The Social Robot http://thesocialrobot.com Thu, 17 Nov 2016 15:30:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Integrity Must Be a Social Media News Priority http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/11/integrity/ http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/11/integrity/#respond Thu, 17 Nov 2016 15:30:49 +0000 http://thesocialrobot.com/?p=5380 As a senior in highschool, I wrote a paper on how journalism was changing. In late 2009 the Ipad was going to replace the print newspaper. Print journalism has declined, though its integrity persists. Daily circulation has fallen 7% from last year due to a 9% dip in print circulation. Social media news consumption, conversely, continues to rise. […]

The post Integrity Must Be a Social Media News Priority by Danny Neely appeared first on The Social Robot.

]]>
integrity on social mediaAs a senior in highschool, I wrote a paper on how journalism was changing. In late 2009 the Ipad was going to replace the print newspaper. Print journalism has declined, though its integrity persists. Daily circulation has fallen 7% from last year due to a 9% dip in print circulation.

Social media news consumption, conversely, continues to rise. Facebook in particular has become a popular outlet. Statistics from a Pew Research study show that 67% of adults use Facebook and 66% of Facebook users get news from the site. Thus, 44% of adults get news from Facebook. That’s reach.

Fake news stories find life on Facebook

The 2016 election (or perhaps more accurately the 2015-2016 election) brought many topics to the forefront. Perhaps the only universally accepted attribute of the campaign is that it was divisive. (Disagreeing with that statement actually makes it more true.)

In a democracy, the exchange of ideas and accessibility to credible information is vital. As we receive more and more of our news from social media, it’s important that users have some assurance that the news is accurate.

Facebook and Google haven taken heat in the wake of the election for not doing enough to reduce the circulation of false news articles on their respective sites. Three days ago, both companies announced they would make policy changes to bar fake news stories from using their advertising services. However, this does not mean that stories appearing in the Facebook trend sidebar are guaranteed to be legitimate.

Facebook uses an intelligent algorithm to curate its trending news. This machine learning detection was designed to reduce the clickbait that had all but overwhelmed the site’s news section. It dropped its human curation team earlier this year after allegations that the team was suppressing right wing news stories. It’s unclear what the company plans to do about its news curation moving forward.

Social media platforms need journalistic integrity

Journalistic integrity has been the lifeblood of print media. It’s, in part, why the industry has declined. Newspapers are not run like a business to the degree that social media companies are.

Social networks seek to make a profit. They’re engineered to increase monthly users and the amount of time you spend on the site. A lot of social media platforms are fun too. Keeping up with out-of-state friends and family is easier than it’s ever been.

However, social media platforms have evolved into something more than just a stream of photos and jokes. They’re channels for the dissemination of information. And before you dismiss the conversations that happen on these sites, another Pew study found that “20% of social media users say they’ve modified their stance on a social or political issue because of material they saw on social media.”

Stories can spread quickly. Whether these sites intended to become news bastions or not is irrelevant. The responsibility for journalistic integrity is now incumbent.

The post Integrity Must Be a Social Media News Priority by Danny Neely appeared first on The Social Robot.

]]>
http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/11/integrity/feed/ 0
Second Screen Viewing Is the New Normal http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/11/viewing-second-screen/ http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/11/viewing-second-screen/#respond Thu, 03 Nov 2016 14:00:16 +0000 http://thesocialrobot.com/?p=5376 Take a second and think of all the television shows you watch. Now trim that list to include only the show’s you’ll watch straight through. Shows of which you can watch an entire episode without checking your phone. It’s probably a short list. For me: Game of Thrones. Today, uninterrupted viewing is rare. Practices like […]

The post Second Screen Viewing Is the New Normal by Danny Neely appeared first on The Social Robot.

]]>
second screen viewingTake a second and think of all the television shows you watch. Now trim that list to include only the show’s you’ll watch straight through. Shows of which you can watch an entire episode without checking your phone. It’s probably a short list. For me: Game of Thrones. Today, uninterrupted viewing is rare.

Practices like second screen viewing and watching with a companion device have increased in popularity. In fact, in America, 56% of viewers engage in a secondary digital activity while watching TV (Kantar TNS).

Viewing cycles extend beyond episodes themselves

Our shrinking attention spans encourage us to browse Instagram or answer an email while soldiering through a 52-minute HBO offering. However, social media activity related to specific shows has increased as well. We like having a companion for those juicy dramas.

Reddit fan theories, Internet commentary, and podcast post-game analysis have become just as much a part of the viewing experience as watching the show itself. Entertainment media consumption is now as cyclical as the news. There’s the slew of late-week prediction articles about who’s getting got on The Walking Dead. Then you watch the episode. Next you watch Talking Dead. Then you scour the Internet for any additional tidbits or think-pieces.

The amount of attention shows garner has increased exponentially. It sheds light on why companies like Netflix race to produce and own their own content. Back libraries create demand and add value for streaming services. At this point, production companies are creating more than just a half-hour episode of television; they’re creating a conversation.

We haven’t always had secondary viewing experiences

Audiences enjoyed serialized shows like Twin Peaks and Buffy without Twitter. So what tantalizing benefit does social media offer? The same benefits that watching sports at a bar offers. When you watch an important game, you want to feel energy in the room. You may be surrounded by strangers, but you have a common interest at heart.

That’s Twitter for TV shows. Social media makes you feel like you’re watching dramatic television events with other people who care. You don’t have to know someone to find their tweet funny or insightful. Sharing the experience with others makes it feel all the more important. Plus, you don’t actually have to host a large group of people in your living room.

Second screen viewing will increase as audiences continue to cut cords. The idea that watching television is an isolated experience will vanish altogether in a couple years. Look at this quote from a Pew Research study about second screen activity in 2012:

“In addition, 29% of cell owners who use text messaging have used their phone recently to exchange text messages with someone else who was watching the same program in a different location

Text messaging. That was four years ago, but it sounds so antiquated.

An interesting parallel: multi-media took over journalism almost overnight. There are no longer reporters who solely write feature stories for the print edition. Now, everyone does everything.

Social media, video, blogs, journalism, entertainment — they’re all morphing into the same thing.

The post Second Screen Viewing Is the New Normal by Danny Neely appeared first on The Social Robot.

]]>
http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/11/viewing-second-screen/feed/ 0
The Argument for Working From Home http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/10/argument-working-home/ http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/10/argument-working-home/#respond Mon, 17 Oct 2016 14:13:34 +0000 http://thesocialrobot.com/?p=5372 As we become more and more plugged in, it becomes easier (and more feasible) to do more from a distance. That’s true of work, phone calls, or just sending information at a moment’s notice. It’s 2016 – you don’t need a fax machine or an uninterrupted phone line; you need a smartphone with decent reception. […]

The post The Argument for Working From Home by Bethaney Wallace appeared first on The Social Robot.

]]>
working at a computer in pjsAs we become more and more plugged in, it becomes easier (and more feasible) to do more from a distance. That’s true of work, phone calls, or just sending information at a moment’s notice. It’s 2016 – you don’t need a fax machine or an uninterrupted phone line; you need a smartphone with decent reception. Add in a home computer with Internet access, and the options are almost endless … and they’re constantly expanding.

Which is why it might not be all that surprising that working from home is becoming more and more common, more accepted, and really, considered a growing norm.

For the workers, that means a lessened (or completely eliminated commute), more convenient hours, a relaxed dress code, and more. Consider coffee just how you like it, every day, no threat of a stolen lunch, and so on. But it’s not just the workers who are getting the good end of the deal; working from home is an ideal setup for companies, too. Allowing workers this freedom increases productivity and morale, all while lowering overhead and daily costs. So long as employees are getting their work done and keeping a high quality of standard, all parties win.

And people are starting to take notice. Stats show that, within five years, 40% — nearly half of workers – will be stationed at home. At least part of the work week, brands are jumping on board to let employees knock out tasks when (and where) it’s convenient for them. In fact, it’s already shown to actually increase output and lower timelines. But, when workers can step into an office vs. traveling to one, why wouldn’t it?

Did we mention just how great it is to knock out a quarter of the workday before even getting dressed?

If you haven’t already tested out the “working from home” method, it might be time to do so. This trend is growing quickly, and has more than enough perks to go along with it.

The post The Argument for Working From Home by Bethaney Wallace appeared first on The Social Robot.

]]>
http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/10/argument-working-home/feed/ 0
Will Cable Soon Be a Think of the Past? http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/09/will-cable-soon-think-past/ http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/09/will-cable-soon-think-past/#respond Mon, 26 Sep 2016 14:57:18 +0000 http://thesocialrobot.com/?p=5367 For the past six years I’ve lived without cable. Through Netflix and Hulu accounts (or those who shared their passwords) and a Chromecast, I’ve successfully gone without signing up for an actual cable account. There are, of course, exceptions as to what can be watched – live sports must be viewed on cable, any type […]

The post Will Cable Soon Be a Think of the Past? by Bethaney Wallace appeared first on The Social Robot.

]]>
Sponge Bob Squarepants watching TVFor the past six years I’ve lived without cable. Through Netflix and Hulu accounts (or those who shared their passwords) and a Chromecast, I’ve successfully gone without signing up for an actual cable account. There are, of course, exceptions as to what can be watched – live sports must be viewed on cable, any type of award show or live event also requires an account. (If it’s that important, I DVR it at my parents’ house, which may or may not be cheating.) But the point is, I haven’t cable … and for the most part, I don’t really miss it.

Bonus perks: there’s no longer that crushing feeling that you’re missing something good on TV, or the even more crushing feeling: paying hundreds of dollars a month for the ability to be a couch potato. Instead, I pay less than $20, and very rarely miss out on something I want to view.

And it’s not just me doing it. Not having cable is becoming an increasingly popular method among consumers – because of the rising fees associated with cable, but also because outside brands are making this possible. With monthly subscription services (like Netflix and Hulu, as well as Amazon), you’re not completely in the dark once going cable-less. In fact, companies are even expanding this notion. Amazon recently announced that it’s looking to tackle live events (including sports) through its prime memberships.

If they succeed, will there be a need for cable at all? Streaming services are cheaper, more accessible (watch from you computer or smartphone, in addition to your home TV), and they host more features, like previews, actor interview, etc. Plus, there are fewer commercials – sometimes, there aren’t any at all. In a world where commercials blast the eardrums and drone on for minutes at a time, this is a huge perk to the watching community.

One can even argue that, once generations become accustomed to using Internet for all their TV watching, it just might become the new norm.

How Will Cable Companies React?

All it takes is a single call to a cable provider to know they’re already feeling the heat. After a multi-month issue with my Internet bill, I was ready to swear off them altogether – they’d been trying to stiff-arm me into adding cable. I’d call to resolve a random fee, and be shuffled through to a salesperson who gave a speech; before I could answer they’d say, “Ok let’s get you signed up for that thousand-channel package.” It went on like this for minutes – is this how desperate they have become? Or has it always been a tactic and I’d been off the radar? Either way, it made me want to run the other way, if only out of spite.

The Future of TV

Every generation has seen changes to the way it uses technology. As new programs and products are released, we adapt the way we live. Watching TV is bound to be no different, with cable taking on significant changes toward more efficient and more affordable methods.

The post Will Cable Soon Be a Think of the Past? by Bethaney Wallace appeared first on The Social Robot.

]]>
http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/09/will-cable-soon-think-past/feed/ 0
YouTube Heroes: Internet Vigilante Justice http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/09/youtube-heroes/ http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/09/youtube-heroes/#respond Thu, 22 Sep 2016 14:00:27 +0000 http://thesocialrobot.com/?p=5361 YouTube recently made the move to get more social. Under the still-in-Beta “community” tab, content creators (the artist inside me just shuddered) will have the ability to post text, images, GIFs, all the usual social tropes. Users can like and comment on the items in this stream, giving them a way to connect with the […]

The post YouTube Heroes: Internet Vigilante Justice by Danny Neely appeared first on The Social Robot.

]]>
YouTube HeroesYouTube recently made the move to get more social.

Under the still-in-Beta “community” tab, content creators (the artist inside me just shuddered) will have the ability to post text, images, GIFs, all the usual social tropes. Users can like and comment on the items in this stream, giving them a way to connect with the channel operators they most enjoy.

Sarah Perez points out that this is Google’s latest attempt to rejigger its social presence. (Any Google+ users in the house?) Social media is snatching up Internet ground like it’s post-WWII Eastern Europe. But is it necessarily a positive that YouTube is becoming more social? More social features theoretically mean more engagement, which means more advertising — so yes, as a business decision it makes sense.

But have you been to the Internet?

Anyone who has ever read a YouTube comment section (Why? Why do I still do this?) knows that the conversation taking place isn’t the most sophisticated. There’s some straight up vitriol below almost every video. The anonymous nature of YouTube profiles (and the comment scoring system, as pointed out on Reddit) allows people to write recklessly. Hate speech and name calling is a common site. No one has to own their words. Comments sections are not friendly places.

Of course, Google knows this (Google knows everything). It’s got a plan to counteract the comment section roustabouts. YouTube Heroes is a volunteer program that allows you to take justice into your own hands. It’s like becoming a weekend sheriff’s deputy. An account grants you the ability to flag inappropriate content, add captions and subtitles to videos, and contribute to help forums (Yipee!). There’s no indication that you get a cool t-shirt or anything, but still, what an opportunity!

As Philip DeFranco points out on Twitter, this may be a good pilot program for the “if everyone had a gun we’d all be safer” theory.

YouTube Heroes gain powerful access

YouTube Heroes will have access to mass flagging tools, possibly creating a more-heavily policed environment. This new program may help clean up flagrant or disgusting comments on videos, but it’s also impossible to envision a scenario where none of the Heroes experience some sort of power trip — flagging undeserving video victims.

I referenced a Reddit article earlier in this post. In it, the reader asks why two sites (Reddit and YouTube), each which grant users relative anonymity, generate vastly different comment section experiences. The Reddit users’ response (I realize the potential bias): Reddit’s default display ranks comments based on the number of upvotes they receive. On the other hand, YouTube’s “top comments” display ranks comments based on a variety of factors, including the number of likes they receive, the recency, and the conversations they generate. So, if an inflammatory comment sparks a string of responses that attempt to shoot down the original idea, it may actually bolster the mean-spirited comment’s rank. It’s like using an offensive hashtag in your post about how offensive the hashtag is. Ahem.

YouTube’s commenting system is much better than it used to be. At least people can’t just spam posts anymore. I’m doubtful however, that YouTube Heroes presents the sort of sweeping, Harvey-Dent-in-Dark-Knight changes that it boasts. We might be looking at more of a “Homer the Vigilante” situation.

The post YouTube Heroes: Internet Vigilante Justice by Danny Neely appeared first on The Social Robot.

]]>
http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/09/youtube-heroes/feed/ 0
Facebook News Needs Journalistic Integrity http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/09/facebook-news/ http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/09/facebook-news/#respond Thu, 08 Sep 2016 14:00:58 +0000 http://thesocialrobot.com/?p=5356 Who do you consider the ultimate news authority? The way the 2016 presidential election has unfolded begs the question. Perhaps the rational answer is that no news outlet should be considered the end-all-be-all when it comes to journalistic clout. Only with a variety of sources and perspectives can you form a well-rounded opinion. Throughout the […]

The post Facebook News Needs Journalistic Integrity by Danny Neely appeared first on The Social Robot.

]]>
Facebook news image Who do you consider the ultimate news authority? The way the 2016 presidential election has unfolded begs the question. Perhaps the rational answer is that no news outlet should be considered the end-all-be-all when it comes to journalistic clout. Only with a variety of sources and perspectives can you form a well-rounded opinion.

Throughout the last sixteen months though, even institutions like The New York Times and Associated Press have made some mistakes in an effort to publish quickly. I’ve called attention to the consequences of a 24-hour news cycle before — it has no doubt changed the way news is produced and consumed. We’re starting to see a shift in journalistic trust that tends more toward the chaotic.

Where do you go for news? If you’re a moderately affluent adult in 2016 (children and time travelers can quietly bow out), you probably look online. Twice as many adults use the Internet as read a paper to stay informed. That statistic shouldn’t shock you — this has been a developing trend for a decade. Newspapers are no longer the gatekeepers.

Consumers get their news from a wide variety of websites, but how many different sources report news? Aggregating has created a cottage industry of refining and repackaging articles. Everyone is publishing, not necessarily reporting.

The Facebook news marketshare is undeniable

In a sea of noise, you can always find the note you want to hear. The fractured news market has created echo chambers all over the Internet. However, even across this rugged landscape, one source stands tall, with unparalleled reach.

Facebook is used by 64% of American adults, and 30% of American adults get their news from the social networking site. To reference that earlier statistic, 38% of American adults get their news online. That’s an incredible market share. Of the American adults getting their news online, more than 3 out of 4 of them use Facebook. Of course, most people probably use more than one source, and Facebook news is an aggregator after all — directing people to other websites.

In any case, no one can deny that the social networking site has a massive audience. It’s an influencer. Even if Facebook doesn’t claim to be a journalistic outlet, it has reach. It controls the dissemination of news. That is, in effect, what a contemporary news source does. News sources need journalistic integrity, and that might be even tougher to come by when you start as a for-profit business that later decides to aggregate news.

Trend manipulation comes easily, whether intentional or not

The Facebook news entryway sits on the right-hand side of its page. A little sidebar includes stories that are trending. What used to be three headlines (which were often clickbait riddled), has been reduced simply to three names, of celebrities or institutions, and the number of people talking about the particular issue. You have to click to get any substance.

Facebook news Hillary ClintonI took this screengrab from my sidebar earlier this week. Notice the discrepancy in the numbers? Six times as many people were talking about the super-culturally-relevant-I’m-sure MythBusters story compared to the Hillary Clinton story. Guess what piqued my interest more? But after hovering over the presidential candidate’s name, I saw that the related article was from a far-right news outlet — the chairman of which is also CEO of the opposing campaign.

Of Facebook’s millions of users, 3.3 thousand are talking about what is, by definition, a biased news article, and yet that lands on what is essentially Facebook’s front page. This is how trends develop. They’re a snowball careening downhill. Facebook’s got the strength to give stories plenty of momentum at the top — that’s why journalistic integrity is vital, even for aggregators.

Repressing news stories is a slippery slope (analogy spinoff). Earlier this spring, former Facebook news curators said they routinely hid Conservative news stories from the view of users. But not all news stories are created equal. Helping to prop up agenda-driven news, makes you complicit in that story.

Yes, consumers should be careful about what they read and pay attention to sources, but if news outlets, which Facebook undeniably is, are going to profit from publishing the work of others, they are obligated to retain some journalistic morality themselves.

The post Facebook News Needs Journalistic Integrity by Danny Neely appeared first on The Social Robot.

]]>
http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/09/facebook-news/feed/ 0
Tips for Starting Your Book Idea … No Matter How Long You’ve Held Onto It http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/08/tips-starting-book-idea-no-matter-long-youve-held-onto/ http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/08/tips-starting-book-idea-no-matter-long-youve-held-onto/#respond Mon, 29 Aug 2016 14:39:33 +0000 http://thesocialrobot.com/?p=5350 There are people who are writers and there are people who hate writing – that’s pretty much how the population is divided. But as it turns out, there’s an entire new set of variables that have been hiding beneath the surface: people who want to be writers, but never seem to get started. The more […]

The post Tips for Starting Your Book Idea … No Matter How Long You’ve Held Onto It by Bethaney Wallace appeared first on The Social Robot.

]]>
snoopy typingThere are people who are writers and there are people who hate writing – that’s pretty much how the population is divided. But as it turns out, there’s an entire new set of variables that have been hiding beneath the surface: people who want to be writers, but never seem to get started. The more people I meet, the more often I talk about writing, the more I hear about folks who have this great book idea. Or that they have a relative or an old neighbor whose story they want to tell. Whether or not the ideas are worth writing about isn’t for me to judge (I will be asked if an idea is “good” or “worth pursuing.”) Instead, it’s about the want to write, but never quite moving forward.

What are you should-be writers waiting for?

Get Rid of Your Doubts

Are you worried that your book or essay won’t be very “good”? Who cares. Even the most famous of writers have penned some doozies. The only way to get better – or to get start – is to actually begin writing down your ideas and putting them into action. Sit down, type up some pages, and see what happens. You might decide you really don’t like writing at all. But the only way to find out, or to improve, is to get started and make yourself into one who writes.

Meet With Others Who Write

Writing groups, workshops, classes, etc. – anything you can find that can help you write, you should consider signing up. These types of classes are full of others who are in your exact boat, which means you can lean on one another for support and constructive criticism … in that order. It’s also a good reminder that you aren’t the only one muddling your way through the process.

Stop Looking Up to Others (Kind Of)

There’s nothing wrong with having inspiration, or admiration for what others have done. But you shouldn’t consider them experts, either. Writing is objective; everyone has different ideas and different approaches. I am constantly humbled by the amount I don’t know, and strive to use that as motivation.

Stop Procrastinating

There’s no rule that says you have to write every day, but you do have to write eventually. Devote as little as 15 minutes at a time – so long as you’re working toward your cause, you’re on the right path. On the other hand, if you have to force yourself that much to sit down and write, you might ask if it should continue to be a hobby worth pursuing.

Try and Try Again

Keep writing, and keep writing some more. The more often you do something, the better you can become. Soon you’ll be typing faster, words will flow easier, and you’ll improve your own thoughts as you go.

Never be afraid to produce “bad” writing, so long as you’re putting words together, it’s progress in the right direction.

The post Tips for Starting Your Book Idea … No Matter How Long You’ve Held Onto It by Bethaney Wallace appeared first on The Social Robot.

]]>
http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/08/tips-starting-book-idea-no-matter-long-youve-held-onto/feed/ 0
Television Shows Are As Good As Old Friends http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/08/oldfriends/ http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/08/oldfriends/#respond Fri, 12 Aug 2016 14:00:57 +0000 http://thesocialrobot.com/?p=5345 Throughout my life I’ve found it easy to make friends. (This boast is part of a larger illustration, I promise.) I mean that everywhere I’ve lived, I’ve always had a volume of friends. (Trust me.) Some people just have one or two buddies with whom they are truly intimate. I don’t think it’s possible to […]

The post Television Shows Are As Good As Old Friends by Danny Neely appeared first on The Social Robot.

]]>
golden-age-of-televisionThroughout my life I’ve found it easy to make friends. (This boast is part of a larger illustration, I promise.) I mean that everywhere I’ve lived, I’ve always had a volume of friends. (Trust me.)

Some people just have one or two buddies with whom they are truly intimate. I don’t think it’s possible to really be close to 40 or 50 people, but I have a long list of guests I’d let crash on my couch for a couple days.

I’ve retained a core group of friends from elementary and high school with whom I will probably always share a bond, but I don’t get to see any of them on a daily basis.

When I moved to college I made new friends living in the dorms, at improv practice, and at other universities (where we would sometimes do improv).

I moved to Dallas a little over a year ago. Again, through the improv theater mostly, I’ve made a group of friends with whom I enjoy spending time. Now that we’ve all moved around, these pockets of friends exist throughout the country — Kansas City, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New Jersey.

When I’m home in Kansas I enjoy spending even a couple hours catching up with people I once saw on a daily basis. Sitting down for dinner with a friend I haven’t seen in six months, the familiarity sinks in quickly. It feels like I just talked to this person yesterday.

TV shows offer comfort in small doses

Seasons of prestige dramas on HBO, for example, usually run about 10 hours total. You spend only small chunks of time with these groups of characters, but you remember them. You care about them. A new season finally comes out and you get to catch up with one another.

Reuniting feels good, and it’s painful when you eventually have to say goodbye again. The characters and settings are like that friend you haven’t seen in six months — (usually thanks to a little narrative structure) you sit down with them and everything comes rushing back. Barring a cancellation, you know you’ll get to watch more House of Cards in less than a year, but when that world is fresh in your mind, it can feel like an eternity.

Media are imaginary friends for adults

TV shows and podcasts offer us intimate experiences that we can substitute for human interactions. That almost sounds like a dark joke, but when you live in a city where you have to drive 30 minutes each way to get to your friend’s house, sometimes it’s easier to just watch an episode of Mr. Robot.

In college, I could walk 15 minutes and spend $5 to get drunk with my friends at a stripmall of bars. I spend that on parking now.

Weeknight forays simply don’t make economic sense anymore. That conclusion bummed me out initially, but I’ve come around. I don’t consider it healthy to replace all human friendships with Netflix shows, but I also don’t think anyone should be ashamed about the comfort they experience while watching Stranger Things or listening to This American Life.

My favorite podcast is Harmontown. When I listen to an episode, it’s like I’m hanging out with a familiar group of friends. I’ve consumed hundreds of hours of this show. I know the cast and their temperaments. I laugh because someone refers to an incident from twenty episodes ago — twenty weeks ago.

We have a history with the media we consume. I’ve known Tyrion Lannister way longer than any of these people in Dallas. I don’t confide in fictional characters, and I value the friendships I have with fellow improvisors here. But as with my friends from elementary school, the length of a relationship matters.

I mean to humanize media, not dehumanize humans. People and TV shows come in and out of your life. It’s okay that they mean something. Enjoy each one while you have it.

The post Television Shows Are As Good As Old Friends by Danny Neely appeared first on The Social Robot.

]]>
http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/08/oldfriends/feed/ 0
Pokemon Go Explodes Into Existence http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/07/pokemon/ http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/07/pokemon/#respond Thu, 28 Jul 2016 14:30:14 +0000 http://thesocialrobot.com/?p=5340 I played Pokemon religiously growing up. I got a Gameboy Pocket for Christmas when I was seven or eight years old. I drained countless pairs of double A’s on Red Version. I watched the Pokemon cartoon in the afternoons when I got home from school. As I grew up, so did Pokemon — releasing more […]

The post Pokemon Go Explodes Into Existence by Danny Neely appeared first on The Social Robot.

]]>
PokemonI played Pokemon religiously growing up. I got a Gameboy Pocket for Christmas when I was seven or eight years old. I drained countless pairs of double A’s on Red Version. I watched the Pokemon cartoon in the afternoons when I got home from school. As I grew up, so did Pokemon — releasing more and more editions of the game. I’d add to my collection all summer. When my parents told me to go outside, I’d take my Gameboy with me and play there. I had books that included maps of the various regions — Johto, Kanto — and complete lists of the Pokemon and all of their abilities. I bought the last Pokemon game I have purchased my freshman year of college, more than ten years after my first game. I still play through them once in awhile.

I don’t play Pokemon Go.

Niantic Labs released the augmented reality game on July 6th. The rest has been a blur.

To outsiders, the game presents annoyances: herds of people darting back and forth through public spaces, heads buried in their phones; whole tables of people staring down at their screens during lunchtime conversations. Stories have surfaced of kids asking strangers for access to their backyards in the name of conquest. And, of course, there’s this.

To insiders however, the app offers a video game come to life. It taps into the nostalgia of a rabid fan base, making concrete (to some degree) what had previously been a childhood fantasy. Everyone who ever played the Pokemon games growing up most assuredly dreamt of a reality in which they actually possessed and raised a pocket monster of their own.

Regardless of your player status, Pokemon Go has been an ubiquitous force for the last three weeks. During a recent trip home my mom asked me if I had the game so she could play it. That never happened growing up. The sheer volume of people playing Pokemon Go has created huge implications for the tech world, and the world at large.

Pokemon Go as a digital marketing tool

How often does a brand new customer base of 21 million people appear over night? That’s the number of daily users for Pokemon Go, and the game hasn’t even finished its rollout. Businesses started to capitalize immediately.

Restaurants and coffee shops started advertising free wifi and check discounts for players that wanted to stop in. Since the game is location-based, those in the hunt for a Pikachu have to physically go to specific locations to claim their prize. Businesses that cater to players can catch the eye of potential customers that may not have known the business existed.

PokemonPlus, there are in-game methods of attracting players. Businesses can purchase “lures” to drop at specified Pokestops. If a business is near a Pokestop (generated by the game’s developers), for roughly $1 that business can drop a lure to cause Pokemon to appear in 30-minute intervals. This essentially sends out a beacon to players in the area drawing them to the business. It’s hard to find a better ROI per advertising dollar at the moment.

Pokemon Go as a security risk

While the game is a huge opportunity for commerce, it also presents its own set of risks. Millions and millions of people are downloading this game every day — some of them from third-party sites, which can be harbingers for malware.

Some raised concern over the permissions the app requested upon download. The developers have since said that they did not intend to require access to users’ Gmail and Google Docs, but it’s discomforting to consider the powerful combination of access and malware on your phone.

Then, of course, there’s the physical security threat. Police reports have been filed suggesting that criminals have lured Pokemon Go players to a particular place in order to rob them. And as far as the users themselves, with such a dedicated collection of players, it’s not hard to imagine some trespassing in order to secure a rare monster.

No matter your opinions or involvement with the game, you must acknowledge that Pokemon Go is a phenomenon. It’s hard to say if the game is here to stay just yet. The daily user numbers have already waned slightly, but in this moment, Pokemon Go certainly presents an opportunity.

My decision not to play Pokemon Go isn’t a principled one. (For the sake of my livelihood as a tech-centric guy who writes for a digital marketing firm I probably should play the game.) My current workload puts enough of a strain on my phone battery. As a freelancer, I don’t really need another distraction available to me 24/7. I like playing through the platform games for a week or so once every year or two. It’s a memory to which I have direct access.

I’m interested to see what Pokemon Go will become. I’m content to watch it from the outside.

The post Pokemon Go Explodes Into Existence by Danny Neely appeared first on The Social Robot.

]]>
http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/07/pokemon/feed/ 0
How Often do you Unplug? http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/07/how-often-do-you-unplug/ http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/07/how-often-do-you-unplug/#respond Mon, 25 Jul 2016 12:37:10 +0000 http://thesocialrobot.com/?p=5336 We are a generation of now. Of being entertained at all times, and of having immediate access to any number of programs, games, and of course, communication. We can reach out to others in multiple mediums at any given time. In fact, it’s expected. With computers and mobile phones essentially acting as pocket computers, this […]

The post How Often do you Unplug? by Bethaney Wallace appeared first on The Social Robot.

]]>
Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 7.35.38 AMWe are a generation of now. Of being entertained at all times, and of having immediate access to any number of programs, games, and of course, communication. We can reach out to others in multiple mediums at any given time. In fact, it’s expected. With computers and mobile phones essentially acting as pocket computers, this has become part of the status quo. If someone isn’t responding to you, it’s almost deliberate; that’s how easy it is to get ahold of people in the year 2016.

But what about those times you just need to unplug? Or even to focus on one form of communication at a time? If you’re anything like this blogger, you can get overwhelmed by the constant amount of notifications. There are texts, IMs, emails, and for some reason, calls. (Seriously, email me or I will forget to call you back and/or never listen to your voicemail. It’s nothing personal; calls interrupt your entire chain of thought.)

Anyway, there’s a whole mess of talking – in some form or another – all going on at once. Sometimes we just need a break. It might be a short one, but it can do the brain some serious good. Look, some way smart people even did their homework to prove that that’s true.

So … Do you unplug? Or are you constantly tuned in, afraid you’ll miss out on something great? (Or something mediocre?) We want to know. What are the social norms, and how many of us are sticking to them – that is, on your own time, after you’d had a solid electronics break.

We’ll get back to you on our own time, too.

The post How Often do you Unplug? by Bethaney Wallace appeared first on The Social Robot.

]]>
http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/07/how-often-do-you-unplug/feed/ 0