A Big Year

This one is a big one.

A lot of work to do if we’re going to get off of this bizarro timeline we’ve been riding for the past few years.

It’s going to be difficult in a lot of ways. But we can’t count on things to “just work out” anymore.

That doesn’t happen in this timeline. This timeline is full of edge-lords and nazis and conspiracy theories and every one of the thousand capital ships has a planet killing super weapon on it. Don’t ask where the ships came from or who did the engineering.

And don’t ask about the people in black robes doing the extraordinarily synchronized chanting. The answers to those questions are not for us.

Ahem.

The only way out is through. And the only way we’ll get through is if everyone grabs an oar and starts rowing.

Life Plans and Chance Encounters

My job is one of the most interesting jobs that I can imagine. It’s nominally about brand strategy and communications. Which means that it’s about people, creativity and design.

But it’s also very much about working with students as they figure themselves out and prepare to head off into the world.

Some students arrive here with their future lives already scheduled out. They know the cities that they will or won’t live in. They know the kind of place they want to work. They know the timeline for when they will have kids, even if they haven’t met their future coparent.

What they don’t want to hear, and maybe can’t hear, is that reality isn’t going to cooperate.

The young are continuously warned by the old that the real world is nihilistic and angry. And bad things can happen to good people.

But this isn’t what I mean.

Long-term planners cannot account for the people they will meet along the way. The gravitational-pull of chance encounters is unavoidable and powerful. Even someone following the most carefully calculated trajectory can be nudged off-course by a short conversation with the right person or an unforeseen opportunity that falls out of the sky from the friend of a friend.

This is how people find themselves in careers they never knew existed. Living in cities they never planned on visiting. Surrounding themselves with people they never could have imagined meeting.

It’s not that planning isn’t helpful. It just can’t be counted on.

Anyways.

How social networks can be used to bias votes

We know that social media is being used to try to sway elections. There have been arguments about how effective it is. Granted, this is just one study, but I’d like to “clockwork orange” every tech company CEO with the report.

For example, when just a few yellow-party zealots were deployed strategically among a larger number of undecided players in the purple party, these bots were able to sway the majority opinion towards the yellow party. This was true even when the parties had exactly the same number of members, and when each player had the same amount of influence.

Source: How social networks can be used to bias votes

The Age of Comfort TV

When I was growing up, if we were home, the TV was on. It was like the house wasn’t “on” if the TV was off. We were just passing through or were ready to leave. That was also a time when programming seemed better for all-day TV watching. Before everything was reality or scripted reality, and before news turned into people yelling at each other. Now we have more control, but we still need shows that don’t require unblinking attention for 12 hours.

It seems that, in this time of unprecedented choice and quality, the so-called golden age of prestige television, most of us still want to watch half-hour shows about vaguely likable people in which everything turns out OK. Ideally from the 90s, but maybe the 00s. And preferably something that we have seen many, many times before. Welcome to the age of non-event TV.

Source: The age of comfort TV: why people are secretly watching Friends and The Office on a loop | Television & radio | The Guardian