Tag Archives: social

New restaurant staffed exclusively with deaf waiters

Here is a neat idea. I have been watching a show called Switched at Birth, which has done a lot to educate me about deaf culture, and to spark an interest in me to learn some sign language. And here is a place I could go to get some practice:

The restaurant is called Signs, and if you go there, you will have to order your food using sign language. If you’d be interested in that kind of experience, you should check it out.

As the spokesperson in the video says, there are lots of very talented and qualified deaf people out there who can do a great job, they just needed to be given a chance, and this gives them that chance.


To Like or Not to Like, turns out there’s really no question

Great dichotomy here, two very interesting articles, both about liking (or not liking) things on facebook, and what happens if you do/don’t.

“Liking is an economic act.” writes Mat Honan on Wired, in :

The like and the favorite are the new metrics of success—very literally. Not only are they ego-feeders for the stuff we put online as individuals, but advertisers track their campaigns on Facebook by how often they are liked. A recent New York Times story on a krill oil ad campaign . Liking is an economic act.

I like everything. Or at least I did, for 48 hours. Literally everything Facebook sent my way, I liked—even if I hated it. I decided to embark on a campaign of conscious liking, to see how it would affect what Facebook showed me. I know this sounds like a stunt (and it was) but it was also genuinely just an open-ended experiment. I wasn’t sure how long I’d keep it up (48 hours was all I could stand) or what I’d learn (possibly nothing.)

He describes a feedback loop that liking can cause:

There is a very specific form of Facebook messaging, designed to get you to interact. And if you take the bait, you’ll be shown it ad nauseam.

Facebook seems to inherently get more political and extreme when you do this:

My News Feed took on an entirely new character in a surprisingly short amount of time. After checking in and liking a bunch of stuff over the course of an hour, there were no human beings in my feed anymore. It became about brands and messaging, rather than humans with messages.

Likewise, content mills rose to the top. Nearly my entire feed was given over to Upworthy and the Huffington Post. As I went to bed that first night and scrolled through my News Feed, the updates I saw were (in order): Huffington Post, Upworthy, Huffington Post, Upworthy, a Levi’s ad, Space.com, Huffington Post, Upworthy, The Verge, Huffington Post, Space.com, Upworthy, Space.com.

By the next morning, the items in my News Feed had moved very, very far to the right. I’m offered the chance to like the 2nd Amendment and some sort of anti-immigrant page. As day one rolled into day two, I began dreading going to Facebook. It had become a temple of provocation. Just as my News Feed had drifted further and further right, so too did it drift further and further left. Rachel Maddow, Raw Story, Mother Jones, Daily Kos and all sort of other leftie stuff was interspersed with items that are so far to the right I’m nearly afraid to like them for fear of ending up on some sort of watch list.

Think Facebook will stop encouraging this? Think again.

While I expected that what I saw might change, what I never expected was the impact my behavior would have on my friends’ feeds. I kept thinking Facebook would rate-limit me, but instead it grew increasingly ravenous. My feed become a cavalcade of brands and politics and as I interacted with them, Facebook dutifully reported this to all my friends and followers.

And apparently, the more you like, not only the more does facebook suggest to you, but your friends see your obsessive liking:

That first night, a small little circle with a dog’s head popped up in the corner of my phone. A chat head, from Facebook’s Messenger software! The dog turned out to be my old WIRED editor, John Bradley. “Have you been hacked,” he wanted to know. The next morning, my friend Helena sent me a message. “My fb feed is literally full of articles you like, it’s kind of funny,” she says. “No friend stuff, just Honan likes.” I 二元期权 replied with a thumbs up. This continued throughout the experiment. When I posted a status update to Facebook just saying “I like you,” I heard from numerous people that my weirdo activity had been overrunning their feeds. “My newsfeed is 70 percent things Mat has liked,” noted my pal Heather. Eventually, I would hear from someone who worked at Facebook, who had noticed my activity and wanted to connect me with the company’s PR department.

Now, bear this in contrast to Elan Morgan’s , on Medium. In contrast to Mat’s statement “Liking is an economic act”, she writes:

The Like is the wordless nod of support in a loud room. It’s the easiest of yesses, I-agrees, and me-toos. I actually felt pangs of guilt over not liking some updates, as though the absence of my particular Like would translate as a disapproval or a withholding of affection. I felt as though my ability to communicate had been somehow hobbled. The Like function has saved me so much comment-typing over the years that I likely could have written a very quippy, War-and-Peace-length novel by now.

She writes how, despite the Like feature theoretically being meant for learning what you like and showing you more of that, it doesn’t always work that way:

You would think that liking certain updates on Facebook would teach the algorithm to give you more of what you want to see, but Facebook’s algorithm is not human. The algorithm does not understand the psychological nuances of why you might like one thing and not another even though they have comparatively similar keywords and reach similar audiences, so when I liked several videos and images of heartwarming animal stories, Facebook’s algorithm gave me more animal stories, but many of them were not heartwarming. They depicted inhumane treatment. Apparently, Facebook’s algorithm mistook my love for animals as a desire to see images of elephants being brutalized.

In showing me more of whatever it inferred that I wanted to see from my Likes, my Facebook experience included a lot of things I really didn’t like, because its algorithm doesn’t understand the many political, philosophical, and emotional shades of a given topic. Liking a local animal hospital does not equal my wanting to see abused dogs, and liking a post about a sweet wedding does not not equal my wanting to see every inspiring human who ever existed in New York.

As Mat pointed out, Liking things tends to garner more and more extreme responses from the algorithm:

It seems that the Like function had me trapped in a universe where the environment was dictated by a knee-jerk ad-bot. You like yogurt? You’ll like Extreme Yogurt more! You liked eight cute kitten videos? You’ll really want to see to this graphic image of eight kittens being tortured by scientists!

And finally, the sea change begins:

Now that I am commenting more on Facebook and not clicking Like on anything at all, my feed has relaxed and become more conversational. It’s like all the shouty attention-getters were ushered out of the room as soon as I stopped incidentally asking for those kinds of updates by using the Like function.

I feel as though reason has been restored. I can comment on a cute cat photo without being inundated with all the animal videos 800 people shared this week, and I can comment on a post about race relations without then having Facebook trot out an endless showcase of vitriol.

Facebook without the Like appears to be nearly sane.

Turns out that saying why you like something, vs passively giving a digital thumbs up only, brings the humanity back into the equation (whodathunk?):

When I disallowed myself Facebook’s Like function as a method of communication, I was left with this unmet desire to let people know I heard them or liked their content, and I suddenly felt invisible. I was reading, but no one knew I was there, which made me realize that my habitual style of Facebook interaction had to change. Without the Like function to rely on, I had to comment or risk looking anti-social and experience even more disconnection, so I started commenting more than I ever had before on the platform.

I had been suffering a sense of disconnection within my online communities prior to swearing off Facebook likes. It seemed that there were fewer conversations, more empty platitudes and praise, and a dearth of political and religious pageantry. It was tiring and depressing. After swearing off the Facebook Like, though, all of this changed. I became more present and more engaged, because I had to use my words rather than an unnuanced Like function. I took the time to tell people what I thought and felt, to acknowledge friend’s lives, to share both joys and pains with other human beings.

It turns out that there is more humanity and love in words than there are in the use of the Like.

Her conclusion:

It turns out that your friends might actually be more likeable than Facebook’s Like disruption makes them appear, and the growing sense of disconnection that many of us experience might just be due to a tone-deaf algorithm.

When we drop the Like, we might actually like each other. We might actually connect.


I just wanted to say that my experience has mirrored Elan’s. Liking less and talking more has made my facebook quite human friendly. I actually took the time, a couple of years ago, to go through my “liked pages” section and actually unlike a lot of things. And now I typically try to comment instead of like whenever possible. I see others waking up to this idea and I hope to help spread it. Anything that helps us move away from reactionary interaction, to a more community oriented vibe, is fantastic in my books.

Niche Markets: An imperfect analogy for the melting pot of social culture

This is an excerpt of my latest Medium article.

Humans are social creatures for the most part, some more than others. We often bond over food and drinks, athletic activities or arts and entertainment, among other things.

Imagine for a moment, that you are walking freely in a group of people, down a large, long hallway. Above each door in the hallway is a sign that lists a thing that people like—music, sports, film or novel, activity, etc. As you go down this hallway, people from the group are stopping at various doors, opening them and going into the rooms beyond.

As you keep walking, you rubber-neck, most people seem to be going through the same doors, and there’s already a lot of people in those rooms, and they’re talking, laughing, even exchanging high fives.

And you keep walking vente en ligne viagra. You haven’t felt strongly pulled towards any of these doors so far. The people that choose the doors that you pass, they seem like perfectly good people, you’re sure you would get along with any of them under the right circumstances, but they feel more of a connection to the theme of those rooms than you do.

You pass more and more doors, the group has thinned. Many people have already split off and chosen their rooms. You start to look around at the people left in your remaining unfiltered group. They’re eclectic, just as you see yourself.

Finally, you find some doors you feel a connection to. You find the thing that resonates with you, and you end up in the room with others who resonate with it too.

You look around at your company. The room isn’t packed, but there’s not a lot of people either. Everyone might be a little hesitant, shy, or awkward. No one really wants to speak first, and if they do, they aren’t sure what to say.

These are the people who know they love a thing, and at the end of the day, that’s all that truly matters to them. They don’t necessarily care that anyone else likes it, and they don’t need to like it with other people.

Read the rest here.

Taking a closer look at two social concepts

I have found a new blog that has at least two really good articles, and most likely more. The blog is by a guy who goes by the name “The Ferret”. The articles are “How to be a good depressive citizen” and “The Myth Of Nobody Can Make You Feel Bad Without Your Permission”.

In the former, he talks about a post by Author Libby Bray, where she talks about having depression, but does so in a careful way, as he explains, to avoid being labelled a “Bad Depressive Citizen”.

He explains:

Now, the gold standard for a writer suffering from depression is to Not Say Anything. Spend all that sadness with your mouth firmly shut. Then, after months of hard-pent silence, as you are emerging from the depression and find yourself in a place that you can properly control yourself, you write a Very Articulate Post detailing your pain…

…but do it from a distance. Write about it in a sad, somber tone. Do not evince an ounce of self-pity. Hold this odious disease at a distance. End it with a triumphant note that yes, you too can fight back!

Because God help you if you write your depressive post when you’re actually depressed, and uncertain if you’re going to make it. That worries people. You don’t want to write about yourself in a way that gets your audience concerned about you, because then you’ll just have told a bunch of people that maybe you’re not okay. And what will they do then? How will they rest until you’re in a stable place?

That’s rude. Button that s*** up, depressive person.

He goes on to talk about how there is basically a stigma around depression and that it is really only acceptable to talk about in a certain light, which would make it a lot harder for the person with depression to cope and deal with it. It’s very interesting, and enlightening, since I have not suffered from depression but I know a few who have.

I think we definitely need to work towards breaking stigma so that people with depression can come forward and get the help they need without being made to feel worse that they can’t just “be happier”.

The other post is about the idea that you can magically choose to not let anything bother you, if you don’t want it to. In a perfect world, sure. But this isn’t a perfect world.

He writes:

Now, first off, “shrugging off other people’s insults and accusations” is a learned skill. If you’ve ever raised a kid, you know most of them don’t come pre-baked with the “Eh, whatever” switch – if you yell at them, they cry. If other kids make fun of them, they get upset. Actually placing the “Okay, they’re mocking you, but do you respect their opinion?” switch in place is a process that takes years, requires a healthy ego on the kid’s part, and isn’t 100% successful.

So expecting everyone to have that skill is kinda jerky. Admittedly, it’s a vital skill that everyone should actively cultivate – without it, abusers can emotionally manipulate you into the most awful of situations by pressing your “guilt” button whenever you complain about valid stuff.

But not everyone had nice parents. Not everyone’s discovered how to interrupt their emotions with logic. And as such, sneering, “Well, you chose to feel bad” isn’t actually true. They have yet to develop a barrier between the onrush of primal feelings and the rationality to say, “Wait, no, that’s actually something I shouldn’t feel.”

It’s funny (but not actually ‘funny’), because just a few weeks ago, I made the comment on a public forum that getting teased/bullied isn’t 100% terrible because it forces you to grow as a person and there are some pretty prolific examples of people who did just that – they took the worst that people could throw at them, and turned it into motivation to do more with their lives than those people ever will. Here’s one example. But I realized shortly after, how ludicrous it was for me to suggest that. I mean, I was bullied relentlessly growing up. I honestly only had 3 friends in grade school, and one of them turned on me later when he managed to tap into a bit of coolness himself. It took me a long time to build up my character from that. My parents didn’t help a lot. But just because I got lucky enough to grow into being at peace with myself, doesn’t mean everyone does. And we shouldn’t expect them to by default.

One more bit:

But when you say, “Well, nobody can make you feel bad without your permission!”, that sets up a world where you have no responsibility for your speech. Were you digging for weak spots, mocking to make a point? Oh, hey, well, you were trying your damndest to make them feel bad, but if it worked it’s their fault for not having sufficient defenses. It’s not 100% correlation, but when I see “Nobody can make you feel bad!” I usually find a taunting dillweed nearby, taking potshots from the brush and then claiming no responsibility.

I was just thinking the other day, that phrase “life isn’t fair, get over it”, is pretty much only true in certain instances. It shouldn’t be used as an excuse to be an inconsiderate jerk. Life can be more fair. That part is up to each of us.

I’ve realized I post a lot about social stuff on here, life lessons and wisdom, because I am trying to be a better person, and I want to share what I find that I think helps with that. I hope you get some benefit from it as well.

But The Ferret is very right in both cases, so please go read the full posts.

“When Clever Quotes Don’t Hold Up”
“Don’t be afraid to be wrong, be afraid to not know better”

A small loss, a larger observation

Last night I went out to a social event. I rode my bike because transit is slow and kind of expensive. I locked my bike up just outside of the pub where the event was happening. 3 hours later I came back out to find the headlight from my bike had been stolen.

I got it as a gift a couple years ago, no huge loss, but it was a Monday night and kinda chilly/windy out, I can only wonder what sort of people would be wandering around (in admittedly a pretty affluent area of the city) and decide that stealing essentially a beat up old flashlight, was a good or productive idea.

Nuit Blanche (an overnight arts festival) was over the weekend, and many people complained that the festival has been taken over by “drunk suburban kids” who treat it as yet another excuse to get hammered and go cause trouble and engage in vandalism, essentially ruining it for everyone else. Apparently this year, kids were even damaging displays that had been built by the participants of the festival, and even heckling people engaged in action artistic performance pieces. Continue reading