your thoughts on the subject. I’ve promised myself to write more of them, but I think many people view them as a cheap way to turn out content.

However this post prods me to wider thoughts about what to write. About pandering to algorithms and news feeds just to get clicks or views. It comes up time and time again, and if you need the metrics you simply have no choice but to pander to the platforms and make the content that ranks.

But I am joining the ranks of those that refuse to write longer form posts just because, or sign up for courses on how to rank higher in algorithms. I want to write whenever and whatever I want, and so should you.

Pitching Yourself & Loosing Yourself

Jack wrote

I don’t want to be in the audience of someone who’s trying to build an audience

A million times this. I have lost count of the number of people that lose themselves and their personality online.

It’s not just about creatives, although this quote is talking directly to them - “link in bio” - it’s about being yourself. I’m guilty of this recently and it’s a big reason I pulled away from social media. You become a voice of whatever it is your peddling. Be it your content, your workplace or even just yourself.

Losing personality and approachability loses the whole reason for being social in the first place. We’ve spoken about it being hard to not be a fan boy, but being one for yourself is a terrible place to end up.

The Substance Of Things

Rebecca wrote

All my life I have had the habit of liking the idea of things and not the thing itself.

How many of us want to be someone that does x but don’t want to actually do x. It could be writing, running or just being a happy person. It doesn’t matter what it is, the thought of it is often more enjoyable that the thing itself.

I didn’t want to be doing, I wanted to be done, so that when I was done, I could say I did a thing. - Out There: On Not Finishing

The stories we tell of the things we do, the things we enjoy and the memories we have made are at the very core of life. Some TV shows are funnier when talking about them with your friends. Hardships something far more positive when recalling them after the event.

The stories are the very substance and the reason to do things.

Why Membership Matters

Almost a year ago, I wrote:

Memberships are not about a money grab at all, they are about people being rewarded for their efforts, but also to know that people enjoy what they are putting out. Bloggers don’t always get page views; we don’t have subscriber counts or post likes - so these types of things help.

I wanted to try and get something back for the years I have put in. Granted many of them failing and kidding myself, but they are still years — tens of tousands of tweets, photos, podcast episodes and hosting all for free.

I longed to be supported and feel at least a little bit of validation. I am amazingly thanfull for the people that contributed, but my mebership failed. Getting no where near the responce I expected form the people around me. My post reads still come from Google searchs and not from social media.

Does that mean my efforts where in vain? I still got the enjoyment out of it. Typing away, editing away or just talking to people.

Would I do it again? Perhaps not.

Dealing With Email | Chris Hannah

Chris wrote:

All of this is very much making me think about giving Hey a try. Except for the fact that I don’t want an @hey.com email address.

This was a big sticking point for me at the start. However I forward all my email to my hey email address and use the actuall address very rarely. I only give it out to people I know and this helps with the spam coming through. I dont love having to use their email adrdres however, because their are a few times I need to send email as an @gr36.com address - but thankfully these times are few and far between.

So I want to stop some emails getting through to me, but also once I’ve dealt with an email I want it to get out of the way.

I would LOVE Hey to be inbox zero, however eveything hangs around instead. There are really well thought out ways to save emails for later so I have no idea why the others dont go from your inbox but it’s not a game changer for me.

I’ll try to write about anything I try along the way, and hopefully, I can find a solution that fits my needs.

I get too much email, but thankfully using Hey has helped a lot. Its not perfect and I wish I habd looked at sane box before jumping in, but I’m excited to see where Chris gets to.

Forget the Gym: Walking Is the Superior Form of Exercise

Will Self wrote

You don’t have to be a communist to appreciate the force of Marx’s observation: “The worker does not make use of the working conditions. The working conditions make use of the worker; but it takes machinery to give this reversal a technically concrete form.” Well, we may not work on assembly lines in factories as much as formerly, but I can’t help seeing the contemporary gymnasium, with its emphasis on training with machines, as a strange sort of nostalgia for that state: working out in lieu of… working

Will is a brilliant author, with a passion for walking and saving yourself the grind in more pointless pursuits. To be honest I don’t think I can ever see myself going back to a gym, but I don’t think my realisation is the same fit everyone.

Running on a treadmill and using a statuary bike is unfortunately all some people have access to. Running, or cycling around the streets of some cities needs to become a much easier and much safer pursuit - but I can see the ridiculousness of doing it at a gym.

During lockdown, people were doing sit-ups, press-ups and even lifting weights in parks and other open spaces, but as soon as the gyms reopened, many disappeared back indoors. I really cannot understand this. To me, the most bizarre sight in the world is someone on a running or cycling machine, rather than running, cycling,

I was hoping the community exercise that I saw in the spring and summer would continue, but I some people seem institutionalised to return to an indoor gym if they possibly can.

Life is Complex | Rhoneism

Patric Rhone wrote:

Life is as complex and beautiful as a snowflake. And, in the grand scheme, as brief and temporary

Patrick always has a beautiful way with words but this short post is expertly put.

I aim to create many beautiful things but also appreciate all the moments around me in my brief time here.

The 1996 Law That Ruined the Internet

Silas House wrote:

Fifteen years ago the major social-media platforms barely existed. Was the internet better or worse? The online public square, now dominated by Twitter, was then constituted of independent blogs aggregated by user-curated feeds. Bloggers are publishers, legally responsible for their posts, but the blogosphere was not noted for its blandness. White-hot critique was common, but defamation and abuse were not

I keep coming across the opinion that 230 should be saved and if it is overturned then this would be the end of the internet. However, much like the link here, I am very much of the opinion that holding platforms more accountable should be the way to go if we want a better internet.

A Facebook or Twitter than can be sued for hosting content is one that is over the top in what can be posted to it - the result is a better, more positive experience.

Want to stay into the web and read what your favourite people are saying then we return to the good old blogging days, where speech is more honest and can be held accountable easily. No more hiding, no more click bate and we restrict the level of mis information being spread.

Clearly the reason that Conservatives want to repeal this bill has nothing to do with a safer internet, but I don’t think they would really get what they think if they succeed. Perhaps I don’t understand this fully but I really can’t see a downside.

Don’t Let Shopping Ruin Your Holiday Season

In every case, we have been manipulated by marketers, advertisers, and retailers to shop more and more and more. The artificial manipulation to change our wants and spending stems from our internal desire to create the perfect holiday experience with magical memories for our family and kids. Shopping promised to meet that need, but only detracts from it.

As much as I would love to peach about minimalism some more, the best thing to others that don’t subscribe to to the same view point is to try and remind others about the manipulation involved.

Shopping is such a minefield I only managed to make sense of it once I took a step back and saw it for what it was. Companies trying to make more money in the endless pursuit of growth. Something that is understandable, manipulative but also something you don’t have to subscribe to.

And the Entire PC Market Went, “Oh Shit”

Matt Birchler:

Maybe there’s some catch here that will reveal itself in time, but I think there are a lot of meetings going on this week at the big PC and component makers around the world asking why the hell they’re not able to do this too.

I am still waiting for the downside here. Theres got to be something here right?

Incredible battery life, runs all your apps and programes no problem, and outperforms almost eveything else one the market.

This can’t be real, can it?

The iPhone 11 Has The Best Camera

Matt Birchler wrote:

the iPhone 11 Pro has had by far the best camera I've ever used in a phone, and yes I do include the Pixel in that statement.

I whole heartedly agree with that statement. Android Cameras sometimes get very close (The Note 20 Ultra being the best) but for some reason the iPhone gets better shots that are much easier to achieve. It’s not faultless but it’s just so easy to use that you want to take photos with it.

A Better Camera | Tablet Habit

As for what phone I intend to buy, the differences between the Pro and Pro Max are substantial enough to for me to make the leap to the Max
I worry the size will be too big for me

These are the two staements that encompase my feelign around the new iPhones. I have a great camera (A7iii) but I odnt always carry it around with me. I am relaly interested in taking shots in proRAW on my iPhone and editing them later.

I want the best camera I cna get for the money, but dont relly want a huge phone — in actuall fact I want the mini — so I am a bit stuck and also underwhelmed.

Telling people to delete Facebook won’t fix the internet

Adi Robertson for The Verge:

WhatsApp works almost nothing like Facebook. It’s a highly private, encrypted messaging service with no algorithmic interference, and it’s still fertile ground for false narratives

After picking through Casey Newtons pick apart of The Social Dilemma I then fell on the linked post by Adi — and despite disagreeing on some major points throughout both posts — I found an interesting topic I had not considered. Where exactly does Whatsapp fall into these issues?

You can jump up and down about algorithms and Facebooks willingness to manipulate engagement. You can worry about Mr Zuckerbergs free spech bubble all you like, but the simple fact is Whatsapp doesnt have any of these inputs, but is a top contender for spreading Fake News.

It is not as simple as simply blaming Social Media for eveything, undoubtedly it is a leading cause of social issues, but it is infinitely more complax than the surface level issues pointed at.

The Conscience of Silicon Valley

social media companies are basically giant behavior-modification systems that use algorithms to relentlessly increase “engagement,” largely by evoking bad feelings in the people who use them.
the algorithm takes a positive social movement, such as Black Lives Matter, and shows it to a bunch of people who are inclined to be enraged by it, introduces them to one another, and then continues to rile them up for profit,

It was difficult for me to not copy and paste the whole article into this post because it is so poignant. I realise I am on a bit of an anti-silicone valley kick at the moment but I want to know what they are doing to me, and nothing I read comes out well.

Social media is changing us for the worst, creating attention seeking, narcissistic ego driven monsters that can’t see what’s wrong. All the time while annexing their own little slice of the internet and using our content to power their money printing machines.

But how on earth do we get around the internet and join in every day life, in the same vein as my smartphone paradox, these companies seems impossible to avoid.

Sidetracked By Social Media

Julian Summerhayes wrote:

But it occurred to me, as I lay awake at just after 4.30 am, how little time I'd spent looking at the alternative. What's that? Well, I might delete all profiles or stop opening them and/or sharing material, but the truth is I've got nothing else as compelling to hold my attention.
Now, I'm not sure if I should weep or be angry at that statement. I mean, surely my life isn't or shouldn't be defined by a bit of knob-twiddling, blog-sharing, or whatever else shows up between now and the end of my days? Perhaps there's no escaping it; or perhaps I shouldn't be so down on myself. It's part of life, right?

I go backwards and forwards on may usage fo Social media. I deleted Facebook, and have a dormant Instagram account but I am a sucker for Twitter. I don’t know why, but it’s the place that feels like home to me, but makes me feel bad whenever I use it.

I keep having to take breaks and can’t get to a stage where I am happy with my usage. The bad feelings I have come from the hard time I give myself for using it. Everyone tells you how bad it is for you. They post about how much better they feel when the quit it, but it gives me many positives and I have net some of the most important people in my lift through it.

We Might Be Getting that 120Hz iPhone 12 After All

Matt Birchler wrote:

Well, just yesterday I was weighing whether I'd prefer a high refresh screen or 5G in the new iPhones, but if this is legit, it looks like I won't have to choose. Can you tell how much I'm grinning over here?

It was reading this post when it finally hit me, I am so far removed from things like this now that I simply couldn’t care less about screen refresh rates and other bells and whistles.

I am no longer interested in reading or even thinking about rumours of new iPhones. Specs and supposed innovations such as a higher refresh rate no longer dictate my buying decisions.

A year ago I would have been all over these types of things, giving my opinions and talking about it to anyone that would listen. I would have convinced myself that I NEED this new model because the screen will be so much better to use.

Now, every feature rumour I see does not make a difference to the way I use my phone any longer. Which is sparingly and for quick little tasks.

Remove The Hype

Simon Woods wrote:

One of the things I wish we could take back as a result of the web: Hype culture. I much prefer being unaware of when something is being made until it is actually done. Release dates, months-long campaigns of hype, and a laser focus on the process are all bad for our culture.

I had never really thought about this until Simons post. This is a huge drain on my motivation to check out a service now, as many seem to release half baked products and then build the hype around it first before actually solving a problem.

Quite often the hype before launch is the only time companies can sell a serious level of products and they soon disappear into nothingness. Marketing and bluster can only get you so far, but its annoying while it lasts.

Be An Anteambulo

Vishal Kataria wrote:

Every artist whose work made an impact did more than just his work. He appreciated the opportunities he got to clear the path for patrons which in turn, helped him see how things worked on the inside and opened new doors for him. Rather than getting angry about having to “serve others,” artists saw this as ways to add value to their patrons. In the process, they added value to their own work and lives.
Being an anteambulo is not about making others look good. It’s about providing others with support so that they can be better. It’s about associating with people more successful than yourself and clearing the path for them. It’s about helping declutter their lives so that they can focus on their strengths.
Being an anteambulo is not being a sycophant. It’s not trying to make things look better. It’s not about sucking up to your boss so that you get a promotion or a better salary hike.

Like Vishal I came across this concept reading Ego is the enemy and found it really interesting. Making life easier for successful or people in a position of power seems counter intuitive, but has been the path to greatness for so many people. It is simply ego stopping everyone from doing similar things and exploring the opportunities that come your way.