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Archive for March, 2017

Is looking for love now more rewarding than finding it ?

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

We all know that social media can be addicting. Most social media users love the little burst of excitement experienced when they receive notification alerts. Subconsciously, notifications serve as validation. No one likes sharing a funny video or cute photo on social media and receiving no feedback or interactions. Ford’s 2014 consumer survey reports that 62 percent of adults felt better about themselves after getting positive reactions to what they shared on social media.

But it’s more than a positive feeling. Science has actually proven that social media is addicting. When people receive notifications their brains release dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical responsible for reward and pleasure and also associated with addiction. And not only is social media itself potentially addictive, those who use it may also be at greater risk for impulse-control issues like substance abuse, according to The Huffington Post.

It’s hard to believe that all of this excitement, validation, and potential for addiction are brought about by simple Facebook notifications. Someone in the community is simply saying, “That video of your dog is funny,” or “I like your pretty picture of the beach!” Now just imagine how much more addicting and validating it must be when someone says, “I like YOU and find you attractive enough to go out on a date, or ‘hook up’ with you.”

The social media app Tinder is specifically designed to facilitate those types of interactions. People review photos along with a very small amount of information about a nearby person and then either ‘swipe right’ to say, “Let’s meet up, I’m romantically interested in you,” or ‘swipe left’ to say they’re not interested. If people experience an addictive dose of dopamine from a Facebook photo ‘like’ how addicting is the experience of someone looking at their photos and ‘swiping right’?

Could Tinder, or any dating apps like it, really foster or even allow for the development of an actual relationship? Let’s say someone ‘swipes right’ and meets their ‘soul mate’ or a highly compatible partner. Would they recognize it? Would they delete the app and pursue a health relationship, or would they be too addicted to the ‘high’ experienced when the next person ‘swipes right’ to meet them? Considering that 42 percent of Tinder users aren’t even single, it’s likely the latter. Sure there are always exceptions, but overall it seems that if someone is looking for love on apps like Tinder, they’re looking in all the wrong places.

Innovation isn’t a new idea.

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Not long ago, a person could make a decent living by simply having a strong work ethic, good skills and the willingness to put in the time. People who showed up and completed their regular daily tasks were valued; strength and a willingness to get dirty didn’t hurt either. But today, everyone is expected to be a creative thinker; an innovator. And why shouldn’t they be?

Technology has overtaken many of the jobs centered on labor and basic production, and almost anything we could ever possibly need is at our fingertips – information, ideas, home-delivered groceries and products (soon to be delivered by drones). According to Brown University’s Mark Blyth, we live in a world where everything we need could be easily supplied by 10% of the world’s population. Those odds aren’t great for average-Joes who are just looking to get by.

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella recently wrote, “our industry does not respect tradition — it only respects innovation.” Although Satya is specifically referring to the technology industry, this statement applies to almost any category of business today. Consumer packaged goods companies are constantly looking for innovative new products to meet consumer desires; health professionals are working on innovative new cures and technologies; gas and oil companies are looking for new innovative fuel sources; and on it goes.

Innovation is simply a different way of looking at things. Anyone can be innovative. It’s a mindset. It also helps if you know how to use data to your advantage. It doesn’t matter if you are just trying to get ahead at work or if your aim is to develop the latest “bright and shiny thing”. Never be satisfied with the status quo and always engage your brain in the world around you. You’ll be amazed at what you see.

We’re not all about that bass.

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

We’ve seen an inspiring and monumental movement in our culture encouraging the acceptance and promotion of realistic body images and beauty standards. Dove and American Eagle launched campaigns with only real women featured, instead of models. Dozens of celebrities have spoken out against Photoshop or unrealistically altered images, and who could forget Meghan Trainor’s music chart topper, All About That Bass? The lyrics are so catchy; it’s hard not to sing along…

‘Yeah it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two

But I can shake it, shake it like I’m supposed to do

‘Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase

All the right junk in all the right places…

…You know I won’t be no stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll

So, if that’s what’s you’re into, then go ahead and move along…

I’m bringing booty back. Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that…’

A catchy and motivating message encouraging women to love themselves, unless of course they’re one of those ‘size two, skinny bitches’.

Somewhere along the way, the body acceptance movement derailed from ‘curves are beautiful’ to ‘only curves are beautiful’ or ‘real women have curves’. Pop culture has started to villainize skinny women. The truth is, this skinny shamming can be just as damaging as fat shamming. Putting one body type down in favor of another is a direct contradiction of the entire movement.

Some women are naturally thin with a high-metabolism that they can’t change, but wish desperately they had curves. It’s not because they don’t eat, or obsess over achieving a skinny figure, it’s just the body type they were born with and they should be allowed to love it. Some women exercise, eat healthy, and work hard to maintain a body that makes them feel healthy and beautiful. We should celebrate their hard work, and they should be allowed to love their body.

Some women have natural curves and love them, and they should be allowed to love their body and feel beautiful just the way they are. Some women have natural curves that they wish they could change, but can’t. It’s not because they eat too much, or they’re unhealthy, it’s just their natural body type, and they should be encouraged to love their bodies, too! All women, no matter what their body type, should be encouraged to love themselves, just they way they are.

So instead of calling skinny girls the ‘bitches’, let’s agree that the only real ‘bitches’ are those who shame others for their appearance, regardless of their body type.

The Selfie Paradox

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Nearly from the dawn of social media and digital cameras, the phenomenon of the ‘selfie’ was born. It’s become so popular that the word ‘selfie’ was Oxford Dictionary’s international Word of the Year in 2013. According to Google, 93 million selfies are taken per day and females aged 16 to 25 spend five hours per week taking selfies – are we a bunch of egomaniacs, or what ?

With the booming popularity of selfies, it’s safe to assume that people love seeing them; similar to the way they love YouTube cat videos and hilarious memes, right? But no… A recent study by Ludwig-Maximilians-University found that 82% of respondents said they would like to see fewer selfies and more of other kinds of photos on social media. Interestingly, 50% of those same respondents admitted to taking and posting selfies themselves.

Why the paradoxical results? According to researchers, these discrepancies suggest that selfies fulfill some basic psychological needs in terms of self-representation and self-image. To justify this need, people have created a selfie-bias; convincing themselves that their own selfies are authentic, genuine and at the same time ‘self-ironic’ with little emotional commitment. Conversely, they view other people’s selfies as fake, narcissistic, manipulative and annoying. For example, 90% of respondents said other people’s selfies were crafted to project a specific image and 40% of respondents perceived self-irony in their own selfies, compared to just 13% for other people’s selfies.

But how can so many people be habitually participating in a behavior they essentially see as ridiculous? Researchers say it’s a classic case of ‘cognitive dissonance’ — but to the average Joe, it sounds downright irrational, incoherent and batty.

Why would anyone rationalize that their selfies are somehow more favorable or enjoyable than the other 93 million taken on any given day? Do they really think they’re that special? It’s time to accept that everyone’s selfies are regrettable and no one likes seeing them (except of course for the person taking the selfie). Let’s stop the selfie madness and spend all of that extra time doing something productive, like capturing more adorable cat videos.