What Caught My Eye | #2

Emotions, cats, metro cards, oh my.

Hey you,

Is it just me or has October felt like the longest October in the history of Octobers?! It’s been a busy week across the interwebs, so here are a few things that piqued my interest.

📱 Has social media destroyed a generation? I’m sure you’ve heard the claim about giving children smartphones is the same as giving them a gram of cocaine. But a closer look at social media use shows that those claims may be overstated. (Go figure). This Scientific American article explores the diverging viewpoints.

The results of Orben’s, Przybylski’s and Hancock’s efforts are now in. Studies from these researchers and others, published or presented in 2019, have brought some context to the question of what exactly digital technology is doing to our mental health. Their evidence makes several things clear. The results to date have been mixed because the effects measured are themselves mixed. “Using social media is essentially a trade-off,” Hancock says. “You get very small but significant advantages for your well-being that come with very small but statistically significant costs.” 

“We’re asking the wrong questions,” Hancock says. And results are regularly overstated—sometimes by the scientists, often by the media. “Social media research is the perfect storm showing us where all the problems are with our scientific methodology,” Orben says. “This challenges us as scientists to think about how we measure things and what sort of effect size we think is important.”

🎙This is for the teachers in the audience! (Definitely pass this on to the teachers you have in your lives). The NPR Student Podcast Challenge is back. “Beginning in January, teachers or qualified educators can submit student entries in two basic categories: grades 5-8 and grades 9-12. Entries can be as short as 3 minutes and as long as 12 minutes.” You can find all the details here.

📅 Whether you’re a community organizer or you belong to a group, you may have heard the news from Meetup a couple of weeks ago. Or at least heard the grumblings about it. Community expert Carrie Melissa Jones breaks down what went wrong and makes recommendations for Meetup.

🚇If you or someone you know lives/spends a significant time in NYC, this one is for you, especially if you like to pay it forward.

🤝 Dear white men, we are not out to get you. This article, “How to Show White Men That Diversity and Inclusion Efforts Need Them” has me feeling a little conflicted. While it’s important for us to have constructive conversations, this part particularly stood out to me.

Sociologist Robin DiAngelo calls these sorts of defensive overreactions to race-based criticisms “White Fragility,” and argues that it stems from a lack of “racial stamina” due to white people’s insulation from genuine conversations about race. Put simply, they haven’t had a safe space to explore these topics and for many people, this is the first time they’ve thought carefully about their identity.

It’s clear we all, especially D&I practitioners, need to offer psychologically safe spaces for white people and privileged people to explore these conversations. Otherwise, we will continue to encounter defensiveness and won’t get the support we seek from these leaders.

💕Speaking of feelings, we all know that emotion sells. So how can marketers create better customer experiences with emotions? In this article, Dan Argintaru explores this question and one of his recommendations is to use AI to build real connections.

💖Listen, we all need a break from the news and all the stress/anxiety that it’s causing us, so I recommend heading to this thread to read some true love stories. But be warned: It may cause your eyes to leak heavily.

🙀 Have you met Cinderblock?! This precious feline has won all of our hearts. Go Cinderblock go. I have faith in you.

That’s all for now! Hope you’re having a lovely week, and if you’re reading this on the web & haven’t subscribed, what are you waiting for? 😁