Vibe Shift Coming

Welcome back all. Here is Digitally Literate, issue #322.

I posted the following this week:

  • Why Can’t We Agree on What’s True? – Blaming social media or the Internet for what people choose to say is like blaming soapboxes for the people standing on them.
  • The Beginning Will Suck – Starting a new project? Get out of your head. Don’t let self-doubt make you give up.
  • Towards Transdisicplinarity – One of the research pubs I helped submit this week. It’s about trying to solve wicked problems by traversing or transgressing different areas of thought.

Thank you to all those that sent in an email to say hey! You are all appreciated. 🙂

If you haven’t already, please subscribe if you would like this newsletter to show up in your inbox. Reach out and say hello at

What you discover when you really listen

In his TED Talk, musician and “Song Exploder” podcast host Hrishikesh Hirway compares multitasking to “trying to listen to a song while singing a different song in your head.”

As he points out, “You can’t do it — or you can’t do it well. And you can’t fully appreciate what someone else is saying if you’re thinking about something else.”

A Vibe Shift Is Coming. Will any of us survive it?

Allison P. Davis writes a response to a post titled “Vibe Shift,” on Sean Monahan‘s 8Ball newsletter. Monahan co-founded K-Hole, the trend forecasting group best known for coining the term Normcore. Put simply, Monahan is someone who has made a career of translating cultural trends for a larger audience.

Monahan uses the term vibe shift to describe when things change in culture and once-dominant social wavelength starts to feel dated.

Davis expands on this by sharing how not everyone survives a vibe shift. As we begin to creep out from COVID-induced hibernation, we need to wonder if we’ll emerge on the other side of this “as adults” who lost a few years of socially acceptable freedom? Or we will let ourselves get stuck?

Techno-optimism and the rule-of-threes: why the world will soon enter an era of mass flourishing

Mark Mills with an excerpt from his new book, The Cloud Revolution.

It has been said that history doesn’t repeat but rhymes. The rhyme, or pattern, that shaped the 20th century is again at play in the 21st. The evidence is visible in the same three spheres of technology — information, machines, materials — with, again, the same pattern of revolutionary technologies in each sphere contemporaneously reaching useful maturity.

Mills posits that disruption and innovation take hold in three phases, from invention to commercial viability to market significance. The post suggests that we’re in store for more turmoil and strife, but we’re in the middle of a significant lurch forward.

Why you (probably) won’t finish reading this story

We live in the most distracted time in human history. Can we reclaim our attention spans?

Sean Illing with an interview of British journalist Johann Hari, and the new book Stolen Focus, Why You Can’t Pay Attention–and How to Think Deeply Again. Listen to the podcast of this interview here.

My book is about attention at two levels. One is individual attention. All those things I just said are true of individual attention. It’s also true of collective attention: A society that can’t pay attention to problems together, that consists of people who are interacting primarily through mechanisms that make them angry, is a society that can’t solve its crises.

Sparking Curiosity

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” —Dorothy Parker

Harold Jarche suggests that work skills over the past century have been focused on compliance, perseverance, diligence, and intelligence. The future workforce requires enabling a learner’s mindset for life.

Why is this important? Machines are increasingly taking over our jobs. We need to understand that humans are better at creativity, imagination, empathy, and curiosity.

What Is the Metaverse? A Beginner’s Guide to Tech’s Latest Obsession

Aaron Frank with an overview of what he sees in the hype around the metaverse.

Frank suggests that in 99.99% of cases, provided the term is used correctly, you could replace the word “metaverse” with “internet” and the sentence will mean the same thing. Analyst Doug Thompson suggests that the term “metaverse” might be a proxy for just suggesting that “everything is about to change.”

Frank’s overview focuses on four parts:

  1. Spatial Computing (and the history of the interface)
  2. Game Engines (construction tools to build the metaverse)
  3. Virtual Environments (the “places” we’ll be logging into in tomorrow’s internet)
  4. Virtual Economies (what you’ll value and share in these spaces)

Want to have better, deeper conversations? Try this

Did you watch the video at the top of this post? Good. Now, let’s make it happen.

Like any skill, active listening can be practiced and cultivated. Here are three key ways to become a better listener:  

  1. Put away your phone (and other distractions)
  2. Reflect back what you’ve heard
    • Ask Questions
    • Summarize
    • Listen without judgment
    • Don’t give in to pressure to fill silences
    • Don’t jump in with your own story
  3. Let nonverbal cues speak for you, too
    • Make eye contact
    • Have an open posture
    • Mirror facial expressions

To make a good decision, you actually need to think about it, the contours and the consequences.

Stacey Abrams

Why Are Letters Shaped the Way They Are?

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