Please stop sharing fake news for “likes”

Monday, November 13th, 2023

Photograph of a blonde woman with a comment about fake news.

If you’re going to share an inspiring quote from a celeb, or a wonderful feel-good story, a couple of words of advice…

  • Attribute it. Tell people where you got it from.
  • Don’t change it to suit your narrative. If the quote was about oranges it was about oranges, not your consulting services.
  • Fact check it. So many fake stories running around, from an autistic kid sorting bins to Steve Jobs composing an essay on his death bed.

You can go for a quick hit and a few likes by sharing the essay Steve Jobs didn’t write on his deathbed. Problem with that is the fact checkers are on your case. Sooner or later the SEO bots and social media algorithms will catch up.

At which point all your quick hit fake shares will work against you.

I hope you’re ready.

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I now write notes on my iPhone. Lots of them…

Saturday, October 14th, 2023

Black and white photograph of a Landscape. In the foreground are white apartment blocks partly obscured by trees

Half a dozen alone this morning while I sat in a park. All typed with my thumbs in Apple Notes. They were curated when I got home to a bigger screen and a keyboard. A couple merged, one discarded. This is my new normal based on the past month.

I haven’t decided whether this is a consequence of setting aside “work” for a while to focus on creative writing or the iPhone connecting me directly to my usual repository of ideas (aka Apple Notes).

I shall continue to observeā€¦

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Imma: a virtual influencer encourages us to invest

Tuesday, September 5th, 2023

Photograph of virtual influencer Imma in an advert for Nomura bank encouraging people to invest in a NISA 20 year duration product

The people of Japan like to save money. Problem is they usually put it in “safe”, low interest bank accounts. That ties money up and means over the long term, savings fall in value. Not great for a country facing the pressures from an aging population.

NISA is a tax-free investment product that turns savings into stocks. It’s meant to appeal to younger people who might be more willing to take a risk with their money, but don’t need the drama of trading. However, take up has been low.

Bringing Imma into the picture might attract the attention of the instagram savvy youth of Japan. However, whether the message “let’s invest for 20 years” works with a piece of software that might not be around in 10 remains to be seen.

Then again, could the same be said of any celebrity used for an endorsement? At least Imma will vanish because of a software retirement rather than being cancelled after another scandal.

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The digital tourist

Thursday, August 31st, 2023

Illustration of two people stood side by side. One is looking intently at a guidebook, the other is pointing at a tourist attraction. Both seem happy.

In my experience there are two approaches to visiting another country or city as a tourist.

In the first the trip is meticulously planned. Countless websites are visited, brochures bought and influencers inspected. The trip becomes a confirmation that what we saw in our research was “true”. Variation risks us feeling cheated.

In the second, basic information is gathered. We arrive with nothing but a phrasebook and a mental blank canvas. What happens does so by accident, not by plan. It is all but impossible to be disappointed because we have no expectations.

I suspect my approach to travel is closer to the second. Much to the occasional annoyance of Mrs H.

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More tweaks to the website

Thursday, August 3rd, 2023

There’s a few more changes to the website, which I hope will make it easier to use.

  • The subscribe block on the right (if you’re on a larger device) is a bit bigger. It felt cramped before and not so noticeable.
  • The latest blocks on the bottom of posts and pages have a clearer border when you hover over them.
  • The index pages have been tidied up with the main content timeline closer to something you’d expect on social media. Hero images are now under the content (similar to LinkedIn) and I’m using teaser text from the post.
  • I’ve also introduced “status updates” that appear in their entirety in the timeline (like this one) and single images that also appear in the flow. I’ll monitor this to see if it makes sense.

That’s all for this month.

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The selfie post on LinkedIn

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2023

I think I’m going “selfie blind”.

I barely notice them now as they drift past the timeline.

Experience has taught me the post is likely to be self-indulgent, shallow and lacking in any real insight. The poster is chasing “engagement” through pithy self-revelation that lacks any meaning or depth. Far more effective if they happen to be young, “conventionally attractive”, female.

There’s more insight in the posts that share charts, illustrations and photos of work completed.

Which begs the question…

Is it just me, or has the age of the selfie started to wane?

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Trust issues?

Tuesday, April 18th, 2023

Screenshot from a LinkedIn survey showing how the anonymous contribution can be seen by the author

I’ve had long and heated discussions about why “anonymous survey” means I’m not telling you who said what. Nor am I letting you look at the handwriting so you can second-guess who said it.

Which is why trust issues are so easy to create when you promise responses are anonymous, and the platform says otherwise.

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My backups failed. Don’t panic!

Tuesday, April 11th, 2023

Photograph of a pair of Western Digital backup disks on a desk

Both of my Western Digital backup disks decided to break a few months back. Fortunately I also backup on the cloud, so could recover much of what was lost. 

Except for my collection of films and TV shows purchased on Apple iTunes over the years. Now lost after a region changed rendered them ‘unavailable in your location’.

I sometimes wonder what archeologists three or four thousand years from now will think of our society when it’s been lost to endless upgrades, tech glitches and takeovers.

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Tumblr is what MySpace could have been.

Sunday, April 2nd, 2023

I love the chaos there. One minute I’m chasing down street photos, the next reading someone’s heart wrenching tale of woe (only to realise it’s fanfic for some show everyone else has heard of), then laughing at comics.

And it all feels so damned positive.

I think it was gagman Tim Vine who said, “if you don’t like that joke, don’t worry, another one will be along in a second”.

That’s how I think of Tumblr. As a gagman’s stream of consciousness let loose.

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Tactile wayfinding

Thursday, March 9th, 2023

Photograph of a floorplan for a toilet block, overlaid with braile and raised surfaces for those with vision imparement

One of those things you notice while wandering around. It’s not uncommon to find maps for toilets in Japan. Useful in its own way.

Whether this is a one-off, or I had too much time on my hands to notice, this map overlaid a visual and tactile representation. My photo isn’t great, but you can just make out the braille and symbols for different toilet styles, walls etc. They’re the off-yellow marks.

Probably worth reflecting on if you’re creating maps and layouts for your facilities.

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The secret of change

Wednesday, January 11th, 2023

I’ve seen this too many times on change programs. Far too much effort is put into trying to preserve “the old ways” in one form or another. Some of the common ones I’ve seen:

  • trying to work everything around an IT system that’s old, inflexible and largely broken
  • accommodating Employee X who refuses to change the way they work, or who you just want to keep around
  • refusing to replace an old piece of machinery because it cost $1 million to buy 5 years ago
  • creating “exceptions” to processes because once Client X does it that way

I wouldn’t suggest ignoring the old ways completely, you need to help nudge people forwards. But I wouldn’t be so eager to make exceptions “just because that’s how we used to do things”.

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Apologies. No ezine today

Friday, September 9th, 2022

Photograph of one tower of a suspension bridge over the sea. Just to the left is the small image of a man on a board boat, a kilometer or so out to sea

Time got the better of me this week. Unfortunately I’ve not had enough of it to put together the weekly missive.

The site’s being rebuilt, which has taken a bit longer than expected.

Hopefully normal service will be resumed next week.

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