TED

Mental Health Break

TED Talk … a persuasive case to quit Social Media.

Cal Newport is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University. In addition to studying the theoretical foundations of our digital age, Newport also writes about the impact of these technologies on the world of work. His most recent book, Deep Work, argues that focus is the new I.Q. in the modern workplace and that the ability to concentrate without distraction is becoming increasingly valuable.

Dr Newport argues that young children who know how to use a smartphone are really just as productive in their lives as older folk, who often – unintentionally – use social media as a tool to appear busy, occupied, and focused.  Social Media in college kids, while often regarded as trivial often results in an explosion of anxiety related disorders.

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The truth about TEDTalks

We all like TEDTalks don’t we…I’ve seen some interesting ones that is for sure…but I’ve sort of waned in my interest and only fleetingly wondered why.

Perhaps it was the manifestation of TEDTalks in NZ that did it in for and how the usual suspects lined up to wax lyrical about really uninteresting people talking at them.

But then I read this article at VICE about TedTalks and it clicked.

Over the last few weeks, for example, I’ve been making a sustained effort to watch at least one TED talk a day. I’m not sure what it is about my generation, exactly, but I’ve noticed a weird trend to watch or listen to “informative”, Horrible History-style things for adults rather than actually think. It seems to be a cultural reference point to think about the idea of thinking, rather than actually engaging the old noggin.

Which is why I basically sleep walk through everything. I haven’t had an independent thought in years. Sometimes, I forget my own name.

Maybe it’s because I’m a card-carrying member to a tinfoil hat society for the infuriatingly smug, but I think there’s something inherently wrong with passivity. And yet I write this from my bed.  The most common response I received when I told people I was working on this was, “What? Have you never enjoyed one?” Which, I suppose, is my whole point. When thinking about thinking becomes entertainment rather than a challenge, something has fucked up.

It feels like almost bad manners to have a go at something that is so overwhelmingly positive. But, fuck it, I’m going to do it because, just as Justin Lee Collins making a handful of people laugh didn’t mean he wasn’t a horrible, horri​ble man, TED entertaining you doesn’t mean it isn’t a sneaky pyramid scheme, designed to suck off your ego while pretending to inseminate your mind with world-altering concepts.

From my vantage point, swinging from the nether regions of society,  TED (and all other “thinkies”) is the road of least resistance to thought, dishing out toilet stall profundity willy-nilly for those like me whose cognitive ability languishes somewhere between a turtle’s and a slice of bread.

I have watched, I’d wager, 50 videos at least, because a) I have a lot of time on my hands and b) I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. And I’ve concluded that it’s basically having Alain de Botton in your house with a biro scribbling: “AdB woz ere,” on the back of the shitter door and getting applauded for the effort.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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Highly recommended: (ex) Shuttle Commander Chris Hatfield’s TED Talk on…. fear

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Wednesday nightCap