“The net is designed to be an interruption system, a machine geared to dividing attention,” Nicholas Carr explains in his book “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.” “We willingly accept the loss of concentration and focus, the division of our attention and the fragmentation of our thoughts, in return for the wealth of compelling or at least diverting information we receive.”

Source: Addicted to Distraction – The New York Times

One trend we’ve been sharing with clients as we look to 2016 has been the rise of chat, instant messaging and dark social conversations as a check/balance from public social (over-)sharing that’s dominated social trends in recent years.

Messaging is the new-old social media and will grow by 1.8 billion new users by 2018. Some messaging apps already surpass Twitter and Instagram for time spent.

This latest news from Tumblr only reinforces the importance of watching this user-behavior shift closely.

The future is an accident. It’s an accident because you explore. You have to go through with a machete and just hack away and find it. You can’t see it — you just have to go somewhere you haven’t been before. It’s not even about being so far into the future; it’s “How do you say what people want to hear next?” I’m always listening to what the younger kids are doing. The most inspiring stuff is what you find young kids doing online. It’s so raw. It’s, like, the singularity, the way children are interfacing with different technologies so seamlessly. I was in South Africa and went to this township, and the kids there had really cheap smartphones, and they could still build a window into another world, then adapt that to their culture. Some kids had D.J. gear in a little shack, and they were making this hack between house and African, like African house. Kids! Like, 8 years old. That’s where I’m getting ideas. — Skrillex

Source: Economists, Biologists and Skrillex on How to Predict the Future – The New York Times

Skrillex on How to Predict the Future

“I don’t think the imagination is subject to efficiency,” Atwood says. “If anything, daydreaming is very useful for it. In fact, daydreaming is very useful for any kind of productivity because it creates a blank space and allows the mind to come into that. So what people seem to need most coaching about in the area of creativity is not ‘optimizing’ their imaginations—it’s their confidence. And that’s because we’ve been brainwashed into thinking that we are all specialists of some kind, and that you can’t really be a writer unless you’ve got something like a master’s degree. Obviously, we want dentists to be trained, but writing is human storytelling and everybody does it.

“So the problems in creativity are not how do we get humans to be more creative—people are more creative. It’s how creative people can actually make a living doing what they do in an economy such as ours that values money above all else. What is the price, the money value, of John Keats’s ‘Ode To A Nightingale,’ apart from the manuscript, just the poem itself, what is its value? There isn’t one. Because it’s not in that economy.”

Source: Margaret Atwood On How Tech Influences Creativity

rei opt outside

We speak often with our clients about leading with their brand and ‘Reasons To Care.’

Here’s the latest in doing just that, from REI:

This is more than a PR stunt, because the campaign follows their ethos closely and they are investing real money in making it happen.

Lots of praise today.

With that said, this isn’t a last-minute gamble, and has been in the works all year.

Here’s a more sarcastic take.

This is another good example for us to keep in mind in the path of moving brands from product-focused ‘reasons to believe’ to brand-based ‘reasons to care.’

“There is no expedient to which man will not resort to evade the real labor of thinking.” — Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Source: Quote Investigator

But web traffic is no longer Gawker’s primary metric for judging editorial success. In January, CEO Nick Denton announced that the site would prioritize high-quality editorial content over viral posts that drew large amounts of traffic. Gawker’s bonus system also shifted; writers received bonuses for writing stories that editors judged to be high-quality, rather than for stories that drew the most unique visitors.

Source: As Gawker traffic stalls, writers told to work faster | POLITICO

This is 2014 data, but stilll…

  • …1 in every 9 Americans – or exactly 11% – think HTML is actually a sexually transmitted disease.
  • …23% thought an “MP3” was a “Star Wars” robot.
  • …18% identified “Blu-ray” as a marine animal.
  • …15% said they believed “software” is comfortable clothing.
  • …12% said “USB” is the acronym for a European country.

Source: Study: 11% of Americans Think HTML Is an STD | TIME

In the next generation of software, machine learning won’t just be an add-on that improves performance a few percentage points; it will really replace traditional approaches.

To give just one example: a decade ago, to launch a digital music service, you probably would have enlisted a handful of elite tastemakers to pick the hottest new music. Today, you’re much better off building a smart system that can learn from the real world – what actual listeners are most likely to like next – and help you predict who and where the next Adele might be.

As a bonus, it’s a much less elitist taste-making process – much more democratic – allowing everyone to discover the next big star through our own collective tastes and not through the individual preferences of a select few.

Source: Eric Schmidt on Smarter Music… Intelligent machines: Making AI work in the real world – BBC News

“The truth isn’t the truth until people believe you, and they can’t believe you if they don’t know what you’re saying, and they can’t know what you’re saying if they don’t listen to you, and they won’t listen to you if you’re not interesting, and you won’t be interesting unless you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly.”

William Bernbach, on how to reach people with a message