Tag Archives: social media

Dear Mona: some thoughts on when Simon Sinek talks about Millennials

The reference for my notes below is the Simon Sinek interview that went viral a little while back:

Are leaders really asking young people what they want? This isn’t generally the case in the US or Iran, in my impression. Wisdom and power are generally regarded as prerequisites for governance. Employers can more easily hold the youth hostage via their student loan debt and lack of healthcare… I think he may be talking about a very privileged segment of the general population.

Okay, so the premise: “kids these days” want purpose and driving social good in their work, and also fun. I can identify with this, it’s what I do in my job and it’s mostly satisfying. I was also born in 1983 so I fail to meet his category.

Speaking of which, social scientists are often wary of generations as sole delimiters for population studies. They’re an important socio-analytic category to be sure, but wealth, education, locale and other variables mediate all of the factors he presents (parenting, technology, and environment). The United States is not a mono-culture; and on that note as I’m speaking to a Kurdish Iranian I doubt there’s a single unified country-wide experience of parenting, technology and environment in Iran too 🙂

I do agree about the part about “faking happiness” for social media, though I think some of it might just be managing our identity for a multiplicity of audiences, something I think our parents generally did less of, simply because they were often exposed to far fewer people over their lifetime. Look at me now – writing to a flabbergastingly talented electrical engineer-artist from across the world. My dad never would have met such a person in the first 50 years of his life. Even now the limit of his social existence scope is just his workplace and family. 

There isn’t the same level of chemical addiction in social media gratification as there is in drugs or alcohol (is the “science clear” really? show me the meta-study of randomized controlled trials that establishes this scientific consensus) but I think I’m more interested in the question that follows: how do we better provide social supports for people who are struggling? Can we do it in a way that doesn’t emphasize that they’re singularly special?  At what point and in which context do we consistently and adequately teach intentionality in our use of communication and socialization with technology? More specific to my own life – how do I politely tell my friends to get off their cell phones during dinner or ask them to be more committed to me as friends? I totally agree about the affliction, but I’m at odds for ascertaining a tactful solution.

Also, sheesh people should be applying to work at the Fab Lab night and day because we pretty much have instant impact and opportunity but with a concern for long-term development. And yet as an employer I still get frustrated with the lack of commitment, patience and hardwork at times. Yes we get to change the lives of children and make cool shit with 3D printers. We also get to scrub the floor and answer way too much email. I wish I knew how to make my Fab Lab a career track place with healthcare – but we’re not even sure the whole thing will exist in two years. But then again I think that sense of stability is a pretty Euro-American privilege-centric one. I also happen to think the notion of personal-is-professional is something that causes too much of a hit to productivity to be very corporate-friendly. The academic world takes specific steps to be more accommodating and human-oriented, in exchange for more commitment. Then again I’ve also suffered first-hand from what happens when you have too much time for gossip and not enough focus on work.

So what do you think Mona? Particularly about the part with working hard for relationships? You know I’ve been of the school of lots of trial and error (iterative learning) in this sense, given that I’ve had about 25 in 15 years varying from a couple of weeks to three years. Assuming you’re destined to end up with just one person, does finding them take practice in this regard? O, more generally, in life, how do you strike the right balance between mustering patience and being satisfied with what you have, verses seizing opportunities and initiating change? 

MONA. You have inspired my latest social experiment. My cell phone will no longer be allowed in my bedroom. Normally I get up and check my email and read the news and so on, in bed. I’ll probably need to do this anyway, but it’s better in my office on the computer and I want to see if this will actually help me get up better. Or differently. Thnx 🙂

Internet Attention Span and Kony 2012

Remember that Kony 2012 video that got 6 million 88 million views?

Right so 4-20 rolled around and I was saddened to notice the news media appeared to publish more on pot smokers than the cover the night campaign. I did, however, observe some red cups spelling out the words on one of the overpasses running across 290 heading eastbound into Chicago, not far from UIC, which felt uplifting. I think at this point the criticisms of the film’s focus are well-known, and most of us here would agree that seeing to a self-sustained independent Africa isn’t going to have much to do with US special forces tracking down some crazy dude, but what I thought was worth point out here was the astronomical drop in attention for the topic as it has gone on. First up, is this girl’s response, which yielded ~4 million views:

Now, check the views (176k) on their response to some of the criticism:

It seems to me that there wasn’t much of a worthwhile dialogue about all of this, and if there was it took place amongst a small fraction of the people originally interested. In fact people have probably paid far more attention to 12 seconds of this poor guy’s emotional breakdown than issues like the real challenges Africa faces.

People make me sad sometimes.