Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Web Secret 612: Excellence

I have passion for excellence. It thrills me when I encounter it.

And it can be discovered in all walks of life and in every action large or small.

There is excellence in flower arranging, in teaching, in the way some people keep their homes, or flip pancakes, or...well you get the idea.

Some events reliably showcase excellence - the Super Bowl does it for TV commercials, many of which embody the zeitgeist of their times.

Who can forget Apple's 1984? Many think it's the best ad ever made. It introduced the revolutionary Macintosh personal computer, and was directed by Ridley Scott before he became famous and won Academy Awards for movies like Thelma & Louise, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down - to name but a few.

Here it is with apologies for the poor quality - have not been able to find better:



What about the amazing Budweiser 9/11 commercial, featuring their iconic Clydesdale horses, shown at the 2011 Super Bowl? It was shown only once, but is perhaps one of the most moving tributes in the wake of that disaster. And seriously, how classy to show it only one time?



This year, the New York Life Insurance Company knocked my socks off with their ad celebrating love. Where most Super Bowl ads create their wow factor from their visuals, this one does it primarily with words:

“The ancient Greeks had four words for love,” the ad's narrator explains. “The first is ‘Philia’ Philia is affection that grows from friendship.

Next, there’s ‘Storge’ – the kind you have for a grandparent or a brother.

The third is ‘Eros,’ the uncontrollable urge to say ‘I love you.’

“The fourth kind of love is different. It’s the most admirable. It’s called ‘Agape’ – love as an action.” “It takes courage. Sacrifice. Strength.”

The commercial ends with one last message, “For 175 years, we’ve been helping people act on their love, so they can look back, or look ahead, and say – ‘we got it right.'”



I cannot watch this ad without being moved to tears. It is wonderful on so many levels.

Excellence.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Web Secret 611: After-hours email

As I was looking for a topic for this post, I came across a lot of articles about after hours work emails.

All negative.

So in case you need to be reminded or need to remind someone, this is why it's bad:

1. You're sending it after hours and most people respond to those email after hours, on vacation, weekends and their off time.

2. Because of this, you are exacerbating their anxiety and decreasing their workplace well-being. So seriously weigh the pros and cons of doing this after hours.

3. When you respond after hours, you are sending the message that you are available anytime, anywhere. It's called setting a precedent.

No one should be open for business 24/7.

Except hospitals.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Web Secret 610: Coronavirus and Internet misinformation

In 2020, news travels at warp speed. Recently, I was at a craft fair with friends when one of them got an alert on her phone that Kobe Bryant had died in a helicopter crash. In a matter of seconds, it seemed everyone knew. And news outlets continue to churn out "news" about the event.

Similarly, the Internet is propagating endless "information" about the Coronavirus epidemic. Everyone is concerned, but how does one manage that concern?

The Verge published "Everything you need to know about the coronavirus from China" on January 29 as a reality check. They have advised readers to be careful to vet their news sources, and have pointed to the CDC as reliable. They actually have a dedicated website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html.

Another Verge posting asked "Misinformation about the Coronavirus is threatening to overwhelm tech platforms - Hoaxes are spreading quickly — are Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter up to the challenge?." (Quick answer: NO, they are not up to the task.)

In that article they wrote:
One result of a world in which everyone has more or less equal access to publishing tools has been what’s sometimes called an epistemic crisis: a scenario in which large groups of people muddle along with very different understandings of reality, undermining the ability of elected officials to govern. This might be particularly scary during a catastrophe, when citizens are relying upon their government for accurate and potentially life-saving information. If you can’t trust official government announcements — or you are misled into thinking that an official-sounding hoax is real — catastrophes might begin compounding upon one another.

The global outbreak of a coronavirus that originated in China has given us fresh reason to consider the downsides of an internet where social media posts are amplified by engagement-hungry algorithms, and vetted by fact-checkers only days later — if at all.
My advice: get your news from the most reliable news site and otherwise turn it off.

Not always easy to do.