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💥Thought Shrapnel newsletter #446
Zoom backgrounds, tech types, and the end of an era?
Note: I’ve fixed the numbering, as last week’s should have been #445. Not that anyone cares. I might go to a ‘seasons’ approach like Dan Hon, which would fit in with the three, 3-week breaks I take per year. I’ll have a think.
Last week, just for fun, I ran a poll. Apologies if you didn’t get a chance to vote; Substack has a limited range of options for the number of days to keep it open. Anyway, here are the results:
Is this what you would have expected? The Fediverse numbers are higher than I would have thought, which is a good thing. For me, I’m dividing my time between there, LinkedIn, and Substack Notes, which continues to be delightful.
💥 Situation report: I’m composing this early on Saturday morning on my laptop in the living room of our current house. The room looks largely normal, except there is nothing on the walls other than the TV, and the bookcase is devoid of books. Other rooms in the house are full of boxes. Yesterday, we got the keys to the rental property that we’ll hopefully only be in for six months. We’re spending this half-term week moving between properties.
I haven’t published my weeknote yet and didn’t write anything for my personal blog. However, I did publish something on the WAO blog that took me a very long time to put together and which I think is worthy of your attention: Using Open Recognition to Map Real-World Skills and Attributes — Part 2: Building the workflow and platform
💥 Best of Thought Shrapnel
Given that we’re moving house, I skipped a couple of days of posting to Thought Shrapnel this week. So no microcast, and only 12 posts, of which I think these are the three most worthy of your attention.
As I mentioned in a recent post, you can’t win a war against system designed to destroy your attention. You have to try a different strategy. One of those is disengaging, which is what Thomas J Bevan is noticing, and advocating for, in this post.
I like his mention of going to a place where he noticed there was “something off” and he realised nobody was using their phone. Not because they weren’t allowed to, but because they were having too much of a good time to bother with them.
The consequences of life lived online have bled through into the real world and this has happened because we have allowed them to. It’s a cliché to say that real life is now a temporary reprieve from the online, as opposed to the other way around. We pay the price for all of this via boarded up shops, closing pubs, empty playgrounds and silent streets as each individual stays at home each night, enchanted by the blue flicker of their own little screen feeding them their own walled in world of news and content and edutainment.
I believe it will end, this so-called way of life. Not through the Silicon Valley oligarchs spontaneously developing a conscience or being legislated into acting with a modicum less sociopathy. I don’t believe people will be frightened into changing how they act or suddenly shamed into putting their phones down for once in their lives. Such interventions don’t work with most addicts and more and more people are legitimately hooked on their devices than we are currently willing to countenance. No, I think this will all end, as T.S Eliot said, with a whimper. People will simply lose interest and walk away. Because the internet now is boring. People spend all day scrolling because they are trying to find what isn’t there anymore. The authenticity, the genuinely human moments, the fun.
Image: Created with DALL-E 3
Not only did I love Swarnali Mukherjee’s writing in this post, I also absolutely adored the image that went with it. You may have noticed that I created something similar-looking with DALL-E 3 to illustrate one of yesterday’s posts.
As we’re moving house at the moment, and my home office is full of boxes, I’m using my Elgato green screen. While the view from the Death Star is great, I wanted something a bit more (literally) down-to-earth.
People love being typologised. I’m no different, although my result as an ‘Abstract Explorer’ in IBM’s Tech Type quiz wasn’t exactly a surprise.
Consider this: a quiz to guide you to your unique fit for tech skills based on your strengths and interests. Find your future with this personalized assessment, bringing you one step closer to new skills to enhance your career in tech and key skills like artificial intelligence (AI). And it takes less than 5 minutes.
Source: Tech Type Quiz | IBM SkillsBuild
✍️ The rest of Thought Shrapnel
📚 Currently reading
I finished reading The Running Grave by Robert Galbraith this week which, like the previous novel in the series, was pretty dark (but always engrossing).
I’ve added books to my want to read list thanks to some recommendations from ChatGPT. My method, for those interested, was as follows: I took a screenshot of the of the list of books I’ve read this year, along with the rating I’d given each one. Then I asked for recommendations based on those to which I’d given 3.5 stars or more.
Until next week!
Thought Shrapnel Weekly is published by Dr. Doug Belshaw. You can connect with him by replying to this email, or via LinkedIn or the Fediverse. He’s available to hire to untangle your organisational spaghetti through WAO or Dynamic Skillset.
Many thanks to Bryan Mathers of Visual Thinkery for the Thought Shrapnel logo.
All product names, logos, and brands are property of their respective owners and are used in this newsletter are for identification purposes only.
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(again, feel free to leave your score in the comments…)