“Media literacy is going to make the difference between whether kids are a tool of the mass media or whether the mass media is a tool for kids to use.” — Linda Ellerbee
It’s time to teach people to be media literate.
A huge part of the problem with fake news on Facebook is that most people who use Facebook don’t understand how Facebook (or any media, for that matter) actually works.
More than a year ago I explained why every high school should teach mandatory social media classes and I believe that’s even more true today.
There’s definitely a fake news problem on Facebook, but the platform isn’t going to be able to solve it — we have to do that ourselves.
And the solution is education.
Now, on to this week’s ideas…
1. HOW TO ASK BETTER QUESTIONS
“Questions about specifics lead people to give you answers that are not generic.”
This post will only take you three minutes to read, but can improve every conversation you have for the rest of your life.
In it, I offer some tips for how to ask better questions including to avoid yes/no questions, to ask people what they’ve learned, to ask like a kid, and more.
2. HOW TO CONTROL YOUR MEMORIES
“The story becomes our memory, the story gets rehearsed ever more, and the story becomes the thing we tell ourselves the next time we need to make a choice. If your story isn’t helping you, work to rehearse a new story instead.”
In a post titled “The memories we rehearse are the ones we live with,” Seth Godin explains how the things we remember happening didn’t actually happen the way we remember them.
Instead, he points out that we create stories based on experiences and allow those stories (memories) to influence our future behavior.
But those stories aren’t always true — or helpful. Luckily, they can be changed.
3. HOW TO SELL ANYTHING
“Your offering is not your product. Your offering is your product, services, your employees, your experiences, your ideas, your other customers, and even your competitors. Sell them all.”
This James Altucher post offers a cheat sheet for selling anything based on his varied experiences over the years.
In it, he explains why people pay for friendship, the importance of over-delivering, why it’s as important to be the source of valuable information as it is the source of your product, and why you sometimes need to fire customers.
4. SOCIAL MEDIA IS CHANGING OUR WORLD MORE THAN WE REALIZE
“Thanks to the internet, now each person with once-maligned views can see that he’s not alone. And when these people find one another, they can do things — create memes, publications and entire online worlds that bolster their worldview and then break into the mainstream.”
All the buzz about fake news stories and social media’s role in the election of Donald Trump may just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the impact social media is about to have on the world.
As Farhad Manjoo explains in this New York Times column, social networks are rewiring human society and undoing institutions like the mainstream media and politics in the process.
5. WE SEE WHAT WE WANT TO SEE
“Attention can be thought of as what you allow your eyes to look at.”
We live in a world where almost everything we see can be seen in multiple ways and as a result, our brains are filling in the details based on whatever preconceived notions we bring to what we look at.
This Nautilus article explains how our brains decide what we see and the impact that can have on our perception of situations.
6. ROCK MUSIC ISN’T DEAD — IT’S JUST BECOMING JAZZ
“Hip hop’s audience still rewards innovation. Hip hop has learned a lot from rock, but hip hop is not troubled by rock’s self-imposed restrictions. Rap songs have multiple writers and do not glorify instrumental soloists; hip hop stars do not pretend to be uninterested in commerce.”
There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about the death of rock music, but this New York Times column suggests that the genre hasn’t died — it’s just become the new jazz, a new “American classical music.”
It points out that rock’s trajectory in many ways mirrors the rise/decline of jazz music, while the disruptive ethos of rock music has been replaced by hip hop.
7. YOU’RE NOT AVERAGE BECAUSE AVERAGE IS A MYTH
“The problem is that the line of averages is not ‘real’ in the sense that most people are not on it. It is an average of the total, but is not where most people actually are.”
So many people spend so much time comparing themselves to others and trying to assess if they are “normal,” or “average.”
But as Vanessa Van Edwards points out in this post, average is a myth. Most people don’t actually line up with the average by any measurement, so being an outlier actually IS normal.
8. WHY SNAPCHAT’S LAUNCH STRATEGY FOR SPECTACLES WAS BRILLIANT
“People love exclusivity, but with an air of egalitarianism.”
Snapchat’s recent rollout of its new Spectacles product was basically the opposite of how Google rolled out Google Glass a few years ago and it looks to be a lot more successful so far.
This Techcrunch article explains why Snapchat’s release strategy was so smart, noting that it created an artificial scarcity and turned buying into an experience.
9. BY 2021, YOUR LIFE WILL BE A VIDEO GAME
“What I’ve got to do as a creator is try and keep you together with your friends inside experiences that you love.”
Andrew Wilson is the CEO of video game company Electronic Arts and you’re going to want to hear what he thinks the gaming world will be like in 2021 — even if you don’t play video games.
That’s because Wilson believes our entire lives are going to be gamified — envisioning a future in which every action we take in our offline world impacts the games we play online. This interview with him in The Verge offers a fascinating glimpse into our potential future.
10. HOW WE GET SOLD MEN’S GROOMING PRODUCTS
“Men are still extremely wary of diving too deep into the category. They’re afraid if they get too many products in their bathroom something will happen to them and they’ll no longer be a man.”
Here’s something I’ve never thought about before — men’s grooming products are incredibly hard to market.
This Racked article breaks down the challenges facing the industry and explains how various brands attempt to sell their products to a customer base that uses them in private, doesn’t talk about them on social media, and is wary about using anything that seems “un-manly.”
In the June 5th edition of this newsletter, I shared ideas about how to rewrite the story of your life, why an “unraise” may be more valuable than a raise, how to generate good ideas, and more.