Who we are when we think no one is looking

First of all, I just want to say that if you want to stay living in a bubble thinking humans are unbiased beings that always have fair and good intentions, maybe you should not read this book…. or maybe you should!

Dataclysm, written by OkCupid co-founder and President Christian Rudder, dives into the deep world of internet data and how our personal data is used to “spy on us, hire and fire us, and sell us stuff we don’t need”. Dataclysm is a book right in its time, since we now spend most a lot of our lives online.

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Rudder uses analytics to collect data that explains who we are, what we desire, and want. But also, what we hate, love and fear. He explains that our “true self” is shown when we think no one is looking, however someone always is. Because, the internet is nowhere to hide. If you are on the internet and you are online, you are oh so visible. Just a simple Facebook “Like” can reveal more than you think about a person. 

Rudder explains that Facebook knows if you brake up with a boyfriend/girlfriend, if you like Dominos, or if you moved to New York City. And sites like Google, knows if you need a new dress for a formal, if you are gay, angry, lonely, or even racist.  

This book is filled with fascinating statistics, and Rudder uses numerous graphs and charts to showcase his findings. This book is eye-opening and should be read by every millennial since our lives are so very deep centered around the internet and the information that we put there. Dataclysm is both a fun read as well as an important one. 

I truly recommend this book to anyone who uses the internet! – which is all of you. 

– Olivia Nilsson

The Best Decision You Can Make is to Read This Book

Why should you read “Risk Savvy How to Make Good Decisions”?

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Well, first of all, it teaches you to know what to take risks in and what not to take risks in. What most people don’t know is that they fear things that the odds of them happening are almost impossible while some of the things people do not fear have a higher risk of doing either physical, emotional, or financial damage. This book also tells you how to be a leader and use your intuition to make good decisions. Whether it is a gut decision you need to make fast, or it is a decision that requires cooperation with a team of people, this book will show you how to make your decisions more effectively. In the third part of this book, he says that we need to revolutionize schools. In the book, he gives different ways on how teachers could better educate our students on risk-literacy and teach them better decision-making skills. So why you should buy this book? Well if you want to be better educated on decision making and intuition, this is the book for you.

-Bryan

The Tassel Was Worth the Hassle

When I first got to UNCW I made a bucket list of things that I wanted to do before I graduated. The list had 32 items that I thought would round out my entire college experience: study abroad, join a club, take a surf lesson, etc. While I never learned how to surf, I have very few regrets about my time as a seahawk.

giphy1I guess you could everything started when I joined TealTV, UNCW’s student-led production network. Here, I discovered a passion for marketing, made life-long friends, and gained marketplace and leadership experience. From here, I decided that communication studies was the only major that was right for me. I chose classes that not only interested me, but challenged me. I networked with my peers and professors. I learned how to be confident in the classroom. I learned when to step up, and more importantly when to say “NO” and take time for myself.

I worked really hard throughout my college experience. Like, I worked my ass off. I was the president of two student organizations, I worked part-time, and somehow still managed to re-watch the entire series of The Office nine times. Impressive, right?

I’ve always had a plan A, B, and C. But sometimes you find out that your plans aren’t the paths that you need to be on, or even necessarily want to be on. If you had asked me two months ago what I wanted to do after graduation, my answer would have been “find a job and move into my own place.” Graduate school was never the plan, until I went to a graduate school panel. My future did a complete 180, and after one week I was writing my statement of purpose, studying for the MAT, and pestering professors for recommendation letters.

You never know where life will take you. I certainly never planned to apply to graduate school, have to move back home for the summer, or be a camp counselor again. Hey, life happens. Am I right?

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With 19 days left until I walk across the stage, I only completed half of the items on my bucket list. But, I don’t regret anything and I am so excited to see where the next few days, weeks, months have in store for me. Thank you UNCW for being my home for seven semesters and for changing me into the woman I am today.

“‘I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” – Andy Bernard, The Office

Kyndall DySard, Class of 2017

 

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains

Have you ever wondered as technology continues to advance and we continue to use this technology, what effects this might have on us?

It is not something that most people think about every day as most of us only see the benefits that new technology brings. Sure the challenge to stay in the “real” world is evident, as social media has become more and more prevalent, but what about more long-term effects that all of this technology can have.

The Shallows by Nicholas Carr, a 2011 Pulitzer Prize finalist, answers this question as it relates to possibly one of the most impactful advancement in information technology, the internet.

The infographic below illustrates Carr’s two central ideas about how the internet is changing the way we think.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether it was books, clocks, or maps, these forms of information technology have always influenced the way humans thought, and the internet is simply the newest tool at our disposal.

Carr’s First Point 

Carr’s first point is that the human brain is always developing.

He refers to experts in neuroscience to prove that the brain continues to change in response to its environment. Depending on the stimulus, the neural pathways in our brains are rerouted in response.

Once Carr establishes that our brains are susceptible to change, he explains how the internet is forcing us to think in a non-linear fashion, as opposed to the traditional linear way of thinking that books made us think in.

The Effects of the Internet

This non-linear way of thinking means that we are now more accustomed to scanning for pertinent information as well as receiving information with minimal effort. So even when we are done using the internet, the effects of the internet do not leave use. Our brains still want to process information in this non-linear way.

The benefits of using the internet and thinking non-linearly are that we can process more information faster and more efficiently than ever.

The question now becomes, as we continue to use the internet, will these benefits continue to outweigh the potential downsides.

Check out The Shallows to find out if the internet is changing the way we think for better or worse!

Temptation

Temptation, by Daniel Akst, discusses how we live in a time of unlimited access. Contact with nearly any person is available with the touch of a button. Food, delivered right to our doors, are fattening us up more than ever. Alcohol, drugs, and tobacco are still rampant in society. More than half of all deaths in the United States can be attributed to overindulgence of some sort. Hearth attacks and diabetes from food. Cancer from cigarettes. Organ failure from alcohol.

Despite this, Americans continue to consume more than we ever have before. Our consumption is unchecked, and we show no signs of slowing down. Its starting to have some dramatic effects.

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As you can see from the chart, our gluttony has increased exponentially over the last few decades, and it affects much more than just our physical health. Suicide is higher than ever in developing countries. Our ability to handle finances responsibilities has faltered, as debt continues to increase. Technology has decreased our ability to focus, and increase our ability to consume, and it’s had some serious side effects. We are more likely to procrastinate and commit, are ability to communicate socially has suffered.

So I know this has been depressing to read, but there are ways to fight this! Remove willpower from the situation if possible. We suck at fighting urges, so removing the urge it;s the first step. Also, surround yourself with human connection. we are much more honest with ourselves when we are around people that we consider close. Finally, set a routine. If we follow our routine, it makes it much more difficult to break.

I recommend this book to anyone who finds themselves falling into bad habits, like me and my issues with unhealthy food (Pizza and Cookout).  Like I stated earlier half of all deaths could be prevented. Don’t be another statistic! Fight! What are some temptations you find yourself falling into, and what can you do to help yourself? Also, what are some ways to ethically advertise and market products that can fall under this category or addictive substances?

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Contagious, by Jonah Berger was all about how things catch on, or become “contagious”.   The book started out by talking about a popular restaurant, Barclay Prime.  When this restaurant came about, there was almost no advertising involved, but it still became a huge and famous place to eat.  Berger begins by talking about how this restaurant became “contagious” by only word of mouth.  This made him curious about how other ideas and products spread, and how advertising and word of mouth effects what people will do and buy.

His book was broken into six chapters which were his six principles throughout the book.

The first was social currency.  This was all about what makes someone talk about something more than another thing, and how it spreads.

The second was triggers.  He believes that people naturally want to keep a conversation going, so if there is a pause or break in the conversation people will be more likely to bring up an idea or product.

Emotion was his next principle.  He believes that if someone is passionate about something, then they will be more likely to talk about that thing.

Principle four was called public.  He states that if you see someone else doing something, you will be more likely to do that thing too.   If someone is talking about and idea or product, or doing something new, you will be more likely to want to try that idea or product for yourself.

Practical value and stories were the last two principles.  Practical value was more on the advertising side rather than the word of mouth side.  Berger believes that if a product saves money or improves your lifestyle you will be more likely to buy that product.  Stories was the last chapter and principle that Berger spoke about.  He said that ordinary stories we tell everyday get spread, and if an idea or product is in one of those stories, people will be more likely to buy that product.

This book was all about how ideas and products spread.  Berger did a fabulous job of incorporating his own stories and personal events in the book.  This book was a super easy and interesting read.  I would recommend it for anyone looking to spread an idea or product, or even just if you’re looking for a new book to read.

-Jennifer Howard

The Substance of Style

The “Substance of Style,” written by Virginia Postrel, slings readers into the world of culture, commodities, and aesthetics.

The book in written into six different chapters and main ideas:

  1. The aesthetic imperative
  2. The rise of look and feel
  3. Surface and substance
  4. Meaningful looks
  5. The boundaries of design
  6. Smart and pretty

Each of these chapters explores how our personal brand and aesthetic is built to how it is managed to why having a certain aesthetic can have a negative connotation.

Postrel examines how authenticity and Marlow’s hierarchy of needs play a role in our substance of style. Her analyzes goes deeper into how important it is for us humans to recognize what we believe to be valuable and real, versus what is not.

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So, if you are interested in learning more about aesthetic value and how it has impacted society in terms of hot commodities, authenticity, and brand identity check out The Substance of Style by Virginia Postrel.

By the end of the book you will have a better understanding on more than just Aesthetic value and its importance, you will understand how the surface of every person and product may not say much at all about its substance, but it does have significance and value all on its own.

The novel can be purchased on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and your local bookstores. There is also an audible book for any of those who are not into reading!

— Stephanie Spencer