Technology Has Sent Mass Media Advertising Into Retirement

Technology Has Sent Mass Media Advertising Into Retirement

This is what I think.

Technology has sent Mass Media advertising into retirement. I know that the former is a strong statement but evidence seems to support this provocative thesis. How many of you watch TV ads? Or Radio/newspaper advertising? I don’t know about the former but I do know that you rarely look at page 49 of the Sports Illustrated Magazine looking for an ad. Am I wrong?

By the way, when was the last time that you bought a product from a new company that advertised on television? I ask this question because some people may say, “Well Luis, what you are saying is true but I still enjoy watching a Coca Cola commercial during the Super Bowl and buy Coca Cola products.” You may be a rare case. It is possible but it’s just not likely.

Please realize that if you do watch Coca Cola TV ads and buy Coca Cola products thinking that you bought them because of a recent ad, you may be fooling yourself. Coca Cola is an established brand that grew during the industrial age where Mass Media advertising was the norm for growing a brand and selling products.

Coca Cola is now benefiting from investments in advertising they made 70 years ago. That’s why some of you still buy Coca Cola products. Have you ever heard about ALO? Even better… When was the last time you bought an ALO drink? It’s a new product. They have advertised (not like other major drink companies but they did) and I bet that most of your never bought one of their products.

Reality:  Modern technology has changed the advertisement industry. DVR enables people to pass through the ads in both cable television and on streaming TV services like Netflix and Hulu. In this abundant world we live in, who wants to add more interruption to our lives? I don’t. How about you?

Do you watch the youtube ads before watching your favorite youtube video? Or do you stop them after 5 seconds of mandatory “watch” time? Mass Media advertising is an old concept that is expensive and time consuming. I’m not sure if the ROI is there anymore.  

Do we still need advertisement? Yep.

However, the kind of advertising I believe in is done through meaningful conversations  by conversing one-on-one with a prospect and individualizing the message. It is inefficient and time consuming but if done with enough frequency can help a prospect to move from a person who doesn’t trust you (or your brand) to one who might give you a try if you prove to them that you are for real.

Trust is key in this new individualized advertising process.

Forget Mass Media advertising. The former is a dated concept that is de facto very expensive and brings little return on investment, especially for a new company wanting to gather market share. Invest your time in personalizing your advertising message and positioning yourself to attract a small segment of the population who loves what you produce. Do what you can earn their trust, overtime. Repeat.

If you have a big budget, consider sponsoring a movie on Hulu instead of spending millions on Mass Media advertisements that people just won’t watch. You may be better off this way.

 

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New Technology Is helping To Reform The Bell Curve

New Technology Is helping To Reform The Bell Curve

The bell curve, perhaps one of the most discussed concepts in statistics, may need to be redefined. Or shall I say reformed? Perhaps for the first time in human history, an external force, we call technology, may change the shape of the normal curve. How so you may be asking.

This is how. These are the characteristics of the bell curve.

  • The mean is always at the center
  • It has only one peak
  • It’s by definition unimodal
  • It may be bimodal in some instances
  • But normality is expected

68% of the population falls in the mean. 68% of the population is then normal.

Technology reforms the bell curve by giving people choices. By being able to choose, outliers are then able to gather their own groupies and start their own bell curves. As choices increase, smaller bell curves are then created reducing the normal, increasing the edges and reshaping the curve into a series of other sub curves perhaps forever.

How is the new bell cure going to look like?

This is how, I think. These may be the characteristics of the new bell curve.

  • The mean is perhaps to be located at the edges in the long tail
  • Multiple peaks may be the new norm
  • Unlikely unimodal form
  • Bimodal form expected if not multimodal
  • Normality is under attack

As the rate of technology innovation increases, normality decreases. If normality then decreases, the new norm falls in the long tail. Outliers are then the new normal. If the former is true, then the concept of the bell cure must be redefined. Technology advances is then the fuel of these reform.

Oh my… It’s 2019. What is next?

The Elephants Have Arrived At The Party And Most Aren’t Prepared For Them

The Elephants Have Arrived At The Party And Most Aren’t Prepared For Them

It’s true and it’s here. The elephants now own the house and have little to no competition, ladies and gentleman. The old factory is approaching irrelevance and is likely to be shipped overseas because of complacency and fear of change in the very near future. Get ready! The birth pains are just starting. For the first time in the history of the higher education factory, you are going to be asked to think differently for your own sake. It’s survival mode. The irony? Oligarchs will listen, agree, but will resist the same ideas that could transform the system into a new paradigm.

The irony is… we, for the most part, have dinosaurs in positions of authority, teach our classes the same way, isolate linchpins, promote complacency, persecute the weird, and insist fear and penalties in anybody who questions the status quo. Go figure the elephants are now here. There are so many elephants at the party right now! I see old school administrators implementing analog tactics in a digital world, teenagers who think for themselves, a system of higher education trying to survive with no funding, and technology who can literally replace human labor if implemented appropriately.

It’s tragic but its true.

We could have avoided this crisis by attacking these elephants with lions and crocodiles back in the day when elephant juveniles were in the wild but the oligarchs of higher education insisted in doing business as usual, protecting themselves with protectionist cabinets and using processes, procedures, and arguments used in the Fordist era to maintain the status quo.

It worked back then… Take a guess. The world has changed much, you know? In the shared economy era, on demand products and services are weird (innovative), new and fluid. Uh oh, it ain’t the higher education environment of today.

Lack of innovative thinking guided at reshaping existing systems, lack of curiosity for the sake of maintaining the “known procedures” and benefiting from it, lack of common sense along with saying “We do things like this here” with a lack of courage has contributed to what colleges and universities are experiencing right now.

An industry that reminds me of the old steel mill industry factories back in the 1980’s.  Dated, slow to change, logistically in misalignment with the demands of the market, expensive, and managed to kill new ideas for the sake of regulation.

I don’t hear the voice of curiosity too much in colleges and universities, anymore. I see, however, fear everywhere.

  1. Fear of not getting tenure.
  2. Fear of not having enough students.
  3. Fear of losing students.
  4. Fear of not getting accredited.
  5. Fear of doing something different.
  6. Fear of change.
  7. and now…

Fear of elephants.

I’m seeing the end of higher education as we understand. Today, I advised two high school students. They were both bringing in 60 credits of dual enrollment straight from high school!  In higher education, an incoming freshman must complete 120 credits to graduate with a bachelors degree. This process used to take four years to complete. 17 year olds, if planned correctly, can now graduate college in 2 years with a bachelor’s. Wait, what?

Yep. I’m glad that I’m not a music or English professor or a professor of philosophy… even though I hold a doctorate of philosophy! They will be the ones who will go first. The liberal arts curriculum is not becoming an elective commodity. The only problem (for colleges and universities) is that we are a very expensive commodity in an era of free community college education. Sebastian Bach would cry after reading this paragraph. Hey, the market doesn’t care what Bach (or me and you) have to say. The market is the market.

To a large degree, the system has done this to itself, fueled by management practices that wanted to automate and break down its tasks into smaller less sophisticated tasks in order to replace expensive labor with ease and increase profit instead of redefining complexity into something as complex and on demand. Isn’t it how factories operate, by the way? Can you see what I see?

Let me tell you a true story. Today, a clever high school student who thinks for himself told me in my office, “I hate education. The teacher kills my ideas and gives me a C because I missed a comma. He also said, “Why do I need to go to school to learn photoshop when I can get free tutorials on youtube? That’s why I’m not majoring in digital media.” What can I say back to this kid? Tell me. 

The elephants are next door. The elephants are up and down. The elephants are left and right. The elephants are everywhere and there is no where to go but to create.

What is as scary is that I see the industry choosing to destroy itself before going somewhere. Let me be real with you. Sometimes I feel like a witch in the middle ages. Because I do something different and choose to lead a tribe, I’m seen as a blasphemer who does things “not like us” like standing on tables, having party event classrooms and critical thinking sessions through chess playing in my office, and because I skateboard on campus. Should I be labeled a heretic because I innovate?

I see managers maintaining the status quo to protect themselves and those above them. I see a call to management instead of a call for leadership. This is a bad idea in an age where we idolize Tesla and disdain GM.

Here is what I know.

When you do something worth making a remark about, people remember your actions AND they often come back for more because it’s remarkable. What is higher education doing to be remarkable? Let me ask you to think critically about this one for a moment.

So, what do we need to do Dr. A to get out of this mess? We can still do something about it to save our jobs in the age of automation. Being aware that we are terminal is the beginning of wisdom.

Let me do my best to tell you what perhaps can help us to survive longer in this important business we call higher education.

  1. We need the baby boomers to retire en masse
  2. We need less managers and more leaders
  3. We need managers to be a minority in higher education
  4. We need to empower leaders to redefine what higher education means
  5. We need to empower leaders to create a total new system of higher education where creativity and innovation precedes grades and attendance
  6. We need to redefine failure in higher education
  7. We need to be much more human

That’s it. It’s out! The elephants have arrived at the party and most aren’t prepared for them but at least you are aware that the elephants are here. What are you going to do about it? Tell me.

Let’s Unfollow Like a boss, shall we?

Let’s Unfollow Like a boss, shall we?

I’m tired of following people on Facebook that I have no relationship with. I’m not sure if these people are all that beneficial to me, to be frank with you. I know that I’m not the only person who holds this thought, I must add, and that’s good.

Back in the day, it was customary to accept friend requests from people we rarely knew and strangers and say, “Oh ok, I will accept you. I will have more followers, more than you… and that’s awesome.

Really? Who cares? I don’t. Do you?

Wait. What if having tons of unengaged followers isn’t awesome? What if having people you aren’t connected with makes your instagram feed clog for often? Welcoming “friends” to whom you have no relationship with in social media is literally a ticket to irreversible damage. You don’t want this, trust me.

Do this. Today, go to your instagram or Facebook and unfollow anyone you don’t know. Do it like a boss. Don’t be shy. Do the right thing. If your ambition it to grow a social media account, forget about pods and bots and focus on speaking with people. Pods and bots are artificial means to generating buzz. It ain’t worth it.

Practicing humanity is precisely what we need today in the world. We don’t need more fake followers or anything fake. IGaudit.co exposes social media importers in servings.

We need to be indispensable. Be a leader, be a source of please. Build your online network based on your actions and interactions offline. Unfollow others if necessary.

In the end of the day, the truth always wins. My advice: Unfollow people who aren’t your friend. It’s that simple.

Your life on-line is a reflection of your life off-line

Your life on-line is a reflection of your life off-line

This is what I’m seeing. Your life on-line is a reflection of your life off-line. It pays off to build your personal brand off-line first. People believe in what they can see. A picture may be worth a thousand words but three dimensional conversations are worth about a billion.  Your on-line popularity is secondary to your ability to communicate well off-line.

By engaging with people face-to-face and off-line, over time and with much persistence, eventually you will earn the privilege to be categorized as an influencer on-line. Personal brands are built after remarkable performances, memorable experiences and the like. Why do you think Beyonce has millions upon millions of social media followers and fans? That’s elementary — She was awesome off-line first.

It amazes me how many people still believe that they can build their reputations solely on-line without caring much about their off-line campaign. What a big mistake.

Audiences are earned not bought. It takes time and is labor intensive. It’s part of the game. There are no shortcuts. Off-line work is as important if not more important than  on-line work but the real work starts off-line. 

Faking until you make it is a dead concept. You need to be authentic, truthful, and careful about how your persona is seen by others, off-line. That’s the world we live in these days. I’m going to say it again, “Your life on-line is a reflection of your life off-line.”

Culture is our frame of reference, ladies and gentleman. We might as well be a part of ours, don’t you think? We celebrate people who we like and trust. One of the best ways to build trust is to have meaningful conversations with people in a coffee shop, library, or church.

If your ambition is to build an on-line audience worth engaging with, you may want to start your quest by being the very best off-line communicator you can be. Your on-line popularity is secondary to your ability to communicate well off-line.  

 

Technology isn’t what makes a person indispensable for an organization anymore

Technology isn’t what makes a person indispensable for an organization anymore

It isn’t a technology skill that makes a person indispensable for an organization. It is their ability to bridge internal and external constituents that makes them unique and irreplaceable. The worker who is out there speaking with the customers, defending the brand in key events, and building connections is often the one you should strive to keep long-term in your firm. Trust, generosity, and one’s ability to relate with others is rare in  the workforce today, hands down.

Technocrats think otherwise, I know. They are wrong. Your humanity is in great need, I say. Your ability to be human will pay off. Why? Well…

We don’t live in the industrial age anymore. The industries aren’t coming back, sorry. Sears is gone and so is K-Mart. Kodak is history too. Here is my advise for you. Don’t bet your family’s fortune on believing that US Steel will make a major come back in 2023. It won’t happen. We literally live in a supply rich post-industrial world where automation is destroying most of our known operating systems. There is nothing we can do about it. It is what it is.

We live in a shared economy where abundance is the norm. In today’s economic landscape, win the game those who are able to connect better with others in a more humane and specific matter. We literally need to give and position ourselves to be the only option out there in our niche, as Seth Goldin would say.

I’m not saying that a technology skill, such as one’s ability to use photoshop to edit images, isn’t worth learning or using in a professional setting. Of course it is important especially for a graphic designer. What I’m saying is that we need people who are good with people. Desperately.

People like to talk with people. One’s ability to relate with others is rare in the workforce today. It isn’t a technology skill that makes a person indispensable for an organization. It is your ability to be you and influence others that is.

The Need To Learn Intercultural Competencies In The Age Of The iPhone

The Need To Learn Intercultural Competencies In The Age Of The iPhone

I’m convinced. In our contemporary economic landscape, being able to relate with others is a currency. Being able to emotionally engage with people of different cultures give people a different perspective and an opportunity to experience and look at a problem from a different angle which in itself is worth spending time doing.

We must be self-aware in life. Knowing people from other cultures helps us to better understand who we really are, regardless of which smartphone we own. There is value in understanding proxemics — or the branch of knowledge that studies how much space people should have between themselves and others. Studying paralanguage, or the gestures and facial expressions people make cross culturally, is an invaluable skillset to obtain in today’s workforce. Why? Because the over abundance of supply in our economy has forced us to think differently about how we are going to be identifying our tribes among the many tribes of people available.  At least, we are being encouraged to do so.

When we better understand what people from different cultures really care about, in a language and context they know and understand, we transcend from being obsessed with communicating with them for self gain and start collaborating with them. In America, we value collaboration but we almost always engage in compromising. At least this is what Bradford Hall claims in his great book, Among Cultures: The Challenge of Communication. Moral of the story: The more we understand other people, the higher the chances we have to engage in true collaboration.

In 2019, being able to collaborate is also a currency!  Developing intercultural competencies are key. Using technology to complement developing these competences seems more urgent than the alternative making technology second to our ability to better understand people.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t spend time on a smartphone or engage with others on-line. There is a time and a place for that. I don’t deny it. So, don’t stop using your smartphone with the pretense that interacting with people from different cultures are more important than using them. What I am saying is that understanding people, especially people from other cultures) should be a priority for you and me today.

 

What I know About Millennials That Computers Won’t Ever Know

What I know About Millennials That Computers Won’t Ever Know

The youth is relational, as my buddy Mark used to tell me. What they really value are the many actions and connections that you build with them. Engaging with young people can be exhausting but like any type of human labor, it is worthwhile for those who see themselves as agents for change. I believe and value change, when done right.

There is little doubt that emotionally investing in young adults can be a daunting task but the flip side of it is that it can be quite gratifying and pay big dividends in the long-run. Let me say this: 18-25 year-olds value the few meaningful interactions they have with others before their desire to acquire technological artifacts. They are hungry for relating with people, not technology. I’m convinced about that. How do I know? They tell me half of everything because I choose to invest my emotional time on them.

By smiling, being present and showing your face at events they care about, by surprising them and creating with them, you can earn the privilege to be inside their inner circle and prove to them that you do the things you do because of them. There is no technology out there they can buy that will do this for them. They love that but more importantly, they admire that. You are what they need and want. People.

So, what are you going to do today to be more relational with the youth? Are you going to be more emotionally involved with them? Are you going to engage in more off-line meaningful conversations with them? Maybe what you really need, as Seth Godin would say, is to engage in emotional labor for them.

What I know I’m not going to do is to ask google for an answer. I’m going to follow what my heart is saying that I must do. I’m not looking for any reward — My goal is simply to connect and make a difference. But that’s just me. How about you?

 

 

 

You Are A Tech Gladiator!

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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.

The Automation Blind Spot

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I am deeply concerned about the future of the American middle class and the long term sustainability of healthy capitalism in the land of baseball, apple pie and backyard barbecues. The reason why I am so concerned about the former is because of the inevitable and uncontrolled yet highly celebrated mass adoption of automation in our society. I just don’t see how the internet economy will generate enough peripheral jobs to sustain our standard of living and our off-line communities in the future because the majority of the jobs that the cyberspace sector produces tend to benefit only a small number of people. When you think about buying a book on-line, where do you think about buying it from? Amazon, right? If you need to sell a product on-line, which place do you go to to sell it? Amazon, maybe eBay?

Some bloggers make a living on-line with their writings. However, chances are pretty high that “professional bloggers” work off-line somewhere in order to maintain their on-line empires because blogging alone won’t pay the bills. Some folks believe that creating a smartphone app is a ticket to modern social mobility. I am skeptical! Do you know anyone who has made five hundred thousand dollars in profit selling an app? Maybe you are luckier than me. I haven’t met even a single soul. If we are relying on these activities to sustain ourselves in the future, rather than working on a traditional off-line establishment, we are in deep trouble, don’t you think?

The auto industry generated peripheral jobs that benefited the middle class, like body shops, insurance agents, oil changing stations, DOT workers, rental car companies, and many more. I am not so sure about this new wave of internet job creation. Martin Ford, the author of the book, “The Rise of Robots” talks about this topic in greater detail and presents the argument that the internet economy won’t work for many of us because this new business model tends to generate what he calls, the “Winners-take-all” effect. Rather than everyone benefiting from the advancements of technology, only a few will in fact benefit from and acquire sustainable long-term gains. Most players of this new economy win very little to nothing. I fully agree with him about that.

Let’s think about the former for a minute. If our jobs are being replaced by automation (which they are) with the justification that information technology will produce peripheral jobs to sustain ourselves when they might not, how are we going to contribute to the economy and sustain our communities? By risking losing our dependable middle class income for the sake of technology, we might lose more than a salary or a career. We risk losing what we all stand for in the United States — Freedom. Some may argue that the former isn’t an issue but I bet they either have enough wealth to sustain themselves or are benefiting from the upcoming system. For the remaining of us, the threat of automation seems to be pretty real.

I don’t think that full automation will happen tomorrow or next year but in five to ten years, I predict that the majority of our warehouse functions will be automated. Fast food restaurants will have ordering kiosks which by themselves will reduce the number of available jobs in small-town USA by at least thirty percent. If these predictions come true, it could change our local economies substantially, not necessarily for the betterment and goodwill of the people. I am a proud capitalist who believes in the market economy. We may not have a choice but to somehow control the adoption of new technologies in our communities for our survival’s sake.

Adam Smith once said, “All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.” Technology seems to be the fuel that is driving this revolution. We need to be cautious about such advancements and think systemically about its consequences before fully supporting new initiatives. At least this is what I think.

Technology Can Be Fun, No Matter The Era

Some of you may not know this but I love those epic films from the 1950’s. As a matter of fact, I love everything about the movie Ben Hur — its soundtrack, cinematography, script and the way the movie was shot back in the day. How can some of us not like the technology used in the film, as well? I most definitely do. Today, however, many movies fall under what I like to call the fantastical category where humans and cars fly, and computer generated creatures interact with the rest of us, humans. Has the film industry always been this way?

To help me answer these questions, I decided to contact Matt Fisher, Associate Professor of Digital Media Studies here at Lee. Matt is both a nice guy and quite a competent scriptwriter and movie director who I knew would have the answers to my elementary film questions. Let me start by saying this: I had no idea that movies, regardless of era, couldn’t have been done without technology. How interesting! Even the silent movies of the past were made using some form of technology, according to Matt. Some of the technologies of the past include film stock. Film technology of today can be as simple as a dolly that helps directors to create camera movement. 

“Some things are gained… some things are lost with technology,” Matt shared this quote with me in my office when were were speaking about the movie “The Artist,” a silent multi Oscar winner movie in 2012, in regards to how technology is used in movies. How can I disagree with that statement! You know that my position on technology is of moderation. It is just not possible to defend the idea that technology is always good or always bad for that matter. Matt is right. When you gain things here, often we lose things there with technology, which I find to be a wise statement that transcends film studies and criticism. 

I don’t know if you feel this way but to some degree, I like the old technologies (Panavision 70 Photography) we find in the film Lawrence of Arabia. It feels nostalgic! Do you feel that way? I must admit that I do. Cleveland seniors, do you still have goose bumps when you watch “Its A Wonderful Life,” from Pennsylvania born Jimmy Stewart? I bet that some of you feel something different when you watch this film during Christmas time. You gain a feeling of nostalgia even thought you may be losing on the dated technology. In the great scheme of things, does it really matter that “its a wonderful life is a black and white movie?” I don’t think so. How about you?

It is true that in the past, films directors spent more time on something we call pre-production in communication where communication professionals would spend longer periods of time thinking about how the scene would look like and due to the fact that redoing a particular scene would cost studios lots of money. Today, we have more technology that allows folks to “cut” film without having to literally cut the film which in itself is revolutionary! No wonder why we have had so many great independent movies released to the market in recent years. Modern digital editing suite technology has allowed the small guy to produce big productions on a budget. “What we lost in pre-production planning we gain in post-production capabilities,” said Matt Fisher. The overuse of technology in film also has complications, he adds. Sound complicates things, camera movement is a challenge.

There is not way out, people. Technology has positives and negatives no matter how much TechnoLovers may argue otherwise. It seems clear cut to me that in the film industry, technomoderation seems to be the ideal. Next time you go to a movie, take some time to think about how much technology was used in the production of the motion picture and in which ways humans participated in the production of such an endeavor. Did they used too much special effects? How was the dialogue? In the end, I bet that you will realize that the golden ideal lies somewhere in between a microchip and a man’s brain but hey… I am suspect. 

Intrapersonal Communication Trumps Technology

When I was young, I chose to engage in intrapersonal communication activities like playing competitive golf and chess because I’ve always felt better doing “my thing” alone. Like a typical introverted person, I didn’t need the attention of others to gain my daily energy then and I don’t need the attention of anybody today to be energized either. I wish that hundreds perhaps thousands of teenagers in Bradley County could experience what I have experienced early on in my life because working on your own forces people to get things done without having to abide by the approval of others. I bet that many of them would realize that what other people do or don’t do in social media is actually irrelevant to their lives. The same is also true for the opinions people form online based on what people share in social media networks.

This is what I’m saying: If people focus on activities involving them only, they will build a stronger capacity to do things on their own and ignore the mad ideas people sometimes form about them. There are way too many people these days caring too much about what other people say about them in social media. Who cares what people think of you if you are secure in yourself? I feel that your grandkids are growing up without that much needed resilience to face adversity which in itself may be causing them to be depressed sometimes suicidal. Listen carefully: Instead of using technology as a pacifier, teach them how to play chess young. If you don’t know anything about chess, find them a tutor. If you cannot find anybody to teach chess theory to your child, give me a call. We can negotiate a reasonable fee so your grandkids can engage in deep thinking early on in their lives rather than growing weak with moods that are dependent on what others think of them online.

If your grandkid doesn’t like chess, try golf. You won’t regret it. Let me reveal a secret to you that is related to what we are talking about. I used to play chess alone and loved it. Playing chess taught me that I didn’t need the approval of anybody to be happy. I know, I know… this is the pinnacle of individualism but hey, life is interesting. Your grandchild can benefit from doing things by him or herself and not depending on the goodwill of others to be happy in life.

We see so many kids today anxious and depressed about life because their “friends” didn’t like their posts on facebook. Others are partially depressed because not too many people like their posts in general. Some are suicidal because nobody liked their posts. Is this the kind of life that a kid should have? In fact, is this the kind of life that people should have? No.

This is precisely why I advance the idea of engaging in social media communication in moderation. Why should anybody allow others to make them sick for the sake of technology use? Give me a break. Nobody needs that crap. I most definitely don’t allow people’s opinions about me to taint my internal happiness.

I’m stunned by the number of people who admit to having a problem with anxiety and depression in social media networks today yet are doing little to nothing to solve their problem. Public admitting of a problem isn’t a viable solution to any problem. A systematic solution is. Go learn chess or golf! Spend time with yourself and God. You won’t regret it, trust me.

There is hope. Your grandkids don’t need to grow up thinking that what others think of them defines them. What they really need is to have a couple of intrapersonal communication activities that force them to engage in deep introspection. They need to “converse” with their inner selves and realize that social media communication and interaction aren’t to be seen as the all in all in their lives. Everybody has an opinion. Fortunate are the kids who form an opinion by engaging in an activity that forces them to think critically about difficult situations and scenarios. Ladies and gents, chess and golf do just that.

Change Is Coming: Technology Is The Fuel

Let me break something to you. We are approaching the fourth industrial revolution. Energy, transportation, heath and communication will change drastically in the coming years. Get ready! The life of tomorrow won’t be anything like living how we live today in 2018. Our living systems are evolving at light speeds. Isn’t it true that we now have alternative methods for generating energy, new ways of transporting ourselves, receiving health care and communicating? Open your eyes. The future of humanity is already here.

We are going to witness a boom in smart power, or the technology that is able to self manage, in our life time. Don’t be surprised if you get a smart roof next time you change yours. Some of the ways we have traditionally moved tangible products in the past is already changing. We are seeing a peak in the adoption of labor robots in companies like Amazon and Wal-Mart and a plethora of self driven cars being introduced into the market. This trend won’t go away, by the way.

Telemedicine will explode within a decade, I bet. The technology is already here. Our systems are robust enough to accommodate this obvious trend. Medicine is expensive! We need an alternative to the high costs of health care. Can technology help us with making care more affordable? Probably, but at what cost to the local economy?

The way we are going to communicate with each other in the near future will make us laugh about how we used to communicate in the past. Did you remember the movie Superman back in the late 1970’s? Many of the things we saw in that movie, such as holographic images, will be mundane for most if not all of us.

Get ready for the idea of wearing third party mechanical parts in your body. People are going to need them in order to make a decent living in the future. Some are predicting that we are going to increase our economic growth in the years to come probably because of wearable technologies. I don’t know about that. Sure, technology in this instance is good because it may help us to make a better living. Would you be comfortable wearing an RFID chip in your arm? I’m not comfortable with that. How about you?

I am skeptical that human labor alone will be a big part of this boom in productivity. We may see an overall increase in our gross national product because of technology advancements but in an age where the natural and the artificial are merging, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict that companies will look for the superhuman employee or the perfect robot. The employee of the future is going to perhaps be a merge of digital and biological. Klaus Schwab, Founder and Chairman of the world economic forum, goes further to state that “the fourth revolution won’t change what we are doing, it changes us.” I concur.    

We are living in a period of transition where the unknown will meet innovation. Don’t be anxious about what is about to happen tomorrow in regards to technology and employment in our society. Focus on today’s problems and trust that God will take care of you regardless of how much you may think that technology is taking over. Don’t lose focus on what is important. Everything in life is changing including you. God is in control. You are not God.

Change is eminent. People of Cleveland, you will eventually be affected by the fourth industrial revolution and everything that is associated with it. Four of our most fundamental systems we have — energy, transportation, heath, and communication, will evolve. You will be transformed in one way or another. You may become a hybrid of man and machine for your own sake. The machine is expanding its lead. We are becoming an obsolete commodity in this old world of ours. I am not sure if the future will be necessarily promising for us. It will certainly be a technological one.

We live in a wild world. 

Loneliness for the sake of technology

Even though we have all these technologies available in our fingertips, people are more lonely than ever. It isn’t uncommon for folks to spend hours on social media and be highly depressed off-line. The indices of loneliness in America are so high that many are now looking for a minister of loneliness in order to help them to cope with this very sad reality we live these days. 

Listen to me. All these technologies are making you living a worse life. Lately, I’ve heard people in Cleveland saying the following: Having a child is too much work. I don’t want to spend time outside social media because it is so much more convenient to chat with people on-line than to engage in conversations off-line. Why would anybody waste their time building a family. It is too expensive! I couldn’t believe my ears. Am living in a nightmare or is this the society we live in these days? I am afraid that we are living in the second option, ladies and gentleman.

The smartphone is destroying us from within, literally. The amount of people who have thousands of “friends” on facebook yet are paying for others to cuddle with them on Friday evenings is increasing by the day. How ironic, isn’t it? The more social media we use, the less human contact we get and therefore the more human contact people need. In trueness, what I am writing in this article isn’t that surprising as lack of human contact will eventually drive people bananas. We were not made to live in isolation as a species. Only a madman or woman would allow him or herself to live a life with technology this way. The relational side effects that we are witnessing in social media nowadays are real. I am afraid that our society will grow smaller and colder in personality because of these absurd levels of technological use.

Wouldn’t it make way more sense to use technology less, meet more people off-line and grow a family so that when people get old, they have someone to care for them? Come on people. It isn’t that complicated, you know? Yet, people are complicating their own lives for the sake of technology everywhere, including in our small city. Social media is quickly turning into a cancer in our society. Why are we allowing cyberspace to consume our lives and make us less social?

I don’t know about you but to me, this is all non-sense. Have we gone mad or something? Maybe I am a bit too old school and believe in God, family, and good manners. There is just no way that in my household we are going to fold to the dangers of social media including this latest trend of loneliness. I may say A and you might reply with B sometimes but in the end, I argue, we better get along well and live in community advancing our innate need to procreate and live in harmony. Isn’t that what God has asked us to do anyways? 

Say no to technological isolation and the idea that social media connections are de facto close connections. Here is what I think. Live your life as if there is no tomorrow. Go meet people and expand your social capital off-line. Have an on-line presence and chat with people in social media in moderation. Go to church, meet a mate, work hard and smart and start a family. Glorify God and help others. By doing these common sense activities, you will help yourself in the process and I can almost guarantee that you won’t be lonely. Remember: You only live once, buddy. You might as well be reasonable and don’t assume that your facebook connections are really your friends.

Listen carefully: It ain’t worth the trouble to believe that all these technologies will make you more popular or together. Sherry Turkle, MIT professor coined the term, alone together for a reason. Just because something is permissible doesn’t make it beneficial. Go meet people offline and live your live to the fullest. As I always say, “use social media but in moderation.” You don’t deserve to be lonely for the sake of technology. Got it?    

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.    

Break To Make It Better

Let me shock some of you today. Sometimes, pain and suffering is good for you. Wait! Don’t go crazy and damage your body before reading what I am going to write next. We need to be reasonable, ok? Let me explain: Many times, people get better by experiencing a traumatic event such as getting trigger point treatment in a massage session, by re-breaking a bone, or burning out from the computer after years of engaging in bad behavior. Pain and suffering is necessary for things to get better in life. Don’t believe me? Go ask an economist if reducing interest rates is always the best course of action in an economic recession.

Let’s not forget how pain and suffering can help students. Without reading books and spending countless hours memorizing and applying knowledge gained, students won’t complete their college degrees and guess what? They won’t build the necessary skill sets they must have in order to succeed in life. When students go to a college or university, they aren’t only learning course content. The better ones understand that by pain and suffering, they are building resilience to face adversity in life, which is, in my opinion, worth 15 thousand dollars a year.

Most PhD’s have to experience pain and suffering when pursuing their PhD’s in graduate school, when going through the process of tenure, and when writing a book or two in their careers. When we use technology excessively, we get both positive and negative feelings. Back in 2011, I got a severe burnout from using tech devices non-stop. Although I got clinically sick from it, I’ve come to learn that experiencing pain and suffering from overusing computerized devices was actually good for me, after all. It has helped me to wake up from this modern day nightmare and create a research agenda addressing the danger of these tools in society. Since then, I have spoken on the topic with over 22 million people including you! Experiencing pain and suffering as far as technology use is concerned maybe good for you.

Do you think that I don’t know? What I am writing right now isn’t popular but I know that some of you agree with me. Why? Because what I am writing in here is real. Listen carefully: Failing to keep things real backfires. Remember: Pain and suffering is part of life. Do me a favor: Get a copy of this article and give it to your grandkids. They need to read this.

Many people have to break an old wound in order to make it heal better and stronger than before. It is no different when it comes to technology. People aren’t facing the pain and suffering that is required for people to stop using their smartphones excessively. If we break a bone in our body and this bone doesn’t set correctly, many doctors would recommend re-breaking the bone in order to fix it. In the end, induced pain and suffering will be better for the person as his leg won’t hurt as bad anymore. Facing our addiction to technology head on is a must if we are to live a good life. It will hurt less in the long run.   

Very few people in our society want to face smartphone pain and suffering today. How can we

fix our TechnoCrazy problem, then? We won’t, I bet. From this standpoint, burning out from the computer doesn’t seem to be a bad idea. I know and you know, as well. Not too many people will be able to deal with this idea that experiencing the pain and suffering of a burn out will be good for them in the long run. I understand… yet, I bet that this former solution would be more beneficial to them than the alternative.

We all experience pain and suffering in life. In 2018, we need to realize this more than ever. It is okay to experience some pain, suffering, or both in order to gain control of your life against technology. A burn out is a small price to pay for regaining control of yourself. If we have to pay this price to regain our humanity, so be it.

Fake Is Everywhere

Let me reveal something to you. I spent two years of my life infiltrating social media communities to literally find out what these kids were up to. This article is going to be about what I’ve found in this investigation. It will focus on the social media platform, instagram for simplicity. Are you ready for this? Here we go.

Kids are faking, or shall we say cheating, their way into fame. There are systems out there that can give “immediate fame” to those who are willing to buy it. Let me give you an example. I’ve met at least 100 people in social media who is using the app ‘autolike’ and celebrating the fact that their accounts now receive thousands of likes per post. This app gives people the impression of being popular without having the popularity. How do I know it works or is real? Because I’ve tried it with my account a number of times to test this thing. It is real… it works. Be very careful with what you see out there. All this technology has made me distrust what I see on-line. People are faking everywhere.

Conglomerates are forming to collaborate on spamming techniques. You heard that right. People are getting together to engage in spamming to grow their accounts and make themselves more popular. DM groups, as it is referred, is now being used extensively by millions of accounts on instagram in order to trick the system’s algorithm into believing that these spam accounts are more populated than they are. These communities meet 6 times a day, under different names, possessing a wide variety of characteristics that you must met in order to join them. They operate on a kind of, “the more the better” mindset. Do you have a 100K fake follower account, we want you! Jeez, this is the reality out there fellas. Organized spamming happens on facebook, telegram, and many other public applications. How do I know it works? You know it, right? I joined them and played with their systems. Does it work? Oh yeah.

Secrecy is at an all time high on-line. The good stuff is only being shared by a few. Nobody wants these secrets to be revealed in great detail and most want you to be clueless about it. Why? Well, because they can say to you… I can make you go viral! Give me $150 a month and I will make this work for you. The more ignorant you are about this new stuff we call social media, the better for them. There are millions of people making a living with this garbage, I must add. Some are even making a living writing books about this stuff. How do I know this? I bought a “secrets” book for $19.95. It was all there. I mean… the main ideas.

Before I forget, let me give you an app that reveals the amount of fake followers an instagram account has and also provides the expected likes and comments an account should have. It is called IG audit. Inflated numbers of likes and comments against the expected value of engagement as we say indicate participation in these activities I’ve just mentioned in paragraphs 2 and 3.

This is also what I’ve found out in my quest to better understand the social media community.  A degree of “fake” is expected and considered acceptable by these groups because the “like” factor tends to generates more likes. Let me say this differently… The more popular one appears to be tends to result in more people thinking that they are indeed popular.I know, it is weird. It actually reminds me of how life is in Brazil. It is all about rumors. If it appears to be, then it must be, type of thing.

There are too many communities forming out there to make them appear popular/likable to you. Question them first before accepting it at face value. Chances are very high that their accounts are being inflated. Like anything in life, it takes time to build anything of value. Social media is no different. Fake, group spam, and secrecy are running wild in cyberspace. Here is my advice to you: Doubt first before believing what you see in these social media communities.

E-Cigarettes Anyone?

Teens are vaping their brains out, ladies and gentleman.  What do I mean by that? Your grandchildren are smoking their brains out with e-cigarettes, citizens of Cleveland, TN. There is a vaping epidemic in our region and beyond and guess what? I think that we have this problem because of technology.

All these technologies, like e-cigarettes, can be quite destructive especially if they serve as an escape mechanism for these kids. Listen to me: Your grandkids are vaping their brains out because of all the technology they consume daily and because most of you have given your sons and daughters technologies to occupy their time. Do you know what I hear the most in my office at the university? This is what I hear, “Dr. A, I just want to relate to people.” Go figure!

What the kids really want is to talk to other people. The kids want to talk with others and when they fall short of achieving such an endeavor, they vape and vape a lot. Vaping is an industry understand that. I bet that the drug dealers are aware of this, as well. Are you still ignorant about it? 

Look, vaping, to me at least, is a consequence of kids using too much technology in society people. It is a consequence of living a life on the edge, full of stress without having anywhere to go. Technology when used without control, will have these side effects. According to my research, Americans are somewhere within the human robot syndrome phase of the human robot cycle. If my conclusions happen to be true, this means that we are almost to a point of total burn out in society which to me at least, has too many negative consequences.

I think that vaping is just one way in which teenagers and young adults express their “human robot behaviors” publicly in our town. Human beings were not made to be on the computer all the time! Consuming too much technology will backfire. As I always say, “Use technology but in moderation.” Don’t give your pearls to the pigs. If you see your kid vaping, evaluate your own technology use behaviors and try to correct them. I bet that your grandkids vape and use all these technologies because your children did it first.

Am I saying that the main problem are your kids and not your grandkids? That’s exactly what I’m saying. Let’s not forget that people learn through role modeling. Parents are role models! Your kids modeled you. Your grandkids modeled your kids. If your grandkids are vaping like a maniac, I bet that you had something to do with it. Behaviors are often acquired by association. Remember: Your actions do have an impact in the life of others.

Technology can be both sweet and sour. It can be so good to make our lives easier and more convenient but it can also turn our kids and grandkids into addicted beings desperate for the next high. It is such a tragedy what we are witnessing these days with this whole vaping thing. Just keep in mind that vaping isn’t the cause. It is the consequence of overuse of technology.

Now, let me ask you this, is it worth losing a generation to e-cigarettes for the sake of technology? I don’t think so. Human life is so much more precious than perishable machines like cigarettes and motherboards. You know what? Maybe I’m just a romantic living in this crazy world we call, “The modern world.”

As much as I hate writing this, I don’t think that vaping will cease anytime soon in our community and beyond. The kids are hooked on this modern day tobacco thing. The difference is that technology overuse is being the fuel behind this massive adoption of vapor in our society. I wonder what will be next. Well, I just don’t wanna know!

Teens are vaping their brains out, ladies and gentleman. In my view, vaping is somehow related to overuse of technology in or society. E-Cigarettes can cause a lot of grief for teenagers in Bradley county and we need to be aware of it. Just because something is technological doesn’t make it good or better. That’s for sure.

Loneliness for the sake of technology

Even though we have all these technologies available in our fingertips, people are more lonely than ever. It isn’t uncommon for folks to spend hours on social media and be highly depressed off-line. The indices of loneliness in America are so high that many are now looking for a minister of loneliness in order to help them to cope with this very sad reality we live these days. 

Listen to me. All these technologies are making you living a worse life. Lately, I’ve heard people in Cleveland saying the following: Having a child is too much work. I don’t want to spend time outside social media because it is so much more convenient to chat with people on-line than to engage in conversations off-line. Why would anybody waste their time building a family. It is too expensive! I couldn’t believe my ears. Am living in a nightmare or is this the society we live in these days? I am afraid that we are living in the second option, ladies and gentleman.

The smartphone is destroying us from within, literally. The amount of people who have thousands of “friends” on facebook yet are paying for others to cuddle with them on Friday evenings is increasing by the day. How ironic, isn’t it? The more social media we use, the less human contact we get and therefore the more human contact people need. In trueness, what I am writing in this article isn’t that surprising as lack of human contact will eventually drive people bananas. We were not made to live in isolation as a species. Only a madman or woman would allow him or herself to live a life with technology this way. The relational side effects that we are witnessing in social media nowadays are real. I am afraid that our society will grow smaller and colder in personality because of these absurd levels of technological use.

Wouldn’t it make way more sense to use technology less, meet more people off-line and grow a family so that when people get old, they have someone to care for them? Come on people. It isn’t that complicated, you know? Yet, people are complicating their own lives for the sake of technology everywhere, including in our small city. Social media is quickly turning into a cancer in our society. Why are we allowing cyberspace to consume our lives and make us less social?

I don’t know about you but to me, this is all non-sense. Have we gone mad or something? Maybe I am a bit too old school and believe in God, family, and good manners. There is just no way that in my household we are going to fold to the dangers of social media including this latest trend of loneliness. I may say A and you might reply with B sometimes but in the end, I argue, we better get along well and live in community advancing our innate need to procreate and live in harmony. Isn’t that what God has asked us to do anyways? 

Say no to technological isolation and the idea that social media connections are de facto close connections. Here is what I think. Live your life as if there is no tomorrow. Go meet people and expand your social capital off-line. Have an on-line presence and chat with people in social media in moderation. Go to church, meet a mate, work hard and smart and start a family. Glorify God and help others. By doing these common sense activities, you will help yourself in the process and I can almost guarantee that you won’t be lonely. Remember: You only live once, buddy. You might as well be reasonable and don’t assume that your facebook connections are really your friends.

Listen carefully: It ain’t worth the trouble to believe that all these technologies will make you more popular or together. Sherry Turkle, MIT professor coined the term, alone together for a reason. Just because something is permissible doesn’t make it beneficial. Go meet people offline and live your live to the fullest. As I always say, “use social media but in moderation.” You don’t deserve to be lonely for the sake of technology. Got it?    

Technology Is Bankrupting Us

Technology is nickel and dime-ing us. Modern American living requires families to have three flat screen televisions, multiple smartphones, a laptop, maybe a tablet, fast internet, cable, appliances, along with services and more. Have you calculated how much money all this technology is costing you? No wonder why so many people now live with their parents after graduating from colleges and universities.

Let me make it simple for you to see what I am seeing. Three smart flat screen televisions on sale at Best Buy cost our family $2500. They were the middle of the line model Insigna Brand. We own our smartphones now but it cost us $750. All right, I am a media professor so my computer isn’t cheap as I literally use my MacBook pro 7 days a week multiple hours a day. Let’s add an additional $1600 to the bill. Let’s keep counting, ladies and gentleman.

I own an iPad. Cost? $500. We pay a monthly fee for internet access along with a basic television package and it costs us $115 each month totaling $1380 each year. If we multiple our cost of internet and cable alone by 10, in a decade, our family spent $13800 on cable and internet access alone! It isn’t over: Our appliances are also expensive. We have spend $1200 on a washer and dryer. After all, I am a son of God and deserve to have some technology to help me with cleaning my clothes while I am at work. Let’s not forget that cell service bill, we pay an extra $100 a month.

Holy cow! based on this quick yet accurate display of family debt I disclosed to people the main reason why it is so difficult for youngsters to start a living or for a middle aged man like me to save more money for retirement. See? Technology is so expensive! Nobody can deny the fact that we are spending what we earn on mostly useless machinery. Maybe I should turn into a monk, sell my tech gadgets, and move to a remote place near the mountains of Tibet.

Listen carefully: Modern American living, mostly due to technology, is negatively affecting our finances because we now are conditioned to use all of these devices and services. In addition, corporate supervisors have turned the superhero technology user into the ideal employee. With very few exceptions, most places of employment want to see its employees maximizing the use of technology in their work and consequently be connected to technology even when on vacation.

What a tragedy! We are spending too much money on technology and for what? To be able to waste our time on facebook, reply emails on our tablets, or watch television on a curved ultra HD TV? I don’t think it is worth it people. I am all for technology when it helps us to advance our life’s mission. The moment that technology starts invading my space and my friends start promoting the latest technology gadgets, I know that it is time to get away and think critically about how technology is invading my area.   

I don’t know exactly what people think about all these technologies we have today.  Camera apps, photo scanners, banks, you name it. I am critical of them especially when propaganda starts promoting tech toys that we simply don’t need. By the way, if people own an iPhone 6 today, people won’t need an iPhone 8 for a while. Just remember that, okay?    

Technology is bankrupting us. We must fight back against the technology obsession, put tech limits in our lives, and disdain all these advancements in workforce technology until we have an idea about what the innovation has to offer in the first place. Technology won’t solve all of your problems but it will increase your cost of living. That I am sure.

A Touch Of Humanity Is Necessary

Eight out of ten small businesses fail within the first eighteen months in America. Who can deny that the odds of building and running a successful small business are totally against us, entrepreneurs. How can anybody create real change with these kinds of odds? It is very tough, I must add. Well lads, let me offer you a potential answer for this former dilemma. It won’t be exactly what you are expecting to hear but I hope you are taking notes. Are you ready? Here we go: In order for contemporary entrepreneurs to make things happen, they have to use technology combined with humanity.

Yes, you heard that right. You need to reinvent your craft by using both technology and human skills in order to survive these days, long term. Depending on peoples’ circumstances, people may be better off running a store on a truck, promoting their business through social bookmarking or hiring talented freelancers working on commission, I don’t know. Only by trial and error, we shall find out the answer but one thing is certain, our solution must involve technomoderation!

What I do know is that you will need to be different. Technology will be a part of peoples’ operations whether people like it or not; as well as, their ability to act like a fine human being exercising good judgement with others, building influential connections through meaningful conversations, and many times by getting involved in local affairs with passion and enthusiasm as a means to build goodwill with your fellow citizens.   

You need to be a river of innovation flowing towards an ocean of opportunities in real life! You can’t afford to be a dinosaur of ideas in a world driven by artificial intelligence. Stop! Don’t even start it. I am not saying that people need to be using their smartphones all the time or that life should be about being on the tablet all of the time. What I am saying is that the future of business is to be created by us all combining elements of technology and humanity with a touch of moderation.

Wow, I am poetic today! Do you like it? It reminds me of when I was a teenager, when I used to write poems for a fee for friends. Hey, entrepreneurship is nothing new to me! Anyways… let’s get back to the article.    

Listen to this middle age, foreign born, Brazilian-American citizen who loves to shop local here in Cleveland, Tennessee. This idea that technology in itself will solve all of our problems is overrated. What we all need to do today is to use social media wisely along with strong elements of public relations. As I said before, people will need technology in order to design and develop products and services. In fact, responsible social media work will be a necessity to advance people’s most intricate dreams along with tangible artifacts. There is just no way that entrepreneurs today can scale anything these days without a strong integrated media based method for positioning their brand driven by a strong message delivered by a human being.

Real differentiation in the market and client gain is now dependent on technology with a touch of human ingenuity. Remember: Maximization of human resources should definitely be a part of your business strategy innovators of Southeastern Tennessee. Don’t give up on the human element if you want to build a successful business in 2018 and beyond.

Let me leave you today with this: What used to work in 1975 doesn’t work today, for the most part. Department stores are closing their doors everywhere. Car dealerships now give 10K in rebates! Where are the librarians? People need to understand their local market and what they need locally, not globally. Use technology to help you build your brand but don’t ignore the fact that people, not technology, tell a resonating story to you audience. Your remarkable ability to communicate will be the differentiator. What I am saying is: Your humanity, as well as technology are the ingredients for success in 2018. There is no alternative.

Talent Is The Differentiator

 

Let me start this column by saying this. I believe in the use of technology but in moderation. I don’t hate technology and I do think that we cannot live without it. All that I’m saying is that we need to be careful to not have technology tools and platforms take over our lives for the sake of technology use alone because it is sexy to be a youtuber. The internet and everything social we hear about it, is here to stay. We need to embrace them because this is where we are going. In this article, I will tell you what I think is okay to do, in regards to technology. 

Let me make a strong statement. It is unlikely that you will become a youtube superstar because being a superstar is statistically improbable. Now, let me elaborate on what I want to say. First, it is okay to use it. Please consider the following if you may. It is okay to use all this social media stuff as long as you spend enough time producing quality content and engaging with your audience. Creating good content, along with seeding your posts into a niche done continuously and overtime, can be beneficial for you or your organization. Going to facebook to share unfocused messages in an attempt to gain attention from others is time consuming and meaningless. 

Be smart. Use your time wisely when using these platforms. My suggestion is that you write a blog from Monday to Friday or write articles to be included in publications like LifeHack where your expertise of being human has much more value. I bet you will get much more attention this way than sharing photos of smiling cats at the north pole with your friends who probably don’t care about your shares.     

Second, be skeptical about uncontrolled social media use. Use doesn’t guarantee success! I believe that uncontrolled use of anything is bad. Making a person look bad because they don’t use social media for hours on end each day is irresponsible. Not everybody is able to produce quality content at speed seven days a week regardless of training. Let me elaborate on this. I’m currently doing an instagram campaign within the motivation niche. I post content on a daily basis which literally takes me approximately 5 minutes to produce and then share these posts with the masses. I engage with followers three times a day for 15 minutes a pop. I give myself an extra 30 minutes to advance my mission online. I spend less than two hours a day on this process. This past month, I received 5,429 post likes, 3,242 comments and hundreds of visits to my profile. However, I happen to have a talent for media.  

Let’s not forget that Dr. A is a professor at Lee University who teaches 4 classes a semester in a communication arts department. Using technology all the time because it might be the right thing to do may backfire. Listen carefully: talent is a variable in social media like it is in football Please realize that I’m not saying that I don’t like technology. I love it, as you know. But, we must be reasonable and realize that not everyone has the time, resources, or the talent to be a youtube superstar. 

Lastly, it is okay to reveal who you are. The internet exposes things. You can’t fake it. My recommendation is for you start embracing the internet, with reason. In the end, it will be better for you and me to say what we really think than to pretend to be something we aren’t. Back in the day, faking was easier and it wasn’t network bound. In 2018, being fake backfires. Everything is connected to everything else. Being two faced, in the age of social media, will damage your reputation. Don’t do it. 

In sum, we aren’t crabs who go through life moving backwards. Social media is here to stay. Thats where we are headed. By 2020, your grandsons won’t watch television anymore. Smartphones will totally replace the TV role in society. Just be aware that being a personality on-line requires a lot of work and talent. Having a web presence is all right, as long as it doesn’t control your life.  

Overuse of Technology Can Kill

We have an opioid crisis in America. How do I know that? Because irresponsible physicians are prescribing opioid drugs too loosely and due to the fact that some of my friends have been affected by this inhumane epidemic. It is de facto one of the biggest societal crises of our time. Listen to me: At the core, this is a crisis of overuse of technology. 

The reality is that many of our children are becoming orphans and tons of Americans are dyeing every year because of hydrocodone, methadose, and oxycodone. Technology, ladies and gentleman, has been one of the main avenues to both distribute and consume these opioid prescriptions. Teens and other adults can now go to regular and encrypted websites, also known as the dark web, in order to get a hold of these drugs. How sad and dangerous. 

By the way, I’m not against people using the internet or prescription drugs to live a better life. I have a problem when technology starts making us live a worse life. 

Listen carefully: Technology has side effects like any other thing. Opioids are no exception as well as the mighty internet. As I always say, “use technology but in moderation” and if technology doesn’t make your live a better life, don’t use it! 

The proliferation of prescription drugs online is a real problem that can’t be ignored. All these technologies are causing so much pain in the live of so many. We need to so something about this. Overuse of technology and pain are one and the same.   

A dose of morphine equals 222 ibuprofen, 360 aspirin and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is as strong as morphine. Oxycodone is 50% stronger than morphine. Methadone is 3 times stronger than morphine. Buprenorphine is 40 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl is 50-100 times stronger than morphine! And the last… Carfentanil is 10 thousand times stronger than morphine. That’s a lot. 

Although the Prescription Drug Monitoring System (PDMP’s) monitors the distribution of drugs in the market for people’s safety, technology is making it more complicated for them to enforce their safe policies which is putting in danger the lives of millions of Americans every year. Overuse of technology is at the center of this problem. Get real — technology can kill.

We have an opioid crisis in America. Many of our children are becoming orphans and tons of Americans are dyeing every year because of technology overdose. We need to so something about this. Overuse of technology and pain are one and the same. If technology doesn’t make your live a better life, don’t use it! Get real — technology can kill.

Production 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.  

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.

Public Schools Help Sustain Culture

This upcoming Fall, my daughter Sophia will be attending one of Cleveland Elementary schools. Why am I putting her in public school, you may be asking? The main reason why Sophia will be going to one of our county schools isn’t because she will have access to computers in the classroom. Although I believe that kids should use technology in moderation for learning, Sophia will attend a Bradley county public school in order to learn more about people. In life, people must be prepared to get along with other people in order to live in community, deal with adversity, learn how to behave in public and communicate, and fight injustice when required. Also, in order to be comfortable and stick for themselves when required.

Stop! Think! Reflect! Be a good father or mother. Before putting politics ahead of common sense and reasoning, think about what is best for your children. I am from the position that people who are prepared to deal with different types of people will eventually have the upper hand in life. I honestly don’t think that nurturing children to a point of protecting them from facing adversity is a good idea. Eventually these kids grow older and become clueless about how the world actually operate. Let me add a caveat for you, fellas. There is no technology that will solve your grandchildren’s problem when they are bullied later in life because the parents decided to protect them from the evil of this world. Kids who don’t experience interpersonal conflict tend to become severely handicapped in the workforce later in life unless they themselves realize that they are behind, read self help books extensively and are mentored by someone who actually understands how the world operates and is willing to share. 

My parents have always protected me. I was given every technology you could dream of back in the day. The problem is that technology doesn’t teach kids about people. What I got with technology, I lost in understanding verbal communication, facial cues and body language, and basic tenets of culture. I had no concept of privacy and space back in Brazil. So I question, how good is technology if you don’t gain the basics of your culture? Avoiding conflict isn’t the answer, either.

Going to a public elementary school helps kids to better understand the role of authority, and help them to learn how to deal with situations that kids dislike yet they have to learn how to act accordingly. Kids in public schools also learn how to face and handle conflict. Sometimes, saying something back or retaliating will quit the non-sense, even if the kid loses the battle. At least, this is what my dear old friend Kurt Dudt, a public educated former US marine who trained the South Vietnamese to fight the vietcong, once told me. There is honor in facing a bully even if you lose, he used to say. Look, allowing your grandchildren to hide behind a computer screen won’t protect them later in life. Very often, the former transforms great kids into cowards which in itself have some serious consequences. I woke up, came out of the shell, and now people think twice before making me mad. Your children deserve to know how to defend themselves when necessary against anyone, as well. Virtual Schools don’t teach your kids how to handle these things.

Technology is good for assisting kids to learn but it falls short to enabling children to develop themselves in society. We need to prepare our kids to be ready to respond appropriately in life so they can succeed. I am from the position that kids must be able to decipher between good and not so good people and find mechanisms to cope with them. We live in a diverse world, ladies and gentleman. Kids should be exposed to other ethnicities and realize that not every family raises their kids the same way. We can’t always rely on a computer to tell us how to think or advise us on what to do. Your grandkids need to know about people. Schools, not technology, are a playground for it. 

Technology Won’t help You To Navigate Communities

One of the best skills I’ve developed in my life is the ability to be quiet and observe verbal and non-verbal behavior around me. It is amazing what people find out when they simply pay close attention to what others say through words or actions. Let me share this with you. Silence, ladies and gentleman, is a source of great strength as Lao Tzu once stated. Being constantly on a smartphone won’t help you to better understand your surroundings where you work and live. Here is my recommendation for you: Put that fancy smartphone to the side and pay close attention to the world around you, especially how people behave and speak with you.

Your ability to read people is so much more valuable than going to facebook to share wall updates. You can’t give up being able to read facial expression because if you do, chances are you won’t live long. Eventually, people will take advantage of you to a point of no return. Being able to make objective instead of emotional decisions is also a critical skillset that people must have these days in order to navigate society with a sense of authority and control. Yet, too many people today are choosing to spend their lives in front of the machine wasting their time doing frivolous actions and learning very little. I bet that most of your grandkids will choose an app instead of almost anything else. Making decisions emotionally could cost you losing that so sought after job promotion.

Listen carefully: Being constantly on your computer will reduce your chances of being a human polygraph because to achieve the former, people need to be quiet and study key concepts of nonverbal communication and persuasion. I am not aware of any city or town, regardless of size and state, that will allow strangers into their most intricate local protocols simply by them liking the city council’s facebook page. Outsiders must gain a great degree of trust before access to any community is granted, unless a member of that community introduces him to the group. Do you really think that your instagram campaign will help you to get elected to a local non-profit board? I don’t think that this technology will help you any. Your ability to communicate matters, remember that. 

I am fresh here in Cleveland but some of you have been very gracious to help me to navigate this nice but unfamiliar territory. It is because of your advice, not a smartphone, that now I attend a good church. Let me say this loud and clear: You are so much better than any app we find in the latest available smartphone. I wouldn’t be a part of this community without your help. Thank you! At least, I have the common sense to realize that in this life, everybody needs to be helped by someone which is in itself a consequence to choosing people over technology. 

Remember: Your smartphone is maybe a great tool for you to call your parents, receive and answer emails and participate in social media conversations throughout the day. I urge you to put your smartphone ahead of your life. The value for doing that is simply not worth it. You would be so much better off by building contacts face-to-face than to naively believe that a piece of perishable machinery could de facto help you with navigating though society. In reality, life doesn’t work that way.

What really concerns me about people choosing technology over people in this instance is their overall inability to see and “feel” the obvious. We live in a rough world where too many individuals take advantage of others. Take the example of scammers taking advantage of the elderly. Why should we sacrifice our own abilities to communicate and perceive behavior for the sake of technology? Well, I won’t.

Choose to be quiet and listen. Pay close attention to what people do and say around you. Being able to read people is a weapon, compatriots. Technology, I don’t need you for that. Understanding my surroundings is something that I value and you should, as well.

Intrapersonal Communication Trumps Technology

When I was young, I chose to engage in intrapersonal communication activities like playing competitive golf and chess because I’ve always felt better doing “my thing” alone. Like a typical introverted person, I didn’t need the attention of others to gain my daily energy then and I don’t need the attention of anybody today to be energized either. I wish that hundreds perhaps thousands of teenagers in Bradley County could experience what I have experienced early on in my life because working on your own forces people to get things done without having to abide by the approval of others. I bet that many of them would realize that what other people do or don’t do in social media is actually irrelevant to their lives. The same is also true for the opinions people form online based on what people share in social media networks. 

This is what I’m saying: If people focus on activities involving them only, they will build a stronger capacity to do things on their own and ignore the mad ideas people sometimes form about them.  There are way too many people these days caring too much about what other people say about them in social media. Who cares what people think of you if you are secure in yourself? I feel that your grandkids are growing up without that much needed resilience to face adversity which in itself may be causing them to be depressed sometimes suicidal. Listen carefully: Instead of using technology as a pacifier, teach them how to play chess young.  If you don’t know anything about chess, find them a tutor. If you cannot find anybody to teach chess theory to your child, give me a call. We can negotiate a reasonable fee so your grandkids can engage in deep thinking early on in their lives rather than growing weak with moods that are dependent on what others think of them online.   

If your grandkid doesn’t like chess, try golf. You won’t regret it. Let me reveal a secret to you that is related to what we are talking about. I used to play chess alone and loved it. Playing chess taught me that I didn’t need the approval of anybody to be happy. I know, I know… this is the pinnacle of individualism but hey, life is interesting. Your grandchild can benefit from doing things by him or herself and not depending on the goodwill of others to be happy in life.

We see so many kids today anxious and depressed about life because their “friends” didn’t like their posts on facebook. Others are partially depressed because not too many people like their posts in general. Some are suicidal because nobody liked their posts. Is this the kind of life that a kid should have? In fact, is this the kind of life that people should have? No.

This is precisely why I advance the idea of engaging in social media communication in moderation. Why should anybody allow others to make them sick for the sake of technology use? Give me a break. Nobody needs that crap. I most definitely don’t allow people’s opinions about me to taint my internal happiness.

I’m stunned by the number of people who admit to having a problem with anxiety and depression in social media networks today yet are doing little to nothing to solve their problem. Public admitting of a problem isn’t a viable solution to any problem. A systematic solution is. Go learn chess or golf! Spend time with yourself and God. You won’t regret it, trust me.   

There is hope. Your grandkids don’t need to grow up thinking that what others think of them defines them. What they really need is to have a couple of intrapersonal communication activities that force them to engage in deep introspection. They need to “converse” with their inner selves and realize that social media communication and interaction aren’t to be seen as the all in all in their lives. Everybody has an opinion. Fortunate are the kids who form an opinion by engaging in an activity that forces them to think critically about difficult situations and scenarios. Ladies and gents, chess and golf do just that. 

How to deal with cyberbullying

An old U.S marine once told me that going to war is sometimes necessary. Despite all the advances in technology, we can say with certainty that human behavior is predictable and that cyberbullying will never be fully eradicated. If you love your child, you must train them to standup for themselves when a bully confronts them and tell them that facing a bully head on is okay. In the new age of information, we need to teach our kids more life skills than anything else.

Why so many parents are afraid to speak about serious matters with their kids is beyond me. Cyberbullying isn’t going to magically go away but teen suicide rates because of bullying can decrease. We need to help our kids to defend themselves face-to-face rather than making them believe that young and immature kids will stop bullying them especially behind the walls of a social media platform. Kids need to develop strong social skills at an early age and not doubt themselves by what others say on-line. Tell your child: You are so much more than what others say in these social media environments.

All this technology is handicapping our children socially and making talented young minds be scared for life because of cyberbullying. We need to do something about this issue in a meaningful way. Here is my solution. First, start communicating with your children early on about the importance of developing courage and the inevitable reality that they one day will face opposition in life. Explain to them that technology will never protect them from the dangers of cyberbullying or any other bullying. Make sure you tell them that in this world, what they do with technology, not technology itself, is what will help them to be somebody one day.

Second, develop a TechnoModeration strategy for your kids. Enable them to use technology for a few hours each day for educational purposes up to 5th grade. Don’t give your kid their own smartphone before they reach the age of 13 under any circumstances. Install and tell your kids that you have installed TeenSafe on their smartphones and that you will be checking on their smartphone activity once in a while because you are the parent, period. If they give you a hard time about it you tell them, “Ok. You won’t have a smartphone then because I am the parent.” Remember, you are not your kid’s buddy. You are their parent.

Third, when your kid reaches the age of 15, have a conversation with them about sex. Explain that in this life there are tons of predators who want to take advantage of them including those who will bully them for self gratification. Affirm to them that chances are high that one day, somebody inevitably will say something on-line that they won’t like. Give them the assurance that they can and probably should let you know when that happens. Make a vow with them! As long as they use technology moderately, you will pay for their smartphone bill. If you have a difficult time conveying your message to them when they reach puberty, ask someone you trust, a close adult friend, to intervene.

Lastly, before they turn 18 make a deal with them. If anyone attempts to cyberbully them, tell them to ignore the message and ask them to come home. Have a chat with them about the situation and remind them that sticking to themselves is okay. Help them if necessary. The goal is to train them that they, not technology or any other person, control their lives and that you are there for them if they need help. I bet that our indices of suicide in teens among those who experience cyberbullying would decrease exponentially.

Ladies and gents, we can make great strides in cyberbullying by being involved parents. Helping our kids with conquering these cyber challenges is part of our job descriptions as parents. Be ready to coach your son or daughter in this highly technological world we live in these days. Cyberbullying is a problem but we can fix it. All we have to do is to be a bit more involved and pay attention to the early signs of abuse.

Heart Attacks Could Be Next

Ladies and gentleman, I’m afraid that way too many people in our society will suffer heart attacks because of technology. What do I mean by that, you may be wondering. Well, let me explain. Screen time use in our society is at an all time high but listen to this: We are only at the beginning of this mess. We are going to be way more connected to the “screen” than many think.

Well, in reality we are already using computerized devices way too much as it is. How many hours of screen time are you using everyday? Do you know? How about your sons, daughters, and grandkids? Let me reveal something to you. If you have an iPhone these days, you can track how many hours you or your relatives are using on their smartphones everyday. In a recent keynote I gave for the Cleveland Media Association, I asked the audience who were iPhone users this question, “How many hours were you on your screen yesterday?” Those who had the function open — Screen time — answered on average, four and a half hours a day. That’s a part time job in smartphone!

By the way, what can you do with twenty extra hours each week? Let me see. Exercise, start a side photo business, play with your kids, watch ten 2 hour movies, play three full rounds of monopoly, or my favorite: play a game of chess with Dr. A for a full week! Hey, I do think deeply and always like to strategize my moves in everything I do in life. Don’t judge me. Anyways! You can do a lot with 20 extra hours on anything and let’s not forget: Twenty hours a week times fifty-two equals one thousand and forty hours a year. I’m coming to the conclusion that Americans don’t have a weight problem. Americans have a technology use problem.

Many of you won’t like to hear what I’m going to say next. I don’t even think that most people know that they are on their smartphones that much. The people at CMA were shocked when I asked the question to them. My friends on social networking sites always find the most absurd reasons to justify why they aren’t always connected. It’s shocking, even comical to read their comments sometimes on facebook. If you think that your kids and grandkids aren’t half robots in behavior, think again. I bet they are and frankly, I think they can’t see they are which can be quite scary. This lack of self awareness of computer use may cause your kid and grandkids to over stress, have hypertension and consequently have a heart attack.

This is really what I think. We are going to start seeing people having heart attacks on a large scale especially because of social media network use and tech productivity because what is being asked of us is literally impossible for a hearty person to attain. The social media network algorithms expect people to engage with others in order to grow their accounts. Bosses are expecting his or her employees to be on call 24/7 many times during vacations. The stress of not replying to an important email overnight in some, causes millions to be so stressed to a point of having to see a psychiatrist once maybe twice a month. Consumption of valium and opioids is at an all time high. Colleges and universities are clogged with kids suffering from anxiety and depression!  Heart attacks are next.

Human beings were not made to be slaves of technology. Use technology but in moderation! I don’t care which method you use to get away from these devices but please do. You don’t want to suffer a heart attack in order to wake up from all of this. I’m afraid that this petition is already happening a bit too late but hey — I’m a believer. Next time you see your family members so engaged with their iPhones, ask them: Did you check the screen time function on your iPhone in your settings lately? How many hours a day is it saying? Tell them that Dr. A is warning people in Cleveland about the dangers of heavy smartphone use and hearth attacks. I think they will understand. What do you think?   

Good Try Technology!

If you have updated your iPhone’s operating system yesterday, you then got a message from Apple notifying you with the following message, “Do not disturb while driving. Your iPhone can silence incoming notifications whenever you appear to be driving.” It is kind of cool but how ironic, isn’t it? It seems that a group of technology gurus have just attempted to use technology to “cure” the massive technology addiction problem that they have created in the first place for the sake of innovation diffusion. On the surface, this is great news for some. Insurance agents are probably loving this new iPhone feature. 

Agents are probably saying, “Hey, you can now control your life and avoid a car accident! You can now choose to whether accept text messages while you are driving or not.” Wow! See? technology is wonderful. Let me help you to save some money because of that. Well, this new “do not disturb while driving” function on the iPhone is good. It serves a small purpose but in the grand scheme of things… its relevance is dismal.

I am hearing someone near Ocoee Street screaming, “What are you talking about Dr. A? This new technology is going to stop us from overusing technology! It has just cured the problem it created with technology.”  By now, you know me. I am skeptical about this new development. Let me explain.

This whole idea that technology can “cure” technological problems is overrated because most of our problems are human problems caused in large part by the technology. What if I told you that this technology will do very little, if anything, to help you with your life pursuits unless you work in the insurance business. If you do, then you probably will profit a bit from it. Managers now expect you to work more and be on call. You now are used to hearing from your family on the way back from work. Your teenage daughter now communicates with you via text message. By the way, do you really think that people will activate this function anyways?

Our society along with the smartphone have created the modern day superhero worker. Most companies today premium these superman-like people in the modern world who put in an average of 60+ hours a week of work, who are able to accept a wide variety of extra responsibilities for little compensation, who perform their job tasks all the time and accepts incoming calls from a client or a fellow co-worker while on vacation for the advancement of the enterprise. Do you really think that the Captain Americas of the new era will engage in self-sacrifice and stop using their devices (not receiving texts while driving) at the price of losing face with their overworked supervisors? I doubt they will.

Ladies and gentleman, in the grand scheme of things, all of this fuss about technology stopping text messages coming in to our phones while we drive will prove to be quite irrelevant to the majority of us. It is undeniably a great tool for insurance agencies as driving while distracted costs them millions of dollars each year in car accidents. What is there for you is nothing more than an expensive function added to your smartphone and maybe a reminder that you should be looking at the road not at your smartphone. Do you really need a tech tool to take your eyes off the road? You may but do you really?

This is what I think — people need to realize that whenever a new technology is infused in any system, changes will inevitably occur in that system. When the smartphone went mainstream back in 2007, the smartphone didn’t just serve as a new gadget on the market in isolation. In practice, smartphone technology has changed the way we operate in society in a number of respects. I honestly don’t think that a computer blocking text messages going to your phone will change your machine habits much in the same way that aspirin will never cure headaches only temporarily alleviate its symptoms. Technology has changed our world because it has redesigned our living systems. This new smartphone function won’t do much for you or me.

Artificial Intelligence And Robots Might Change Banking Forever

According to Pandit, 30% of bank jobs may disappear in the next five years. Who is Vikram Pandit anyways? Well, he was Citigroup’s CEO at the height of the great recession between the years 2012-2017. He is claiming that artificial intelligence and robotics are going to be the technologies that may slash back office bank jobs. I think he is right on, by the way. Think about it. Why would any company extend you a job offer if they can produce a technology that makes your job obsolete? 

Citizens of Cleveland, Tennessee…I’ve said this once and will say it again. Modern technologies are stealing your jobs! Before we make the decision to adopt these things, we need to think about its systemic consequences. Here is how I make my decisions about upcoming technologies, being cognizant of our community as a whole versus just me as an individual. If the technology will make our lives better overall, then we should use it, support it and even defend it. If technology won’t make our lives better, we should stop using it, boycott it, and be vocal against it.

Listen carefully: Artificial Intelligence is likely to take your jobs away. Machine learning and cloud computing will automate back office banking job functions and will impact their overall operation. If you work for a bank in town, consider this when celebrating all these advancements in artificial intelligence. You may be the next in line to lose your job.   

Commercial banks are going to adopt advanced technology in order to reduce costs at your expense. Researchers are estimating almost 800,000 bank jobs to be cut because of these upcoming AI technologies. In Europe, the number is higher. I wonder how many jobs AI will cut in emergent markets like India and Brazil. How can this be good news for anybody, by the way? The robots are coming to replace you! But many, including thousands who work in the bank industry, worship all these advancements in technology. Do you see the irony?

Pandit is not alone with his predictions. Axel Lehmann, UBS’s COO seems to agree with him claiming that artificial intelligence will literally change the banking industry’s operation. In an earlier article I’ve written here at the Cleveland Daily Banner, I have described how the new production equation attempts to eliminate its labor portion in an attempt to make production equal capital rather than production equaling labor plus capital. Perhaps, the former might be the way banks try to keep afloat because of all this infusion of technology in their living systems. No matter which industry you are in, most enterprises I know operate under a well thought out business model,  a clever business strategist should maximize the uses of technology (AI, robotics, and such) in order to maximize profit. I get it… In the end it is about money or shall we say, making a lot of money. I am convinced of one thing, introducing a new business model maximizing artificial intelligence and robotics will reduce labor in the new age of information.

I predict that the new banking model using artificial intelligence and robotics will end up imploding in the long-run.  Banks are going to end up shooting themselves in the foot by believing that labor is irrelevant to their operation. The question is whether we should invest in people or in technology. Having served in the capacity of interim department chair in two public institutions before joining the faculty at Lee University, where I had to make some of these decisions, I have always opted to keep good people. I don’t really think that artificial intelligence or a robot can do the work of an experienced banker. Do you really want to call a 1-800 number to get support about that deposit you did on Friday that didn’t go through? I don’t think you do. Do you? 

Within social media, ‘fake’ is everywhere

Let me disclose something to you. I spent two years of my life infiltrating social media communities to literally find out what these kids were up to.

This column is going to be about what I’ve found in this investigation. It will focus on the social media platform Instagram, for simplicity. Are you ready for this? Here we go.

Kids and others are “faking,” or shall we say cheating, their way into fame. There are systems out there that can give “immediate fame” to those who are willing to buy it.

Let me give you an example. I’ve met at least 100 people in social media who are using the app “autolike,” and celebrating the fact that their accounts now receive thousands of purportedly legitimate “likes” per post. This app gives some people in social media the impression of being popular without having the “popularity” they’re seeking.

How do I know it works, or is real? Because I’ve tried it with my account a number of times to test this thing. It is real. It works.

Be very careful with what you see out there. I say this because, honestly, all this technology has made me distrust what I personally see online. People are faking everywhere.

Conglomerates are forming to collaborate on spamming techniques. Yes, you heard that right. People are getting together to engage in spamming to grow their accounts and make themselves more popular.

DM groups, as direct messaging communities are referred to, are now being used extensively by millions of accounts on Instagram, in order to trick the system’s algorithm into believing that these spam accounts are more populated than they are.

These communities meet six times a day, under different names, and possess a wide variety of characteristics that you must meet in order to join them. They operate on a kind of “The more, the better” mindset.

Do you have a 100K fake follower account? We want you! Jeez, this is the reality out there, fellas. Organized spamming happens on Facebook, Telegram and many other public applications. How do I know it works? You know it, right? I joined them and played with their systems. Does it work? Oh yeah.

Secrecy is at an all-time high online. The good stuff is only being shared by a few. Nobody wants these secrets to be revealed in great detail, and most want you to be clueless about it.

Why? Well, because they can say to you, “I can make you go viral! Give me $150 a month and I will make this work for you.” The more ignorant you are about this new stuff we call social media, the better for them.

There are millions of people making a living with this garbage, I must add. Some are even making a living writing books about this stuff. How do I know this? I bought a “secrets” book for $19.95. It was all there. I mean, the main ideas.

Before I forget, let me tell you about an app that reveals the amount of fake followers an Instagram account has, and also provides the expected likes and comments an account should have. It is called IG audit. Inflated numbers of likes and comments against the expected value of engagement, as we say, indicate participation in these suspect activities I’ve just mentioned.

This is also what I’ve found out in my quest to better understand the social media community.  A degree of “fake” is expected – and considered acceptable – by these groups, because the “like factor” tends to generate more likes. Let me put this another way: The more popular someone appears to be tends to result in more social media site or platform visitors thinking that these posters are indeed popular. I know, it is weird. It actually reminds me of how life is in Brazil. It is all about rumors. It really is an “If it appears to be, then it must be,” type of thing.

There are too many communities forming out there to make them appear popular/likable to you. Question them first before accepting the information at face value. Chances are very high that their accounts are being inflated.

Like anything in life, it takes time to build anything of value. Social media is no different. False (or “fake”) information, group spam and secrecy are running wild in cyberspace.

Here is my advice to you: Doubt first, before believing what you see in these social media communities.

———

(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.)

Technology is overrated!

Some have argued that technology has created more jobs than it has destroyed. I am skeptical about this socially accepted romantic TechnoLove cult. I am starting to believe that technology is doing more damage than good for us. If you have been reading my column here in the Cleveland Daily Banner these past few months, you can probably attest that I am not a “TechnoGroupie” or a “TechnoPhobic” but a TechnoModerator — a person who enjoys a chat about reasonable uses of technology in society. I am not sold on this idea that job applications are always to be completed on-line.

Ladies and gentleman, application tracking technology has made job applications more democratic but it certainly didn’t make them any easier or more effective,. In America today, there are millions of unfilled jobs despite all this technology we enjoy having.    

What a nightmare for many! Do you need a retail job? You need to go on-line and apply! Are you interested in working for a big accounting firm, “check out our application on-line.” We shall contact you if you are a “fit.” Good luck! Who is a better fit? You or the other 500-1000 applicants you are competing against?

Let’s start with the basics. Have you ever experienced troubles with an on-line job application system? Well, I have. Last year, when I was looking for professorship positions in the southern region, I came across this quite elaborated and interesting university’s job application system.  The main problem with this system was that only God was good enough to fit the position! What a waste of my time and probably theirs. Sometimes I wonder what organizations are thinking when they put together these websites to attract star employees.

With things being fair, applicant tracking software has made the job of many big corporations  and university hiring committees much easier because these systems help organizations with controlling information management, application storage, and organizing and accessing relevant data. From that standpoint, advances in recruiting technology have revolutionized the way we collect applicant data. However, like with all types of innovation, there are side effects. Although these technologies assist leaders with planning, implementing and managing the hiring process, it also creates a number of challenges for good candidates. By the way, I am not aware of any high paying position today that doesn’t require applicants to spend a considerable amount of time filling out these on-line job applications. If you are looking for a new job, expect filling out 40-50 of these applications.

My wife has spent nights on end submitting job applications in this past few months. I witnessed her spending two hours to complete one single on-line application! She got denied the next day. Holy cow! What a waste of time. Thankfully, due to hard work and social capital, she found a position in Ooltewah as a beauty consultant. What a blessing for our family! We kind of needed it.   

Look, I get it — Advances in technology has helped companies with storing, organizing and accessing hundreds, sometimes thousands of digital job applications. From a logistical standpoint, that’s great. The problem with the automation of the application process is that millions of people apply for jobs everyday but employers only scan the resumes. It seems to me that all this technology has forced us to hire resumes rather than hiring people. We seem to have lost the human component in the application process. What a shame!

Back in the day, when people didn’t have to apply for jobs on-line to be a store associate at a retail location, speaking with a manager would increase your chances of getting hired. No wonder why job turnover is so high these days. People are sick of this tedious data entry nightmare. So the question stands —Is technology making our lives better or worse? Probably worse. “TechnoLove” maybe overrated!    

TechnoLove is Overrated!

Some have argued that technology has created more jobs than it has destroyed. I am skeptical about this socially accepted romantic TechnoLove cult. I am starting to believe that technology is doing more damage than good for us. If you have been reading my column here in the Cleveland Daily Banner these past few months, you can probably attest that I am not a “TechnoGroupie” or a “TechnoPhobic” but a TechnoModerator — a person who enjoys a chat about reasonable uses of technology in society. I am not sold on this idea that job applications are always to be completed on-line.

Ladies and gentleman, application tracking technology has made job applications more democratic but it certainly didn’t make them any easier or more effective,. In America today, there are millions of unfilled jobs despite all this technology we enjoy having.    

What a nightmare for many! Do you need a retail job? You need to go on-line and apply! Are you interested in working for a big accounting firm, “check out our application on-line.” We shall contact you if you are a “fit.” Good luck! Who is a better fit? You or the other 500-1000 applicants you are competing against?

Let’s start with the basics. Have you ever experienced troubles with an on-line job application system? Well, I have. Last year, when I was looking for professorship positions in the southern region, I came across this quite elaborated and interesting university’s job application system.  The main problem with this system was that only God was good enough to fit the position! What a waste of my time and probably theirs. Sometimes I wonder what organizations are thinking when they put together these websites to attract star employees.

With things being fair, applicant tracking software has made the job of many big corporations  and university hiring committees much easier because these systems help organizations with controlling information management, application storage, and organizing and accessing relevant data. From that standpoint, advances in recruiting technology have revolutionized the way we collect applicant data. However, like with all types of innovation, there are side effects. Although these technologies assist leaders with planning, implementing and managing the hiring process, it also creates a number of challenges for good candidates. By the way, I am not aware of any high paying position today that doesn’t require applicants to spend a considerable amount of time filling out these on-line job applications. If you are looking for a new job, expect filling out 40-50 of these applications.

My wife has spent nights on end submitting job applications in this past few months. I witnessed her spending two hours to complete one single on-line application! She got denied the next day. Holy cow! What a waste of time. Thankfully, due to hard work and social capital, she found a position in Ooltewah as a beauty consultant. What a blessing for our family! We kind of needed it.   

Look, I get it — Advances in technology has helped companies with storing, organizing and accessing hundreds, sometimes thousands of digital job applications. From a logistical standpoint, that’s great. The problem with the automation of the application process is that millions of people apply for jobs everyday but employers only scan the resumes. It seems to me that all this technology has forced us to hire resumes rather than hiring people. We seem to have lost the human component in the application process. What a shame!

Back in the day, when people didn’t have to apply for jobs on-line to be a store associate at a retail location, speaking with a manager would increase your chances of getting hired. No wonder why job turnover is so high these days. People are sick of this tedious data entry nightmare. So the question stands —Is technology making our lives better or worse? Probably worse. “TechnoLove” maybe overrated!    

Virtual Reality Side Effects Unknown

We, Americans, often celebrate the many new advancements in modern technology. Our society has grown used to seeing so much new technological artifacts introduced into the market that when we don’t see them introduced and advertised, we tend to question the validity of the media reporting. In these past few years, people have celebrated the advent of 3D printing, self-driving cars, drones, and virtual reality (VR) goggles with much enthusiasm and hope. I myself have purchased a number of these gadgets and have enjoyed using them sporadically, especially my virtual reality goggles. I have to say that riding a rollercoaster in the comfort of your own home is both safe and fun. Here is the kicker, ladies and gents, these great new technologies have long-term side effects that are unknown to us. Let’s take the example of VR goggles.

What happens to your brain when this new technology starts tricking your brain about heights?

Many researchers are claiming that VR technology is re-wiring our brains, affecting our eyesight, and impacting our hippocampus functions. Researchers at UCLA have found that VR technology helped rats with being fully immersed in a virtual world. Repeated use of VR technology has demonstrated that this technology tends to shut down neurons and create “corrupted” maps in rats’ brains. Well, these former claims seem pretty disturbing to me, especially because being able to navigate in the world is what makes us productive members of society to a large degree. Can you imagine working somewhere in Cleveland and not knowing how to get around town? I don’t want to lose my ability to self navigate, do you?

By the way, how is that GPS technology treating you? Have you lost track of where things are in town because you are constantly using google maps? VR technology is having similar effects in that regard.

Let me say this — I don’t want to grow old and start having schizophrenic attacks or develop Alzheimer’s disease because of technology. Do you? My brain is more important to me than any microchip! Severe stiff necks and eye strain are two conditions that I wouldn’t enjoy having at age 60. Reality is more important than virtual reality.

It is not all. Optometrist researchers have claimed that nearsightedness can develop in subjects due to use of VR technologies which eventually can result in people having a higher chance to develop retinal diseases. Holy cow! Give me a paper and pencil. I just want to live in an analog world and breathe calm!  Now, with things being fair, VR technology has also shown to be a great tool to assist pre-teens with improving eye sight in England. I am skeptical about these VR benefits, I must add. Although playing a VR rollercoaster video game is fun, I have to admit that I leave the game a bit disoriented. On a few occasions, I have experienced a headache and sensitivity to light.

What makes this whole discussion pretty disconcerting to me is the fact that we cannot claim with any degree of certainty yet that these tools are really causing all of these former conditions. Some of us, teacher scholars, understand the impacts and limitations that an experiment can have on what we call subjects. I am concerned about these technologies, people. Part of why I own some of these gadgets is to better understand their side effects and point them out to you so that you at least have an idea about what is it like to use these “beta” tools. It is fun to ride a rollercoaster vicariously but at what cost? Let me disclose something to you! I don’t use my VR goggles anymore because I got sick of developing headaches. I am not looking forward to potentially develop schizophrenia! I would rather live in reality than in virtual reality. What is more fun to you?

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!

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 we live. I have lost count on how many TV reports have been aired on this topic. What we haven’t talked about too much in the media is why are we so attached to smartphones.

What if I told you that the former is happening all over the world because the more people interact with smartphones, the more they become like one without noticing. People are becoming like a computer but are unable to “see it.” We are on our technological devices many hours on end and using sometimes unconsciously.

What if I told you that there is a brand new model of human behavior that explains why we are behaving this way. 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 Phase, Burned Out Phase, 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 during 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 phase either. I would argue that a person living in this state is engaging in true technomoderation since the person is using as much technology as they are 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 phase 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 Burned Out phase or 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 to regain your humanity. I call the stage “the human reversal.” Eventually, you will reach the Post-Burned Out phase where computerized device 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.  It is only by better understanding the Human Robot cycle that we finally understand where we all belong in the continuum.

AI: Finishing Your Thoughts

The smartphone of the future will act much like how google search suggestions work today. When we type the word “screen addiction” on google, the search engine shows us four options — “Screen Addiction, screen addiction test, screen addiction statistics and screen addiction child” and then we choose among these options without doing too much thinking or typing. Be ready citizens of Bradley County and beyond! Our future daily decisions will be automated by an artificial intelligence algorithm inside of an upcoming new gadget that is unlikely to resemble what we call a smartphone today. Artificial intelligence will become a dangerous commodity.

Use predictions and tailored notifications will be a part of “us” a few years from now. Be ready to accept that a part of you and me will be stored in a foreign country yet available at your fingertips on an immediate basis. Let me illustrate logistically how this system will operate in practice. Let’s for a minute assume that one of your friends want to know whether you will be going to participate in the upcoming 5K marathon in Cleveland. Rather than typing a response to him, your communication device will show you options already made based on your previous responses while texting. If you haven’t talked about marathons before, I bet that this system will use the most used pre-programmed responses about marathons among the huge global big data database that is already being developed for your convenience.

The system becomes intelligent overtime meaning that as you pick certain preferences, the computer system starts to better understand who you are and consequently is able to better predict your responses. The machine will be more aware of your lifestyle overtime with tremendous accuracy. Ladies and gentleman, we are going to laugh about how we used to communicate with others in the past. Your children and grandchildren one day are going to ask you, “How do you know what to say?”

In a recent article published by Fortune Magazine, they call this phenomenon the virtual version of you. What is crazy about this whole thing is that some of the elements I have written above are already being developed by startup companies in the San Francisco area. I don’t know about you but having a computer system collecting all my data so that it can generate individualized content specifically designed to make me respond to others without doing too much thinking seems to be a dangerous idea to me yet its not that far away from being a reality in America today. The near future will be a weird one and I recommend that you start getting used to being uncomfortable with issues of artificial intelligence. Technology can be designed to be invasive and many times revolutionary. Being revolutionary may be a good thing but not at the expense of our ability to think critically. I wonder what this upcoming artificial intelligence tech trend will do especially to the sons and daughters of the generation Z. I am deeply concerned about how they will be able to do any thinking of their own. I am predicting, based on this boom of artificial intelligence, that the post-millennial generation will be characterized as the “irrational” generation. What a tragedy!

Artificial intelligence is here to stay. Algorithms will be, as Marshall McLulan once said, a part of you. What was impossible for the old generation is now possible today. If you think that all this technology makes you uncomfortable today, wait until you have a script telling you how to respond to a work supervisor and then the message is intercepted by a hacker. Security will be huge along with message encryption. I wonder what people are going to say about technology then. Only God will tell.

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.

Does Your Industry Have a Future?

Our society is not adapting to the needs and wants of the millennial generation. It seems to me that we are still living in the past and let me tell you — It can be quite dangerous to the overall sustainability of our great American republic. It seems that youngsters along with technology, will redefine the meaning of what the “good life” is in the United States and abroad once again, whether we want them to or not. This time, however, the side effects of technology will be felt by more people because of the types of the industries that will be affected.

Some of these industries include: Real Estate agencies, car companies, and restaurants.

I don’t know of any better societal symbol to talk about than the automobile. Regardless of what you like, whenever we buy a car, it somehow comes with a societal status associated with it. We often define ourselves by the cars that we drive. Millennials don’t really care about cars overall! According to researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, millennials prefer on-demand mobility services instead of car ownership. By the way, do you know that British, French and German teenagers are failing driving licensure tests at record rates? Maybe they don’t value a drivers license as much because these days they can rely on Uber drivers to take them around town. Maybe millennials don’t care about being licensed as much because of everything that is associated with having one including a car payment, insurance, and gas. I wonder what information technology will do to well established industries like the car industry. If I was an executive working in the automobile industry, I would be concerned about the overall sustainability of the industry. Millennials don’t want to spend time in their cars because it takes them out of the internet.

If millennials don’t even want to own cars why would they like the idea of home ownership? Many don’t want to acquire one because of the high costs! Millennials often want to live in a dense urban landscape rather than large houses in suburbia partly due to cost and convenience. Have you thought about what would happen to the many houses we have in suburbia? Its effects on the local real estate market can be disastrous. Maybe millennials aren’t buying too many houses in the suburbs because they want to be more connected. From that standpoint, on-line activities are starting to have unintended consequences in our local real estate markets. Commuting equals less time millennials spend on social media. They don’t like that. 

In-home virtual activities are more popular among millennials these days than eating at a casual dining restaurant. Millennials like cooking at home and eating quick meals. They don’t have a problem with eating out in quick-serving restaurants so that they can quickly go back to social media to chat with their friends. I am not totally sure about the full-scale technological side effects that restaurants will experience in the near future because of that. One thing is certain: Casual dining restaurants are going to struggle to attract millennial customers. The ones that will survive will start offering convenience and cash options such as home delivery and discounts. I am concerned with the future of casual restaurant whose business model is to attract people to “experience” a prolonged night out. Millennials don’t really care about the former because of perceptions of cost-benefit and lack of technology access. Reality: They chose to be connected first before going out to eat with a mate.

Things are changing as quick as the production of new computer chips. I am very concerned about the side effects that we could potentially experience due to predictive millennial behaviors in regards to technology. Can you imagine what would happen to our town if real estate agencies, car companies, and restaurants struggle to attract clientele? I don’t even want to start thinking about it. Fellow residents of Cleveland Tennessee, we need to realize that the unintended side effects of technology are real and here to stay. Maybe, controlling our rates of technology use would do us good, don’t you think? Think about it.

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.

The Automation Blind Spot

I am deeply concerned about the future of the American middle class and the long term sustainability of healthy capitalism in the land of baseball, apple pie and backyard barbecues. The reason why I am so concerned about the former is because of the inevitable and uncontrolled yet highly celebrated mass adoption of automation in our society. I just don’t see how the internet economy will generate enough peripheral jobs to sustain our standard of living and our off-line communities in the future because the majority of the jobs that the cyberspace sector produces tend to benefit only a small number of people. When you think about buying a book on-line, where do you think about buying it from? Amazon, right? If you need to sell a product on-line, which place do you go to to sell it? Amazon, maybe eBay?

Some bloggers make a living on-line with their writings. However, chances are pretty high that “professional bloggers” work off-line somewhere in order to maintain their on-line empires because blogging alone won’t pay the bills. Some folks believe that creating a smartphone app is a ticket to modern social mobility. I am skeptical! Do you know anyone who has made five hundred thousand dollars in profit selling an app? Maybe you are luckier than me. I haven’t met even a single soul. If we are relying on these activities to sustain ourselves in the future, rather than working on a traditional off-line establishment, we are in deep trouble, don’t you think?

The auto industry generated peripheral jobs that benefited the middle class, like body shops, insurance agents, oil changing stations, DOT workers, rental car companies, and many more. I am not so sure about this new wave of internet job creation. Martin Ford, the author of the book, “The Rise of Robots” talks about this topic in greater detail and presents the argument that the internet economy won’t work for many of us because this new business model tends to generate what he calls, the “Winners-take-all” effect. Rather than everyone benefiting from the advancements of technology, only a few will in fact benefit from and acquire sustainable long-term gains. Most players of this new economy win very little to nothing. I fully agree with him about that.

Let’s think about the former for a minute. If our jobs are being replaced by automation (which they are) with the justification that information technology will produce peripheral jobs to sustain ourselves when they might not, how are we going to contribute to the economy and sustain our communities? By risking losing our dependable middle class income for the sake of technology, we might lose more than a salary or a career. We risk losing what we all stand for in the United States — Freedom. Some may argue that the former isn’t an issue but I bet they either have enough wealth to sustain themselves or are benefiting from the upcoming system. For the remaining of us, the threat of automation seems to be pretty real.

I don’t think that full automation will happen tomorrow or next year but in five to ten years, I predict that the majority of our warehouse functions will be automated. Fast food restaurants will have ordering kiosks which by themselves will reduce the number of available jobs in small-town USA by at least thirty percent. If these predictions come true, it could change our local economies substantially, not necessarily for the betterment and goodwill of the people. I am a proud capitalist who believes in the market economy. We may not have a choice but to somehow control the adoption of new technologies in our communities for our survival’s sake.

Adam Smith once said, “All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.” Technology seems to be the fuel that is driving this revolution. We need to be cautious about such advancements and think systemically about its consequences before fully supporting new initiatives. At least this is what I think.

Technology Is Stealing Our Jobs

In our society, we are conditioned to celebrate technological advancements almost blindly. A large number of Americans have celebrated technologies that increase the efficiency and effectiveness of agriculture, automobile production and maintenance, household goods and medicine. From the standpoint of “making things function quicker and more accurately,” technology has revolutionized and will keep revolutionizing the way of how we live and do business in this country. How can anybody deny that we drive safer, more efficient and more comfortable cars today than back in the 1940’s? Don’t we enjoy the many technological advancements that we have seen in the field of medicine? Thank God for antibiotics! Having the ability to share photos with relatives through social media 24/7 is pretty sweet, isn’t it?

But what if I told you that most (if not all) technological advancements have a life changing flip side to them. When we talk aspirin, we can bleed internally. Modern farm equipment has contributed to increases in environmental pollution leading to more allergens. The automobile has created “traffic” and is a major contributor of accidents — America’s 4th leading cause of death. The television, smartphone and video games can be quite addictive, can’t they? Addictions can be lethal. 

We are now celebrating automation and robots, or shall we say robotics, as if we should absolutely support everything they have to offer. We talk a lot about drones these days, don’t we? Look, I can see the immediate financial benefits of automation especially in the fast food industry — replacing waiters and cashiers with touch screen kiosks will save any fast food restaurant a large sum in operational costs. Perhaps, fast food restaurant owners will eventually use robots in order to help with hygiene as investing in machines will require less employees, consequently leading to lower levels of food contaminants. It is likely that we are going to see a mass adoption of robots automating production of fast food restaurants and warehouses in the near future due to the reasons presented above. In fact, robotic automation is already happening to a degree. What are the consequences of the former, though?

I wish that we could look at automation and adoption of robotics in isolation from society. The problem is that we just cannot. If we decide to celebrate technology to a point of mass adopting warehouse automation systems, at the expense of its labor force for example, the side effects we are going to feel in our society may be too drastic and irreversible. If you are what I like to call a “TechnoGroupie,” your foundations will be shaken simply because the side effects of such implementations are too much for any humane society to absorb. Let me elaborate.

Automating retail warehouses with robots and fast food ordering systems can have devastating impacts to our local economy. Replacing fast food restaurant employees with automated ordering kiosks might eventually cut fast food operation by 50%. The Wall Street Journal estimates that  the use of robots will eventually cut fulfillment costs by 40%. How many of these retail jobs do we have in Cleveland? Technology is stealing our jobs.   

What would that do to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s estimation of 700,000 new jobs by 2020 in the general retail sector?  Isn’t the uncontrolled adoption of technology a threat to our national security? I might be going a bit too far with my assumptions but nobody can deny that the flip side of automation and robots is scary maybe irresponsible.

Blockbuster used to have 9,000 stores and 60,000 employees. Netflix destroyed them. Redbox introduces the kiosk movie rental concept using automated restocking machines. Redbox employs a fraction of the employees. No wonder why receiving a pay increase is becoming a utopia for many these days. When the supply of jobs decrease, its demand increase leading to jobs paying less many times not readjusting pay at all. You can partly thank the flip side of technology for your family members’ and friends’ frozen wages. It is economics 101.

Be careful with believing that technology is always good. Sometimes, technology has dire consequences. Maintaining local economic sustainability should be our goal not blind adoption of technology.

We live in a world marked by extremism

At the time of our grandparents, people used to have two maybe three pairs of shoes in their closets. Back in 2013, according to the American Apparel and Footwear Association, Americans bought almost eight pairs of shoes that year. The average American man in 2017 owns twelve pairs of shoes. The average American women owns twenty-seven. Americans on average own nineteen pairs of shoes these days. That’s a lot! 

When we were young, a birthday party would maybe cost parents $150 with presents included. According to a recent consumer survey, parents now spend on average $450 on their kid’s birthday parties without calculating in the $250 they spend on presents. It isn’t uncommon for families to spend at least $500 on their children’s birthday celebrations in 2017.

According to BBC, kids today spend on average six and a half hours of screen time a day, which is a drastic change from the three hours they used to spend in front of computerized devices back in 1995. We have also seen a widespread adoption of multi-screening practices which has influenced the youth to demand connectivity! Will children own a virtual reality device in the near future? I bet they will own two maybe three of these pieces of hardware if not more.

Why are things so extreme today? It is difficult to isolate one single reason for why this is all happening. I think I have the answer for why so many kids (and parents) spend hours on end on computerized devices in Cleveland, Tennessee or Ohio and anywhere in between the states of New York and New Delhi. Folks are exhausting themselves for the sake of technology because when humans interact with multiple computerized devices on a daily basis, they become more like a “computer” without realizing.

Computer use is maybe conditioning us to be more extreme. We see evidence of the former in how we live our lives in relation to the actual traits of modern computer technology. Computers, even when they are on stand-by mode, are technically active in the background because computer processes have to be operational for the computer to be on stand-by. We seem to have inherited some of these computer traits by being so ingrained with them.

It isn’t uncommon for a number of us to work fifty sometimes sixty hours a week, not from nine to five but from nine to forever. Let’s not forget that answering emails at 9:45pm and waking up at 3:00am to solve a problem that we couldn’t solve the night before is an extreme measure. Our computer use behaviors today are quite extreme and some might even categorize them as borderline irresponsible. The human brain was not made to operate in constant information overload mode yet we are challenging our mental capacity limits by being in front of computer screens for several hours a day.   

Remember: Your family members and friends only have one brain. Overuse of technology is an epidemic, it’s alive and well and is everywhere. Adults are also experiencing the same extreme side effects that kids exhibit, due to the extreme interactions with computerized devices, as well. There was a time when extreme levels of computer use was a “kid” thing. It isn’t anymore. The vast majority of us are now on our computers for too long. We need to break from this habit.

The good news is that we can break free from technology once in a while. My recommendations for temporary breaking from computer use extremism is the following: Join a local church and volunteer your time every week for the Lord. If you like to sing, join a community choir or theatre. If your talent is labor, donate some of your time to a non-profit to help with a remodeling or landscaping project. If you like thinking, take a non-credit class in a local college to met new friends. Read a book, go for a walk, pray! In the end, you will thank the good God for living a life of moderation. It makes all the difference. 

When Technology Swoops In Like A Superhero

Technology is a funny thing. It can be used for good or it can be used for bad depending on how we decide to use it. You may be wondering, okay Dr. A, where are you going with this one? 

Let me get straight to the point ladies and gentleman. Even though smartphone technology can make us psychologically sick due to overuse, at the same time, it can also be used as a great anti-corruption tool to be used to bring justice to the masses.

Let me write something that I thought would have never happened in my lifetime. For the first time in the history of Brazil, corruption is being fought by millions of people because of the availability of the smartphone and social media, especially YouTube. The corrupt in Brazil could have never imagined that technology would evolve to such high levels, that their evil schemes would one day be made available to millions across the world. Ladies and gentleman, technology is cleaning up a country that is the epitome of corruption! That’s extraordinary. 

Have you heard of the Operation Car Wash? Or shall I say, “The biggest corruption scandal ever” in the history of the world? The “system,” as it is often referred to, was a massive system of money laundering involving 232 people, over 10 billion dollars in bribes, 16 companies, and made Watergate sound like kindergarten. So far, 160 people have been arrested and 179 people indicted. It literally broke the state oil company Petrobras.

The success of Operation Car Wash is evidence of technology being used to clean up the corruption. The “system” was discovered by very clever federal police officers due to irregular practices tracked down by technology algorithms. Audio technology has played a role in this investigation. Former President Luis da Silva went to prison because technology exposed his evil plans on YouTube. We may hurt our eyes when constantly looking at YouTube videos at home but in the new age of information, these videos can be catalysts for big changes.

The federal judges, as part of the guilty sentencing for the criminals, used YouTube as a means of public record keeping. The judges mandated that the documents, evidence and interrogations be presented to the public through YouTube videos. Sometimes, technology can be used for good.

Let me tell you something. People down there are sick of being oppressed and technology is their means of communicating their feelings and thoughts. It isn’t unusual today for workers, honest families, Christians and many other oppressed groups to express themselves through video technology.

Technology has, without question, given power to the oppressed in Brazil and that’s good. It has also given the regular person the ability to discern whether media conglomerates are controlling the people or are reporting on what is the truth. In the media world, we know that good journalism exposes both sides of an issue. The availability of smartphone technology did precisely that down in Brazil, organically, which some have called this a living miracle. 

What has happened and is still currently happening in Brazil is unfolding via YouTube videos. This is unprecedented and has opened the eyes for the poor. The poor finally know why they are so destitute. Who knew technology could swoop in like a superhero?

I still believe that technology has more bad than good under traditional circumstances. But hey, you kind of knew that. However, technology when used in moderation and with good intention can revolutionize any system. The Brazilian corrupt got caught and paid the price for their evil schemes. Can we refine our broken systems with available technology? Likely, I say.

Cyber Daycare 1.0: A growing reality

Technology has caused way too many side effects in our lives. Some of these side effects include eye strain, anxiety, neck pain and, of course … self-centeredness.

It is very common for us to hear the following rhetoric (or something similar) these days on Facebook: “I must work on my social media presence,” “I am heading out again,” or “I am going to make my life better.”

We hear the word “I” everywhere, much like when we were babies. Could it be that all these social media technologies are turning our society into a big cyber daycare? Absolutely! Think about it.

The beginning of wisdom is the recognition that God is in control of our lives. Glory, ladies and gentlemen, is to always be given to God. At least, this is what Christianity teaches us, right? This is the beginning of wisdom and maturity.

Not sure if this “I” business is doing us any good on Instagram, Vine and Twitter. It most definitely isn’t making people more mature, that’s for sure. Have you read what so many people write on these platforms nowadays? Do yourself a favor: Log into Facebook tonight, read and pay attention to how childish most of the posts are. It’s an epidemic of immaturity forever recorded and often elevated online. It is kindergarten 2.0.

Social media enables us to prolong our childhood, thanks to technology! Meaningless.

Are we going mad? No. Maybe we’re going way too secular, or shall we say, non-Christian. What good are we doing by spending hours on end writing frivolous things about ourselves online? Let me break this to you: We are doing very little good.

Life is about glorifying God and showing love toward your neighbor. When was the last time that any of you read the following on Facebook, “Thank God for His mercy. We aren’t anything without Him,” or “To God goes all the glory.”

This big international kindergarten we call social media is distracting us from what matters the most in our lives: God!

Open your eyes to reality.

Listen carefully: It isn’t uncommon to read social media posts and witness people calling each other names, being vain, and ignoring some to get approval or gain access to a special little group at others’ expenses, which is really infantile.

Stop! Wake up! God is the center of your life, not you or me or your dad. All these technologies are destroying us from within and impacting how we communicate with our soul. Life is so much more than a collection of tweets about you or me.

The Bible teaches us in 1 Corinthians 13:11 that, “When we were children, we thought and reasoned as children do. But when we grew up, we quit our childish ways.” Why are so many  grownups and organizations, many of them religious-based, literally saying, “Look at me! I am wonderful. Come see me!”

It is getting old, people. It is cute to see a baby growing up and thinking that life is all about them when we know better. It isn’t cute witnessing people in their 50s saying how great they are and the games they play with others for self-gain without giving any glory to God, when many of these same braggarts claim to be believers. In the old days, we had a different method for fixing wrong attitudes — by telling people, “Grow up.” We lost that.

You are not that important. If you die tomorrow, how many people will attend your funeral? Social media many times gives us the illusion that we are great when in reality, we aren’t. And in fact, those who claim that they are wonderful are often less paramount than you and me.

Look, it isn’t that complicated. We are to make God the center of our universe and to keep subordinate technology where it belongs.

Our society is becoming a colossal kindergarten because of all these technologies. Let’s stop this madness and grow up, people.

First grade is around the corner! It is time for us to realize that we aren’t the center of anything and that social media use isn’t all that great for us, either.

Remember: You aren’t 5. You are an adult. Act like it.

———

(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.)

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.

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.

Technology makes you very boring

In this life you need to be fascinating.

Do you have an accent and come from Greece? Cool! Fascinating!

I hope you didn’t choose to live life without taking any risks, because in this world those who don’t take risks live both a boring and a dangerous life.

I don’t know about you, but unless I am playing with black pieces in a chess game, my best defense is always the offense. I don’t play not to lose, especially if I have the ability to make the first move.

All this new technology made possible by the microchip is making people boring and too much like cookie cutters, in so many respects.

Recently, I decided to skateboard on campus as a means to connect with our students in a way that they would understand. I doubt that many people my age would even consider skateboarding, because our technological society doesn’t place a premium on those who deviate from the norm that much, even though you can be quite captivating when you listen to what your heart is telling you.

Who cares if we have all these technologies but we fail to influence? Being boring and “old school” isn’t always the best way to connect with the youth, if you know what I mean.

Some people have said that to be more cool, we have to emulate what Apple does. Yes, they are a tech company, but what amazingly makes them fascinating is their ability to take risks and  deviate from what others are doing. They lead by celebrating their differences in contrast to others.

People need to simplify. Yet, technology often complicates what we do. Don’t believe me? How complex is your password? Eight to 10 characters, which must contain a special character, two numbers and nothing that repeats itself or resembles your Social Security number?

Look man, don’t be boring like everyone else. Be yourself and celebrate your differences because in this technological world … trust me, you will need it.

You must invest in you, not always in technology. Will that make some people uncomfortable? Absolutely. But hey, life is about dealing with ambiguity and finding ways to control the uncontrollable without having technology controlling what we do.

You know what? Now at age 44, I’ve come to the conclusion that people have to project themselves somehow, but not always by using technology. In a society where most people tend to make decisions before thinking, many people need to be reminded that being human and perceptive makes us much more fascinating.

I like making myself uncomfortable for the sake of growth. How about you? Please don’t tell me that you get afraid of displaying who you really are for the sake of technology! Remember: Life is about living with enthusiasm in a fascinating way. Live and let die!  That is, live your life and let technology’s control of you die away.

Let me say something to you: I am cool, perhaps the coolest professor higher education has ever seen. Hey, I’m not being humble today, all right? I hold a Ph.D., can bounce a golf ball and catch it behind my neck, can talk with strangers like we were “besties,” and can play a mean game of Ping-Pong!

Thank goodness technology doesn’t control me. My life would have been way too mundane if I allowed the smartphone to control me. My recommendation for you follows. Are you ready?

Life is what you make of it. Don’t allow cheap machinery to control or dictate how you live. Technology is helping us to be more productive and empowered. The irony is that what we gain in production and empowerment we lose in authenticity.

I am very concerned that these technologies we have in America and elsewhere today are changing our society to a point of no return, one where homogeneity will be seen as the norm.

What has made this country what it is today was partly based on the risks we took in order to be more fascinating. Technologies are changing this by asking us all to be more uniform and predictable. How boring!

Live and let die, or shall we say … carpe diem: Live your lives to the fullest, ladies and gentlemen. Say no to technologies and embrace your humanity.

In the end, it’s all you’ve got.

———

(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). 

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.)

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. 

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.)

Snapchat: Ok For You To Use But Not Your Kids.

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All right. Let me start this one by revealing this to you. I use snapchat. Why? Because I can share tidbits of information with my audience at ease, throughout the day, several times a week. However, I’m 44 years of age and know a bit about the consequences of technology overuse. Snapchat, in the hands of 13 year old kids, can be devastating. The first thing that comes to my mind when it comes to this app is cyberbullying. Even though the system is based on a self-destructing media policy, much damage can be done to a child by allowing him to be exposed to hateful messages at age 12 multiple times a day. This is what I think: It is appropriate for you to use. It isn’t appropriate for your kids to use it.

PD Rating: High Risk

HouseParty App: It Can Give You A Lot Of Headaches As A Parent.

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Houseparty is a video chatting app that a lot of young teens use these days. It is a good group video for adults, I would say. For children — No. My issue with this app is that it doesn’t require kids to verify their age, it can be used for sexting and cyberbullying. Even if their private chats are locked, risk for sexual content and privacy issues can be significant.

PD Rating: Moderate Risk.

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.)

Technology Helps You To Learn But It Isn’t The Only Way.

COLLEGE PROFESSOR STATES THAT TECH GADGETS MAY BE A DETRIMENT TO AMERICAN SOCIETY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6/18/2018

COLLEGE PROFESSOR STATES THAT TECH GADGETS MAY BE A DETRIMENT TO AMERICAN SOCIETY

Cleveland, TN: Dr. Luis Camillo Almeida, a professor of Communication Arts in Tennessee is claiming that the smartphone causes people more damage than good. He is bold to state that some tech gadgets maybe a detriment to American society.

According to researchers, 88% of teens have been mean to others in social media, 64% of people who use twitter for news encountered something they later discovered to be false. The University of Pittsburgh researchers have found that social media increases depression. “How can we celebrate technology so much in America today?” asks Almeida.

“We are reaching a point of no return. In my research alone, I’ve found that almost 7 out of 10 participants ignore their own limits these days; More than 3/4 of the participants in my study reported that their thoughts are often somewhere else. Almost 50% of the participants stated that they use the computer to a limit of mental exhaustion!” adds Almeida.

A newspaper columnist known for his provocative stance he calls “TechnoModeration” – the philosophy proposing that people must moderate their use of technology to live a better life.

As Christian Lous Lange once said, “Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.”

Almeida is inviting Americans to be cautious about technology and encourages people to use technology, including the smartphone, but in moderation.

###

Contact information:

Luis C. Almeida: lca120@gmail.com 

Technology makes you very boring

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In this life you need to be fascinating.

Do you have an accent and come from Greece? Cool! Fascinating!

I hope you didn’t choose to live life without taking any risks, because in this world those who don’t take risks live both a boring and a dangerous life.

I don’t know about you, but unless I am playing with black pieces in a chess game, my best defense is always the offense. I don’t play not to lose, especially if I have the ability to make the first move.

All this new technology made possible by the microchip is making people boring and too much like cookie cutters, in so many respects.

Recently, I decided to skateboard on campus as a means to connect with our students in a way that they would understand. I doubt that many people my age would even consider skateboarding, because our technological society doesn’t place a premium on those who deviate from the norm that much, even though you can be quite captivating when you listen to what your heart is telling you.

Who cares if we have all these technologies but we fail to influence? Being boring and “old school” isn’t always the best way to connect with the youth, if you know what I mean.

Some people have said that to be more cool, we have to emulate what Apple does. Yes, they are a tech company, but what amazingly makes them fascinating is their ability to take risks and  deviate from what others are doing. They lead by celebrating their differences in contrast to others.

People need to simplify. Yet, technology often complicates what we do. Don’t believe me? How complex is your password? Eight to 10 characters, which must contain a special character, two numbers and nothing that repeats itself or resembles your Social Security number?

Look man, don’t be boring like everyone else. Be yourself and celebrate your differences because in this technological world … trust me, you will need it.

You must invest in you, not always in technology. Will that make some people uncomfortable? Absolutely. But hey, life is about dealing with ambiguity and finding ways to control the uncontrollable without having technology controlling what we do.

You know what? Now at age 44, I’ve come to the conclusion that people have to project themselves somehow, but not always by using technology. In a society where most people tend to make decisions before thinking, many people need to be reminded that being human and perceptive makes us much more fascinating.

I like making myself uncomfortable for the sake of growth. How about you? Please don’t tell me that you get afraid of displaying who you really are for the sake of technology! Remember: Life is about living with enthusiasm in a fascinating way. Live and let die!  That is, live your life and let technology’s control of you die away.

Let me say something to you: I am cool, perhaps the coolest professor higher education has ever seen. Hey, I’m not being humble today, all right? I hold a Ph.D., can bounce a golf ball and catch it behind my neck, can talk with strangers like we were “besties,” and can play a mean game of Ping-Pong!

Thank goodness technology doesn’t control me. My life would have been way too mundane if I allowed the smartphone to control me. My recommendation for you follows. Are you ready?

Life is what you make of it. Don’t allow cheap machinery to control or dictate how you live. Technology is helping us to be more productive and empowered. The irony is that what we gain in production and empowerment we lose in authenticity.

I am very concerned that these technologies we have in America and elsewhere today are changing our society to a point of no return, one where homogeneity will be seen as the norm.

What has made this country what it is today was partly based on the risks we took in order to be more fascinating. Technologies are changing this by asking us all to be more uniform and predictable. How boring!

Live and let die, or shall we say … carpe diem: Live your lives to the fullest, ladies and gentlemen. Say no to technologies and embrace your humanity.

In the end, it’s all you’ve got.

———

(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). 

‘People think with their eyes’

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We all must watch our visuals very carefully. How you present yourself offline is as important as how you present yourself online.

People think with their eyes and hear what they can see, as the authors of the book “You Inc.” once said. Visuals are powerful and when used carefully and strategically, overwhelm the verbal.

Technology has allowed us to show ourselves visually to hundreds (sometimes thousands) of people every day, and this has both positive and negative effects.

Some of the positive sides include: You now have the ability to produce a personal brand like never before. As long as you present yourself visually in a way people want to perceive you, I bet that you will profit from it.

Hey, a CEO just can’t present himself on Facebook constantly wearing a pair of flip-flops or Hawaiian shirts. Remember: People believe and trust what they see.

The way you present yourself in social media visually has a tremendous impact on how others perceive you outside of cyberspace. I know it is crazy, but people form opinions about who you are based on what they see. Image is almost everything. We might as well better understand the impacts of it in order to better position ourselves.

Some of the negatives are clear-cut: People today are overwhelmed with information. The majority of  us have a Facebook page, some of us have a Twitter account, and some have an Instagram or even a Snapchat presence.

We are present everywhere, and just as important, we are advertising ourselves visually all the time, believe it or not. Technology has now infused itself into your personal life to “help” others form ideas about you, based on what they perceive in social media. Let me share with you a test I did recently.

For 1 1/2 weeks, I decided to change my wardrobe at work to gauge students’ reactions to seeing me dressed in a way contrasted with how I present myself in social media. I didn’t wear anything extravagant. I didn’t have a suit or one of my fancy bow ties. I was dressed with what I like to call “a preppy look,” with dress shoes, professional pants, a formal dress shirt with a fine tie and a fancy vest. Oops, let’s not forget my fancy socks, or what my wife often refers to as, “Crazy Luis’ Socks.” I dressed differently, yes.

This is what I found: Most of the students didn’t change their behavior toward me much, which in itself is an interesting finding which proves to me that they are pretty genuine people.

A couple of them noticed a “change” in Dr. A simply by what they could see. Let me tell you: I didn’t make any changes to my persona. It was just an impression. But hey, we are creatures of habit. When things change, people tend to notice. I don’t think that this will ever change, regardless of how much technology we have in our society.

All this technology has changed people’s perceptions about how people should look based on how they see you online. How one chooses to dress often triggers a stereotype.

Facebook is a visual platform; therefore, stereotypes will be formed and some thoughts about you and me will be shared based on how you look. The way we present ourselves in real life is now tied to how people imagine us in social media, as crazy as this may sound. We need to realize that, move on, and not look back.

People are going to judge you with their eyes, not with their hearts, in this life. Technology is complicating this by enforcing the idea that what is shown online is a reflection of who you are offline.

I don’t like this idea that people “know” others by what they “see” in social media, because  social media so obviously often lacks context. Remember: Not everybody behaves in social media the way that they behave in real life.

We need to be careful with assumptions. However, people will judge others based on what they see. In the age of technology, we all need to be more accustomed to that.

——— (Article Previously Published in the Cleveland Daily Banner)

(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). 

Technology breeds lack of information

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Let me tell you something. I am a pretty empathetic guy who enjoys giving praise to others.

When somebody hits the jackpot on anything, I am there celebrating with him doing high fives, singing a song, you name it.

Many peers throughout my career have said, “Luis, you are the best cheerleader higher education has ever had!”

I think they are probably right about this one. I get emotional about peoples’ successes. There is no technology that will ever replace the amount of empathy I have inside of me. Sorry motherboard: You will never change the way I treat others, regardless of how fast your processor is.

Not everybody is wired the same way. People have different personalties, likes, dislikes, beliefs and values. Some of us are a blend of what we call introvert and extrovert, whereas others are either one or the other.

Not everybody has the godly gift of exhortation, that’s for sure. A man with common sense must realize this fact. I do believe, however, that some technologies can be used to help others by serving as a mechanism for comforting the distressed to communicate with someone.

When people are down, technology can do wonders for them, as long as there is a caring person on the other side of the fence they can speak with. Texting and Facebook are great examples of these. That’s a good thing.

Paradoxically, technology itself has contributed to many feelings of distress that people experience these days. Our life pace is so fast today because of technology that many people are now forced to ignore others in order to accomplish in life what they themselves want to achieve. As a consequence, some folks have felt left out, which decades ago wouldn’t have even been an issue.

Let me say this: Advances in technology have changed the way we behave in society for the worst, because all of this technology has significantly reduced the amount of free time people have to be more empathetic toward others, and that’s not good.

Am I saying that technology has contributed to the lack of empathy we have in America today? That’s exactly what I am saying. People today have to learn the ins and outs of any system by themselves, most of the time. Fortunate are those who get a life coach in order to assist them with learning the waters of a new system.

I am fine with that, personally. Not everybody is comfortable with this new reality, though. Advances in technology have caused more anxiety as some people need to be nurtured more than others in order to perform to capacity. The moment that we choose technology over people, this begins to happen more frequently.

In my opinion, the award-winning citizen of the present is the guy who gets things done and is also able to put himself in the shoes of others in order to comfort people once in a while. We need to realize, however, that empathy doesn’t always mean agreement.

Time has become a commodity for us all because of the constant development of faster microchips which has created the illusion that we can now work like a machine without experiencing any side effects. No we can’t!

Let me explain: If you overwork a machine, in two years you can replace its mechanical brain by acquiring a new computer. Can you replace your human brain every two years? Think about it. Failing to take this into account is lack of empathy itself! Lack of empathy is a major side effect of technology.

I do realize that I am a rare breed. I tend to easily empathize with people, but I have the common sense to realize that not everybody is wired the same way.

I am OK with people who aren’t as empathetic as me, as long as there is respect involved. People have different personalities, and unless you are in a person’s shoes, never assume that things are the way you think they are all the time. Chances are pretty high they aren’t.

Technology has made us more robotic, making us less warm toward others overall.

That’s all.

———

(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). 

AI Is Here To Stay

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In a recent television interview, Vladimir Putin said, “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere (Artificial Intelligence) will become the ruler of the world.”

I am afraid he is right about that. We are not taking any chances. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) currently has 137 pilot projects directly related to artificial intelligence underway.

It seems evident to me that we have reached a point of no return in regard to fully investing in the development of intelligent systems. The former gives me goosebumps and chills.

The United States has always been an empire of ideas, a country that premiums talent and human ingenuity. You got a great idea? Awesome! Let’s develop that idea and take you away from the competitive proletariat ball field.

The great business geniuses of the 20th century, e.g., Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, and of course, the great Henry Ford — all had two things in common. They were very talented and human, but none of them were able to be omnipresent in their economy.

Modern applied technology changes that. Artificial intelligence reinforces that! You can now be cloned and “work” in more than one industry at the same time by either using or developing intelligent systems.

Historically, our capitalist society worked this way. People who had a brilliant idea and were able to make that idea work got to the top and remained at the top, freeing up positions at the bottom for the remaining of the population.

The development of intelligent systems changes this dynamic by introducing “cyber-cloning” into this midst. These days, we can clone your thoughts and actions and advance other areas of the economy, literally making many compete against your e-persona for a place under the sun.

Let me say it this way. Your biggest competitor might actually be an intelligent robot hosted somewhere in Utah. This is probably what the CIA is doing right now. It is humanly impossible to be working 24/7, yet defense isn’t a 9 to 5 job. Think about it. It gives me chills to think about the number of unqualified workers who will be out of the job market due to advances in technology. Ladies and gents, we’re going to see this sooner than later.

How would you feel about that? There are intelligent systems today that can organize warehouses better than you and your friends. In many parts of the U.S.A., trash is now taken by a robot. Intelligent systems are now doing some of the work which were historically done by lawyers.

A number of the videos that you see on television were done by an automated system. What if I told you that I have an intelligent system promoting my wife’s start-up right now, as I am writing this column?

In the past, Dr. A was only able to be a college professor, opening up opportunities for others to sell their services to us as social media professionals. Today, Dr. A is both a college professor and social media manager at the same time. Part of me is now digital! The former is a huge shift in how our capitalist system operates these days because of technology.

I am going to make a prediction. In the near future, true wealth is going to aggregate among a few big-business conglomerates, offering little opportunity for others less fortunate within the system. We are going to be able to clone our thoughts and ideas and maximize our professional talents in ways that we have never seen in the history of mankind.

Capital, not labor, is going to be the fuel of production. The world that our sons and daughters are going to see when they grow old will be nothing like what we see today.

Artificial intelligence is here to stay and with time, it will only get more intelligent.

–––––– (Previously published in the Cleveland Daily Banner)

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and 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.)

Smartphone addiction real, and dangerous

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We really have a big problem.

In these past three years, I have heard too many folks saying that they want to give up using their smartphones excessively because deep in their hearts they believe the machine is making them and their relatives sick. Yet, they simply can’t.

I don’t blame them for wanting to live a life of techno moderation. Who wants to be a slave to the smartphone, anyway? I don’t. Yet, for some, giving up their smartphone use for a few hours a day is impossible.

 What a tragedy! It is definitely possible for people to give up their smartphone a few hours each day as long as these people aren’t confirmed cellphone addicts. The issue is that too many of our compatriots simply don’t know they have smartphone addiction.

Let me remind you of some important statistics. Do you know that people check their smartphones an average of 110 times each day? Some 40 percent of people use their smartphones while on the toilet, 12 percent use their smartphones in the shower — unreal, isn’t it? — and one in five adults uses their computerized devices while having sexual relations.

I’m not  finished: Some 56 percent of parents check their smartphones while driving and 75 percent of people have admitted to texting at least once while driving. Let me say this loud and clear. Our society is in trouble largely because of the smartphone.

 I’m speaking to anyone who will listen, and especially to the good citizens of our Cleveland community: We must wake up from this modern-day nightmare because if we don’t, we are going to lose another generation of Americans.

We already lost one and can’t afford to lose one more. We can start fixing this problem by identifying that we are in fact conditioned to use these tech gadgets to a point of no return.

Here is my advice: If you see your kid, daughter, grandson or wife constantly connected, sit down with them, have a serious conversation with them about addiction, and make an effort to seek a psychologist and work out a plan to help them to get out of this situation.

This is the reality of our times. If people want something badly enough, typically people get what they want within reason, but not when fighting an addiction. I am tired of hearing people complaining and finding excuses for why they can’t fight this monster we call the smartphone. The reality today is that people don’t want to take action about their chosen behavior, even though they recognize that the behavior they engage in isn’t good for them.

I wish that our situation was different today, but it isn’t.

Here is what I think, so please read carefully: If you really believe that staying on a machine for nine hours a day is bad for you, then get away from it without regrets. If you can’t, seek help. You only live once! We might as well live a good life of moderation and reason. Doesn’t that make sense? If I heard you say, “Yes, Dr. A, I agree!” … then that’s a good thing.

I know this proposition is complicated. It is common sense, but it will take effort in order to make it work. I don’t know about you, but in my book when I put my mind into something usually I get what I want.

People should be able to get what they want by better understanding their circumstances. You deserve better. Trust me. We have no other option other than fighting against this smartphone addiction epidemic.

I will close this column with my motto, “Use technology, but in moderation.” If you can’t, please realize that you aren’t alone. Millions of people are struggling with a wide variety of technological side effects. Quite frankly, they are in the same boat as you.

The good news is this. We can turn this whole technological addiction around by understanding the need to seek guidance from a psychology professional when required.

That’s what I think.

 ———

(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).

Cyber daycare 1.0

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Technology has caused way too many side effects in our lives. Some of these side effects include eye strain, anxiety, neck pain and, of course… self centeredness. It is very common for us to hear the following rhetoric these days on Facebook, “I must work on my social media presence,” “I am heading out again,” or “I am going to make my life better.” We hear the word “I” everywhere, much like when we were babies. Could it be that all these social media technologies are turning our society into a big cyber daycare? Absolutely! Think about it.

The beginning of wisdom is the recognition that God is in control of our lives. Glory, ladies and gentleman is to always be given to God. At least, this is what Christianity teaches us, right? The former is the beginning of wisdom and maturity. Not sure if this “I” business is doing us any good on Instagram, Vine, Twitter… It most definitely isn’t making people more mature, that’s for sure. Have you read what so many people write on these platforms nowadays? Do yourself a favor: Log into Facebook tonight, read and pay attention to how childish most of posts are. It’s an epidemic of immaturity forever recorded and often elevated on-line. It is kindergarten 2.0.

Social media enables us to prolong our childhood for the sake of technology! Meaningless. 

Are we going mad? No. Maybe, we’re going way too secular, or shall we say, non-Christian. What good are we doing by spending hours on end writing frivolous things about ourselves on-line? Let me break this to you: We are doing very little good.

Life is about glorifying God and showing love towards your neighbor. When was the last time that any of you read the following on Facebook, “Thank God for His mercy. We aren’t anything without Him,” or “To God goes all the glory.” This big international kindergarten we call social media is distracting us from what matters the most in our lives. God! Open your eyes to reality.

Listen carefully: It isn’t uncommon to read social media posts and witness people calling others’ names, being vain, and ignoring some to get approval or gain access to a special little group at others’ expenses, which is really infantile. Stop! Wake up! God is the center of your life not you or me or your dad. All these technologies are destroying us from within and impacting how we communicate with our soul. Life is so much more than a collection of tweets about you or me.

The Bible teaches us in 1 Corinthians 13:11 that “When we were children, we thought and reasoned as children do. But when we grew up, we quit our childish ways.” Why are so many  grown ups and organizations, many of them religious based, literally saying, “Look at me!” “I am wonderful.” “Come see me!”

It is getting old, people. It is cute to see a baby growing up and thinking that life is all about them when we know better. It isn’t cute witnessing people in their 50’s saying how great they are and the games the play with others for self gain without giving any glory to God when many claim to be believers. In the old days, we had a different method for fixing wrong attitudes. By telling people, “grow up.” We lost that.

You are not that important. If you die tomorrow, how many people will attend your funeral? Social media many times gives us the illusion that we are great when in reality, we aren’t. And in fact, those who claim that they are wonderful are often less paramount than you and me.

Look, it isn’t that complicated. We are to make God the center of your universe and subordinate technology to where it belongs. Our society is becoming a colossal kindergarten because of all these technologies. Let’s stop this madness and grow up, people. First grade is around the corner! It is time for us to realize that we aren’t the center of anything and that social media use isn’t all that great for us, either. Remember: You aren’t five. You are an adult. Act like it.

Jealousy, gratitude simply don’t mix

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I am grateful for being alive and having the privilege to write about technology for you.

We are what we think, and being thankful for the great things that God gives us in life is a requirement for the longtime sustainability of blessings. Sure, technology has made us more connected to each other, but at the expense of gratitude. Let me explain.

Families and friends can now connect and network with each other quite easily on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and that’s wonderful. When I connected with my friend Rodrigo Gracie (yeah, the Jiu-Jitsu MMA fighter) back in 2014, I experienced a true sense of nostalgia. It is not every day that you find a childhood buddy from elementary school who is now a world-renowned celebrity.

Social media developers, kudos to you! From this standpoint, technology is awesome.

Unfortunately, connecting with old friends comes at the expense of losing gratitude. Most of what we read online is a collection of narcissistic, self-centered statements that are rarely directed at the well-being of others. That’s a problem.

If people choose not to be grateful, chances are high that people won’t get living faith, and without living faith people cannot get wealthy. At least, this is what Wallace Wattles states in his book, “The Science of Getting Rich,” published in 1910.

Technology empowered us to express ourselves at the expense of increasing confrontation. Do you really think that people care about what people share? I bet you that writing a post like this, “Today, I just got a promotion at work! Woo hoo!” will do more damage than good.

Look, people get jealous about success. I don’t remember the last time I’ve heard anyone writing the following when visiting Cancun, “I want to thank my peers for covering for me while we take our vacation in Mexico! We couldn’t be here without your help.”

Most people don’t care about what people post on Facebook unless the post relates to them. The main reason this is the case is because gratitude is seldom seen in modern-day Facebook. When people share too many successful posts, be ready to get a combination of jealousy and competition, two very destructive things when not controlled.

The most heated conflicts I’ve witnessed in my life come from close relatives or friends who expressed themselves in too competitive a tone. Statements like, “Today, I got another promotion. Lucky to be me!” tend to generate silent wars among people regardless of culture. The closer a person is to you, the more issues these kind of statements tend to cause.

Real enemies are born out of ungratefulness. Social media blows these problems up.

I would much rather engage with gratitude offline than by constantly posting content about me online. Most people just don’t relate to “I” statements because it’s not about them. It is just a reality.

The question then is: Which benefit would any person gain by using more technology at the expense of losing gratitude? Not too many. Technology has empowered people to choose egoism over grace, which I personally think is a big mistake. Be cautious with writing about yourself online. Be grateful.

Plato once said that “a grateful mind is a great mind which eventually attracts in itself great things.” If what Plato said is relevant in today’s society, and if social media makes us less grateful, then by logic we are going to receive lesser things. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy the great things in life. No technology will ever persuade me from changing my thoughts about that.

I value gratitude. Valuing gratitude is human, reasonable and required. I am not aware of anybody who got anywhere in life without the assistance of gratitude.

Read this carefully: People get jealous when you constantly share success stories about yourself online. In the end, self-promotion on social media only causes you trouble. The more you do it, the more headaches you get.

If I had to choose between technology and gratefulness, I would choose gratefulness 100 percent of the time. Why? Because it doesn’t backfire.

——— (Column previously published in the Cleveland Daily Banner)

(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). 

Don’t let technology limit what you do

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A lot of people live in a state of denial these days. What they think, and what they believe, are often a reflection of their own alter egos created by all of this technology.

There are so many people today who think they need to use technology to be known as a good speaker, teacher and influencer. Let me reveal something to you: You don’t need to use PowerPoint in order to deliver a great speech!

Let me break this to you, if I may. A star teacher must be God and student-centered, not technology centered. Influencers don’t rely on presentation software in order to be influential!

Recently, I visited with the Sunrise Rotary Club to deliver a keynote about TechnoModeration with my good old, and cool, Lee Oskar harmonica, plain paper, a collection of stories and different voice pitches. OK, I had a few slides projected onto a screen from my laptop in order to make a few points here and there about what I like to call “technology conditioning” to the audience. However, the vast majority of my speech was done in an entertaining fashion without the use of technology.

What were the results of that endeavor? My dear compatriots, I think the audience really liked the conversation. They were paying attention, laughed at times, interacted with me and themselves, and more importantly — got the point that we have a technology problem in America.

How did they do it? By not looking at their smartphones or following a collection of keynote slides, but by focusing on the verbal and non-verbal behaviors of a speaker who wasn’t reading from a PowerPoint slide.

Listen to me: The key to communicating with impact isn’t related to how much technology you use or how technological somebody believes you are. Forget this idea that you need to have Facebook to persuade an audience, or that Instagram will make others take action on the things you say at face value because they have an online presence.

What you really need is to have the ability to tell stories and make your audience think about the topic you want them to think about. This is done better without technology, and off-line.

I am getting tired of seeing so many talented young people limit themselves because of technology. We are people, and guess what? People are full of emotions!

Do you really think that you will be able to persuade anyone online without having human contact with them long term? Think again!

Mediated communication has its perks and can be used at times, but it will never replace the good old face-to-face conversation. This is precisely why conferences, events, schools and many other public venues bring trained communicators and speakers to speak to their audiences. Communication skills are still king in the age of Fedor, ladies and gentlemen.

The power of a live speech carries on, I must add. A good keynote speaker, after delivering a killer speech to any audience, without relying on too much technology, is often rebooked by somebody who heard that speech.

An influential teacher who puts students ahead of technology will build an army of followers. The result is quite predictable. These same students will eventually start coming in masses to the professor’s office to learn more.

Keep this in mind: People are relational, especially millennials. If you can’t relate, you won’t influence them. Relationship is built face-to-face, not with technology! A good teacher understands that.

Influencers are a rare breed. If you have them on your team, don’t let them go. Do what you can to keep them. Treat them with the respect they deserve. This breed usually has choices.

Although influencers are often technology literate, they don’t always rely on the latest technological advancements to be influential. Did the Rev. Billy Graham use PowerPoint to influence his crowd during his crusades?

Open your eyes to what is important. Technology is second to humanity.

——— (Column previously published in the Cleveland Daily Banner)

(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). 

Hidden extremism: Technology overload is impacting so many!

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We live in a world marked by extremism.

At the time of our grandparents, people used to have two maybe three pairs of shoes in their closets. Back in 2013, according to the American Apparel and Footwear Association, Americans bought almost eight pairs of shoes that year. The average American man in 2017 owns 12 pairs of shoes. The average American woman owns 27. Americans on average own 19 pairs of shoes these days. That’s a lot!

When we were young, a birthday party would maybe cost parents $150 with presents included. According to a recent consumer survey, parents now spend on average $450 on their kids’ birthday parties without calculating in the $250 they spend on presents. It isn’t uncommon for families to spend at least $500 on their children’s birthday celebrations in 2017.

According to BBC, kids today spend on average 6 1/2 hours of screen time a day, which is a drastic change from the three hours they used to spend in front of computerized devices back in 1995. We have also seen a widespread adoption of multi-screening practices which has influenced the youth to demand connectivity! Will children own a virtual reality device in the near future? I bet they will own two maybe three of these pieces of hardware, if not more.

Why are things so extreme today? It is difficult to isolate one single reason for why this is all happening. I think I have the answer for why so many kids (and parents) spend hours on end on computerized devices in Cleveland, Tennessee or Ohio, and anywhere in between the states of New York and New Delhi. Folks are exhausting themselves for the sake of technology because when humans interact with multiple computerized devices on a daily basis, they become more like a “computer” without realizing.

Computer use is maybe conditioning us to be more extreme. We see evidence of the former in how we live our lives in relation to the actual traits of modern computer technology. Computers, even when they are on stand-by mode, are technically active in the background because computer processes have to be operational for the computer to be on stand-by. We seem to have inherited some of these computer traits by being so ingrained with them.

It isn’t uncommon for a number of us to work 50 sometimes 60 hours a week, not from 9 to 5 but from 9 to forever. Let’s not forget that answering emails at 9:45 p.m. and waking up at 3 a.m. to solve a problem that we couldn’t solve the night before is an extreme measure. Our computer-use behaviors today are quite extreme and some might even categorize them as borderline irresponsible. The human brain was not made to operate in constant information overload mode, yet we are challenging our mental capacity limits by being in front of computer screens for several hours a day.

Remember: Your family members and friends only have one brain. Overuse of technology is an epidemic. It’s alive and well and is everywhere. Adults are also experiencing the same extreme side effects that kids exhibit, due to the extreme interactions with computerized devices, as well. There was a time when extreme levels of computer use was a “kid” thing. It isn’t anymore. The vast majority of us are now on our computers for too long. We need to break from this habit.

The good news is that we can break free from technology once in a while. My recommendations for temporary breaking from computer use extremism is the following: Join a local church and volunteer your time every week for the Lord.

If you like to sing, join a community choir or theatre. If your talent is labor, donate some of your time to a nonprofit to help with a remodeling or landscaping project. If you like thinking, take a non-credit class in a local college to meet new friends. Read a book, go for a walk, pray!

In the end, you will thank the good God for living a life of moderation. It makes all the difference.

———

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and TEDx speaker. He has been nationally featured for his work in leadership and technology by the Wall Street Journal, ABC-Jackson, TEDxPhoenixville, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Voice of America and the Indiana Gazette. Internationally, Dr. “A” has been featured in several outlets, including the prestigious O Globo newspaper and Radio CBN. 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.)

Hidden extremism: Technology overload is impacting so many!

As technology fails, activities for the win

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The infusion of innovation changes the composition of any living system forever.

For some reason, we are choosing to ignore the laws of innovation, diffusion and adoption – and all for the sake of technology.

The mighty smartphone may have given us some “superpowers” such as the ability to quickly respond to messages via social media and to share photographs with our kids, but it also has helped kill shopping malls and other retailers all across America, especially in small towns and cities like ours.

Smartphones are not just killing us. They are, as mentioned, killing our malls. When we were younger, people used to go to the mall to walk around, converse, exchange ideas and buy stuff. Today, very few people go to the malls in small towns and cities, and when they do go, they go to walk, not to buy.

Our ideas are now exchanged on social media. We buy our things on Amazon. By the way, did you know that Toys R Us went out of business? Go figure.

Black Friday is dying. Cyber Monday is expanding. Most mall managers are concerned about these new online trends. They have a reason to be concerned, I think. We need to do something about this, ladies and gents. The good news is: I have a solution to this whole mess. Are you willing to hear it?

Here we go with my solution to this whole shopping mall mess in small towns all across America, and small cities like ours:

First of all, trash the idea that malls are places where people go to buy clothes. This retail model is approaching death.

Why don’t we turn these dinosaur malls into activity malls? Seniors are already walking there anyway, right?

Don’t you think that we should expand the offerings and capitalize on what people are asking for? Listen to me: How about if we turn Bradley Square Mall into a facility with a rollerblade hall and an indoor ice skate arena?

By the way, is there a place in town for kids to play, especially during winter and early spring? Let me tell you something: Parents don’t want to buy clothing and toys for their kids every week. Parents want some sanity after working a long week at work.

Turn these dated malls into a kids’ activity place. Maybe mall managers should consider not renewing some of these clothing store contracts (which are struggling to stay in business anyway) and replacing them with a bumper-car enclosure, an old-fashioned arcade, Chuck-E-Cheese, air-bounce, trampoline, billiards, you name it!

We live in a dry county, people. Shouldn’t we make the mall the place for teenagers to go and have date nights? I bet we can turn the finances of these shopping malls around quickly.

Let me say this again: People want an activity mall to take their kids to, have fun and get some sanity. It is the No. 1 complaint I hear from people these days.

How do you monetize this idea of having an activity mall? It is simple. If people want to go to a store only, sell them a ticket for them to go to a store only. Another option? People can pay for an all-day pass. People can even buy a yearly pass and enjoy all the activity mall’s activities for a cheaper price. In a couple of years, we may witness the biggest revival in shopping malls this country has ever seen.

We need stronger leadership to turn mall operations around. Let’s not allow our indoor malls to become a place for delinquents to hang out.

I tell you this: Turning the current shopping malls into activity malls will help destroy some of the delinquency we now sometimes may see in shopping malls.

Technology may change the composition of a system forever, but our ability to adapt and reinvent trumps the side effects that new technologies have on old living systems.

Let me say this loud and clear: We can turn these malls around. All we need to do is to think differently, have people on board who believe in the vision, and survive the transition.

Are you game to make our town awesome? I am.

——— (Column previously published in the Cleveland Daily Banner)

(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). 

Technology makes you boring

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In this life you need to be fascinating. Do you have an accent and come from Greece? Cool! Fascinating! I hope you didn’t choose to live life without taking any risks because in this world, those who don’t take risks live both a boring and a dangerous life. I don’t know about you but unless I am playing with black pieces in a chess game, my best defense is always the offense. I don’t play to lose especially if I have the ability to make the first move. All this technology is making people boring and too cookie cutter in so many aspects.

This past week, I decided to skateboard on campus as a means to connect with our students in a way that they would understand. I doubt that many people my age would even consider skateboarding because our technological society doesn’t often premium those who deviate from the norm that much even though you can be quite captivating when you listen to what your heart is telling you. Who cares if we have all these technologies but we fail to influence? Being boring and old school isn’t always the best way to connect with the youth if you know what I mean.

Some people have said that to be more cool, we have to emulate what Apple does. Yes, they are a tech company but what amazingly makes them fascinating is their ability to take risks and  deviate from what others are doing. They lead by celebrating their differences in contrast to others. People need to simplify, you know? Yet, technology often complicates what we do. Don’t believe me? How complex is your password? Eight to ten characters, which must contain a special character, two numbers and nothing that repeats itself or resembles your social security number? Look man, don’t be boring like everyone else. Be yourself and celebrate your differences because in this technological world, trust me… you will need it.

You must invest in you not always in technology. Will that make some people uncomfortable? Absolutely but hey… life is about dealing with ambiguity and finding ways to control the uncontrollable without having technology controlling what we do. You know what? After 44 years of age, I’ve come to the conclusion that people have to project themselves somehow but not always using technology. In a society where most people tend to make decisions before thinking, many people need to be reminded that being human and perceptive makes us much more fascinating.

I like making myself uncomfortable for the sake of growth. How about you? Please don’t tell me that you get afraid of displaying who you really are for the sake of technology! Remember: Life is about living with enthusiasm in a fascinating way. Live and let die!

You now what, let me say something to you. I am cool, perhaps the coolest professor higher education has ever seen. Hey, I’m not being humble today, all right? I hold a PhD, can bounce a golf ball and catch it behind my neck, can talk with strangers if we were besties and can play mean ping pong! Thank goodness technology doesn’t control me. My life would have been way too mundane if I allowed the smartphone to control me. My recommendation for you is the following. Are you ready?

Life is what you make of it. Don’t allow cheap machinery to control or dictate how you live. Technology is helping us to be more productive and empowered. The irony of the former is that what we gain in production and empowerment we lose in authenticity. I am very concerned that these technologies we have in America today is changing our society to a point of no return where homogeneity will be seen as the norm.

What has made this country what it is today was partly based on the risks we took in order to be more fascinating. Technologies are changing this by asking us all to be more uniform and predictable. How boring! Live and let die or shall we say, carpe diem: Live your lives to the fullest, ladies and gentleman. Say no to technologies and embrace your humanity. In the end, its all you got. 

Fake Overload On The Horizon

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Let me make this one short and to the point. If you think that we have a huge fake crisis today, think again because the fake crisis of the future will make the problems of misinformation we have today pretty much kindergarten. Today, our “fake extent” relates to journalistic articles, targeted ads on facebook, and website traffic. People fake how they look with photoshop and when buying fake friends on instagram. Tomorrow, fake will be on steroids, as content manipulation techniques will be so elaborated that the content people produce will be replaced by content the system wants you to see.

Let me say this loud and clear. Around 2025, bots will manipulate your media without you being aware of it. The videos you produce will be manipulated by a system replacing your original content with theirs. These videos will have your face speaking about topics you didn’t speak about when you recorded. Manipulating your perception of reality will be common place.

Isn’t the former a dangerous line of thinking? I think it is.

Let me give you an example: If buying social media views persuade people to spend more money running these bogus campaigns, then so be it even if these campaigns don’t give people a good return on their investment. Remember: The whole fake agenda isn’t about sharing what is real or the truth but to advance deception. The former isn’t a new concept, of course. Third party companies have been selling fake twitter likes and followers since its inception. Is it ethical? I don’t think it is yet many people subscribe to such methods of growing their social media accounts.

I have tried some of these tactics before as part of my research in this area. It is an ugly world out there dude. There is fake everywhere. That’s how these systems operate. Pay me 10 dollars a day and I will make sure that accounts follow you. This is the reality today. How fake! Tomorrow, we are going to see artificial intelligence learning ways to manipulate a part of who we are on-line and potentially distort the views that others have about us by what they see in a video. I know, this is literally crazy but we aren’t that far away from having a machine being able to replace your video’s audio track with other content that resembles your voice with a high degree of accuracy with something you haven’t said. Wait! What? Dr. A, are you saying that bots will eventually have the ability to manipulate recorded videos about us and include content we haven’t produced in order to trick others to believe what they want others to believe in, using people as scapegoats? Yes.

I am convinced that our lives will be much more complicated in the future because of technology. In a period of 5 to 10 years, we won’t be able to distinguish between facts and fiction online very easily or accurately check the credibility of our conversations in cyberspace because of technology advancements in AI. The machine will learn a way to trick others into believing what the machine wants you to believe. People will see videos being manipulated by an algorithm saying things that people haven’t said yet many will believe because they won’t be able to differentiate between what is real and what is fiction.

Advertising and propaganda won’t cease to exist. I wonder how companies will maximize the use of such tools for profit.

The “good” news today is that we can still control what we put out there and can track what is being shared about us in social media. In the near future, things will change drastically in this regard.  Get ready to having to deal with intelligent technologies that will manipulate reality in ways you can’t control.  These intelligent systems will evolve so quickly that your ability to control its intents will be severely diminished. At least this is what Mr. Ovadya, Knight News innovation fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia has predicted.

Listen carefully: We are seeing the beginnings of fake online. Can you imagine what will happen to sharing truthful content on-line in 10 years? I don’t even want to know.

Offering Some Love For The World Of Print

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There is a new study out there that claims that students learn better by reading paperback books than e-books. It is about time for us to be talking about this undeniable fact.

I am for using technology in the classroom with reason, but if given the option to buy print versus e-books, I will always defend print because of what I have read, seen and tested in my career as a college professor.

Getting right to the point: Assuming that students will learn better by using e-books because they grew up with a computer is irresponsible.

All right, fasten your seat belts because what you are about  to read isn’t popular, and will probably leave some people very confused. Technology in the classroom is important and, to a degree, necessary. What we must avoid is believing that everything that is technologically advanced is, by default, better for you.

Students will always learn better from print because of the following factors:

First and foremost, books are printed at 300 dots per inch; images and text are displayed on screens at 72DPI. This, in itself, concerns me as our eyes get more eye strain when reading content at lower DPI. Have you noticed that you get headaches more frequently when reading that iPhone of yours, compared to a book?

Part of the reason why you feel that way is because the medium with the highest resolution today is paper, not the screen! The lower the media resolution, the higher the side effects. It’s no wonder Barnes & Noble has stacks and more stacks of print books for sale. Paper sells, or shall we say, “Screens give us headaches?”

Look, there is so much more to this discussion than DPI and resolution. Did you even know that your smartphone messes with your radio frequency exposure? What do you think higher RF exposure will do to your learning? Now I bet I  am scaring you! Let me get technical now for your benefit, and then we will tie this all back to education.

Electronic devices emit radio frequency waves. Specific absorption rate, or SAR, which is a fancy name for explaining the rate that your body absorbs radio frequency electromagnetic field waves, must be monitored closely in order for subjects to avoid getting deadly conditions, including cancer.

In the United States, the limit SAR value, set by the FCC, is 1.6 watts per kilogram of tissue, as I understand. That iPhone of yours transmits a lot of RF signals and that’s why the device offers many of us the option to talk hands free or using a headphone. Don’t believe me? OK. Go to your iPhone device, click “General,” then hit “About.” Scroll down the screen until you reach the option, “legal.” After that, click the option, “RF exposure.”

Now, relating this with education, as promised. Could it be that higher levels of SAR in the human body due to exposure and frequency of use of these devices affects the way we process information from our short-term memory to our long-term memory?

I don’t know the answer to that. What I do know is that higher RF exposure in your head results in higher electromagnetic radiation. Books don’t emit any RF waves.

Question, “Who do you think will learn best: The student who is reading a book in print or the one who reads that e-book emitting RF waves?” Sure, not all students will put that e-book reader against their heads, but will they put that device against their bodies? Uh-oh.

It is not over. When people are reading on a cellphone screen or another computerized device including the Kindle, people’s brains apparently only skim over the material. When people read a physical book, people’s brains connect both its hemispheres together. This  phenomenon does not occur when people read books on smartphones. No wonder people remember more content when reading from a book than when reading from an e-book.

As I always say, “Use technology, but in moderation.”

When it comes to education, print books are preferable for the reasons I just told you.

Responsible educators take into account the potential side effects that technology has on the development of their students. I certainly do. You should do the same.

——— (Column published previously in the Cleveland Daily Banner). 

(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). 

Technology is Handicapping Millennials

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One of main traits that makes us human is our ability to communicate. Whenever we live a healthy communal life, we engage in conversations face-to-face, care and respect others, and we pay attention to important principles of etiquette which then helps us to live in conjunction with each other without engaging in too much discord. I am not aware of any critical mass of individuals living in a society in any time in history that has survived the times living in total isolation from their immediate community, its values and communication practices. And as importantly — the ability to learn from his own mistakes over time. The smartphone has been handicapping the millennial generation in this regard.

The Smartphone Has Been Handicapping The Millennials. You have heard it right. You might be asking… Why do you say that professor? Let me explain why by giving you a real life example that has changed the way I interact with human beings of the opposite sex.

When I was a kid, I struggled to converse with girls face-to-face. I was so shy and literally afraid to speak with a girl one-on-one… I had a terrible fear of rejection back then. Even though these feelings are not totally foreign to young boys, I know today that my levels of shyness (and therefore my inability to speak with a person of the opposite sex) back then were probably higher than most boys who were shy in my generation.

Like most kids in their teenage years, I was unprepared to engage in interpersonal communications with a female. I still remember this beautiful girl named Peggy which I truly had the hots for. She was beautiful, nice, and to my fortune… she seemed to like me. The fact that we never ended up going out on a date had nothing to do with her interpersonal ability. It had everything to do with mine. I failed to initiate a meaningful conversation with her to have the chance to ask her out on a date. My total loss… and I knew it. However, my inabilities to break the ice and carry on a honest conversation with a girl made me stop and think about why I wasn’t being successful in my love endeavors. I spent some time thinking about this question and then BINGO! Eventually, I’ve learned what girls like out of my struggles. “They like to talk,” for the most part. I figured… Well, if girls like to talk, then I need to be a good listener. The rest my friends, is history.

Look, I didn’t need to have a smartphone to make me feel better or learn how to speak with a girl. My humanity helped me with enjoying my later teenage and young adult years simply by stopping and thinking about the obvious. For most of my teenage years (up to the age of 16), I struggled with speaking with girls. Some might consider the former as being a “bad” life experience. Well, I see these former struggles differently today. I thank God for how things ended up working out in my life in that regard and for having the ability to face the problem and find a possible solution like a man.

When I was 16 years old, there were no smartphones. My parents happened to have cell phones back then, which was unusual for Brazilians back in the 90’s, but they were not smart.  I didn’t have the opportunity to go on-line to make me feel better for my inability to speak with a girl. Because I had NO technology, I had to face the problem and develop a two very important life skills — Critical thinking and Listening.

Kids today are handicapped because of technology. Too many millennials face a problem with a girl and rather than facing the problem head on to find a solution… They often go to their smartphones and text! Can’t talk with a girl tonight? Go to a smartphone, watch a video with girls and feel better. Can’t find a date to go to prom… Go to the smartphone, chat with girls on Tumbler, and move on… Don’t have any friends? Go to the smartphone and log into Facebook and and chatting! The problem is that text messaging won’t teach a kid how to speak with a girl like a man. Avoiding (or the inability) to speaking with a real girl can’t be replaced by watching a video about girls. Not having a date for prom can’t be replaced by chatting with strangers on Tumbler…

What if I told you that if a person faces a problem in life and decides to ignore the issue and move sideways, eventually they will walk in a circle and be bossed around for life? With or without technology. All this technology that is supposed to make our lives better is having a tremendously negative impact in the lives of millions of teenagers and young adults today. It is, in fact, handicapping them by discouraging them to face real life problems for the sake of technology.

I have 10 Life Secrets: Let Me Share 1

Dr. A After Delivering A Keynote to 18 Secretaries at Lee University.
Dr. A After Delivering A Keynote to 18 Secretaries at Lee University.

We shouldn’t spend our lives on our smartphones letting life pass by us. That’s a mistake! 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? Put that smartphone of yours away for  minute and enjoy the show!

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.

The Smartphone Is The Vice Of Our Time

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I grew up in a traditional Brazilian family where piercings, long hair on males, drugs and alcohol were heavily forbidden, especially for the oldest grandchild of the family.

Under no circumstances was I to be near such things or get together with people who made the choice to approve of any of these four things.

Looking back, I am glad that my parents raised me the way they did. I have no desire to have facial piercings or long hair or drink rum and smoke pot. The vices of my youth are probably the same vices you had as a kid, with little variation.

What if I told you that the new generation has one additional vice among these four things. It is called the smartphone!

Of course, the smartphone isn’t just a vice for the youth. It can be a vice for you and me, as well. The difference is that many of us grew up without a smartphone and we kind of know what it’s like to live without one. Your child or grandchild hasn’t experienced a life without these devices, which in many respects makes it more difficult for them to disconnect.

Do you remember when you were young and everybody used to smoke cigarettes? I do, and I hated being beside anybody who did. The good news for me was that I could just get away from smokers and live my life in peace. Today, kids can’t really disconnect that easily, because our society has made heavy phone usage the ideal.

Look, let me share something with you. I have lost a number of friends for believing in what I believe: TechnoModeration.

In the age of the smartphone, when the political left curses the right, and vice versa, and politicians fail to compromise, heavy use of computerized devices is without a doubt the ideal for many. How dare you or I say anything otherwise?

I am starting to believe that the smartphone is very much like a drug or a vice. Much in the same way that my family would disapprove of me having long hair, many today disapprove of others for those others being lesser fans of technology! People today go the extra mile to completely cut contact with you because of your stance on technology!

Listen to me: If you are not a TechnoHitler (in lockstep with blind worshippers of all things new-tech), many today may “disown” you for what you believe. How do I know? Because it has happened to me, repeatedly.

You may not believe this, as it can be a bit hard to fathom. Can you believe that some of my closest acquaintances don’t speak with me today because of my position on technology use? Sounds hilarious, doesn’t it?

Maybe I should start a telephone game with anybody who decided to give up chatting with me online because of my position on defending humanity over the machine. I would start the game with the following phrase, “It is OK to believe in technomoderation even if you are a technologist.”

In no time, many of these people — who are now so consumed by this drug we call the smartphone — would change my message to, “Ignore Luis. He talks about technology in moderation, but we — technologists — must resist him at all costs.”

What a crazy world we live in these days. From what I have read about drug use, the effects of such things make people a bit delusional. Are druggies that different from folks who suffer from the many side effects of the smartphone? Delusion is definitely a side effect of using the machine in excess, I defend.

Listen carefully: Every generation is cursed with a societal vice. The vices from the high culture of Brazil were having long hair, piercings, drugs and alcohol. Today, in middle class America, it seems that our vice is technology.

I have no problem losing friends for taking the position of technological moderation. Why? Because it is the right thing to do, and let’s face it … we lose friends there, but make new friends here.

Let me finish this column by saying this to you: “There is only one God, and His name isn’t smartphone.”

Be bold and join the movement! You don’t need to be a tech druggie to live a good life.

——— (Column published previously in the Cleveland Daily Banner)

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and 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.)

You Need To Equip Yourself With Knowledge

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“Sorry, technology won’t help you with differentiating between great leadership and simple manipulation. You need to equip yourself with knowledge in order to do that. Our children need to be equipped with skill sets that help them to differentiate between great leadership and manipulation – like understanding non-verbal communication skills and different speech patterns and emotions.”

Music Pleases God.

Music Pleases God.

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“He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.”

Brothers and sisters, we are to pray daily and sing hymns to the Lord. Only God saves! We must proclaim the good news of the gospel to others so that we can advance the kingdom of Jesus Christ. We are called to preach and sing “louvores” to God through music. God loves when we glorify Him. This is our duty brethren! God first — every time.

God bless, Luis.

 

 

Media Addiction Isn’t A Kid Thing Anymore.

Media Addiction Isn’t A Kid Thing Anymore.

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“For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:16); “It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:12); “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). 

Do not be tempted to live life according to the world. We are to live life according to the Lord. Say no to addiction, temptations of the flesh, e.g., drinking, smoking, lust, the love of money, and other vanities that won’t help you to see the light. Not everything that feels good or right is in fact good for you in God’s eyes. We need to life a moral life that puts God first and we second.

The case of technology addiction or what I like to call… “Technological Conditioning” these days is a serious issue that isn’t a kid thing anymore. Remember what Matthew 26:41 has taught us — The flesh is weak. Let me remind you — God is stronger than the flesh and we can do anything by Him who strengthen us (Philippians 4:13). Say no to technology addiction and realize that the former can be argued to be a form of worldly passion that can turn into prideful behavior. It ain’t worth falling into the enemy’s temptation brethren. Don’t do it.

Let me share you you an interview I gave in a local NPR affiliate talking about this issue. It might enlighten this topic one step further for our benefit. Here it is.

Remember: God is to whom we must live for not us. Media addiction isn’t a kid thing anymore. Be careful with it.

Millennials Are Not Computer Geniuses.

Millennials Are Not Computer Geniuses.

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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.

Initiative Means Commitment, Got It?

Initiative Means Commitment, Got It?

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I am not aware of anyone who has a strong drive for developing new initiatives and isn’t committed to the values and overall well being of an organization. Being able to produce and have the stamina to implement a well planned idea is at the core of what we consider an effective emotionally intelligent leader to be. New initiatives bring with themselves the need to achieve, maybe drive and a lot of optimism. It is a required mindset that anyone who is interested in leadership development should pay close attention to.

In order to start any well thought initiative, people are going to need a number of well known EQ skills including influence, content management, political awareness, optimism and adaptability. Self confidence alone won’t do the trick for you, I guarantee it. When crafting a strategy for implementing a new initiative, it is important to be able to adapt in your quest for making your initiative a success but adaptability alone won’t generate the outcome you need to design, develop, implement, evaluate any campaign with distinction. Another caveat — IQ alone won’t help it either. You will need to have people skills, team building capabilities, collaborations and cooperation.

In this article I won’t cover everything there is about planning and running effective new initiatives. There is too much to write in one blog post. I will, however, elaborate on three components of this challenging puzzle that we call, “Initiative.”

  1. Influence. You need to be influential. You need to have the capacity to make others do what you want them to do, without having to pay them a single dollar for it. If you are a master of persuasion you are by definition a man or woman of influence. The good news is that if you lack the ability to influence others, you can definitely learn it by developing emotional intelligence skills. EQ is a skill set that you can legitimately learn and develop. Do yourself a favor — This upcoming week, if you don’t know if you can influence others positively, read a book on persuasion and give yourself a chance to influence others with distinction and discretion by applying the basic tenents of emotional intelligence.
  2. Optimism. Look, if you don’t believe in your organization or yourself, why are you doing the work you are doing today? I know, I know… It is because of the money, right? Is it maybe because of the benefits? Regardless of the reason, make sure that optimism is a priority in your career. You are going to need the former in order to make initiatives to workout for you and your team. Optimism isn’t synonymous with realism even thought realism can be a part of optimism. There will be times when the best thing to do is for you to cut your losses and move one to the next challenge.  Hopefully, there will be only a few of those in your career. Be optimistic and believe that you can do it. You might even convince yourself of who you truly are — an optimist!
  3. Political awareness. Be ready to be a half-politician… Smile and take note about who you know or don’t know. It is well worth 2-3 minutes of your time.  In order to have a great impact on your community, you will need to befriend key political figures in your region. Is it a difficult task to accomplish? I guess that it depends on how many influential people you know and your ability to carry on a great conversation in the right environment. Everyone likes to chat especially about themselves. Be a good listener and seek to better understand the needs and wants of others. This former tip can help you to receive access to attend important political functions.  You must have the capacity to gain public awareness if you are serious about implementing initiatives in any organization.

I am not aware of anyone who has a strong drive for producing new initiatives and isn’t committed to the values and overall well being of his or her organization. Remember:  In order to start any well thought out initiative, you are going to need a number of well known EQ skills, including influence, optimism and political awareness. Don’t wait until tomorrow to start developing the required skill sets you need to develop great initiatives.  Life is too short for giving up strategic thinking and analysis. Do me a favor: Start on them right now! I bet you will thank me later.

Lack Of Empathy Backfires.

Lack Of Empathy Backfires.

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I cannot emphasize this enough. Empathy is at the core of what makes a leader what we call a true leader. One’s abilities to put themselves in the shoes of others and literally care for others as they care for themselves is a skill-set that transcends the conservation on emotional intelligence. A person’s ability to empathize is more than a construct in EQ. It is a duty for anyone who made the decision to work with a group of people or a team. A person who is incapable of putting themselves in the shoes of others, or as importantly, learning how to do so… will eventually be fired by the organization. Making a long story short: Learning and applying empathetic behaviors can literally save your job and your professional career.

It isn’t just the baby boomers who are doing a poor job with applying sound emotional intelligence skills. Several other categorical groups don’t apply the central tenets of EQ, especially the millennial generation. This upcoming group of professionals have, for the most part, what I consider to be a serious interpersonal communication issue. Some scholars would even categorize them as emotionally unintelligent and perhaps a generation with a high degree of what I call EE — Emotional Entitlement. Self validation and recognition are two of the cancers we find in both emotionally unintelligent folks and a large number of millennials. Things are all about them… What a dangerous philosophy to spread and accept.

If you find yourself in an environment where the former are celebrated and idolized, make sure you immediately do two things. First: Take the initiative and try to coach them, directly or indirectly, on how to transform themselves into a more emotional intelligent person. Second: Be willing to help when they ask for help. Remember: A caring behavior can go a long way and can certainly do miracles in any group or organization. Never forget that, okay?

There are a number of issues that when we experience them, we need to do what we can to fight and replace them. These real word challenges are: Taking all the credit accomplished by a consortium; distancing yourself from those you work with, texting too much, and of course… not making enough time to meet other people. In this article, I will explain in some detail how we can fix three of these with examples and techniques.

  1. Taking all the credit accomplished by a consortium: Just don’t. If you completed a task with distinction and accomplished a challenging or ordinary goal or objective, make sure you recognize your team. Your face alone should not be in every marketing deliverable celebrating your success or in an annual report sent to a higher power, especially when the face of others who helped you to be where you are not included in the report. I do realize that sometimes, leaders don’t include the names and the contributions of their individual team members without realizing. It is absolutely imperative, however, that professionals in higher positions be sensitive to the contributions made by his/her group.
  2. Distancing yourself from those you work with. If you want to lead, you must be accessible. A level five leader understands that he/she can’t make him or herself look like a rare commodity because these leaders know that the former approach backfires and only results in the destruction of a unit or high levels of employee turnover. Nobody that I know of enjoys working with anyone who think of themselves to be too good to chat with others. Reason being, of course, is a variable. As an old friend of mine once said, “Caesar’s friends are to be both good and appear good.” Pragmatically, organizational behavior in the the workforce follows the same logic. If a leader is good but is perceived to be bad… problems within the group will be eminent and chances are high that the organization will suffer.
  3. Texting too much.  By now, you know that I am not a fan of the overuse of technology. I am, however, all for automatic technology and gathering big data with technological tools so that more interpersonal communication occurs. Let me be blunt. Most people I know will find it disrespectful if someone is constantly texting when speaking with them. In some instances, folks would even quit under these circumstances. Millennials struggle quite a lot with this. Just because people are busy and receive tons of text messages a day doesn’t mean that they need to answer them immediately. The world won’t come to an end if you don’t immediately reply that text message you have received, trust me. Make sure you make time for yourself to speak with others face to face. Avoid being a slave to your smartphone.

Empathy is at the core of what makes a leader what we call a true leader. One’s abilities to put themselves in the shoes of others and literally care for others as they care for themselves is a skill set that transcends the conversation on emotional intelligence. If you want to have a long and heathy career, do what you can to practice empathy with others. Don’t be at the office grumpy and thinking that people can’t read your expressions. When success is achieved, share the credit with others. Sometimes, a simple act of introducing your team members to others go a long way. Your unit isn’t just you. In fact, I guarantee you it will never be just about you. Therefore, don’t distance yourself from the same people who help you to achieve greatness.  If a leader is good but is perceived to be bad by team members, problems within the group will be eminent and chances are high that the organization will suffer. Stop texting and start chatting. Be empathetic! In the end you will thank me.

We Should Have The Right To Disconnect After 5:00pm

We Should Have The Right To Disconnect After 5:00pm

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Technology use after hours has reached absurd levels of adoption and use in the United States and abroad. It isn’t uncommon for hard-working  professionals living in the United States or abroad to be required to take phone calls, answer emails, reply text messages, update social media sites… 24/7. Even when someone is on vacation, he/she may need to comply with corporate policy of other duties as assigned and work while attempting to rest somewhere in New Zealand.

I do realize and predict that this modern day curse won’t be an easy one to be fixed or broken because our adopted professional operating system depends on its talented hard-working labor to be constantly connected to a machine in order for the system at large to operate and function. Therefore, producing twice sometimes three times more output than what is humanly possible isn’t in our favor. I guess this is what happens to society when technology takes control of human behavior and greed is then imposed on us in the name of productivity.

I bet that you and most if not all of your working family members are experiencing this quite inhumane practice. I wouldn’t be surprised if you know someone who is already experiencing health complications due to the unreasonable demands of the workforce these days. I wish we could just boycott the system but in reality we cannot, at least not initially.  SO, you might be asking… What can we do to alleviate the burdens of technological workplace abuse in 2017. There may be other ways to fight the cancer of working from 9 to forever in society. In this article, I will present to you three ways I do in order to live a balanced technological life in moderation.

  1. Join the @escthemachine movement immediately. You won’t be the only person to support the movement and is quite possible that a close friend of yours or a person you know has or will join the movement in your lifetime. @escthemachine is a movement to end the computer obsession era. The movement is about celebrating technology moderation. What a nice and humane mission, isn’t it?  You can follow the movement on twitter and receive daily updates on its Facebook feed. Who knows? The movement’s staff and partners might call on you to help to spread the TechnoModeration agenda in your community and beyond.
  2.  Be an independent voice for change primarily off-line. If you are a good speaker, consider giving keynotes about the need to create a policy that prevents the intrusion of technological messages into the worker’s leisure hours. Maybe you have the authority or hold an influential vote to decide who to bring and talk about the dangers of technology overuse in your establishment or club. I don’t recommend relying on social media as a medium for promoting TechnoModeration. Many folks out there will be confused and will quickly disregard what you say because you are using technology to talk about the dangers of it. I know, I know… It is idiotic because we are not trying to tell anyone that technology is bad or is always evil. We are in the business to put together a critical mass of individuals who are calling for the need to use computer technology in moderation from 9-5. Trust me. They won’t understand this simple tenet and are likely to get angry and emotional about you and your message.
  3. Be vocal and literally turn off your device after 5:00pm Friday.  I do and you should as well. Why do you need to be on the smartphone at 8:37pm on a Friday solving weekly problems? All right, I do get it. If you are in news, you need to be on standby 24/7 literally because breaking news and the need to produce and report such events happens all the time. You might not be able to turn your device off these days at 9:43pm on a Sunday but what you can do is to be at least vocal about it or do what some have done to alleviate their own unreasonable weekly schedules — Book an expert on the topic for your daily show or invite him/her to your classroom. Sometimes in life, winning is a function of losing less to eventually gain more. I do my part — You should do yours. It pays off, I must say.

Technology use after hours has reached absurd levels of adoption and use in the United States and abroad. It isn’t uncommon for hard-working  professionals living in the United States or abroad to be required to take phone calls, answer emails, reply text messages, update social media sites… 24/7. I bet that you and most if not all of your working family members are experiencing this quite inhumane practice. What can you do to literally @escthemachine? Join the @escthemachine movement immediately; Be an independent voice for change primarily off-line. Be vocal and literally turn off your device after 5:00pm Friday. We only live life once. Don’t waste your precious time in vain. We should have the right to disconnect after 5:00pm. Don’t you agree?

The Last Bubble: Collapse is Eminent.

The Last Bubble: Collapse is Eminent.

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If we look back in history and pay close attention to the evolution of both the defeated world war II countries and what we call the industrialized countries of today, we can quickly conclude that the industries they have re-built were for the most part more efficient and effective than the ones we had in the United States during the 1970’s. Well, I guess Japan, Germany and others had no choice but to take the stance of excellence if they were to compete against the only superpower of the post WWII age. They had to step up their game and do things differently.

Back in the 80’s, American industries had to compete against companies that were designed and developed to literally destroy the American industrial park as the hegemony of American enterprises was everywhere. It did its fair share of damage, that’s for sure.

At the same time, the rise of immigrants and women rights along with infusion of technology has caused the job market to become an “Employers Market,” as the workforce then had (and still has) way more people looking for jobs than jobs needing people. The supply of workers became too large for the country’s labor demands resulting in employers not having to pay decent wages to its employees as economist Richard Wolff once stated. The situation we are in today isn’t different from the realities of the 1980’s — Our current situation might be in fact much worse as the levels of technology imposed in our society has reached high levels of ridicule.

The American people is overworked, stressed, without money, in debt, and for the most part… still believing that the economic crisis is temporary. Not sure about that folks. This systemic ghost is here to stay. It might not even be an economical crisis but a crisis of philosophy.

Americans now work more than anybody in the world (including the Japanese), take less vacation days than the British, have less paid maternity leave time than any other nation among industrialized countries. Regardless of whether a mom gave birth through natural birth of cesarian session, employers only pay 5 weeks for full-paid compensation only on average. Stop here for a second…. Can anyone really go back to work after an intrusive C-Session only five weeks after surgery? You tell me.

Americans are suffering from anxiety, stress, syndromes here and more syndromes there due to overwork. On the top of all of that and due to the lack of home operational income, Americans had to borrow money against their houses in the year 2000’s in order to make ends meet. Too many lost their properties dues to foreclosure and in order to survive… Had to borrow against unsecured debt. The population lives on credit card debt because it is the only way folks can live and yet maintain the standard of living of consumption they once did. Economist Wolff seems to be correct about that, also.

Well my friends, let me share this with you. This time is coming to an end as the American credit card debt crisis has reached its limits. Be ready to hear about the crisis in student loan debt on mainstream media more often, very soon. Student loan debt will be the last bubble of our generation (in my opinion) but like all financial bubbles, it will explode and it will be ugly. I predict it will occur between 2020 and 2025. Students will be going to school to defer debt in mass quantities as high paying jobs become more scarce.

I see an ugly future for a lot of us members of the struggling middle class. As a college professor, I am suppose to hold a positive stance on hope but the evidence I see doesn’t give me too much hope folks. I think this whole fiasco will occur in this country in 2023. The country might default on its financial obligations which can result in life changing events never experienced before in the land of apple pie. I honestly don’t see a way out from this mess. The good news is that I am not an economics professor but a professor of media. The bad news is that if I am right…

And they keep telling me, “We need more technology!” I reply saying, “No, we need more brain cells!” We don’t need more technology. Ladies and gentleman, the boat is sinking and we are all a part of it. I encourage you to pray and pray hard because we will need it. Be ready to reduce your standard of living… Be accustomed to living in an apartment not in a house… Stop spending and look for ways to generate your own source of income. We must stick together and be creative.

Sticking together is perhaps the only way we will be able to deal with this whole crisis. God be with us.

Scatter-Brained, Stressed Out Friend: Not Me and You, Right? You Got It.

Scatter-Brained, Stressed Out Friend: Not Me and You, Right? You Got It.

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One of the secrets to living a great life in our modern technological society is for you to have the ability to balance your on-line versus off-line commitments. There are 8760 hours, 525600 minutes and 31536000 seconds in a year. If you spend 12 hours a day using technology/media devices, by mid-year you would have spent 2190 hours, 131400 minutes, or 7884000 seconds processing information with your only brain. I am not sure about you but I can tell you with certainty that I can’t process a dozen hours a day of media stimuli without repercussions. Not sure about you but I don’t want to experience constant short-term memory dysfunction or display constant scatter-brained behaviors to my family, friends and co-workers.

In all honesty, I don’t think you would benefit from engaging in such digital behavioral choice patterns either because nobody in this race, the human race, can handle to mentally process all this information at once without experiencing a variety of severe cognitive repercussions. Thankfully, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out that being on a machine for twelve hours a day isn’t good for anybody. Yet, there are several people across the globe who still believe that they can handle this inhumane technological demand imposed by people. I call the former a result of many today living in what I’ve written — the human robot syndrome; A period where humans behave more like a robot than a human being.

I am not alone in being skeptical about one’s ability to process a dozen hours a day worth of information and be in good health. “Over-use of smartphones and game devices hampers the balanced development of the brain,” according to Dr. Byun Gi-won, a doctor at the Balance Brain Center in Seoul. Thankfully, we have a number of researchers and watch dogs today paying close attention to this very important sociological issue we have in the United States and abroad.

Listen carefully: You need to technomoderate and do what you can to resist consuming too much technology a day. You might be asking, “Okay, but how can I do that?” Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Choose a paper book versus your kindle. You don’t have to read a book on your iPad or kindle. You can still read a book on paperback. Open your book, get a pen, and take notes about what you are reading. Be immersed in your analog book experience when you come home from work. Resist playing a video game, watching hours of television, or gosh forbidden… being on social media for three hours at night. Why are you tying to kill yourself before your time? Don’t do it.
  2. Have an open conversation with you boss face-to-face. Do yourself a favor. Sometime tomorrow, go see your boss’s secretary and ask him/her if you can schedule an appointment with your boss this week or the following. Be open, transparent, and kindly inform your boss about your goal of living a balanced life. Tell him/her that living a life where you exercise your body, mind and soul is important to you and to be able to do the former, you simply can’t work from 9:00am to forever. You are to ask questions, listen but above all follow through with your plan to live a moderate life. In the end, yourself and your boss will thank you. Trust me.
  3. Exercise your body and your brain. Sure, go exercise. Go for a walk, a run, a bike ride, play Marco or Polo or jumprope. Move the great body that the good God has given you! We were made by the creator to live and appreciate nature in this life. Therefore, go outside and appreciate all the nature that surrounds you and celebrate the fact that you are alive tonight. Do an organic self-thinking in the process. Try to memorize non-job related stuff as you enjoy your nightly self-reflections outdoors. I don’t know… maybe you can try to memorize the planets from the sun, the capitals of the world… you decide. Don’t forget this: You never know what will happen to you next day. Appreciate your invaluable moments everyday. Live your lives to the maximum. Carpe Diem! Seize the day. Don’t forget to live your lives extraordinary.

One of the secrets to living a great life in our modern technological society is for you to have the ability to balance your on-line versus off-line commitments. Don’t live a scatter-brained, stressed out life my friend. It isn’t worth it. I’ tried… It sucks. I got sick and burned out. The vicious cycle never ends; it only restarts after rebooting. Be different, be yourself, be in control. Read books on paper; chat with your boos about your plans to control your life; exercise both your body and your brain without technology. Be an agent of change and an example to your children. Be a TechnoModerator! You won’t regret.

 

You Are To Do God’s Will Not Yours.

You Are To Do God’s Will Not Yours.

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God is in control not you or me — regardless of what many may think. When the good God takes you places, it is His wishes that shall be done because glory is to be given to Him not you or me. In Jeremiah 29:11 we learn, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord… plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Stop thinking that life revolves around you because it doesn’t. Life is about honoring God and using your god given gifts to advance his kingdom. If you are trying to write your legacy on anything, be aware! This world isn’t about you or me. It is about honoring God with all you have. Writing any legacy is an overrated statement. Isn’t more important to engage in the great commission than to work your whole life and claim that you are wonderful because you left a great legacy?  I believe it is… I could write about this topic forever but for the sake of space and discourse, I will be brief and present to you three ways I’ve seen the wrath of God put in action when someone puts him or herself in the center of their universe rather than putting God.

  1. You struggle and eventually will get destroyed.  I wish I could share with you empirical data supporting this statement. Unfortunately, what I am about to say, can only be understood and accepted through faith and faith alone. Every time someone chooses to make themselves look bigger than God, or think that life is about their accomplishments first and foremost, severe consequences often occur resulting in self destruction. Attempting to place yourself in the place of God will get you destroyed. Struggle will go your way and defeat will then be eminent. Learn to respect God and give Him glory all the days of your lives.
  2.  People get confused and experience great defeats. Sorry to give you bad news… My advise? Take yourself out of the spotlight and begin to serve Christ with your godly’s gifts. Nothing can be more important in life than this, literally. If you are thinking too much about what others are thinking about you, it is time to engage in deep thinking and critical self-reflection exercises and to go back to basics. Nobody should let his/her pride take over their own personas under any circunstances and always glorify God. What others think about you is up to them. What you do you do for God. Life should revolve around God not you or me. Why experience defeat if you can celebrate victories? Don’t confuse temporary success with God’s will.
  3. Decision making becomes myopic and stress is experienced.  The bible is quite clear about the importance of seeking counseling in life. In Proverbs 11-14 we read, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” Prior to making any important decision, pray and realize that God — not you or your buddies — control the universe. Failing to realize this Christian reality is like enjoying living life with constant stress and fear. God should be at the center of your thinking. Seek God’s counsel. As soon as this principle is put in motion,  you often experience true happiness never seen before. Don’t limit yourself to what you know or think you know.  If you choose to seek for solutions for your daily challenges without God, I bet that your life will be full of stress and disappointments. It is only by making God the center of your universe that success will head your way, if it is God’s wish. After all, you are not in control of your future necessarily. It isn’t what you think is best for you to do but the realization that only God knows what is best for you. Pray often, forgive daily, seek the counsel of God.

God is in control not you or me — regardless of what many may think. The sooner you realize this important reality, your life will change and your stress levels will decrease exponentially. Fortunate are those who understand this and put into practice the teachings of the bible. In the end, my friends… it was never about you or me but God above all. Don’t be selfish and seek to please God. Never and I mean never forget that.

The United States Is Divided: The Role of Technology In This Current Reality.

The United States Is Divided: The Role of Technology In This Current Reality.

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The United States of America is divided. What concerns me about our current state of affairs is that division often leads to dismantlement or conquest. The country is divided in so many dimensions that even a well skilled group of economists and sociologists would have a difficult time finding a solution to our core challenges and problems. Some might say that our problems are cultural — The culture of white American and black America are in constant struggle with each other which leads to the many problems we experience these days. Others claim that our problems are political — Liberals can’t see the world like conservatives do, despite any efforts to find political compromises. The north and the south are de facto very different in stature and culture. Most of the states in the north adopt to a certain way of living which in a lot of ways contrast life in the good old South. Many believe that we should destroy public education and invest in private educational enterprises; others are from the believe that we should invest in public universities and provide affordable education to a large portion of Americans as the former has been claimed to be a cornerstone of a healthy democracy. Let me ask you this… Why are we so divided as a nation? Some might say, “it is because of the head of the state,” others might say, “multiculturalism…” I say, “It is probably not possible to single out only one single variable that is causing all this mess. It is more likely to be a combination of variables. One of the main variables, to me at least, is how we see and use technology as a means to solve our problems. There are a number of ways I could explain to you this former statement. Let me focus on providing three examples of how technology itself might be the main problem behind the many issues we experience in American Society today.

  1. Technology empowers but sometimes it backfires. Just because we have access to any technology doesn’t necessarily means that we should use that technology in whatever way we wish. Indeed, using technology in the form of MRI and cat scan formats help us to maybe discover internal medical problems we experience which leads to us living a healthier life. Innovations in the auto industry can in fact make us safer in the roads reducing the number of auto death fatalities per year. Nano technologies assist us with manufacturing products that are lighter and more powerful often results in people having the capacity to capture the very best video footage out there for a cheap price. However, for every single positive attributes these technologies possess, there is a negative aspect to them. We have seen a number of patients being burned and experiencing hearing loss after using MRI technology. According to Motorburn.com, we have seen the semi autonomous Audi A7 breaks down with Florida governor on board, Volvo pedestrian detection tech failing to detect pedestrians, and Mazda experience rear-end collision failure. The latest failure of nanotechnology was seen throughout mainstream media when the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 caught on fire in dozens of American households last year. Just because technologies exists and are available don’t mean they are free of side effects or unintended consequences.
  2. Technology gives voices to dangerous groups out there. The latest revolution in Egypt was powered by technology. The same can be said about the revolution in Tunisia, Bahraini, Libya, Syria, London Riots, San Francisco Bart Riots, Occupy wall street and many more. The latest technology has divided peoples in many countries in quite dangerous ways since the inception of available mobile technologies. The resurgence of the KKK in the alternative media and other extreme groups are clear examples of how complete access to technology can indeed be detrimental to society and divide us. The problem of technology is that sometimes technology gives voice to groups who perhaps shouldn’t have one. The consequences are predictable — division among groups involved.
  3.  Technology is seen as an “idol worthy of worshipping.” Have you ever try to tell others that technology isn’t always beneficial to them? I actually have done this difficult task in a number of occasions including in academic conferences, open debates, public speeches, and sometimes at church. The vast majority of people receiving these messages aren’t always receptive to the idea of hearing that technology often times have substantial side effects worth discussing. Technology, nowadays, is seen by many as an “idol” that deserves worshipping. Every time someone tells them that technology isn’t anything more than a tool, folks get upset, and many times creates division. In the academic world, where we often discuss phenomenons like the positive and negative effects of technology in society, more understanding is seen. In the “real” world, the reality is much different, unfortunately. Some folks are ready to go to war anytime somebody claims that computer technology is like any other form of media out there with many benefits and side effects. The outcome? Division.

The United States of America is divided. The country is divided in so many dimensions that even a well skilled group of economists and sociologists would have a difficult time finding a solution to our core challenges and problems.In my view, it is impossible to single out the main reason why we have so much division in this country. However, technology is at the core of this discussion — overuse of technology and access. Every time hate groups possessing extreme ideologies get access to democratic media outlets, a disposition for division is likely to occur. These days, a wide variety of groups can aggregate within themselves on-line and boycott their counterparts by association. We have seen this reality in race relations and lately with the political spectrum. Don’t you like blue? Join us… the Green group. It is that simple. Media is polarizing our viewpoints and beliefs more than ever.  We need to be careful and discern what is make believe and what is reality. We have no choice but to do that. What will be our biggest challenge in the future? More technology. How ironic. Mignon Clyburn, head of FCC once told me in a private chat… Sooner or later, we will need to regulate the internet. It would be best for everybody. She may be right about it. Thoughts?