When Your Dad Is BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith Featuring Hugo Smith, age 14, grade 9.

Hugo Smith.

Excerpt from this article:

How much time would you say he spends on his phone?

Well, a lot. He used to do this thing that would just drive me insane where, while I was talking to him, he would be doing work on his phone, and he’d just be like, “Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh.” And eventually I’d be like, “OK, what do you think?” And he’d be like, “Uhhhhhhhh.”

So what we convinced him to do was, when he needs to do work stuff, but he wants to spend time with us, and we catch him working like that—he goes into another room, does the work he needs to do, and then he can come back and give us his full attention.

So how did you get him to do that? Did you have to stage an intervention?

No, he sort of came up with it a bit. But also I’ve found that when I’m playing tennis, even just ping-pong, it’s great because we’re both so focused on each other.

Does your dad use Twitter a lot on his phone?

Oh yeah, occasionally at family events and stuff.

How do you know when he’s tweeting?

I check his Twitter account. He is always on Twitter.

So you’ll be at a family event, and you’ll look at Twitter just to see if your dad is tweeting?

Definitely. I’ll be like, “Dad, you retweeted something 30 seconds ago.”

But usually at those family events I’m retweeting things too.

Would you say your parents have a healthy work-life balance?

I think my dad’s definitely gotten better about it. A couple years ago, he worked more, but he’s definitely figuring it out now, it’s good.

What do you think motivated him to figure it out?

Just a lot of “Dad, get off your phone. Daddy, we’re talking to you.”

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Forget about Fake News, the Real Problem Is “Fake Productivity”

From this website:

We’ve gotten very good at making time for busywork and very bad at making time for our best work. In this recent talk, I outline why we’re so addicted to “fake productivity” — those small, mindless tasks that feel productive but actually get us nowhere — and how we can shift our attention back to the work that matters.

The inevitable future of Slack is your boss using it to spy on you

A woman is at her desk partially hidden behind her monitor

Excerpt from this article:

Constant interruptions are the bane of life in today’s open-plan offices. And a Swedish-Swiss industrial engineering company, ABB, says it has a solution: It has given some of its employees a kind of automated “do not disturb” sign: custom-designed traffic lights for their desks.

The FlowLight system evaluates how busy someone is by measuring their combined mouse and keyboard activity against that person’s baseline average. When activity is in the top 9% of their typical range, the light turns red, letting colleagues know that it’s the wrong time to amble over with a funny anecdote or any question that’s not absolutely burning. Non-emergencies can wait until the light is green.

… maybe the FlowLight is just the latest and most blatant manifestation of a reality we’re already living with: The office productivity tools we’ve been told are meant to facilitate collaboration, improve communications, or encourage collegiality are constantly watching and measuring us.

… He imagines a day when Slack conversations will be subjected to sentiment analysis and managers will offer employees granular, daily feedback in place of yearly reviews. And if Slack doesn’t go there, maybe one of its competitors—Microsoft Teams, Facebook Workplace, Google Allo, and lesser-known names—will.

I’m Not Texting. I’m Taking Notes.

Excerpt from this article:

As I headed to the bathroom feeling on top of my advisory board game, Craig pulled me aside and said, “Listen, you’re doing great, but I want you to be super-successful here.”

Uh-oh.

“Many board members noticed that you were on your phone a lot,” he said. “If you can hold out on texting friends or checking your Twitter feed until the breaks, that would be great.”

Mission failed. Now I did feel like an idiot.

But I was also quite angry. The thing is, I hadn’t checked my Twitter feed for over two hours. I’d been taking notes.

…What really upset me at the meeting was the assumption that by pulling out my phone, I wasn’t paying attention. I’m a digital native. My friends and I have only known a world where phones are smart. My iPhone is a computer, and it’s natural to take notes on it.

I thought I was being diligent, yet they thought I was being rude. I even thought I was being efficient by quickly looking up something online and not missing a beat, and they thought I was playing video games. Clearly, my generation cannot assume the older generations know how we use technology.

 

A Short Guide To Work Phone Calls For People Who Grew Up Texting

A Short Guide To Work Phone Calls For People Who Grew Up Texting

Excerpt from this article:

From an evolution perspective, human communication is optimized for face-to-face interaction–in small groups and in real time. Conversations are a delicately choreographed dance in which speakers gather constant feedback from listeners, and vice versa, about whether their points are getting through. The nonverbal cues are just as valuable as the verbal ones, if not more so.

So a phone call is already a significant deviation away from that ideal situation, and a text message falls short even more. In fact, the further you get from unmediated face-time, the more likely it becomes that a conversation will go off track. Missing somebody’s tone of voice can make it harder to detect jokes and sarcasm, no matter how many emojis you throw in…

“Side Hustle” as a Sign of the Apocalypse

Excerpt from this article:

And WTF has happened to our culture when we just take it as fact that everyone needs to have multiple jobs and work as a cab driver and rent out every square inch of space in their apartment and be a task rabbit gopher who waits in line for tickets when they’re not walking dogs or temping and we all just chalk it up to “progress”??? In the old days, this meant your life was falling apart. Now it just means you’re part of “the sharing economy.”…

These tech companies position themselves as heroes. They talk about “changing the world” constantly. Yet all they do is churn out technology for rich, white dudes in their 20s/30s who live in big cities and want apps to fill in the blanks for what mommy used to do.

Mommy used to pick me up from soccer practice. A: Uber.

Mommy used to do my laundry. A: Flycleaners.

Mommy used to clean my room. A: Handy.

Mommy used to buy me groceries. A: Blue Apron.

Mommy used to cook me food. A: Seamless.

 

Quit Social Media. Your Career May Depend on It.

Excerpt from this article:

…In a capitalist economy, the market rewards things that are rare and valuable. Social media use is decidedly not rare or valuable. Any 16-year-old with a smartphone can invent a hashtag or repost a viral article. The idea that if you engage in enough of this low-value activity, it will somehow add up to something of high value in your career is the same dubious alchemy that forms the core of most snake oil and flimflam in business.

…A common response to my social media skepticism is the idea that using these services “can’t hurt.” In addition to honing skills and producing things that are valuable, my critics note, why not also expose yourself to the opportunities and connections that social media can generate? I have two objections to this line of thinking.

First, interesting opportunities and useful connections are not as scarce as social media proponents claim. In my own professional life, for example, as I improved my standing as an academic and a writer, I began receiving more interesting opportunities than I could handle. I currently have filters on my website aimed at reducing, not increasing, the number of offers and introductions I receive.

…My second objection concerns the idea that social media is harmless. Consider that the ability to concentrate without distraction on hard tasks is becoming increasingly valuable in an increasingly complicated economy. Social media weakens this skill because it’s engineered to be addictive. The more you use social media in the way it’s designed to be used — persistently throughout your waking hours — the more your brain learns to crave a quick hit of stimulus at the slightest hint of boredom.