Making Facebook more productive

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Facebook gets some flack. Some people swear they wouldn’t dream of using it which sometimes implies that those who do are somewhat ‘wrong’. Concerns about content, digital privacy and psychological issues are legitimate and worthy of consideration.

However, as well as being a great way to keep in touch, have some fun, challenge the dominant and arrogant discourses of power (politics, journalism etc.), Facebook offers people a great way of filing, joining in discussion on special interest via closed or open groups, and setting up pages for organisations, business, and special interests. Business usage especially is increasingly related to integrated digital marketing.

As a personal user, I mainly use Facebook as a bookmarking tool. I filter posts relevant to my own peculiar interests so that they are only visible to me. Unfortunately, I often forget to change the setting so that they leak out as public shares which does little harm apart from filling other people’s timelines with junk – although I have been recently surprised when one such ‘leak’ whipped up a somewhat emotional controversy among people I don’t know.

What people may not know is that it’s possible to save posts for looking at later or keeping for reference. It’s very simple to do so and the process is explained here.

Free Online Course: digital futures

reimag Much of the discussion about digital futures are related to business issues. This free two week online course is no exception and it’s interesting to note that ethics is a prevailing theme. The course outline is

We live in world where digital is woven into the fabric of our lives; where the pace of change is accelerating, its trajectory exponential, and the convergence of paradigm shifts is the new norm. The complex interplay between these forces creates disruptive stress and fuels unprecedented opportunity.

The impact will be profound, as structures, industries, value, ethics, and traditional transformation strategies are challenged and reimagined, and societal progression moves us from profit to purpose. It’s a looking-glass world, making us rethink our long-held notions of success and failure.

You’ll learn about these paradigm shifts, their related societal factors, and why we can no longer accurately predict the future, but instead must rehearse it. You’ll also hear perspectives from several other futurists and business leaders. Together, we’ll examine future scenarios, the ecosystems that form around them, and discuss their ethical implications.

We’ll then cover transformation through a reimaginative lens, and a framework that helps us think about and prepare for the future, the importance of digital DNA, and the key enablers needed to ensure future success as we enter human history’s most transformative era.

For more details and to enrol go here.

Addiction by Design

Natasha Dow Schüll is an anthropologist who spent 15 years studying machine gambling in Las Vegas. Her resulting book is a close examination of the people, the machines and the several contexts that interact to produce gambling addiction. The idea that a machine’s design interacts with a user (not one or the other but both) is a core theme. The book is something of a page turner, full of deeply human insights into the people she met whose lives have fallen prey to addiction.

There is a growing awareness both in and beyond academia that the design of gambling machines is crucial to understanding addiction. The book is highly recommended. For a good overview, watch her lecture:

Young Men and Gambling Problems

Good article in The Guardian. Click here to see full piece.

 

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Men of my age often feel trapped between one group of people telling us to “man up” and another suggesting that our plight is less grave than that of others. Indeed, many will probably shrug when they learn that a new study suggests that a quarter of men between 18 and 24 have a gambling problem. Yet it does not take a genius to see a link between gambling and millennial males’ current place in society. We are a group lacking hope – and gambling is just one symptom.

My demographic is gambling for a number of reasons – some of them innocent – but economics and mental health are crucial. Of course, the cause of minority groups are generally more pressing than that of millennial men – we should not feel uneasy about asking not to be forgotten, while advocating other progressive issues. It is coherent to champion both.

Pioneering books such as The Pinch and Jilted Generation show that, generationally speaking, our prospects are being damaged by a toxic mix of debt, unemployment, demographic factors, globalisation and rising house prices. But as a gender, young males’ mental wellbeing is quietly in crisis. We can over-politicise gambling but, as it becomes increasingly normalised, it can appear an easy, supposedly masculine escape – one that’s advertised wall-to-wall during sport on TV.

Site Launch

Great to be able to offer the world our new site. It’s a very close look at Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. We see this as a case study for learning about politics, industry, psychology and much more. Plus, of course, there’s lots of controversial conflict around the machines that can be found in evry high street, and are often referred to as ‘the crack cocaine’ of gambling.

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