Oliver Richenstein, Putting Thought Into Things
Sara Maitland on solitude and creativity.
William James said long ago that we have as many identities as people that we know, and probably more than that. We are different with different people. I’m different with my son than I am with you. We have these different identities that we try on, and they surround us… I’m really interested in looking at that as a mechanism of persuasion when it comes to regular old persuasion, when it comes to education, when it comes to public health, and when it comes to international issues as well. It’s finding that latitude of acceptance and finding out how to use it successfully.
UCLA neuroscientist Matthew Lieberman, author of Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect, studies "latitudes of acceptance" to understand what makes us change our minds – something we’re notoriously reluctant to do.
Also see Dan Pink on the psychology of persuasion.
Lieberman’s full Edge conversation is well worth a read.
These two techniques for organizing control in a system of proliferating variety are really rather dissimilar. The strange thing is that we tend to live our lives by heuristics, and to try and control them by algorithms. Our general endeavor is to survive, yet we specify in detail (‘catch the 8:45 train’, ‘ask for a raise’) how to get to this unspecified and unspecifiable goal. We certainly need these algorithms, in order to live coherently; but we also need heuristics — and we are rarely conscious of them. This is because our education is planned around detailed analysis: we do not (we learn) really understand things unless we can specify their infrastructure. The point came up before in the discussion of transfer functions, and now it comes up again in connection with goals. […] Birds evolved from reptiles, it seems. Did a representative body of lizards pass a resolution to learn to fly? If so, by what means could the lizards have organized their genetic variety to grow wings? One has only to say such things to recognize them as ridiculous — but the birds are flying this evening outside my window. This is because heuristics work while we are still sucking the pencil which would like to prescribe an algorithm.
Stafford Beer, “Brain of the Firm,” 1972.
1972, folks. “This is because heuristics work while we are still sucking the pencil which would like to prescribe an algorithm.”
One for would-be CompSci students.
This is 2014. September of 2014. Twitter was founded in March of 2006, so for over eight years the company has been caught up in a destructive love/hate relationship with private (‘direct’) messaging. At one time the company was actually considering the end of private messaging.
However, the rise of tools like SnapChat, Hangouts, WhatsApp, and WeChat has shown that private messaging is a huge business on the consumer side. And in business, work chat tools like Slack, HipChat, and Flowdock are growing considerable userbases very quickly.
So, Why hasn’t Twitter already released group private messaging? They’ve been talking about it for years.
Twitter’s new CFO, Anthony Noto, added his voice to the discussion about group private messaging, but didn’t say it was imminent:
The CFO also hinted that group chats might be in the pipeline. Direct messaging, Twitter’s private chat function, has traditionally been put on the backburner. Because Twitter’s service is public in nature, the role of private messaging has always been a subject of debate within the company. Over the last year, amid the explosion of messaging apps, Twitter has given direct messaging a more prominent role. Noto suggested direct messaging might become more social.
Today, users can only send a direct message to one account at a time. But if, say, Noto tweeted about a football game and a couple of his “college buddies” replied to it, “I’m not sure I want to have (that) conversation in front of my boss and the rest of the 271 global users. I might want to take that to a private setting which you can do through direct messaging. Today you can only do that one to one as opposed to one to many. So that’s an example of innovation around sharing or expression that we can pursue over time.”
This only reinforces the fact that Twitter continues to miss the huge opportunity for group messaging, even while struggling for more uptake and revenue growth.
Inserting random favorites in my timeline is small potatoes compared to group messaging, so why can’t they focus on big initiatives?
Dan Hon adds this:
— Dan Hon (@hondanhon)September 4, 2014
And Josh Russell adds these thoughts:
— Josh Russell (@joshr)September 4, 2014
Globalization limits the ability of the United States to intervene effectively on behalf of its most needy - T Edsall http://t.co/ejFj4KSGFw— Stowe Boyd (@stoweboyd) September 4, 2014
The bachelor’s degree is the closest thing to a class boundary that exists today - Andrew Cherlin http://t.co/ejFj4KSGFw— Stowe Boyd (@stoweboyd) September 4, 2014