John Nosta: THINKOLOGY The Intersection of Thought, Creativity and Inspiration

18Oct/120

Halloween Alert! Can You Really Be Scared to Death?

Halloween is just around the corner.  

And so it the Grim Reaper...

I thought it might be fun to talk about the burst of fright that so closely follow that BOOOOOOOO from a ghost or goblin.  We all know it...and we have all experienced the terror that rocks our bodies.  A rapid heart rate, a sinking feeling and a strange displacement from time and space that we interestingly fear and (sometimes) enjoy.

Ok, it begs the question.

Can you be scared to death?

Yes!  There are lots of data to suggest that the response to BOOOOOOO can be ventricular fibrillation*. Well...sometimes.  The physiologic response is well-studied and the surge of catecholamines (adrenaline) have a direct and powerful impact on many aspects of your body, including your heart.  For one, it lowers the threshold for the heart to experience an arrhythmia (or beating abnormality).  And sometimes this can actually be fatal.  More commonly in hearts that are already abnormal...but nevertheless, a burst of fear can be lethal!

Now think of all the times and places in life where this fright phenomenon occurs.  An amusement park, while driving, a stressful office meeting or even the sudden shock of an alarm clock! (Side bar:  the morning is the most common time for heart attacks and in-hospital cardiac arrests!!).  It surprised me that more folks aren't dropping dead.  Or perhaps we don't recognize the role these "bursts of fear" can play in sickness, disease and death.  Chronic fear is just an other word for stress.  And we all know how that plays out...

So, next time you hide behind that couch or around that dark corner, think twice about just who you scare the heck out of!!

BOOOOOOOOOOO!

 

 

 

*Localization of the neurally mediated facilitation of post infarction arrhythmias. Somberg JC, Nosta JJ. Harvard Medical School: Circulation 1981;64(4):140

15Oct/121

Being Liked: An Essential Element to Improving Healthcare

Paging Dr. Hackenbush!

While this image might not conger thoughts of quality, high-tech medicine, it might make you smile.  And there's the secret.  Like-ability.  Today's busy and complicated world of medicine has moved away from what most industries call "customer service" and evolved into an impersonal gauntlet of technology and limited human interaction.

 

Paging Dr. Welby!

Remember him?  Marcus Welby, MD.  Even in those days,  conflicts between a modern perspective and "innovators" was  the basis for a very real, and hit show.  The plots often concerned a professional conflict between well-meaning physicians. Here, Dr. Welby's unorthodox way of treating patients was pitted against the more strait-laced methods of Dr. Steven Kiley (James Brolin). The catch with this particular program was that the roles were reversed in that Dr. Kiley was much younger than Dr. Welby. In the similar series Medical Center, it is the older doctor who is more orthodox and the younger who is radical. The opening credits of "Welby" for each episode reminded viewers of the generation gap between the two doctors, Welby driving his long sedan and Kiley riding a motorcycle. Welby had served in the US Navy as a doctor during the war, and was a widower. He owned a sail boat and enjoyed the ocean. (Source:  Wikipedia)

Paging Dr. House!

In our fictitious world of physicians, Doctor House very well may be the smartest in the group. But what he has in brain power is often compromised by his "customer service" or perhaps even "patient service". He's the smartest guy in the room...but does he behavior promote that best actions and responses?

 

 

The power of a positive experience

Could healthcare be vastly improved by an added focus to "patient service"? In our system today, the point of care--from the emergency room to the family practice office--is a cauldron of information and emotion that is punctuated by the speedy visit of a distracted doctor (or other healthcare provider).  The resultant dialogue is broken and  can drive poor if not horrific health outcomes.  And the problem isn't just with medicine.  Relationships with your car dealer, credit card company and supermarket are all impacted by the "two-sided engagement" that builds trust and drives action.  Yet American Express and The Four Seasons Hotel understand this and make service a central part of their offering.

Customer Service as a component of quality care

Today, tremendous brain power and lots of dollars are seeking to tweak the system.  Policies and programs are developed and implemented to shift patient compliance just a few small percentages or drive a higher level of patient recognition of diseases and symptoms.  Yet, I wonder about the power of superior engagement and the healthy nature of a simple return this relationship? The human smile can work wonders to drive activity.  And this is exactly where healthcare need to move!

 

29Aug/120

Twitter Followers–The Dirty Little Secret

How many Twitter followers do you have?

I have always been impressed with the "whales" who have thousands upon thousands of followers.  But what really surprised me was the revelation that most of their followers are either inactive or fake!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forbes had a great post on this and I suggest you read it.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/johngreathouse/2012/08/27/celebrities-with-the-most-allegedly-fake-twitter-followers/

Here's a key take-away.  Some of twitter's big names are big losers.  I believe that it's not only the "bots" out there that drive this issue, but the desire to build a list without really working at it.  You can certainly buy followers, but you certainly get what you pay for!!

So, maybe it's time to take a closer look at your following and even re-evaluate influence scores and penalize the practice of excessive "inactive or fake" followers.  Kred?  Klout?  Care to comment?  So, remember this--to a certain degree, you are your followers.  It's a reflection of your persona in the digital world.  And all follows are NOT the same!

 

 

 

#1--Take a look at your twitter following.  Here's a where to check: http://fakers.statuspeople.com/

#2--Take a look at some of your favorite follows and see how they stack up.  Are they growers or buyers!?

#3--Follow CONTENT not NUMBERS.

#4--Recognize that everyone has inactive or fake followers, it's just all part of the digital world.

#5--Engage with your followers!  There's no better way to grow your base than engaging with "live" people.

A matter of disclosure

Fair is fair.  So I looked at my 6,000 followers.  A list I am very proud of and have the expectation that it should be ok.  Here's what I found...

  • Fake = 2%
  • Inactive = 8%
  • Good = 90%

I feel better already!

 

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments
20Aug/120

FAT FREE = DANGER! (How I hate fat-free half & half)

OK,  so I'm exaggerating a little--but only a little.  I'm really concerned that the presentation of "fat-free" as some "healthy option" is not only a misrepresentation of the facts, but is down-right dangerous.

Be skeptical of the Claim


Visions of farms, green grass and fresh cream begin to fill my mind.  Secondly, the sense of "health" is clearly expressed in both copy and layout.  But behind this expression of health lies a very sinister mixture of fructose and deception.  Just take a look at the ingredients

Always read the label

Simply put, the fat is gone.  But it's replaced with corn syrup.   And there lies the rub.  You see, there's no such thing as a free lunch (or cup of coffee).  When the fat is removed, the taste and mouth feel leaves you wanting more.  So sugar--in the form of fructose and glucose--is added to make up this concoction called "fat-free half and half".  It's not all the great taste of half and half with the fat removed.  It's a sugar drink that is masquerading as half and half.  Sure it's low-fat.  But it's high-sugar.

At first blush, the concept of "low-fat" triggers a simple response:  HEALTHY

This is where a major part of the problem lives.  Low fat isn't really a term that, as it does at face value, means the fat has been reduced.  It generally means that the composition of the food has been re-processed to give you a great taste experience without the dietary consequences of fat.  But what do we really get for this trade-off?

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, we get more than we bargained for.  We get the intrusion of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup into our diets and the metabolic impact is dire.  In fact, fructose is metabolize more like alcohol and the health ramifications are very similar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The toxic truth about sugar

The impact is well represented in the video featuring Robert Lustig, MD.  He's a pediatric endocrinologist and has a wise and informed perspective on the evil of sugar:

http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2012/02/11437/societal-control-sugar-essential-ease-public-health-burden

So the next time you reach for a "low-fat" food" make sure you're actually picking an option that doesn't play bait and switch and loads you up on sugar!

 

 

26Jun/120

ONENESSITY and the Path to Genius

A while ago I introduced a new word---Onenessity.  It's a new word, but very old concept.

Here's what I said...

"Onenessity is the mind-resonance that occurs when our passionate spark of interest is ignited in thought. Sometimes it takes 10,000 hours and other times it takes much less to touch this level of success. This isn’t the easy way out either. It’s not a substitute to long hours of practice. But it’s an essential component to make the quantum leap to a higher level."

I was talking about the path to achievement that requires a significant amount of time (some use 10,000 hours as a benchmark).

I was talking about genius.

OK.  Here's the big news:  Genius is our birthright and mediocrity is self-imposed.

This is the recurrent theme to THINKOLOGY and how thought is NOT the end product of intelligence, but intelligence springs forth from conditioned, focused thought!  The examples are commonplace and are best showcased in children. We all know the child who can name every car on the road, or every character (in great detail) of a TV show or video game.  This knowledge is worthy of cocktail party boasting and significant pride.  But, what's the essence of this "baby genius"?  Is this just a smart kid who has a above average memory?  Does intrinsic talent just manifest as memory?

No.  I really don't think so.

Of course, there is a bit of core talent being played out here...but that's just a superficial issue that often upstages the bigger concept. At the very heart of this concept is the single-mindedness of task, or ONENESSITY.  It's where the spark of interest is ignited and simple repetition of task becomes that mantra of intellect and takes form.  There is a sense of magic in introspective, inspired thought.

Prayer.

Meditation.

Focus.

Deep thought.

Creative play.

All these exercises of mind groom our our consciousness.  And, well, there you have it.

The flip side of ONENESSITY is the fractured world we live in. We multi-task at the expense of the genius that waits within. While we groom of lives with trips to the mall, to the gym and to the gourmet shops, we often fail to groom our consciousness.  What results is flat abs and empty heads.  We also strive to master many things and in the process build a skill set that is a mile wide but only an inch deep.  Of particular note, is the child who is overwhelmed with many activities---from music lesson to baseball to academics to whatever.  The relentless pursuit of so many things leads you to well-rounded mediocrity.  Find that specific spark...and let the intellectual fire rage on.  After that experience (or transcendence) the many and varied tasks of music lessions and baseball and whatever become richer and filtered through a mind tuned to a creative and profound frequency.

So, find your spark and indulge yourself in coherent, focused thought...and experience the magic of genius!

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments
13Jun/120

Our Infinite Capacity for Thought

Those of you who have taken the time to read some prior entries have seen my interest in the brain (and the very short leap to THINKOLOGY).  But let's start off with some exercise--say a 100 yard dash.  What comes to mind?  Breathlessness, fatigue and particularly, muscle pain in the legs.  Some  people call it "the burn".  This is a straight forward physiologic process where lactic acid builds up in the muscles...and it hurts.  Got it?

Now, let's do a neurologic 100 yard dash!

Ready, set, THINK!

Feel the burn?  Feel the lactic acid building up?  Nope.

Here's the remarkable insight.  The brain doesn't fatigue.  I would argue that it has an infinite capacity for thought!  And here lies part of the magic of your minds--a profound capacity for deep and rich thought.  Now, don't mistake boredom and being lazy for brain fatigue.  Everyone knows about the late night of work or studying where it seemed almost impossible to push on.  But this isn't fatigue at all.  Now contrast this with the engaging conversation with a new friend or on an interesting topic.  It seems that you can "talk all night" or "lose track of time".   Hum....that never happens to our 100 yard dash sprinter!  She feels the pain, no matter what.

Thinking is a defining aspect of our humanity.  And this brain is the conduit through which we express ourselves and our true nature.  Genius is only a thought away...and it's your birthright to experience and enjoy it.

There's nothing stopping you, not even lactic acid.

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments
18May/120

Brain Fat: The Other Global Epidemic

How healthy are you?

The next time you go to the doctor, I think the stethoscope might best be placed on your head and not your heart.  Because, there's an epidemic out there and it's a serious problem!

 

Brain Fat. The emerging clinical, social and cognitive condition caused from lack of use.

Here's my concern:  We spend so much time talking about aerobic exercise, fat-free and BMI that we are missing the most essential organ that needs exercise--the BRAIN!!!!

Thinking hard...

An active brain is more healthy and drives synaptic development.  A brain that is less active is more likely to be associated with dementia and Alzheimer's disease (my theory).  Simply stated, use it or lose it!  Recent data from the journal Biological Psychiatry explains it:

Researchers used data from the Cognitive Function and Ageing Study, a large population-based study in the United Kingdom that has been following over 13,000   prospectively since 1991.

At the time of this study, 329 brains had been donated and were available for analysis. Brains were compared based on the individual's dementia status at death (yes or no) and cognitive lifestyle score, or CLS (low, middle, or high).

The three CLS groups did not differ among multiple Alzheimer's disease (AD)  measures, including plaques, neurofibrillary , and atrophy. This means that cognitive lifestyle seems to have no effect on the brain changes typically seen in those with Alzheimer's disease.

However, an active cognitive lifestyle in men was associated with less , in particular disease of the brain's microscopic blood vessels. An active cognitive lifestyle in women was associated with greater brain weight. In both men and women, high CLS was associated with greater neuronal density and cortical thickness in the .

"These findings suggest that increased engagement in stimulating activities are part of a lifestyle that is, overall, more healthy," commented Dr. John Krystal, Editor ofBiological Psychiatry. "Rather than specifically protecting the health of activated circuits, it seems that a more active lifestyle has general effects on brain health reflected in greater neuronal density and preservation of the blood supply to the brain."

"Overall, our research suggests that multiple complex brain changes may be responsible for the 'use it or lose it' effect," Valenzuela added.

With a globally aging society and the risk of dementia increasing significantly with age, dementia-prevention strategies are of rising importance. Understanding the mechanisms of cognitive enhancement through research such as this can help support and inform the development of effective strategies to enrich cognitive lifestyle and potentially reduce dementia risk.

More information: The article is "Multiple Biological Pathways Link Cognitive Lifestyle to Protection from Dementia" by Michael J. Valenzuela, Fiona E. Matthews, Carol Brayne, Paul Ince, Glenda Halliday, Jillian J. Kril, Marshall A. Dalton, Kathryn Richardson, Gill Forster, Perminder S. Sachdev, for the Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.07.036). The article appears in Biological Psychiatry, Volume 71, Issue 9 (May 1, 2012).

 

And not thinking at all.

Exercising the brain is not just expanding language skills or playing chess.  There is another, even greater aspect to this story--grooming consciousness and the evolution of mind.  Now, take a deep breath, because this is important.  SYSTEMATIC INTROSPECTION (LIKE PRAYER AND MEDITATION) IS AN ESSENTIAL ASPECT OF HUMAN GROWTH AND TRANSCENDANCE.  Contemplation is a powerful tool that is well established in great religions of the world and helps us up the ladder of personal growth--moving into a full-established sense of self (the ego) and then moving higher up to trans-personal levels.  Introspection and meditation are hot topics in acedemic research too:

A study, published in the May 2011 issue of Neuroimage, suggests that one effect of all this focusing and refocusing is increased brain connectivity. Researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles compared the brain activity of volunteers who had finished eight weeks of mindfulness-based stress reduction training with that of volunteers who did not do such training. Functional MRI scans showed stronger connections in several regions of the meditators’ brains—especially those associated with attention and auditory and visual processing. Unfortunately, the study didn’t scan the volunteers’ brains before mindfulness training, so no one can say for sure that mindfulness training was responsible for the differences.

At Massachusetts General Hospital, researchers used MRI scans to document before and after changes in the brain’s gray matter—the “processing” neurons—associated with mindfulness meditation. The density of gray matter increased in regions governing such distinctly different activities as memory, self-awareness, and compassion, and decreased in the amygdala—the part of the brain associated with fear and stress.  More on  this intriguing research is in the April issue of Harvard Women’s Health Watch.

At the moment, scientists can only speculate about the relationship between these brain changes and the health benefits associated with mindfulness meditation. But the research adds to growing evidence that meditative practices can alter the body at a fundamental level—even, it turns out, at the level of our genes. Meditation elicits the “relaxation response,” a state of deep relaxation first described more than 35 years ago by mind-body pioneer Dr. Herbert Benson, currently emeritus director of the Benson-Henry Institute of Mind-Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. Since then, Benson and his colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have discovered that relaxation techniques (including meditation and yoga) turn certain sets of genes on and off in people who practice them regularly. Benson, who is the medical editor of Stress Management: Approaches for preventing and reducing stress.

So, next time you go to the gym,  fuss with your hair or spend hours searching for that perfect suit, think about grooming the very thing that defines you in a way Armini can never do--your brain.

"Hey--do I look fat in this brain?!"

 

 

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments
17May/120

Today’s Celebrity is YOU! Top 10 Steps to Digital Stardom

Move over Madonna.

Today's new star is YOU.

 

You can thank social media for that!  The old days of backroom PR machines cranking out publicity is long gone.  The publicity machines of today are FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube, to name just a few.  The typical "message control" has been replaced by social media "influence".  And we all know who drives that electronic press release--YOU!

So you want to be a STAR?

It's still a struggle, but today's world allows some new and interesting steps to gain your star on the digital walk of fame.    Here are the top ten steps along that path!

Top Ten Steps to Digital Stardom

 

  1. Pick your topic.  You can make noise in almost any space in the digital world.  But if you pick your battle in a smaller market or area, you have a better chance at success.  Pop music might be your ultimate goal, but if you narrow the down the topic to something like live acoustic guitar performance, your chances increases significantly.  Simply put, you need to compete on terms that give you an advantage.

     

  2. Focus. Find your specific "area of greatness" and STAY THERE!  The temptation to chase stardom is great and that will often lead you off task.  It's essential to own your specific turf!

     

  3. Connect with like-minded people.  Social media is social.  You can use it to build a great network of friends who become your fans.  Start small and build!  You'll be surprised at the number and quality of people you can connect with.

     

  4. Be original.  Whether you're a writer working on a novel or a singer trying to find an agent, your voice and content should reflect your own unique style.  Every element of your commmunication--from tweets to Facebook posts build your brand.  Make them stand OUT!

     

  5. Be consistent.  Say it.  And say it again.  Social media is immediate, but also requires a consistent voice to provides an real impact.  Build a schedule or timeline to make certain that you remain active and involved.

     

  6. Be patient.  Overnight success happens.  But it usually happens after a long trial of work, failure and missteps.  It only looks like it happened overnight!

     

  7. Look for the "heat".  Aside from making your brand stand out, you can also attract attention by following the hot stories, ideas and issues around your topic.  Be a part of this dialogue!!!  Jump in an provide your perspective.  It's amazing how many "experts" are really people who just showed up and provided a sustained engagement in a topic or idea without any specific expertise.

     

  8. Connect with powerful people.  It's OK to reach out to celebrities.  A sincere approach that adds value is the best way.  Don't be a stalker--contribute to the dialogue.

     

  9. Wait to be arrogant!  Acting like a celebrity when you're not is a sure path to failure.  While your "brand" might require some bravado, be careful not to "jump the shark" when you're not quite Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli!

     

  10. Accept gradual success.  Set some goals along the path to stardom.  Simple things like building a Twitter following of 1,000 or 1 blog entry a month is a great start.  Incremental success will build that basis for your achievement.

 

Like never before, the ability for an individual to tell a great, personal story is here.  All the tools are at your fingertips.  It's no longer about access to the convoluted and protected path to celebrity but more about YOUR individual efforts to break through the digital chatter and step onto the walk of fame.  And you can always follow me @JohnNosta for advice along the way!

 

 

 

 

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments
10May/121

The Fundamental Marketing Dilemma: Language Is A Lie

Words, headline, bullets, script, dialogue, text, key words.

Sound familiar?

These are the fundamental elements of marketing interactions. Furthermore, they establish the very essence of human communication. But wait a second. Are they really?

Malclom Gladwell knows. In his "modern classic" BLINK, he points out how visceral or gut feelings can drive our opinions and decisions. And these decisions live "beneath the surface" of our conscisouness. They lurk in our minds--twisting and turning primal thoughts, fears and desires only to emerge on their own and inexplicable terms. And in his words:

[Blink] is about rapid cognition, about the kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye. When you meet someone for the first time, or walk into a house you are thinking of buying, or read the first few sentences of a book, your mind takes about two seconds to jump to a series of conclusions. Well, "Blink" is a book about those two seconds, because I think those instant conclusions that we reach are really powerful and really important and, occasionally, really good. You could also say that it's a book about intuition, except that I don't like that word. In fact it never appears in "Blink." Intuition strikes me as a concept we use to describe emotional reactions, gut feelings--thoughts and impressions that don't seem entirely rational. But I think that what goes on in that first two seconds is perfectly rational. It's thinking--its just thinking that moves a little faster and operates a little more mysteriously than the kind of deliberate, conscious decision-making that we usually associate with "thinking." In "Blink" I'm trying to understand those two seconds. What is going on inside our heads when we engage in rapid cognition? When are snap judgments good and when are they not? What kinds of things can we do to make our powers of rapid cognition better?

Tor Norretranders is a Danish science journalist, who attempts to tie together the results of several scientists into an explanation of how consciousness works in his book THE USER ILLUSION. He comes at it from an information processing point of view, treating the human brain as a computer, while pulling in results from all over the world of science. It's a challenging, but great read!

The basic premise that he puts together is that consciousness, the actual thought process where we think about what we are doing, is a very slow inefficient process. His estimate, based on several experiments, is that consciousness is limited to processing about 20 bits/second. Compared to the chips of today which are up in the gigahertz range (billions of bits/second), it seems like a truly paltry number. How can we reconcile this with our known ability to outperform computers at many tasks?

Norretranders postulates that most of the work is done at a subconscious level. Nothing too surprising, there. But what was interesting to me was the approach he used. In his theory, the whole point of the subconscious parts of the brain is to reduce the information flow into and out of the brain down to a rate which our feeble 20 bits/sec consciousness can handle. He points out that we perceive about 12 million bits/second (10 million from vision, 1 million from touch, and the rest scattered among the other senses). That's an enormous amount of information to process. But when we look around, we don't see 10 million pixels. Looking from my computer chair, I see my computer, my desk, the windows of the room, etc. He calls this phenomenon chunking information into symbols. To quote him, "symbols are the Trojan horses by which we smuggle bits into our consciousness."

So, where does the real driver of action live?

Our brain is really a series of "perceptive compartments" that have evolved over time. As we have "advanced" our cognitive abilities, the nature of processing information has changed. But here's the central fact: THE ADVANCEMENTS ARE NOT INDEPENDENT, BUT BUILD UPON EACH OTHER. AND PRIOR LEVELS OF PRIMITIVE THOUGHT ARE STILL ACTIVE AND OFTEN, IN CONTROL. So, our high-level cognitive function--that we hold so near and dear--is really held hostage by our mammalian and reptilian brains!

;

Language: a corruptuted surrogate for what's really happening!

Don's ask your customer what they're thinking. This verbal response will be filtered and corrupted by evolution and higher processing. It might be better to measure direct neural function, facial coding, eye-tracking (including pupil action) and other biometrics that can help disconnect the "external" response from the more relevant "internal" driver. "Words and language" don't provide the entire picture - in fact, verbal is only 23% of typical communication so it makes one wonder why 90% of research metrics focus on it!

Traditional market research focuses on the verbatim and conscious aspects of the brain whereas neuromarketing highlights the subconscious response to stimuli. Neuromarketing’s raison d’être derives from the fact that the brain expends only 2 percent of its energy on conscious activity, with the rest devoted largely to unconscious processing. Thus, neuromarketers believe, traditional market research methods — like consumer surveys and focus groups — are inherently inaccurate because the participants can never articulate the unconscious impressions that whet their appetites for certain products. (More great information can be found at http://www.revealingengagement.com)

Consider some of these startling facts:

  • One in every three verbatim relates more to a social norm, or expected response, than it relates to an actual belief of the respondent
  • Many truthful and accurate verbatim are discarded as myth, because of ‘intuition’ and ‘unqualified non-verbal coders’ (eg, the respondent looked away, no eye contact was made)
  • Emotions emerge from the subconscious causing physiologic changes. The conscious mind tries to describe these changes in words, and that is what makes them feelings. Sometimes the feelings can feed the subconscious and cause secondary emotions…. How could a participant ever accurately explain the cause and effect of stimuli they saw?

;

A final "subconscious impulse" driven to the surface of consciousness

Just remember, next time you sit in a focus group ,you're "hearing" only a small fraction of the reality you seek to understand. And to make matters worse, even those things that you "hear" might not even be true!

;

;

Appreciation to Stephen Trask @TraskInsight and Jesse de Agustin @Jdeagustin for their brilliant comments on neuromarketing. They are both a #mustfollow on Twitter!

References:

1. The Reptillian Brain: http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sumer_anunnaki/reptiles/reptiles14.htm.

2. The User Illusion. http://www.nehrlich.com/book/userillusion.html

3. Emonalytics. http://www.emonalytics.com/#!

Filed under: Uncategorized 1 Comment
3May/120

Slackers Meets Activism: SLACKTIVISM (But is it really a bad thing?)

OK, I'm guilty. At least partly guilty.

I've jumped on the bandwagon of support for certain causes based upon a very superficial understand of the facts. I found this very telling and interesting infographic that helps build the story! http://www.onlyinfographic.com/2012/the-rise-of-the-slacktivist/

And Wikipedia adds to this story. Slacktivism (sometimes slactivism or slackervism) is a term formed out of the words slacker and activism. The word is usually considered a pejorative term that describes "feel-good" measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it feel satisfaction. The acts tend to require minimal personal effort from the slacktivist. The underlying assumption being promoted by the term is that these low cost efforts substitute for more substantive actions rather than supplementing them, although this assumption has not been borne out by research. [1]

Slacktivist activities include signing Internet petitions,[2] joining a community organization without contributing to the organization's efforts, copying and pasting of Social Networkstatuses or messages or altering one's personal data or avatar on social network services. Research is beginning to explore the connection between the concept and modern activism/advocacy, as groups are increasingly using social media to facilitate civic engagement and collective action.[3]

But is it all bad?

I'm not really sure...and I'm hoping that it's not. Could this "light" form of activism be the gateway for a higher level of responsibility? There are many pitfalls to engaging in a cause based more upon emotion than reason. But then again, I'm reminded of various protest movement that were driven from the heart. Movement that engaged with a visceral connection that moved millions. Vietnam, the civil rights movement, woman's suffrage, the peace movement of the 1960's are all part of activist movement that resonated, often times, from the emotional reality that "this is just right". The foreign policy implications of a war or the local protest impact on small businesses were lost of the "urgency of the moment". Today, that urgency is often expressed electronically. And the peace signs of yesterday are the Facebook and Twitter posts of today!

Tread lightly and think about what you're doing!

The simple reality is that people and movements need to do their home work. The rapid gain of popular support as seen in slacktivism comes with a significant risk. This mainstream popularity will also drive significant public scrutiny that could just as easily kill a cause as invent one. Simply put, nothing can crush an invalid or phony cause faster than social media. So, I'm hoping that there is a element of optimism in slackitvism and the social movements of tomorrow aren't compromised by lazy minds and lazy bodies.

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments