Showing posts with label Imagine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Imagine. Show all posts

Monday, September 21, 2020

My Social Dilemma

This past week I watched the Netflix documentary, /the social dilemma_ that I recommend you watch. If you are a parent with children at home, I'll add that I highly recommend you watch this documentary.

Here's the trailer that explains the purpose of the film.

This documentary catches me at an interesting time because as a music blogger I completely depend on social media to write and promote this blog. Now a blog by definition expresses a perspective, opinion, or bias by a writer of any post that is published on the Internet. My blog is no exception, you basically come here to read and listen to my personal taste in music.

From the middle 1990's through 2010, I was an educational technology resource teacher in San Diego Unified School District. My colleagues and I had the overarching goal to integrate educational technologies into the K-12 curriculum for students and teachers. This integration was based in our practice that technology was an essential tool for both learning and teaching. In 2006, our personal and professional world changed with the development of cloud computing. Along with colleagues Mary Lange and Mary Vieira, we started teaching teachers how to use Google Docs, a free web-based sharing word processor. As teachers, we felt the possibilities were endless for teachers and students. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit this, but in the early 2000's I believed that free cloud-based applications would actually help the world connect together and digitally realize John Lennon's dream in his song, Imagine. I laugh at that thought today, and boy was that a stretch of my utopian view of technology back then. 

In 2006, several important free cloud-based apps received public access including, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. In 2007, I began using Blogger, and in 2015 I chose Blogger as my tool to write this blog simply for the fact that it was owned by Google and maybe from a search standpoint, clicks and hits could magically come my way.

By 2015 and leading to the presidential election in 2016, my thoughts on technology have completely swung from utopian to an imbalance toward a dystopian use of social media technology. The thought of 'technology as tools' has been overshadowed by social media companies competing for our attention through their social media apps. My colleagues and I used to champion 'content creation tools' for students to create and express themselves. In my opinion, these tools have now been run over by social 'content consumption apps' designed to keep you looking at your digital screen to generate advertising dollars for these companies, and taking the definition of consumer to a completely different level.

Skinner Box, Source - Simply Psychology
It's like Psychology 101 and B.F Skinner with his positive reinforcement experiments with rats in his 'Skinner Box.' In the 21st century, I'll say the new Skinner Box is the smartphone, where Notifications are the signal lights and speaker designed for you to push/touch the lever/screen to get your positive food pellet/information reward that keeps your attention on the money-ticking screen.

The trouble with today's food pellet of information is that it is often programmed through artificial intelligence (AI) to give one a steady diet of chocolate and candy, rather than a balanced diet of literate nourishment found in books, magazines, newspapers, TV, radio and the Internet.

Remember when MySpace was king around 2006 as the most visited website in the United States. I loved the name 'MySpace' because it told consumers here is what you are getting- a space in the cloud you can call your own.

Facebook overtook MySpace in 2008 with Twitter not far behind. Facebook and Twitter were terrible names but actually perfect, one could look at picture books of people for hours in a day, or twitter their day away reading or texting quick short-term memory messages. YouTube, purchased by Google again in the transformative year of 2006, covered the area of video and now we could watch searchable free videos as the new and improved 'boob tube.'

My Dilemma
Now if you can feel my angst in 2020, you know our political climate since 2015 and leading up to the election this November. The ongoing "hands off policy" by the social media giants to monitor fake news and hate speak sums up their total lack of responsibility and accountability. It is so evident that their social conscience has been trumped by their ever expanding profit margins. These companies run big businesses but yet demonstrate their inability to monitor their vast social networks  and are clearly way in over their heads.

Here, I'm going to focus on the two fat cats I use to promote this blog: Facebook which I and many now call, "Fakebook" and Twitter, which I'm sure I'm not the first, but a leading practitioner in now calling it, "Spitter." Both Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook and Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter have both lost control of their social media babies as they have grown into two-faced teenage werewolves.

As the reader you might be saying to yourself, "Well if Doug feels so strongly about these horrible social media apps, why doesn't he stand on his principles and DELETE his Facebook and Twitter accounts?" I'm the first one to say that I would agree with this assessment.

Now wait for it... here comes the BUT- Facebook and Twitter combine to bring in 95% of my readers to this blog. In the past couple of months, I've grown my audience by now averaging about 130 hits a week as 'The little music blog that could.' Without Facebook and Twitter to promote the weekly blog (often twice daily), I would probably get about 15-20 hits a week which is basically my family and friends.

So the dilemma, to write a blog for myself and handful of faithful readers, or try to promote it using Fakebook and Spitter to increase my readership slowly over time? Call me a hypocrite, but right now I'm going to continue to use my social media accounts to increase my readership.

Back in the day around the Ed Tech staff table, we used to talk about technology as the 'two-edged sword' for 'good uses' and 'bad behavior.' Remember the 'Arab Spring' in the early 2010s where citizens in several Arab countries rose in protest against their repressive regimes. In the news, social media has been heralded as the driving force behind the swift spread of revolution throughout the world, as new protests appear in response to success stories shared from those taking place in other countries. Wikipedia

Arab Spring was an example of how technology could help the human condition around the world and mobilize people against authoritarianism and ruling monarchies toward democracy. That shining example is now well sullied with the daily shit show in social media 'bubble politics' from a barrage of domestic and foreign citizens and organized groups.

YouTube is the app I use to find and create my weekly playlists. YouTube is owned by Google and is no saint either as I'm sure you can easily find hate speech and other offensive things in seconds. For the time being, I'll give them a slightly better nod here as offensive stuff seems to quickly come down by Google itself, rather than pressure from the outside in, as Facebook and Twitter seem to defensively react before acting. Don't you just want to throw your flip flops at the TV when Zuckerberg appears before congress?

For the most part, I use YouTube exclusively for music because it is such a huge music machine. Their AI algorithms never sleep as I now call them, "SuggestTube." Why? Because when you search for a video the right linear part of your screen is literally AI SCREAMING, "Come on watch me too!"

In the past couple of years, YouTube's AI algorithms are getting so much better in getting to know my musical tastes and it's a little creepy how the Americana genre music suggestions keep coming up on my right as I watch a music video. In fact, my #NewMusicMonday playlists are increasingly getting easier to make as Google's suggestion engines are hard at work to feed me stuff I may like, while they feed themselves on the advertising dollars based on my next clicks.

So my point in all this? I just need to remind myself that my attention is being manipulated by social media on a daily basis and my addiction to it just needs to be constantly brought to my conscious brain's attention.

I'll end this with a YouTube event with my grandson this past weekend. I asked him a question about LEGO Star Wars spaceship models and he quickly got out an iPad and started to show me the many varieties of LEGO sets. He suddenly gets distracted by a video that pops up on his right linear screen and immediately clicks on it to watch it. I had to repeat my original question and steer him back to the Star War LEGO models video. This got me thinking, how many times have I done the same thing myself watching music videos? Squirrel!

Last night my daughter Katie told me she recently deleted her Facebook account as she just got tired of having to deal with all the BS that it brought to her. Maybe someday, I have that resolve to do the same.

Again, I recommend the Netflix documentary, /the social dilemma_ to help keep you on your toes, and as the film points out, technology companies and drug dealers are the only two that call their clients, "users."

 Okay, let's finish this with John Lennon's utopian vision of peace and unity through Imagine. 

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Oh, and how about some Gimme Some Truth.

(Note- Starting this week, I have now turned off the Comments section at the bottom of each post. Why? Because I'm tired of people often using broken English to misuse the comments section by praising the post while they embed a link to advertise their commercial web site, causing me to have to go back and manually delete the advertisement.)

Monday, August 03, 2020

List Your FAV FIVE: Songs

In the past, you may have seen my favorite 100 Songs, Second 100, Third 100, and I'm currently working on a Fourth 100 song playlist. Now doing a list of 100 of your 'fav' songs I found to be a bit of a challenge. My friend Paul Hobbs, found it to be harder than he first realized, as he has just completed his TOP 100 (on Spotify) which I've linked here for you to check out. (By the way, this Hobbs fellow has extremely good taste in my opinion.)

In fact, if you spend the time to make a 'My 100 Songs' list on Spotify, I will link it in a future blog. But for now, let's do the warm up!

So I ran an idea by my wife Mary Kit the other day, and said, "What if I give my readers a ten song challenge to rank their favorite ten songs of all-time?" She didn't hesitate and said, "Make it five and you'll get more responses back." Well, I listened to that advice and when I made my own list, I found that doing a list of five songs is actually harder than a ten song list, which one's to leave out, oh not that one! Anyway, I liked the five song challenge and think you will too.

So here's how you can easily participate in LIST Your FAV FIVE Songs.
  1. Rank 1-5 your favorite songs of all-time.
  2. Name the song, and also identify the band or musician performing the song.
    (I would suggest- you write all the songs that come to mind down on paper. Then whittle it down and rank the top five.)
  3. Fill out the Google Form below, and submit. Please Submit only ONE TIME. The deadline for submittal will be Sunday, August 9th, 1pm.
  4. I will create a YouTube Playlist of your FAV FIVE Songs released from record labels that would typically have the song published on YouTube. By sending me your list, you will also agree that I will Title the playlist with your first and last name.
    (example-  Bill DeVoe's FAV FIVE Songs)
This week, I'll work on all the responses and embed all the playlists in this blog this week! In creating a playlist, I try to do two things: 1) Find a high quality audio YouTube video of a track or performance; 2) Find a video of the band performing. If I can't find a video of the band performing, I usually opt for the artist's original audio track on video from their album.

For this post, I tried to find one live or concept video for each playlist, but understand I couldn't always match my #1 requirement. I also usually hate concept videos, but you'll see several here. Speaking of concept videos, my wife's #1 song is The Boys of Summer by Don Henley. For some reason, Don keeps pulling down the original 1984 MTV video, too soon Don? Well I hope the video I found makes it to the Monday post before being pulled down. C'mon Don!

a disclaimer (of sorts) - By filling out the form, it goes directly to my Google Forms account. I will only share on this blog what you have agreed to share- Your first and last name, and the 5 songs you have listed on the Google Form. A friend jokingly asked me if this was going to William Barr's desk? I said no. I can also safely say that your submittal will not be part of Hillary's 30,000 emails. 

So, here's my- All-Time Favorite Five Songs
  1. Penny Lane, The Beatles
  2. Like a Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan
  3. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, The Rolling Stones
  4. Sweet Baby James, James Taylor
  5. Carry On, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Now it's your turn.

If for some reason, the Google Form is not showing in this blog, click on the LINK Here for the form.

I'll be looking forward to making and posting Your FAV FIVE Songs YouTube playlist soon! (I will create the playlists in the order I receive them on my end.)

You can see below that I already got a little help from my friends to get this party started so if they can do it, you can too. Thank you for reading my blogs!

Stay well and come back to this blog post to view your playlist, and as the number of fav five playlists will grow daily this week, I know you will be wanting to see everyone's list!

Doug McIntosh's FAV FIVE Songs

Mary Kit McIntosh's FAV FIVE Songs

Jeremy Ouellette's FAV FIVE Songs

Jeff McCarthy's FAV FIVE Songs

Chuck Stark's FAV FIVE Songs

Paul Hobbs' FAV FIVE Songs

Ron Zieman's FAV FIVE Songs

Shawna McIntosh's FAV FIVE Songs

Roger Demchak's FAV FIVE Songs

Bill DeVoe's FAV FIVE Songs

Ken Forman's FAV FIVE Songs

Ron Ouellette's FAV FIVE Songs

Jane Hobbs' FAV FIVE Songs