Culture Jamming

Hey all. Here’s Digitally Literate, issue #352.

Last week I attended the LRA 2022 Conference in Tempe, Arizona. As part of this, I presented in multiple sessions. I included some of materials for these below. I also serve as one of the e-editors for the organization’s website. Our first story (publication or blog post) went live this week.

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Shortcuts are killing humanity. It’s time to meet the alternative.

Long-term planning is tough. With all of the pressures and distractions of daily life, it’s often a hassle to stop and consider whether what we’re doing at any given moment is putting us on track toward our future goals. And if the answer is no, it often takes even more effort to consciously change course and sacrifice immediate gratification for long-term gain.

Long-term thinking is difficult for anyone, but especially for those living paycheck to paycheck. Does that mean “longtermism” is only for the privileged? The answer is no, according to the futurist Ari Wallach.

Generations, We Hardly Knew Ye: An Obituary

One of the tried tropes I hear in conversations with family is that “everything is screwed because generation (insert arbitrary descriptor here) messed it all up.” Cort Rudolph and Hannes Zacher suggest that we shouldn’t pay attention to these generational labels because they don’t categorize human behavior all that well.  

They suggest that a generations perspective is a ‘big business’ that helps to sell books, talks, and workshops run by organizational consultants who peddle their expertise in these flawed concepts. Instead, they advocate viewing people through a lifespan perspective which conceives of aging as a continuous, lifelong process rather than splitting it into distinct groups to represent generations.

Mastodon Isn’t Just A Replacement For Twitter

I’ve spent a lot of time teaching others how to interact in digital spaces. These conversations often boil down to a focus on social networks and media…as if there was nothing else. (✿ ♥‿♥)

Nathan Schneider and Amy Hasinoff share a piece suggesting that users flocking to the platform will need to shift their expectations for social media and become engaged democratic citizens in the life of their networks.

The damage commercial social media has done to politics, relationships and the fabric of society needs undoing.

Twitter is Not the Town Square

Angel Eduardo indicates that refashioning Twitter as a private company as a legitimate town square would require more change than we realize.

Eduardo was responding to a tweet from Sam Harris (Harris deleted his account not soon after):

Eduardo suggests that Twitter has not been, and never will be a public square. Furthermore, the post goes on to examine whether we should have digital public squares where everyone can say anything they want.

Tough question. What do you think?

Hey Siri, I love you: People feel more attached to gendered technology

Gendered technology has become an increasingly popular topic, and many people are warning that the trend risks perpetuating gendered stereotypes (e.g., the prevalence of “female” virtual assistants, like Siri and Alexa). Some are heeding the pushback. Others haven’t changed much.

Ashley Martin and Malia F. Mason investigate how consumers interact with and relate to gendered technology to understand why companies might be incentivized to keep it. 

Who Still Needs the Carnivalesque?

A long form deep cut of a post by Ed Simon. I recommend reading the original post…but bring out your notebooks. (・_・ヾ

Simon threads the needle between capitalism, society, the influx of digital technologies, and well spring of iconoclasm (attacking or rejecting beliefs and institutions) that we’re seeing from some in society. The post suggests that society (technology, progress, and the establishment) is currently trying to make everything just work, as long as we subscribe to capitalism and progress. On the other hand, the carnival is something people create and generate for themselves.

This move away from seriousness is seen as a form of culture jamming. An expression of joy in serious times.

Break free from the social status game

Being more popular within your tribe had a survival advantage. Social status could be linked to protection of the group and stronger bonds and connections. Now that we have a global leaderboard for these components, it makes sense why we focus some much attention on social status, especially in digital spaces.

It is possible to replace irrational status-seeking behaviors with healthier alternatives in which the value is found in the act itself rather than by the aimless collection of status symbols. Here are a few strategies to help you replace empty prestige with playful exploration:

  • Practice metacognition to reflect on long-term goals
  • Surround yourself with explorers
  • Explore unconventional paths
  • Focus on learning new skills

Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.

Steve Jobs

A great post by swyx reminding us that we shouldn’t act like those in charge know what they’re doing.

Say hey at or on the social network of your choice.

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