One thing this Covid 19 virus has shown us is how useful virtual meetings can be. The various services available (Skype, Hangouts, Zoom etc.) have experienced a massive surge in demand and use over lockdown periods around the world. Zoom in particular has become very popular and very varied in its use cases. Security issues are popping up due to the scale and choices they made with their software. Still, it’s changing the options for work and socialising – all due to a lockdown.
Last night we swayed between a Whatsapp chat group and a Google Hangouts chat. Hangouts was clearer and easier through the laptop compared to Whatsapp.
Our call was full of stories about Kenya days growing up, nostalgia, catching up on news. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to read the books I was recommended. The call was cut short by my friend who needed to join another Zoom call straight afterwards. A sign of the times.
Those times are changing fast. Stay safe and keep in touch out there! Chats like this are golden and good for the soul.
Google randomly displays the masters of fine art on my screen, switching every ten seconds or so. A Monet just flashed by, now its someone named Joseph Léon Righini.
All of this is staggeringly good art. None of it is given much attention by me during the day. But it is there for me to see whenever I want it. A mountain peak – an Everest – of fine art to aim for every 10 seconds. This would have been unthinkable a couple of decades ago. I remember growing up we had a massive Encyclopaedia Brittanica in our house for reference.
Why does this matter? I think it matters because it means that the problem of our time – the problem of this revolution we are experiencing – is not one of scarcity or of access to information, or to inspiration. The internet has given us access to more information than we could possibly want – be it art, science, history or cat videos.
Instead the problem is one of contribution. The nagging question in our heads should be “When am I going to show up?”
I don’t mean show up in Google’s algorithm, I mean show up to the party and contribute. Care enough to try, to fail and to show your work.
I just came across this phrase today: “Social Media Grooming”.
It is a great phrase and it captures well the systematic way in which the major social media companies entice us to believe that there is a way to win the social media game. If we just tweak this, post that, and shoot a pic at this angle then we can become famous. An influencer.
The bad thing about the social media system is that it is set up for user-distraction. You are the product and you are being manipulated if you play by their rules. If you let them groom you. Grooming….creepy word that one.
There is an alternative to play by your own rules. Focus on what you create. Focus on the content and the ideas you want people to engage with and share. Who precisely do you want to engage with? – not everybody….presuming you are not a Kardashian (thank the Gods).
Be specific. Be intentional. Be free.
Ps, (I write these sorts of posts to preach mainly to myself. I fall down the Social Media rabbit hole all to easily).
I feel anxious about technology that is not co-ordinated.
I feel this at a personal level with my phone if it doesn’t sync with my laptop. Apple’s ecosystem thrives on this angst. Buy the Iphone then you have to buy the Ipad and the laptop and the TV just to make sure everything is in sync.
Lately I have taken on some more operational tasks at the day job and I feel the angst at a company level now! Co-ordinating people on tech is like herding cats. Nobody is using the same system. Nobody else seems to feel the angst!
Microsoft, Google, Apple are playing tugofwar with our company’s attention and resources. Some hard and fast decisions need to be made – but they can’t have too much of an impact on operations or clients.
A surprisingly good album with 80’s throwbacks. This pop rock group will have you thinking of icons from Cyndi Lauper to Sting and The Police.
The first three tracks are super and set the tone for the rest of the album – a straight rocker, a rocking ballad with country twangs and sweet chugging synth pop – all with such 80’s infusion, it’s the album equivalent of watching an episode of Stranger Things…..fewer monsters though.
The album is a burner, well worth exploration. Vocals never fail to offer fragility and strength in equal measure – the front-woman Manfredi can really sing. Lyrics and production show a mature understanding of their craft. Highs and lows make it a dynamic listen. There may be one or two too many songs on the album, but even the less arresting songs are better than most – I can see how it was a hard list to cull.
This album was offered up as a recommendation by Google Play and I am so glad it was.
I have eclectic musical tastes. My father worked in the music industry for a long time in the 70’s and 80’s so I have a lot of old school rock in my collection. My mum loves classical music, and my grandma was a great pianist so I listen to some choral and baroque classical music – and my personal passion is blues and soul. Old school. I have also recently started listening to hip hop.
A look at the charts – the top ten on Google Play – is fairly meaningless to me now. Nobody is pushing the boundaries of any genre, and art is scarce when the aim is to appeal to the most number of people possible. When this is the case, inevitably the songs start to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Safe bets are placed like the countless sequels in the cinema.
That said, I like Rihanna and DJ Khaled’s song, Grateful. Also, Charlie Puth’s Attention is pretty good.
For my streaming needs I oscillate between Google Play and Tidal depending on how pretentious I feel about streaming quality, and how much cash I have. In reality there is not much difference though – all of the major streaming services have an impossibly huge library, the convenience is amazing too. What is most interesting to me is the angst it brings me – Whenever I stream something I think to myself “am i doing this right?” – with LPs and CDs it was far more clearcut how best to listen to music. Now nobody knows.
Which is the best streaming service? It’s not an obvious answer or even an obvious question – Best for the listener? Best for the artist?
I live in South Africa and don’t have access to Spotify or Youtube Red (or whatever Youtube’s subscription options are) it seems to me that Soundcloud was trying to be the Youtube of music, but failed to make money – why? The music industry seems capable of flicking a switch and making an artist centered service like Soundcloud disappear almost overnight.
The whole streaming genre has taken a grip on my brain – it’s such a vast universe and there are so many ways to listen to music now – Which hardware is the best to use?
If I can consume media with purpose then I will be happy. Too often though, I feel like media is force fed to me like a scene out of A Clockwork Orange.
I have decided to make a change in music subscription services – from Google Play Music to Tidal. New MQA Masters catalogues on Tidal are a factor, as are my future plans to integrate with a service such as Roon. Roon lets you interact with the music you listen to like we used to with CDs and LPs.
All of this is a rather futile effort to mitigate against the fact that when we stream our music or TV or movies, we no longer own the content. It’s a mindset from another time I guess but to pay for a service rather than a piece of art seems like a poor deal.
At least it is convenient and works on my phone though.