Quitting your pocket slot machine

Political misinformation, privacy screw-ups , harmful and manipulative content — let’s just switch it off.

The case for deleting your social media accounts & doing valuable “deep work” instead, according to Prof. Cal NewportOpen Culture
As for the claim that we should join him in the wilderness of the real—his argument is persuasive. Social media, says Newport, is not a “fundamental technology.” It is akin to the slot machine, an “entertainment machine,” with an insidious added dimension—the soul stealing. Paraphrasing tech guru and iconoclast Jaron Lanier, Newport says, “these companies offer you shiny treats in exchange for minutes of your attention and bytes of your personal data, which can then be packaged up and sold.” But like the slot machine, the social media network is a “somewhat unsavory source of entertainment” given the express intent of its engineers to make their product “as addictive as possible,” comparable to what dietitians now call “ultra-processed foods”—all sugar and fat, no nutrients.

It’s from three years ago now, but doesn’t get any less relevant.

Quit social media | Dr. Cal NewportYouTube
‘Deep work’ will make you better at what you do. You will achieve more in less time. And feel the sense of true fulfillment that comes from the mastery of a skill.

Degree fraud, social teams

Diploma and accreditation mills: Exposing academic credential abuse
Take Belford University, for example, which offers bachelors, masters or doctorate degrees in 15 days based on passing an online test or an applicant’s ‘life experience’. Anyone who has spent three hard years at university will know that passing one online test is not what a real degree is about – particularly one that you can take as many times as you want. However, Belford University claims to be accredited by the International Accreditation Agency for Online Universities (IAAOU) and the Universal Council for Online Education Accreditation (UCOEA).

Using Yammer
Where a social communications tool, like Yammer, wins out, is when you want to stay in touch with the all the conversations that your particular colleagues are having. Yes, some of them will be irrelevant, but that’s just like being in the office. For a distributed team, social tools can be invaluable for keeping your finger on the pulse.

Stress, health, Facebook

ISMA – NSAD – National Stress Awareness Day
The next National Stress Awareness Day will be on Wednesday 3rd November 2010. Now is the time to start thinking about what you can do to raise awareness in your company, organisation, department and yourself, or if you are a Stress Management Practitioner; what can you do to raise Stress Awareness in your customers, clients, your local town, your local businesses/organisations and local government.

Stress – Treatment 
Some people are often unwilling to ask for help if they feel stressed. They may feel embarrassed, or that they should be able to deal with stress on their own. However, if you are stressed, it is important to speak to someone about your feelings, particularly if they are interfering with the way that you live your life.

Seven productivity tips for people that hate GTD
Here are seven of the best, simple, and sometimes seemingly upside down tips for being more prolific. … Create a “to stop” list; Focus on short bursts; Define your daily ass-kicking; Allow yourself to suck; Focus on the Three C’s; Stop caring about things that don’t matter; Make it stupidly simple.

Black tea soothes away stress
[O]ur study suggests that drinking black tea may speed up our recovery from the daily stresses in life. Although it does not appear to reduce the actual levels of stress we experience, tea does seem to have a greater effect in bringing stress hormone levels back to normal. This has important health implications, because slow recovery following acute stress has been associated with a greater risk of chronic illnesses such as coronary heart disease.

Conversations about the internet #5: Anonymous Facebook employee
Though forthcoming, my friend was anxious to preserve her anonymity; Facebook employees, after all, know better than most the value of privacy. As she is not permitted to divulge company secrets, and would like to remain employed, her name has been omitted from this interview. It provides an interesting snapshot of the inner workings and culture of Facebook in the summer of 2009.

Tired Twitter

Why we can never rest: a year in the life of Twitter
Although we are already a few years into our latest collaboration, this has been the year the world took note of a simple service that has profound promise. For us, it has been a year during which we realised that no matter how sophisticated the algorithms get, no matter how many machines we add to the network, our work is not about the triumph of technology, it is about the triumph of humanity.