February 16, 2020 · 8:01 am
When I started using social media, I spent a lot of time on it. To me, it was a kind of cocktail party I could access at any time to see all of the interesting things that my friends were up to and to catch up on their news.
But have you ever opened a social media app and thought that you were losing your marbles? It happens to me all the time.
Something changed over the years that has really cut back on my usage and my overall interest. The turning point for me was when someone decided that showing “top news” or “most relevant” posts rather than “most recent” posts should be the default for certain apps.
Since then, there have been days when I have opened up a social media app, seeking a relaxing break from a busy day, and I truly thought that my app was gaslighting me.
In the sequence presented by Facebook, one friend posted pictures at the airport, then on a beach, then getting ready to leave the house, then in the hotel room, then back on the beach, then stuck on the tarmac, then waiting for the Uber to take them to the airport, then back on the beach.
Another friend posted pictures of a several-day multi-stop European tour. Thanks to the app, the order in which they appeared was so messed up, I needed Gravol just to follow the order of their itinerary.
A friend’s pictures of a major home renovation project, rearranged by Facebook, had me thinking that they tore it down and started over four times. Continue reading →
Filed under Humour, pop culture
Tagged as algorithm, apps, chronology, experience, family, friends, logic, order, posts, social media, stories, storytelling, structure, technology, writer, Writing
September 16, 2018 · 7:57 am
With Halloween just around the corner, two questions that seems to be increasingly on our minds are “How many Halloween treats will we need?” and “Is it too early to buy?”
When I was growing up, I don’t recall there being much debate. The number seemed generally stable from year to year. When the neighbourhood’s teens felt they were getting too old to be trick or treating, younger kids were replacing them. And if I remember correctly, 60 to 70 kids seemed to be the norm for many years. When it came to Halloween, it was suburban stability.
Also, back then, Halloween candy didn’t grace our store shelves until after the “Back-to-school” season was over… when kids were back at school. I don’t recall any retail shenanigans of having Halloween candy on the shelves a couple of weeks into the summer break.
In the couple of weeks leading up to Halloween, Mom would buy 60-70 treats. On Halloween night, most (if not all) of the treats would be distributed. The end.
But that hasn’t been the case recently. Continue reading →
Filed under Humour, Misc blogs
Tagged as algorithm, calculations, candy, costume, decision, diet, factors, fall, guess, Halloween, how many, math, mathematics, October, retail, shopping, traditional, traditions, treats, trick or treat, weather
September 18, 2017 · 7:11 am
Not too long ago, I was listening to an interesting report on the evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) and the types of jobs that could be replaced by robots. Of course, the occasionally insecure writer in me wondered, could robots replace writers and screw up my retirement plan?
While I am certainly not an expert in the field, nor should this blog post be interpreted as an expert opinion, the Pollyanna in me says if it could happen, we are probably some time away from that.
To me, a good story really boils down to three things: the reader, the writer and the story itself.
For a story to be successful, it needs to engage the reader and resonate on a human level. It needs to connect with readers on an intellectual and on an emotional level. The story needs to stir up feelings in the reader to keep them coming back for more.
To achieve that, the writer needs to tap into their imagination, their emotions, their experience, or all three. Plus, with each writer’s unique point of view in the way that they craft a story, additional layers of interest are created and the writer’s sense of style is stamped on the story, much like a fingerprint.
A good story could be a testimonial of human experience that discusses the strong emotions felt along the way such as the struggle, the pain and the joy. A good story can take us to a world we could only imagine. Good stories can also scare the crap out of us, play with our minds, or inspire us.
To do all of the above requires heart and passion. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Humour, Misc blogs, Writing
Tagged as AI, algorithm, artificial intelligence, brain, compassion, computers, connection, credibility, credible, emotion, evolution, experience, feelings, funny, heart, human, humor, humour, imagination, information, jobs, literary, literature, masterpiece, novel, observational humour, observations, paradigm, passion, points of reference, programming, puns, relate, replace, retirement, robots, story, style, writer, Writing