Thursday, July 5, 2018

The phone

May I humbly suggest a replacement word for the every day device we call a phone - or specifically a smart phone. I am talking about the pure colloquial description and use of the word. That word, or acronym is PSD; Personal Social Device. It is more apt. It fits the use more. 

First, dictionary definitions:
  • Personal :
    • of or concerning one's private life, relationships, and emotions rather than matters connected with one's public or professional career.
  • Social :
    • relating to society or its organization.
  • Device :
    • a thing made or adapted for a particular purpose, especially a piece of mechanical or electronic equipment.

Personal because no one ever touches it. It is private property. That is meaningful. No one physically touches it without your permission - you trust - except the corporations whose one sided user agreement signs away your personal profile as a product. 

Social because the use of the device is social but veiled; It is a disconnect, a barrier, an in-between, a go-between. It is a great way to get an easy dose of social endorphins without the commitment. The long term effect of this lack of commitment decays and penetrates your future invites to larger/longer term social activities. It turns these invites into dreadful, insurmountable monuments that are easier to turn down than to accept. Cancelling plans and making excuses for some is its own endorphin hit. 

Device because at its core, despite its magic qualities, it is hand-held tool. Most other hand tools in your life are for very specific jobs. Jobs which are intermediate and a means to an end. The corruption of the PSD is that it is a stalling tool and it perpetuates its own use. Access to the internet at the fingertips gives everyone a sense of urgency, panic, and that they may miss out on the constantly refreshing content of their friends/celebrities/news/etc. 

A user of a device is subject to all the weaknesses and limitations of the device itself. 

There is great raw power in PSD/The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy/phone...etc. With great computational power comes great responsibility. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

I have a weird relationship with language

Why? Because. Are you familiar with the concept of bias? Of the bias inherent in speech and language. 

Every word you use to express yourself is in the dictionary. Very few people have ever read the dictionary, much less look up definitions occasionally. And this is not about them anyway. 

More aptly, most people learn words from other people and context. So the words they learn and then use are from characters (read: primary influencers; parents, teachers, progenitor,  best friends, heroes, enemies, and especially abusers) which one can emulate or not. But whose character is built into the use of the word. History, context, and experience build layers into each word. 

So individuals communicating together depend on accurate, true, meaningful, impactful, heartfelt, and devastating word choice. And one can only trust that their partner can see through and overcome the veil of both people's bias to find true mutual understanding. 

Tearing apart the veil and bias takes effort - which many don't have or have given up on.

Now multiply this concept for the speaker and listener by every word they use in every terse or verbose interaction. 

Now dissect it in real time.