No More Robocalls, Please

Let me reveal something to you. I don’t get annoyed about things in life all that often. You know? I’m a Christian male who has a very high tolerance for stupidity and ignorance. I must admit, life is so much more than letting small things affect you in the long term. I’m not saying, however, that I never get annoyed by dumb things in life. I do get annoyed by stupid stuff sometimes. Let me share one thing that annoys me quite a lot. Robocalls!

You may be wondering. What in the world is a robocall? Ladies and gentleman, a robocall is a phone call that uses an automated auto dialer to leave people a pre-recorded message. Telemarketing companies are using robocalls like crazy, Cleveland, Tennessee. How do I know about it? It seems that half of the robocalls received in the south comes directly to my phone line! Man, I’m getting an average of 7-10 of these calls a day! Mr. Robocall “Annoying As Heck” Operator Machine is literally driving me crazy. What can I say? 

“Thank you for being a part of our family… we know you’re busy but if you could please take a few minutes and log in at…” Stop calling me! I don’t want to buy insurance from you! Jeez. Living in a technopoly has its perks but man — robocalls are so annoying. I’m still a member of the do not call list! Oh I see, I see. Companies using robocalls are violating the telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and I must tell you, it is driving me totally crazy. These automated phone calls aren’t annoying to me only, by the way.

There are 147 million of them a day. The federal trade commission receives 50,000 complaints against robocalls every day. Holy cow, this is insane! I don’t blame the 50,000K people who complain about it. Just because we have the technology to call people and invade their privacy doesn’t mean that we should use this technology. I wish I had better news for you but this issue is only getting worse. To my misery, this robocall technology is widely available now. Automated telephone dialing systems suck, I must add. I can’t wait for the FCC to fully regulate their use somehow so this madness stops. I think we need a full FCC intervention. Some companies that use robocall technology has been fined by other organizations. I think this number is only going to increase. People are constantly seeking a way to use more technology to solve their problems. Remember this — Technology may help you to live a better life but the impact it has on people can be quite damaging.

Listen to me: Use technology moderately and let people call people in opportune times. Telemarketing companies, let me ask you a question. Do you really think that people will stop their suppers to listen to an automated message? In my household, I can guarantee you that our family won’t interact with anything technological during dinner time. Give me a break, bro… seriously. Can I eat in peace please?

Almost 6 billion robocalls were placed back in October of 2018. It is 2000 of them per second. That’s crazy but is also very real. Some companies have the gift to push loyal clients away because of technology. Just because a particular technology is widely available doesn’t mean that we need that technology anyway. Tell me about it.

At any rate, say no to robocalls! Unless you are interested in letting an electronic device control you. Let me make a pubic statement. The machine will never control me and frankly, I don’t think it should control you either. Robocalls are here to stay. I do understand the former statement. Just because this technology exists,  we must then use it.   Since October of last year, there has been billions of automated phone calls a day. That’s crazy. Thank God we have people with common sense in this world and who are willing to speak his/her voice on behalf of the truth. As I always say, “Use technology in moderation.” In the end, you will thank me.    

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Don’t Squish The Bread

Let me share something with you today. I am very concerned with how fast paced our society has been and how this fast paced lifestyle has been having an impact on our grocery shopping. Let me go straight to the point. Smartphones are having an impact on who we hire in food retail stores. 

Things are accelerating because of the technology. We now have machines replacing the youth in places like McDonalds because machines often perform quicker operations. In grocery stores, the youth is replacing the elderly precisely for the same reason, I think. These things are happening because the people are demanding efficiency. The problem is the people not the retail stores because of what I call technological conditioning. People are now conditioned to doing things quickly because the machine gives them feedback quickly… text messages, instagram messages and so fourth.

Let’s be real. People are more impatient today with slow paced operations which I would argue is a side effect of living in a technopoly. You may be asking. How do I know this? Here is my answer. If you go to any grocery story in Cleveland, most employees who bag groceries are young, sometimes very young. By the way, I would rather have an older person bagging my groceries than a college aged kid because they typically take a little longer to bag my groceries to ensure that everything is okay. Youngsters are not as careful with arranging your groceries. But hey what would the management of a grocery store do? Hire “slower” employees and risk losing its clientele or hiring the youth, gaining speed, but risk losing the client because of increased bagging errors? I would go with an older person but that’s just me.   

We live in the age of social media, ladies and gentleman where a “dissatisfied customer/employee” literally has the power to do a lot of damage to a brand at anytime. It is not fair, in my opinion at least, to push any fragile segment of our working class out of a job because of technology but hey, who said that life is fair? It isn’t ethical to me. Grocery stores are in a tough situation, I must add.

Just because advances in technology are making our pace of life quicker doesn’t mean that we should accept such demands face value. It isn’t right to replace a 69 year old woman who needs her job as a bagger in order to buy her prescription because the bagging per second of an eighteen year old is 2.754 seconds quicker than hers.

I actually care about the elderly, you know? The elderly don’t deserve to be treated like the scrap of society after 70, especially if they need to work in order to survive. Let me say this again. The problem isn’t the grocery stores. The problem is that people demand efficiency because of technology.

Listen carefully: Sooner or later, you and/or your children will be 70. Would you like to be treated as a nobody, someone that wouldn’t be good enough to bag groceries? I understand the position that grocery stores are in but thankfully I have a solution. The solution may lie in training. With careful training in customer service we can fix that.    

We can increase bagging efficiency by hiring kids but I guarantee you that if millennials perceive that the organization is lacking social responsibility, it will backfire. The millennials hate this kind of mindset. How do I know that? Because my wife is an older millennial. If they perceive that you treat people poorly, they go. You suffer.

Grocery store managers, be cautious with replacing the elderly in your grocery store. We need to find them jobs despite issues of bagging efficiency. Be very careful with how you treat them. They deserve a job and millennials are paying attention. Training is the answer.

Doing one for the team for the sake of humanity is the right thing to do. It is true that computer systems performs faster than human labor and that the youth perform faster than the elderly often but the former can have serious consequences to the well being and longevity of your business in 2018.

Generational Shifts In Technology Use

Ladies and gentleman, a weird phenomenon is happening right at this moment in Cleveland, TN and beyond. I’m seeing some of you on your smartphones more often than the students in my classes, especially the freshman. No, I’m not kidding, and yes, you heard it right. I’m not saying, however, that students aren’t going to their iPads or laptops to surf the net because they are but some of you are really using your devices to unreasonable levels and are starting to be where they were about two years back — Approaching the Robotic Stage of the Human Robot Cycle Model. How do I know this? I’m watching you! Well, let me explain briefly.

First of all, most of you now have a smartphone maybe two. What was old technology is now being adopted even by people like you, my dad and my mom. By the way, my parents are baby boomers and use their smartphones more often than a college student. My mom, for example, posts five times a day on facebook and comments on people’s posts multiple times a day, 6 days a week. Thank goodness she takes the Sabbath off! My dad has six smartphones, three tablets, four laptops, and wants to buy more electronics because you know, it is the right thing to do these days. He is semi-retired as a corporate executive. I wonder what will happen when he “retires.” Well, I doubt he ever will.

How can that happen you may be asking. Why are older people getting so addicted to the same tools their grandkids are using these days? Hmmm…

See? When we produced propaganda campaigns to assist teenagers and young adults with using technology in moderation, we left you out! Why? Well, because you are baby boomers and baby boomers just don’t use technology. At least that was the assumption. Yeah right… Of course you do, but you were much more reasonable than the kids back in 2015. Things are changing, though. Most of you aren’t addicted to technology but I’ve seen a big increase in technology use among the baby boomers and beyond. Is it a bad thing? I think it is a bit bad, yes. In the Human Robot Cycle we know that the more a subject interacts with a computerized device, the more robotic they become without even realizing. You were not made to be a robot in behavior! Therefore, using all these technologies can be quite bad for you.

You know me. I’m not against technology. I like to use technology but in moderation. Using technology isn’t a bad thing as long as technology is used in moderation.

Listen to me: Technology can be addictive and you aren’t free from its threats. Remember: We are what we do many times. If people choose to be on the computer all the time, even if that person is you, chances are very high that people will suffer the consequences of technology overuse no matter what. We live in a weird world where advances in technology are making even the old young again.

Second, we do live in a technopoly. In the US of A, we pride ourselves on being technologically savvy and for being innovators in everything we do. There’s some truth to that but just don’t forget that we all pay a price for being connected all the time, even after retirement. In a technopoly, where technology is seen as a god, people are living longer and consequently working until death because of technology. Don’t believe me? Ask your neighbor if he is really retired? I bet he isn’t completely retired. Technology extends our working days until we die for the sake of technology.

You may agree or disagree with how I’m going to end this article and that’s fine but many baby boomers today are a byproduct of modern technologies because use among your age group has increased exponentially because the “no tech use” propaganda wasn’t directed at you. I’m concerned, I must add. What will happen if a critical mass of  55+ year olds start spending 6 hours a day on a smartphone wasting time? Look, our kids need you to help them to be better people. Please don’t lose track of what is important! Use technology but in moderation. Your grandkids will thank you.

Say NO to self aggrandizement on-line

Great adversity is a pre-requisite to greatness. Enduring strong opposition, being able to recover from a direct knockout, and believing the most and the longest even if the odds are against you are all elements of what make great leaders truly great. I am not impressed by anyone who is constantly bragging about his latest accomplishments especially when these statements are shared on social media. Anybody who is great in what they do understand that being successful isn’t a solo sport! Greatness doesn’t need to be a contact sport necessarily but it most definitely has elements of team work. I am afraid that social media is enforcing a dangerous ideology — The idea that “I” can make my world perfect and that “I” don’t need you. 

One of the most important leadership lessons I’ve ever learned in my career came from a former Director of Analysis and Planning at Ohio State University and former Associate Provost. He once told me, “Always look at the law of opposites: The moment that somebody says that they are great in something, be aware.” “Nobody who is great at anything need to tell others that they are all that great,” my mentor once said. The former is a wise statement, indeed. Why are we allowing our kids to behave the way they do on social media?

My fellow Americans, I am afraid that all these social media walls and mediated spaces are allowing children to practice bad communication habits especially among kids between the ages of 14 and 18. It is shocking the content that we can see and hear in apps like YouNow or Yik Yak. Compatriots, your sons and daughters and quite possibly your dear grandchildren aren’t really using Facebook or twitter that much if at all. Facebook and all these “old school” social media tools are for old people like you and me. If you decide to log into the YouNow app, the bragging that occurs on Facebook sounds like kinder garden. The “I” culture of these new contemporary social media tools are reaching very high levels of ridicule to a point of no return.   After momentarily visiting a “celebrity” on a popular social media tool back in July, I felt obligated to create a lesson for college students about the danger of these new and upcoming social media apps and how they impact the lives of our loved ones.

How uncomfortable would you be to see your teenager daughter speaking with an Iraqi Soldier on YouNow? I’ve seen a person in her 50’s giving what I consider to be very poor advice about life for teenage girls on an app system. Maybe I am being overly defensive and skeptical about having fifty year old mature adult speaking with teenagers about the importance of doing “what you like” as a youngster. I don’t think I am, though. I can see many of you being uncomfortable with such scenarios, as well.  I had to say a prayer about the whole situation and de facto I did.

I am currently teaching a Lee University course titled, “Innovations and Social Media.” In that class, I teach students how to use social media responsibly and how to understand both the positive and negative effects of innovation in society within the scope of the course’s objectives. Why are we so shy about condemning this culture of “I” in our society these days? It is time for us to take the lead and break this idea that bragging on-line is acceptable and that anything goes in social media. My daughter’s life matter to me and I know that yours matter to you. Say no to self aggrandizement on-line. Say yes to God and the future of your children.

Everything Stops For The Eclipse, Even Technology!

We are fifteen minutes away from the total eclipse here at the Lee University campus and let me share something with you — What an awesome experience this is! What is as awesome to witness are hundreds of college students and dozens of couples having fun and holding hands and walking together with special eclipse filters instead of perishable machinery in their fingertips. There are kids playing together and smiling at one another. I see interpersonal conversations everywhere on campus, regardless of gender, nationality, or religious affiliation. It seems that everything stops for the eclipse to pass by, even technology! I wish that we had more total eclipses here in southeastern Tennessee. What a Lord’s blessing we are experiencing today.

It is now 2:19pm. There are more people coming and taking a seat in front of the Communication Arts building on the south part of our campus. Celebrate!!!! I see no smartphones on their hands. I see, however, a number of college kids playing frisbee and too many old timers walking around and enjoying their Monday afternoon. They’re now starting to stop. No wonder why since it is 2:26pm. They are now putting their eclipse glasses on and waiting tirelessly to see this rare event of God. With things being fair, not everybody has ISO glasses. Some are chatting and holding  their smartphones in their hands but today they are the minority. Some are trying to take a photo against the sun but are having a difficult time due to its brightness.

One thing is for sure. It seems to me that many families and professionals took the day off to enjoy this once in a lifetime outdoors experience with their children. I am glad, putting smartphones away once is a while is a good thing. As I always say, “We need to use technology but in moderation.” It is evident to me that people are using their smartphones much less today. What a wonderful Cleveland, Tennessee. It is now 2:30pm! Holy cow it looks like a summer evening in the middle of the day. I hear screams on my left and celebrations on my right. I hear whistling and my wife saying, “Luis!!! Luis!!! Look at the sun. It is safe now!” The eclipse is here. I did!!!! What an amazing experience I must add.

I couldn’t resist but to speak with some local residents who decided to come to Lee University to watch the eclipse. Brad and Deiley Wilson, a very nice couple I must add, were among the people who I had the privilege to speak with. They both shared two very interesting insights about the eclipse and technology.  Attorney Brad Wilson shared, “If it wasn’t for the eclipse, I would be at work right now. I would definitely be in front of my computer screen.” His wife Deiley adds by saying, “If it wasn’t because of the eclipse, I would be in front of the computer for 8 to 10 hours today.” I had also the opportunity to speak with Ernesto Perez about the eclipse and technology. He kindly shared the following with me when I asked him about his interactions with his smartphone today. He shared, “Today, I am using my smartphone less since our family is trying to enjoy the eclipse experience.” How cool I say! The eclipse today has served as a catalyst for escaping the machine!

You Are A Tech Gladiator

We live in a sort of modern day Rome where those who control the crowd become invincible. The gladiators of the past were poor slaves in the eyes of Caesar but they were the true heroes of the people. They could entertain and temporarily persuade the masses to do whatever they wanted them to say and do in the arena. Although they had no Roman right, as long as they were fighting in the Roman Coliseum, they were free and in control.

The modern day gladiator, or the small guy who now interacts with a crowd on-line in order to make a living with his craft may not be fighting lions in a stadium to entertain Caesar and the Roman citizens; however, technology has empowered them to display their talents to thousands of followers on facebook and truly entertain and influence the masses much like Roman gladiators.   

It is a form of power that can be easily understood by the powers to be. I have to admit — the smartphone has empowered the weak to be seen and valued and that’s good. Let me whisper this in your ears and please promise me that you will only tell your mom about it. Evil doers are short lived in the new age of information. Trying to oppress others isn’t worth the trouble anymore. Like a Roman gladiator, when given access to technology, the slave now has a voice to share in society because of technology.     

In reality, ladies and gentleman, I have pity for those who scheme against the weak and use positional power to oppress the brethren because in modern day America, where most people have the chance to share what they really think to millions for cheap, playing evil against good people with technology access and a crowd will, sooner or later, backfire. Let me explain.

Have you ever heard about the United Breaks Guitars campaign? I bet that most of you never heard about this modern day corporate nightmare because the campaign was targeted at the youth. After United Airlines baggage claim employees mishandled and broke an unknown country artist’s guitar, United refused to admit their mistake and replace the guitar. Uh oh. 

Let me make this story short. YouTube allowed vocalist Dave Carroll and his band to tell 17,877,563 unique YouTube users about how United Airlines mishandled their baggage and broke his Taylor guitar by composing a country song titled, “United Breaks Guitars.” The refrain went like this: “I should have flown with someone else or gone by car… cause United Breaks guitars.” What a nightmare for United!

Almost overnight, an unknown figure became a hero to the masses, like a gladiator.

Here is the reality, folks. People today are empowered by technology. Decision makers need to think twice before assuming that a person is powerless in the new age of information. A simple facebook post can cause tremendous stress to any organization and consequently cause the crowd to cheer. In a sense, we are all modern day gladiators!    

Organizations must be aware that we have democratized technology. Access to technology has given the masses a voice and a large audience to entertain. Social media platforms are now modern day Roman Coliseums where we fight and look for audience support. The crowd is now being entertained, persuaded and influenced on-line as well as in real life.   

The reality is that we live in an evil world where powers aren’t evenly distributed. We have the haves and have nots, much like in ancient Rome. Advancements in technology have allowed the modern man to become a gladiator with a crowd. For very cheap, campaigns can now be made and shared with millions of people per one post. Social media is a weapon my friends.   

The world of communication has changed forever. In the age where sophisticated media users have the ability to control and influence millions of people, the everyday person has a voice too.  Modern day gladiators are uncontrollable warriors with a platform to share their thoughts. Everybody today has a voice and a crowd to entertain. A single facebook post can now make history. Fortunate are those who understand this simple fact.

Can Technology Take Over Churches?

Social media will never fully replace brick and mortar churches in Cleveland or any other small city in America. The reason why I am so convinced about this is because God isn’t always about technology. The Lord is all about people and His kingdom. The idea that on-line communities will destroy the church establishment will prove to be false as long as we focus on the message of God and the development of people instead of the financial desires of man. By the way, I am not saying that technology initiatives shouldn’t be taken seriously or should be totally ignored. When push comes to shove, supporting “real-life” church establishments is better than having a “virtual” church.

A church is meant to be a community. God didn’t make Adam and a smartphone. He made Adam and Eve to coexist together and live and speak with each other for a reason. As part of the body of God, they both were made to exchange ideas and live in harmony with the real world. When we go to a “real church,” we do a lot of that. We speak with friends and other believers, we laugh and cry together, we celebrate God and coexist in the same environment, testifying the love of God with many others in church. Overtime, we tend to start caring for each other and serving in projects for the Lord in our real communities. I am not sure if the former is able to be done in a “virtual church.” 

We are church goers because we believe in the principles of our church denomination, the weekly activities of our congregation, and the message that is delivered by our pastor every Sunday morning. I don’t foresee our family compromising on our core religious beliefs, what our social activities should be and in ignoring the teachings of our pastor because of technology. I am not saying that technology can’t be a part of what we call “the church experience” in the near future but to assume that perishable “machinery” will replace an important and necessary establishment, the brick and mortar church, is overrated.

With things being fair — The advent of cyber live streams have helped tons of believers and unbelievers to hear the word of God which advances the idea that parts of the church could be done on-line. I totally agree that social media posts on twitter are here to stay and will continue to have an impact on how we share the gospel in our communities and beyond. I just don’t think that an internet church is ever going to replace the essence of what we belief, the way we engage in play and how leaders of the church use their gifts to influence others in a godly way. The former has to be done in a brick and mortar church.

Maybe some principles can be taught using video sharing technology but do you really think that we can explain salvation to unbelievers without the many non-verbal communication codes that we know about? How about explaining the gift of charisma to someone over a smartphone?

When I was a kid, I used to go to soccer games in my former country of Brazil. The feeling you experience when going to the stadium can’t be replicated by watching an on-line feed. When 150 thousand people are simultaneously jumping in a soccer stadium, especially after a goal, the feeling? You never forget. Things shake, you sweat in happiness, scream and smile! When we “attend” church over the internet, the music doesn’t touch us the same way, we can’t experience what others are experiencing, and the atmosphere of worship is never the same. The church experience simply isn’t there.

I would argue that believing that technology can always replicate reality can have disastrous consequences in the lives of many, especially troubled people. Belonging to a real church is part of what “living a good life” is all about.  Social media may be a great tool for sharing photos and keeping in contact with old friends and family but when it comes to developing good morals and raising a family, a brick and mortar church is a necessity.

Where Do You Stand In The Human Robot Cycle?

There has been a lot of talk about the side effects of technology and innovation in our society these days. Conversations relating to tech addiction, eye sight issues, stress and anxiety due to the excessive use of smartphones in our society are literally happening everywhere regardless of culture or town size. Human-machine conversations and concerns seem to be happening with frequency in the aisles of New York City to suburban Los Angeles and everywhere in between, including in our great town of Cleveland, Tennessee where I live. There have been numerous television segments produced in mainstream media condemning the excessive use of technology among the youth and thousands if not tens of thousands of articles written on the subject, published in newspapers and magazines all over the globe. I have lost count on how many artifacts have been written on this topic in blogs across the internet.  Everyone is talking about it quite frequently, as a matter of fact. 

What we haven’t talked about too much in both the traditional and informal media yet is why we are so attached to the smartphone and where do we stand psychologically in relation to it. Why are people insisting on using their smartphones rather than taking a break from it when they know that the overuse isn’t good for their eyesight. Why are intelligent people risking spending time in prison in order to hopefully capture the perfect selfie at the expense of not calling 911?

Why do professionals need to be on their smartphones “multi-tasking” during a business meeting for years on end without having anybody demanding that they put their device away? How about moms who are spending less quality time with their daughters after work in order to converse with strangers on twitter at 8:45pm? The former realities don’t make too much sense to a lot of people. It makes a lot of sense to me. I bet it will make a lot of sense to you, as well.

What if I told you that the former is happening all over the world, regardless of culture, color or creed because the more people interact with smartphones, the more they become like one without noticing. What Marshall McLuhan theorized back in 1960’s in his work, “Understanding Media: Extensions of Man” was right. As McLuhan points out, in the “global village” is definitely “numb” to the effects of technology in our society which results in many people not seeing what smartphones do to them. People are becoming like a computer but are unable to “see it.” We are on our technological devices  many hours on end and growing. It seems that smartphones the new soma substance a described in the classic book, “A Brave New World.” Elaborate… 

Here is the good news, though. There is a brand new model of human behavior that explains what might be really happening to you and others friends and family members. It is called the Human Robot Cycle. This model has four phases and operate in a cyclical and predictable fashion. The phases are: The State of equilibrium, Obsessive Computer Use Persons, Burn Out person, and the Post-burned out phase. Let me explain.

Every person is born in the state of equilibrium because human beings are not exposed to smartphones in the womb while gestation. As we get acquainted with technological innovations and are consequently given smartphone access in order to satisfy our contemporary technological needs, people unconsciously experience what I call a “process of transformation” which is the first transitory stage of the cycle. In this intermediary state, human beings aren’t in equilibrium but aren’t in the obsessive computer use persons phase either. I would ague that a person living in the state is engaging in true techno moderation since the person is using as much technology as they ae putting technology away, for the most part.

The danger is to eventually develop an obsession with smartphones, Pads and video games. With time, people eventually reach the “Obsessive Computer Use Persons” stage which is the first deep level of human disequilibrium. As more technology is infused in our lives, we pass through what I call “the human robot syndrome” period where we become even more obsessed with computer use which leads us to behave literally like how a machine would. Examples of these behaviors include a tireless call for immediacy, multi-tasking, and production. People are always doing something — chatting with their friends on Facebook while at dinner, updating their Instagram accounts while in class, broadcasting their life events on youtube live while driving to work, you name it. 

Eventually, after more exposure and frequency of computer use, people reach the “Burn Out person” or the colloquially spoken the Robotic Stage. The moment you reach this second phase, technology is the least thing you want to see in front of you. An intervention then needs to take place in order for you in order for you to regain your humanity. I call the stage “the human reversal.” Eventually, you will reach the “Post-burned out phase” where computerized devices use is minimal. The goal of the post-burned out phase is to bring people back to the equilibrium (first phase) stage where things are just fine and dandy. Typically, individuals who are in this stage would purposely use technology minimally as a means to retrain one’s body to the dangers of technology. The cycle never stops and keeps repeating itself throughout the subjects whole life. 

The Human Robot Cycle isn’t sexist or ethnocentric. Gender and nationality seems to have little to no impact on how people interact with their machine. Regardless of cultural background or nationality, tech addiction is impacting your lives maybe for the worse.  Eye sight issues, stress and anxiety due to the excessive use of smartphones in our society is a real problem. We need to be aware of that. Using a smartphone to record somebody’s death at their own expense seems immature and dangerous in our society these days. It is only by better understanding the Human Robot cycle that we finally understand where we all belong in the continuum.

Automated Take Over

In any capitalist society, productivity is an important variable for calculating a country’s Gross National Product (GDP). Productivity is a function of an economy’s output over the total number of hours worked by labor. One could argue that by automating the workforce, productivity would decrease as less workers would then be working to complete a job task. What we are seeing today, however, is that the more technology we infuse in any industry, the more productive that industry becomes and the less compensation workers tend to receive. The uncontrolled infusion of technology in our society has changed the rules of how many hours a day we have to work and how much money we bring home each month to feed our families. Let me say the former differently — Automation has had a direct impact on why you have to work longer hours a week to make ends meet and don’t often get an increase in salary each year to account for inflation.

In the past 50 years, automation has taken millions of blue collar jobs away from Americans. Automation is now invading white collar job territory. Automation has also been responsible for the decline in worker’s overall disposable income levels in both white and blue collar jobs which in itself has had a devastating impact to our local economies. Do you remember when you used to go to work, be there for eight hours each day for five days a week, have dinner with your family, and enjoy buying small gifts for your friends from a small business owner without a credit card? Today, I bet that most of you can’t do that anymore yet technology advancements reached record highs!  No wonder why running a profitable business in small communities these days is so tough.

Most small business owners struggle to make ends meet because of the uncontrolled technological advancements that were infused in their local systems, such as the overall access to the internet. Innovative systems have taken away a substantial amount of our community’s good solid jobs and left us with low wage unskilled vulnerable ones. How can anyone buy the products and services that we offer when most people’s income is spent on daily living necessities? Well, if you own a food franchise, you may be immune to the impacts of automation and are probably benefiting from these technological advancements. For the rest of us, life has been very rough.

Most economists agree that productivity only measures how much an enterprise produces not what it could produce overtime. Productivity should be impacted by demand at least in theory. If demand is low, then by logic worker productivity should be low. Let me say the former differently: If less people are capable of buying your products and services, then businesses should produce less not more and employees should work less for sure. We have seen evidence of decreased productivity on the part of small business owners. We haven’t seen the former happening to big businesses, though.

Think about it — Why should any firm produce more goods or offer more services if there are less clients buying what they produce? Productivity should decrease, right? Therefore, consumer demand should dictate company output. In reality, though, the former doesn’t always work that way. Could it be that the aggressive automation agenda has forced many of us out of a job, and has deskilled our work operations overtime impacting the pool of people who can actually buy products and services to advance our economy? No wonder why car companies make more money financing their cars than by building them.

Automation is a reason for why you don’t feel that you are getting a break from this unstoppable work marathon. I don’t think we are going to stop being productive despite the fact that the demand for what we produce may not be there. Automation has deskilled our workforce maybe for the worse, if you depend on selling your labor for a living. Automation has cut too many jobs. I am not seeing a correspondent amount of jobs created, especially in our local communities. Maybe we need to reconsider the uncontrolled automated agenda. It might be our only path to long-term sustainability.

Millennials Are Not Computer Geniuses

This is perhaps one of the biggest myths of our times — The idea that the millennials are geniuses of technology and that they know everything there is to technology. The reality is that they don’t actually know  the very basics of longitudinal productive technology as this kind of knowledge base requires significant internal rehearsal which is a fancy name for practice through repeated behavior. The Millennials can rarely recognize their own limitations with modern technique which in itself should serve as evidence that something just isn’t right.The former is perhaps one of the biggest problems we face in society today. The idea that millennials know everything about computers. Well, they don’t.

They “know” how to use social media but social media fluency doesn’t equate into being capable of producing an elaborated spreadsheet, C++ programming expertise, or even HTML 1.0 code understanding.  I even argue that the millennials don’t even have the necessary tenets of building a legitimate group of organic followers on social media either as such endeavors require time and effort. I have worked with a number of clever social media students to help promote some of my initiatives and in every instance, even the very best student wizards of technology, couldn’t make anything go viral for me. Why is that? Well, you tell me. Let me tell you…

Most youngsters of today don’t have the “time” and don’t want to put the effort to build such social media empires. They are too busy wasting their time with themselves rather than learning how to produce artifacts or advance any social media initiative overtime as such endeavors require a combination of rest, reflection, and hard word. This is why TechnoModeration and rest are critical elements to meaningful production. Most millennials are consumers of technology not producers of any kind. Most don’t rest to be able to contribute to their highest potentials. Looking for the easy way out under a constant state of frazzle won’t cut and this is perhaps why most millennials simply don’t produce novel artifacts despite the numerous techniques available to them.

This is perhaps why a smart group of entrepreneurs developed a number of smart applications to help the busy generation to get more followers, likes, comments… I like to call them the “industry of fake” who offer a solution to what I call the egoistic me at all costs clientele. I have to admit — these internet entrepreneurs are brilliant! They understand their target audience!  They produced modern media artifacts to satisfy the Millennial hunger of wanting to be popular and as a value added fool their parents with the idea that they are geniuses of technology because they can buy popularity.

The price of fake is decreasing by the year as do most innovations. So, NO! Millennials Don’t Know Everything About Computers. They probably know very little, in fact. They know how to fake what they know. If you take their smartphones away, they know even less and would probably get severe anxiety.

Don’t be fooled by what you hear. If it appears too good to be true… did you remember that phrase? Pay attention, investigate and look for the undeniable evidence that is found out there.  They need as much help as we do with technology.

I have 10 Life Secrets: Let Me Share One.

Most people don’t get what they want or deserve because of silly mistakes. I have met a number of talented college graduates who struggle economically because of the bridges they’ve burned along the way, experienced professionals who get stuck mid career because of pride, and near retirement employees who are anxious to retire so that their fear of unemployment stops consuming them. Clearly, nobody told these folks that jobs are now partnerships and that burning bridges, pride and fear are only going to slowly transform their true talent into perishable mediocrity. You don’t want to fall under these categories. What you do need is to control your life by maneuvering the game of life in ways that makes you totally unpredictable. By the way, how are you positioning yourself these days? Are you engaging in careful planning?

Undeniably, everybody loves doing the kind of work that they have a talent for. Based on this logic, the million dollar question then becomes, “What do I need to do in order to work on my talent?” Ladies and gentleman, I am going to reveal to you one of the ten life secrets I’ve learned right now. The secret actually comes from Napoleon Hill, one of my “deceased mentors” and author of the book “Think and Grow Rich.” Just realize that his secret has seven steps. Are you ready for this?

First: Decide exactly what kind of job you want. If this job doesn’t already exist, perhaps you can create it.

Second: Choose the company or individual from whom you wish to work for.

Third: Study your prospective employer, as to policies, personnel, and chances for advancement.

Fourth: By analysis of yourself, your talents and capabilities, figure what you can offer, and plan ways and means of giving advantages, services, developments, and ideas that you believe you can successfully deliver.

Fifth: Forget about a “job.” Forget whether or not there is an opening. Forget the usual routine of “have you got a job for me?” Concentrate on what you can give.

Sixth: Once you have your plan in mind, arrange with an experienced writer to put it on paper in neat form and in full detail.

Seventh: Present it to the proper person with authority and he will do the rest. Every company is looking for men who can give something of value, whether it be ideas, services, or “connections.” Every company has room for the man who has a definite plan of action which is to the advantage of that company.

Careful planning is at the core of this secret. Failing to influence others is a capital mistake. Never, under any circumstances, criticize others because the moment you do you lose them. Who knows if you are going to need them in the future or not? Don’t burn bridges! Control your pride. Life is about God, not you or me. Why are you so afraid? Life is full of surprises. You might as well join the team and make yourself indispensable to whoever you work for. Your anxieties will decrease… trust me.

It is all about careful planning, dude. By the way, what are you doing about that? Don’t let others choose what you should do. You should take ownership of your destiny perhaps with the consultation of a close ally. The former can help you tremendously, that is for sure.

 

Divide and Conquer By Being ‘TechnoModerate’

It is very difficult for a person to  simultaneously “technomoderate” and also build a brand on social media.

That is to say, those who profit from any social media platform are constantly using it, which makes it very difficult to demotivate them from using these tools in the first place.

The more people use Facebook, the better they tend to get at using it, and the more rewards people tend to achieve from these systems. Therefore, asking kids who dream of having their own brand to use social media less often will hurt them. What do I do? I’m stuck!

I know that building brands online requires countless hours of dedicated work, along with the offline sweat. It is ridiculous what you need to do today in order to build a name in social media.

People spend too much time engaging support groups, managing bots to help with social media engagement and creating great media content to be shared. Limiting how often you share your stuff isn’t an option anymore. It is a requirement to share, and share often, if your goal is to build any type of brand in cyberspace.

Thankfully – at least from my “moderating” perspective – having too many social media messages released each day tends to backfire. I suspect this is related to the fact that producing quality content is difficult and expensive, and to the fact that posting too much content a day acts like a divide-and-conquer type of thing. People divide their own efforts, which tends to decrease what we call social media engagement.

People tend to remember what they hear more frequently, though. Social media professionals know this and therefore keep developing their image in cyberspace on a daily basis. But again, too much creation may do you more damage than good.

Bingo!

This is where Dr. A comes and says, “Kids, let’s build our brands in social media, but remember: Trying to build your brand too quickly will backfire. You need to engage in this process with moderation.”

Listen to me: Clever will be the ones who don’t abuse the social media system, because if they do, they will end up losing what they built. People tend to get sick of being bombarded with multiple messages because we are constantly receiving messages from hundreds, if not thousands, of people every day. There is hope for some technomoderation, I’m glad to say!

Building a brand, online or offline, is tough. It is time-consuming. Attracting a loyal clientele isn’t that simple. Now add in having to engage with them online on the top of that! Dude, I know that practice makes perfect, and in the world of social media, things aren’t any different.

A person’s social media IQ is directly related – like anything else – to use, but a degree of rest is a requirement for things to work.

Playing the game with frequency pays off, but there is a price or two to be paid. There is a physical and financial price to it, I must add.

Can you imagine building content on a 3-by-4 inch canvas, hitting tiny buttons at a rate of one keystroke per millisecond constantly for a good five minutes per session, four times a day, with the hopes of being rewarded by complete strangers 24/7? This act can be pretty physical, don’t you think?

And there is a cost! In a previous column, I revealed that spending $150 in social media services alone each month is only a fraction of the cost to build an image online. Are you ready to commit the equivalent of a car payment dedicated to growing your Instagram account? There is a price to all this madness.

As a professor who teaches social media and innovation, and believes in the moderate use of technology, this reality is — at a bare minimum — disturbing to me, unless “technomoderation” is adopted. By not using the tools, people lose by not playing the game. By overusing them, there goes your health and finances. What’s in the middle? I know, you love me … technomoderation!

Please keep this a secret.

Dr. A says, “Those who use social media tools within reason enhance their knowledge of the medium, and can build a brand over time with reason. I don’t think those who decide to ignore this advice will win,  ultimately.”

———

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info.)

Treat Everybody With Respect

My Response For Why The Student Debt Financial Problem Is Primarily A Parent Issue.

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“AARP is worried about student loans.” 
This is my reply, after reading the post on facebook.
Luis Camillo Almeida Genius, this is an issue, yes. This is what I see though: Everybody under the sun is complaining that college is expensive. I agree, it is. However, there are way too many kids these days who live life as an adult while pursuing a college education. Examples of extra expenses they have that maybe they shouldn’t have are: Adult housing, car payments, insurance, gas, smartphone bills, luxury gadgets, brand clothes, food, fancy trips, beer money… Now, let’s estimate the former and see if this crisis is only a college or student problem. We live in a luxury apartment complex but I have been a college professor for 10 years and can afford that. Some of my neighbors are students. It costs 1K to live in this complex a month. At the bare minimum, these kids are paying $500 per month to live here. That’s $6000 a year. In order to live in our complex, they need a car. Most of the cars I see on most campuses I’ve worked in my life are new or nearly new cars. I estimate a payment of at least $250 a month. Well, that’s $3000 a year. We all know that to be able to drive a car, one must have insurance. Kids driving cars at age 20 will pay high premiums until they reach the age of 25. I bet they are paying 150 dollars or so a month in car insurance a month. That’s $1800 a year. Ladies and gentleman, no car can be driven without gas. I bet they spend 2 to 3 tanks of gas a month. Let’s estimate a $80 a month in gas bill or $960 a year in gas. Smartphones are awesome but they aren’t cheap. I bet most students spend $80 a month on smartphone bills. That’s $960 a year. I see tablets, fancy laptops, DSLR cameras, and name it all over the campuses I’ve worked in my career. These gadgets aren’t cheap. I am going to estimate that students, on average, spend $120 bucks or so in these “extra cool things” each month. That’s about $1500 a year. Now, this one shouldn’t come as a shocker. Most college students these days dress well. Buying that A&E isn’t that cheap. I bet that folks are spending at minimum $25 a month in clothing if we average the yearly clothing expenses. So, $500 for clothe expenses. Food! Yes, this one nickel and dime them badly. Are students cooking their own food to save on this cost? Or are college students eating out (without a meal plan) in most colleges and universities? How about starbucks? and such? Bro, I will estimate $500 in food expenses for the average student and I think I’m grossly under estimating this one. Food total –> $6000.
Luis Camillo Almeida Fancy trips… spring break, studying abroad, going back home away from school many times a year… This one is tough to estimate… on average, I will estimate in $1000 a year. Beer money. I know, not all students drink alcohol but the majority do. I bet that a $200 bill a month on alcoholic drinks wouldn’t cover what kids spend on this these days. So beer expense: $2500.
SO, let’s calculate the total extra expenses: 6000+3000+1800+960+960+1500+500+6000+1000+ 2500 = 24220 a year. Let’s multiple that by five which is the average time students complete a college education: $121,000! There are a three things we can conclude from these simple posts here on facebook. 1) College tuition is far from being the only burden in the contemporary “student loan crisis” rhetoric we have these days. 2) Students are living life as an adult in college and most will be living life a student for life. 3) The actual problem IS NOT a STUDENT problem. It is a PARENT problem for allowing them to make such poor life decisions at this age.
Luis Camillo Almeida I’m going to make this very clear in here. Gen z, millennials… aren’t any different from us when were we young. So STOP BLAMING THEM! The issue, ladies and gentleman, is that most of us (older people) suck at making them accountable for their actions and understand the value of money. The problem is you, bro. Don’t blame the kids or colleges and universities (only) for this serious crisis.

Collaboration and Technology Go Together Well.

Productivity Over Consumption

Ladies and gentleman, there is a big difference between documenting your life in social media and being addicted to smartphones. Just because one is broadcasting content live on facebook doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is constantly scrolling or wasting time for hours on end on facebook. In fact, quite the contrary is often true! If you broadcast your life on instagram, meaning, you put a camera in front of you and start talking to your audience, you will be engaging in what I like to call TechnoModeration! Why? Well, this is what this article is all about! Fasten your seat belts and stay with me. This ride will be awesome.

All right. Let’s start from the top. Social media presence isn’t the same thing as social media addiction or anything addiction. Being present on social media platforms is a strategy that many of us, me included, do. If you are a part of the American economy today, you better be on social media and everywhere. Why? Because if you don’t you become invisible. You, me, and the whole Tennessee Titans fan base are being bombarded everyday with thousands of messages in multiple channels throughout the day. How can anybody get any attention to what they do under such hard circumstances? Gary Vaynerchuck, CEO of Vayner Media, has made a public statement — He said the following, “Attention is a currency” I agree with him.

Notice that I’m not saying that you should be engaging for hours on end everyday or spend hours scrolling your friends’ content on snapchat. Putting a camera in front of you and sharing what you think or do on a daily basis, multiple times a day, may be the right thing to do these days — if your goal is to be discovered by someone in your niche or if you are planning to build a loyal audience to consume your content.

In trueness, what I’m saying in here isn’t anything new. We have been engaging in personal brand development and using business development tactics and procedures for years in order to be visible before the age of social media networks. The difference is that today, it costs us a fraction of the price to do the work. I spend around an hour a day on social media engaging with my audience. However, I turn the camera on and talk to my audience for an additional half hour or so live. By live I mean live. I spend zero hours editing anything I share.

You don’t have to be on your smartphone all the time to be visible these days. You can TechnoModerate! I most definitely do, even though some people may think I’m always engaging. Well, I’m not! Question? If I was always engaging with with my audience for 7 hours each day, how in the world would I have time to be a full time college professor? Elementary, right? Yep.

Now, I maximize the use of AI in order to help me to be away from the computer so that I have more time to literally produce content at scale — Macro content as we refer to it in the field of communication. And from that, I can then repurpose more content in micro form in order to feed the content monster that is required for success in the media these days. Now, don’t take me wrong. It is still a lot of work but it isn’t that much computer work as you may think. There is a large degree of interpersonal and mediated communication work that I do but these activities aren’t social media heavy. They are communication heavy!

I will be documenting my life online indefinitely because my goal right now is to build a more loyal audience organically. By organically I mean for free naturally. If your grandkid wants to position him/herself in the world today they better consider doing what I wrote in this article rather than spending hours on end “consuming” social media. They need to be “producing” social media, instead.  A person broadcasting their life online may sound goofy for many of you to hear but its the correct protocol for anyone wanting to build an audience today. 

Keep Communicating! In 2018, Communicating Is Everywhere Even In Person. :)

Open Your Eyes: Automation Is here To Help You To TechnoModerate.

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In 2018, there is no other way. You must create content, period. But in reality, how can we create content and engage with our audience and not go crazy in the process. I have good news for you. Use Meet Edgar! A bot that helps you with scheduling and managing your content automatically. Listen to Dr. A: You won’t regret.

Divide and conquer by being ‘technomoderate’

It is very difficult for a person to  simultaneously “technomoderate” and also build a brand on social media.

That is to say, those who profit from any social media platform are constantly using it, which makes it very difficult to demotivate them from using these tools in the first place.

The more people use Facebook, the better they tend to get at using it, and the more rewards people tend to achieve from these systems. Therefore, asking kids who dream of having their own brand to use social media less often will hurt them. What do I do? I’m stuck!

I know that building brands online requires countless hours of dedicated work, along with the offline sweat. It is ridiculous what you need to do today in order to build a name in social media.

People spend too much time engaging support groups, managing bots to help with social media engagement and creating great media content to be shared. Limiting how often you share your stuff isn’t an option anymore. It is a requirement to share, and share often, if your goal is to build any type of brand in cyberspace.

Thankfully – at least from my “moderating” perspective – having too many social media messages released each day tends to backfire. I suspect this is related to the fact that producing quality content is difficult and expensive, and to the fact that posting too much content a day acts like a divide-and-conquer type of thing. People divide their own efforts, which tends to decrease what we call social media engagement.

People tend to remember what they hear more frequently, though. Social media professionals know this and therefore keep developing their image in cyberspace on a daily basis. But again, too much creation may do you more damage than good.

Bingo!

This is where Dr. A comes and says, “Kids, let’s build our brands in social media, but remember: Trying to build your brand too quickly will backfire. You need to engage in this process with moderation.”

Listen to me: Clever will be the ones who don’t abuse the social media system, because if they do, they will end up losing what they built. People tend to get sick of being bombarded with multiple messages because we are constantly receiving messages from hundreds, if not thousands, of people every day. There is hope for some technomoderation, I’m glad to say!

Building a brand, online or offline, is tough. It is time-consuming. Attracting a loyal clientele isn’t that simple. Now add in having to engage with them online on the top of that! Dude, I know that practice makes perfect, and in the world of social media, things aren’t any different.

A person’s social media IQ is directly related – like anything else – to use, but a degree of rest is a requirement for things to work.

Playing the game with frequency pays off, but there is a price or two to be paid. There is a physical and financial price to it, I must add.

Can you imagine building content on a 3-by-4 inch canvas, hitting tiny buttons at a rate of one keystroke per millisecond constantly for a good five minutes per session, four times a day, with the hopes of being rewarded by complete strangers 24/7? This act can be pretty physical, don’t you think?

And there is a cost! In a previous column, I revealed that spending $150 in social media services alone each month is only a fraction of the cost to build an image online. Are you ready to commit the equivalent of a car payment dedicated to growing your Instagram account? There is a price to all this madness.

As a professor who teaches social media and innovation, and believes in the moderate use of technology, this reality is — at a bare minimum — disturbing to me, unless “technomoderation” is adopted. By not using the tools, people lose by not playing the game. By overusing them, there goes your health and finances. What’s in the middle? I know, you love me … technomoderation!

Please keep this a secret.

Dr. A says, “Those who use social media tools within reason enhance their knowledge of the medium, and can build a brand over time with reason. I don’t think those who decide to ignore this advice will win,  ultimately.”

———

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info.)

Be Selective: Only The Best Should Join Your Inner circle.

God First, Family Second, Everything Else After That.

The Only Way To Live A Great Life.

Hard Work + Talent + Success

Smile! You Will Live Longer.

Golden advice: Don’t squish the bread

Let me share something with you: I am very concerned with how fast-paced our society has been, and how this fast-paced lifestyle has been having an impact on our grocery shopping.

Let me get straight to the point. Smartphones are having an impact on who we hire in food retail stores.

Things are accelerating because of the technology. We now have machines replacing the youth in places like McDonald’s because machines often perform quicker operations. In grocery stores, the youth are replacing the elderly precisely for the same reason, I think.

These things are happening because the people are demanding efficiency. The problem is the people, not the retail stores, because of what I call technological conditioning. People are now conditioned to doing things quickly because the machine gives them feedback quickly … text messages, Instagram messages and so forth.

Let’s be real. People are more impatient today with slow-paced operations which I would argue is a side effect of living in a technopoly. You may be asking, “How do you know this?”

Here is my answer. If you go to any grocery story in Cleveland, most employees who bag groceries are young, sometimes very young. By the way, I would rather have an older person bagging my groceries than a college-aged kid because they typically take a little longer to bag my groceries to ensure that everything is OK. Youngsters are not as careful with arranging your groceries.

But hey, what would you have the management of a grocery store do? Hire “slower” employees and risk losing its clientele or hire youth, gaining speed but risking losing the client because of increased bagging errors? I would go with an older person, but that’s just me.

We live in the age of social media where a “dissatisfied customer/employee” literally has the power to do a lot of damage to a brand at anytime. It is not fair, in my opinion at least, to push any fragile segment of our working class out of a job because of technology. But hey, who said that life is fair? To me, such a move just isn’t ethical.

Grocery stores are in a tough situation, I must add.

Just because advances in technology are making our pace of life quicker doesn’t mean that we should accept such demands at face value. It isn’t right to replace a 69-year-old woman (who needs her job as a bagger in order to buy her prescription) because the bagging per second of an 18-year-old is 2.754 seconds quicker than hers.

I actually care about the elderly, you know? The elderly don’t deserve to be treated like the scrap of society after 70, especially if they need to work in order to survive. Let me say this again. The problem isn’t the grocery stores. The problem is that people demand efficiency because of technology.

Read this carefully: Sooner or later, you and/or your children will be 70. Would you like to be treated as a nobody, someone that wouldn’t be good enough to bag groceries? I understand the position that grocery stores have been placed in, but thankfully I have a solution. The solution may lie in training. With careful training in customer service, we could possibly fix this particular problem.

We can increase bagging efficiency by hiring kids, but I guarantee you that if millennials perceive that the organization is lacking social responsibility, it will backfire. The millennials hate this kind of mindset. How do I know that? Because my wife is an older millennial. If they perceive that you treat people poorly, they go. You suffer.

Grocery store managers, be cautious with replacing the elderly in your grocery store. We need to find jobs for them, despite issues of bagging efficiency. Be very careful with how you treat them. They deserve a job, and millennials are paying attention. Training is the answer.

Taking one for the team for the sake of humanity is the right thing to do.

It is true that computer systems perform faster than human labor, and that the youth often perform faster than the elderly, but this can have serious consequences to the well-being and longevity of your business in 2018.

——— (Published at the Cleveland Daily Banner 07/28/18

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info.)

Mindset Is Key For Success

Success Starts At The Bottom.

You Can Get Out Of The Hole If You Are Determined