Oct. 26, 2020

The Social Dilemma (2020)

The Social Dilemma (2020)

The Social Dilemma is a Netflix documentary about the insidious nature of social media featuring former big tech employees, researchers, and critics. We share our review of the film from our perspectives as tech workers and consumers of social media.


Most of us realize we spend more time on our phones than we should. But killing time is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the ways social media has taken over our lives.

"The Social Dilemma," a new docudrama from Netflix, explores the design decisions that make social media so addictive as well as the many consequences of our reliance, from data privacy and mental health to the rise of misinformation and conspiracy theories.

In this episode, we share our thoughts on the film and personal strategies for curtailing our social media use.


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Book recommendation: Make Time
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Transcript

Ryan Purvis  0:00  
Hello, and welcome to the digital workspace works podcast. I'm Ryan Purvis, your host supported by producer Heather Bicknell. In this series, you'll hear stories and opinions from experts in their field story from the frontlines, the problems they face and how they solve them. The years they're focused on from technology, people and processes to the approaches they took that will help you to get to the scripts for the digital workspace inner workings.

So yeah, so we wanted to cover a few things today.

Heather Bicknell  0:35  
Well, I could talk about the social dilemma. Yeah.

Ryan Purvis  0:38  
Yeah. What do you think?

Heather Bicknell  0:42  
I thought it was interesting, I thought, I guess there are parts that I sort of, agreed with, and parts where I felt like, it sort of missed the mark a little bit or didn't go far enough. I guess if we're gonna, if this is an episode, we might want to explain what it was. So the social dilemma is a Netflix docu drama. That sort of flips back and forth between interviews with tech employees that you know, the big companies Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter, sort of talking about the ails of social media and constant being on our devices. And contrast that with a fictional story of this family who sort of playing out these problems for the audience to see. So the most amusing part of that, I guess, is how they decided to portray algorithms. I'm curious what you thought of that depiction? Ryan?

Ryan Purvis  1:53  
Did I ever tell you what, let's make a board game about operations. And that's pretty much what I had in my head, it was exactly that bunch of bunch of decisions being made by people have switchboard pulling leaders. And so I loved it, I thought it was a very clever way of doing it. And the communists have pieces about using information to make decisions. And then, you know, sort of taking the action and seeing what the results were. And then learning from that result, is pretty much how most, you know, expert systems are built anyway. But I thought it was such a clever way of doing it. And I think they used it for an actor as well, that's been around.

Heather Bicknell  2:40  
Yeah, he was in Mad Men.

Ryan Purvis  2:42  
Yeah, yeah. So that that also makes it funny for me. Now, that was great. I mean, you know, the reason why I want to chat about this is, you know, a lot of these tools. And I think I posted on LinkedIn, the this the new high school pyramid of needs, because named Laszlo Atlas, and it goes through the different levels, there was actually very carefully done in the sense of, you know, some of some of the social networks are very much around, you're feeling good about yourself, or petitioner feeling good about yourself, versus someone professional. And some are, like, I remember the levels where and I'll have to find the image again. But the reason why I thought this whole thing going back to the point is, you know, when we, when we design any software, we're trying to do exactly what these guys are doing. Or what they pointed out in the sense of trying to make not only the system usable, but sticky, and come back and usable. And you definitely want when you when you sort of gamify the application, if you want to put on emotions. Now we don't look on the emotions, if I look at most systems, you know, to to make someone depressed or, or unhappy, we're trying to instill or get out of them as the do the right thing, emotion. I've done the right thing. So I should feel good about doing the right thing, then we talk about that. And from an enterprise point of view, it's things like giving back software that you're not using, or giving back devices that you're not using, because those are typically things that are being cost for a company buying licenses or having hardware, now I'm sitting with three laptops with me at the moment that aren't being used, you know, they just they're just depreciating they're not being utilized. But we don't, you know, we've sort of taken a view that we're going to go BYOD now, so as long as we can monitor where we're sort of 30 K, what the devices and and those are, you know, where the gamification comes in not not so much for the for the operational staff per se, but it's getting the end user to have the right behaviors. I think what makes the social dilemma interesting is they've taken on a consumer level, which, which I don't think a lot of people realize that they actually been Beloved, in the nicest sense of the word, but it is yeah, I thought I really enjoyed the movie and I didn't really want to watch it because I kind of felt like it was gonna be painful to watch. But actually, the more watch the more endured it.

Heather Bicknell  5:16  
Has it made you think about your own habits when it comes to social media? Or are you already, you already kind of watch how much time you spend?

Ryan Purvis  5:26  
I've already already been on the train. So I mean, I hear when Facebook first came out, yes, it came out when it became global. It was one of the I wasn't in my group of friends, I was one of the first cars on it. So I've been on there for a long, long time. And I've had, you know, you know, highs and lows or peace draw of usage on it. And I often sit there and go, actually, I think I'm gonna need to now be over to my account. And there's always one little thing that keeps me using it. And, you know, whatever the thing is, at the time, it always comes back at the moment, I'm keeping it purely because the awesome groups, I'm actually seeing some, some value out of that those groups that are not necessarily driven by I don't know, the more trivial sort of reasons why you're on it.

Heather Bicknell  6:13  
You know, like your friends?

Ryan Purvis  6:15  
Yes. Okay. Your friends? Well, I actually I follow everyone. And I only really look at the groups. And I think that's what's what's different on the train hobby on is I have no notification for social media, and not even WhatsApp. Which is ironic considering I actually do a lot of communication via WhatsApp. But I schedule time to look at WhatsApp. So every hour, I spend five minutes looking at WhatsApp and catching up. And, or if I'm at the shops, I'll show you guys my wife sent me something to do. But that's that's how I manage, it's always a conscious decision for me to look at it as opposed to getting the red icon and Red Badge or a notification across the top of the screen. So I turned off all those sorts of notifications. So I don't have any of that. So a lot of the things that they have done to hook you don't really work on someone in my position now, because I've deliberately turned all those things off. And even if I look at Facebook, I mean, I limit my social media to give you an idea down to 15 minutes a day. And that's LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, telegram, and WhatsApp. Now WhatsApp obviously, doesn't make sense because of chickening out every every hour, but that's the only group that's editing it check outside of that limit. Because it is a communication tool, not so much a social media tool for me. How do you handle it?

Heather Bicknell  7:38  
Well, honestly, I think if I didn't need to use social media for work, I wouldn't be on it at all. And I was just thinking about how LinkedIn sort of held all of anyone with any sort of business role sort of a little hostage now, because if you don't have a complete LinkedIn profile, and some activity, I think you're just not going to get as many job opportunities. And it's become sort of like a professional expectation that you'd maintain that profile. Um, but I've been off Facebook for about a decade. So I actually did this program at my university where we spent a semester without any tech. So it was it was a spring semester. So it was shorter. But it was a program where we went out to the woods of Maine and sort of lived a communal lifestyle study, you studied the author's out there. But we didn't have our devices, there was no, we didn't have internet, so very disconnected. And that sort of experience before that, I probably would have definitely been checking Facebook every day. And this was before. I think a few people at the program had smartphones, but this was like very early on. So I just had a flip phone, but even just not having my phone not having anything else really did rewire my brain and sort of break that habit. And then when I came back into that world and got my phone back, it's like, I don't want this anymore. It's such a burden. To have to like feel like you have to, you know, respond to messages right away or, you know, pay attention to these things that really weren't bringing me a lot of value. And after that I just never really got back into social media in the same way. And even since then, you know, I'll adopt things like Snapchat, because you know, my friends are using it. I want to stay up to date with their lives, but I just find myself not checking it not checking, not checking it. And then I just kind of falls by the wayside. So that's sort of my pattern now for social.

Ryan Purvis  9:51  
Yeah. And I mean, I would love to do that kind of detox. I just never had the time to do but I read a book called Making topical Make time are making time. And they call these sort of things infinity pools. And it's it's in that article to reference the verge as well. The problem with a lot of these applications is, and this is a continuous scroll thing as well, that you're constantly scrolling, looking for something new. And Ellington, you focus very much there. Because our find that I always keep deleting the apps, I delete LinkedIn, I delete Twitter and all the rest of it, because I find it on my phone. And there's obviously more propensity to pick them up and look at them. However, the reason why I keep them is because I want my context to be up to date, my address book. And that all synchronizes through through my phone into an app that does all the sorting, and merging and all that kind of stuff. So I tend to not look at, I try not look at social media on my phone, I try to look it on my iPad or my desktop, because I find the scrolling is actually frustrating. So you don't tend to score as much, which is very easy on the scrolling your phone with your thumb because obviously designed for them. And so so what I've done now is I've got everything installed again, but they're all hidden away. Just so I get the synchronization to work for the context and stuff. And the reason why I do this has come back to the make time thing is is that what I was finding is that when I was getting getting bored, or just or not or not engaged in a conversation, like on a conference call, whenever I would look at that one of these things too full to stimulate the brain. Mm hmm. I had to physically change those and every so often to fall back into no one's perfect, but I've gone back to pen and paper to avoid picking up my phone to look at and and get caught in that because you end up getting that distraction is not really worth it. And then because now you don't have that opportunity to sort of, because you're there call with someone remote, you can actually walk with him on the way back from the meeting go. So what did you hear in that media and you sort of fill in the gaps that you may have in your main memory because you you got distracted. So that's that's something I think is make time but was quite cute with quite well placed in at the time for me to get rid of these things. There were a couple other techniques about or considerations to the notifications of changing your color, the color of your screen on your phone from full color to to black and white. Those sorts of things, which also helps your brain to tune out this constant need to get the you know, see what the red thing is. Yeah. Which was drive that behavior again?

Heather Bicknell  12:29  
Yeah, definitely. I know. Yeah. I mean, that all comes back to even though they feature in the documentary, The I think former Google employee who started the so the Center for humane technology or something like that. But he really started this digital wellness movement, I think he was the one who suggested the graying out your app icons and everything like that. But he said something, he said something in the documentary that kind of drove me bananas, and was sort of my, maybe my biggest sort of gripe with the whole thing, which was he made this comparison that when the bicycle came out, everyone just treated it as a tool. And there wasn't this hysteria around it, which is actually not what happened, there was hysteria around the bicycle, particularly with women riding it, and you know, God forbid, women put some pants on and ride the bicycle around and be able to move from point A to point B, and there was at the time, you know, people would write about, you know, is the bicycle, you know, ruining this or that. So it's not, I don't think social media is unique, I think, in terms of, you know, inventions that have changed society and had everyone talking about it for that reason, you know, the novel did the same thing. At one point, it was very, you know, it wasn't considered like an educational thing to read a novel. You know, it was like a pastime, like how we talk about TV. So, and it's not the first time we've been through this. And I think, looking back at those examples, I think there is more to learn. And I think in the documentary, they just sort of dismissed that line of logic outright. I consider it ridiculous, but I don't think it is. I think there is something to that. And it's helpful to look back at history and think about that in the way that we talk about social media.

Ryan Purvis  14:28  
Oh, you're right. I mean, if you if you go back to two wire books, rooms, I mean, the original books were all hand handwritten, and they were hand copied. So they might only be 10 additions of book because the 10 marks that would sit and make copies of all the pages. I think that's how they were doing them until the printing press was invented. And then all of a sudden, you could have a little bit more, but it wasn't necessarily what it is. Now you could pretty much you know, besides digital books, you can get, you know, books anywhere. And you know the other thing about about the bicycle is I mean, there isn't I'll come up with the exact phrase, but but the the, the reward pedal, the result that the output you get is almost unmatched in return for every, every, every stride, you take on a bike to what you actually get back for the step is as soon as huge return, which I don't think you get from social media, I think social media drains you. I didn't even know it. And the reason why I had to put the limit in, if I have a day where I am busy with conference calls and working on stuff, and then I'm still looking at social media, you never have a break and you absolutely mentally exhausted. Because you're just stimulating all the time, you need to have, you need to have breaks, even even from hours and hours of conference calls to go look at the screen, you want to look at a book or go walk outside or whatever it is, you don't want to go walk outside of them, it could be photographed what's happening on Twitter right now. Or, you know, whatever, whatever the thing is, so, so I think you're right, in the sense that I think they have oversimplified some of that stuff. We didn't want to dig into that. Because I know it's a, it's a can of worms. And that probably means that there'll be a sequel or series of movies about it, because it is it is complicated topics. But I think the thing that fascinates me is the ability for people to concentrate for long periods of time, is what is reducing every year. Don't think people hurt I think there's a there's a conscious, we need to we need to fix that movement, because we should be able to concentrate. We know we need to do more deep work, not less deep work.

Heather Bicknell  16:43  
Yeah, no, I think you're right, that the digital nature of it does do something differently to our brains and that you aren't, you know, it is i think i think there is something about just that we're staring at, you know, light on a screen versus interacting with the world around us that does, you know, feel different and fatigue you differently than if you were, you know, reading a book or what have you. I guess the other part that I really wish they would have maybe explored a little bit. And maybe this was due to a lack of research, or there just hasn't been enough time with these things around, but his voice assistance and having them in the home, and just IoT in general. Because it's not only I don't even think about just you know, kids with the smartphones, it's also they have the Alexa in the house and like what is that doing as well. And that's a component that, I think, is a bit more modern than a lot of what they touched on his voice search. Because they did talk about Google and Google monopolizing search, which is 100% true. All that stuff, it's very familiar to me as a marketer, that sort of World of, you know, your business lives or dies by Google, and you have to play by the rules. But they're extending that now into the voice realm as well. So that's their next frontier is taking over, you know, instead of typing to search something, we're gonna all be using our voice assistance, and I know we all more and more, but that's definitely where things are, are moving.

Ryan Purvis  18:18  
Yeah, I mean, there's definitely ethical consideration. I was more okay with with with that line of direction, because I think it's a natural. Because if you can, if you can reduce your need to go over to screen and type into Google window and type something, and you can use sitting across the kitchen, Tommy, with the latest scores on X, Y, and Zed. And that saves you time, and that gives you more time back to do stuff with your, your family work, whatever that problem with them. I think the problem I have with with general social media and and that is, you know, Facebook, really made it their business to keep you on it, because they need to make revenue. So so their ethics and their morals and all the rest of it and error about the good of the end user or the good of the people on the platform is on monetizing the people on the platform. Twitter to a lesser extent, I think there probably fits in there, you know, the the blurry lines around that. And so does so does Google to an extent that they have sort of platforms form part anyway. So I don't think that really matters. Very, I have many use cases I can think of where social media actually, necessarily is always a good thing. But they are some where, you know, networking with people like LinkedIn is good for that. Trying to find someone or help from someone that you know, from your past, you know, it's good for that. And I live in a country, you know, 10,000 kilometers from the rest of my family. So one way for them to stay contact is via social media if it's not Facebook anymore. We've moved that over to WhatsApp, but it's still Facebook is over. Facebook. So that's probably the other issue is that you, you've got to be very conscious of who owns what technology you're using? And what are they going to do with your data? Because in the end, it's your it's your putting data on the platform, and whether they'll give it back to you, or whether they'll keep it and use it is the thing you need to be very clear on.

Heather Bicknell  20:22  
Yeah, so

Ryan Purvis  20:24  
it's, but anything that that's put on, it's at least in South Africa, and it's true here. I know, in South Africa, anything is put on a whatsapp group, regardless of being encrypted or not, view the admin of the group, you are responsible for that comment. So if someone says something racist, or sexist or defamation, whatever it is, and you don't tell you the avenue and you don't condone it, or you don't do what you're supposed to do, and says a moderate, and someone complains, they can take you to court, they can put you in jail.

Heather Bicknell  20:55  
I didn't know that. So I'm not as familiar with WhatsApp, it's just not as popular in the US. So I didn't even know. Yeah.

Ryan Purvis  21:05  
I mean, I just remember there being a case. And I think it was a racial thing. If I remember correctly, I think someone was texting someone on the plane. And the passenger who's next to saw when she wrote, and she took her to court. I have to find the article and see if I can find a bit. But there was no mass appeal. And this is the thing I don't think a lot of people get or they don't appreciate is that anything you write on social media on any electronic medium, and can be used against you. And

Heather Bicknell  21:38  
it also doesn't go away. Not a lot of people don't realize it's it's never gone, which I think is where protecting kids especially really needs to happen. And I just think about all the cringe worthy things that I did as a teen on Facebook, not thinking that, you know, this lives forever on the internet, even if you delete it, it's never gone.

Ryan Purvis  21:59  
But it's not like I check Facebook to see what pictures pop up going on. Like why do we do that? Really?

Unknown Speaker  22:06  
Yeah, yeah.

Ryan Purvis  22:09  
There was something else or the management was it? Oh, so So the other thing that we've done, so we go, I mean, a lot of these techniques are sort of gamification of an application. And we've used these techniques in various pools and stuff. And the thing that I always find fascinating, and you sort of alluded to, when you said that LinkedIn kind of owns the space now, I mean, I definitely any person I meet with I look, I look for their LinkedIn profile, and I can include them or whenever it is, because I want you know that that's a good way to stay in contact afterwards. And also good way to see if you know, your, your interface, etc. And I'm fascinated about the amount of internal social media networks that occurred within the business, you'll have a, an intranet, and you'll have a place where you create your own profile and your skills. And the intention behind that is also to provide this place where you can, you know, interact with with other stakeholders in your business and share knowledge, etc. But those don't seem to ever take off. Very rarely do you see people duplicate what they've got on LinkedIn, to what they have an internal corporate environment. In fact, most people I know would still look through LinkedIn before they weren't internally infected, then find the presence there we go look them up on LinkedIn, connect to them, and then then work with them. It's just an interesting, almost credibility that LinkedIn has. I can see how open it is compared to me.

Heather Bicknell  23:36  
Yeah, I'd be curious if if you have any ideas on why that is, I guess, to me, it seems like if you're going to invest your time into something that will, you know, pay off for you in the long term. And the status issue is, you know, a thought leader, you don't want to do it in the public forum and not on something where, you know, you're only talking to a limited audience.

Ryan Purvis  23:57  
Well, I think there's two things one, and I know for me, I'm lazy. So I'm not going to go and do the walking over to profiles to maintain a lot, especially if I'm working if I if I know that I'm potentially going to be in business for more than, you know, two, three years, which is typically how long I'm involved in business with anyway. And LinkedIn is persistent in that sense. But I think the second thing is, from a profile point of view, unless unless I've got the time, or it's part of my role to to be, you know, you see some CIOs that are on a blog every month in tune in or accident LinkedIn as well. I mean, that are writing those blogs, typically. I mean, yes, they might, might jot down some ideas and stuff. Typically they've got they've got a person on the staff that's going to write it for them. That That to me is the right way to do it until I get to that sort of stage. Because I'm Moranis okay, but I think there's people write much better than I do. And I think that's, that's when you want to build your profile internally and you can be community committee. Getting in most cases by email, not via a social media platform internally, because people typically will read an email that's been officially communicated. As much as we think they don't they tend to because everyone's comfortable with email, and less quiet. And you're like I said, you will have people that are comfortable with the social media aspects of it. But LinkedIn, in that sense, is for the is bully, as you said, building your profile globally. And which way you want to invest your time you want to be seen, typically, I think, as an authentic, credible post is why at some point, you're gonna need a job, or consulting work or whatever it is, and we need to be able to point them somewhere if you haven't got a website to say, well, there, there I am. There's all my activity. There's my there's my connections, my credibility.

Heather Bicknell  25:47  
Yeah, exactly. Why no, we're up on time. But I feel like we could even do a part two of this, because there's a lot we didn't even you brought a female at the end there. But that's something they also touch on that we didn't even get to so and then we'll really work side of this too. Yeah.

Ryan Purvis  26:02  
Well, yeah, yeah. Well, I think we should I think this is a you know, the, the user user behaviors and, and behavioral economics and all those things, is a common theme in the space because you are trying to understand your user to make them work, or make the work as efficient as effective as possible. And there's many things you know, we should unpack on it differently. Tomorrow. Thanks a lot.

Heather Bicknell  26:30  
Talk to you later. Cool. Jazz I

Ryan Purvis  26:34  
thank you for listening today's episode. Hey, the big news producer, editor. Thank you, Heather. for your hard work for this episode. Please subscribe to the series and rate us on iTunes or the Google Play Store. Follow us on Twitter at the DW w podcast. The shownotes and transcripts will be available on the website www digital workspace that works. Please also visit our website www dot digital workspace that works and subscribe to our newsletter. And lastly, if you found this episode useful, please share with your friends or colleagues.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Ryan Purvis  0:00  
Hello, and welcome to the digital workspace works podcast. I'm Ryan Purvis, your host supported by producer Heather Bicknell. In this series, you'll hear stories and opinions from experts in their field story from the frontlines, the problems they face and how they solve them. The years they're focused on from technology, people and processes to the approaches they took that will help you to get to the scripts for the digital workspace inner workings.

So yeah, so we wanted to cover a few things today.

Heather Bicknell  0:35  
Well, I could talk about the social dilemma. Yeah.

Ryan Purvis  0:38  
Yeah. What do you think?

Heather Bicknell  0:42  
I thought it was interesting, I thought, I guess there are parts that I sort of, agreed with, and parts where I felt like, it sort of missed the mark a little bit or didn't go far enough. I guess if we're gonna, if this is an episode, we might want to explain what it was. So the social dilemma is a Netflix docu drama. That sort of flips back and forth between interviews with tech employees that you know, the big companies Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter, sort of talking about the ails of social media and constant being on our devices. And contrast that with a fictional story of this family who sort of playing out these problems for the audience to see. So the most amusing part of that, I guess, is how they decided to portray algorithms. I'm curious what you thought of that depiction? Ryan?

Ryan Purvis  1:53  
Did I ever tell you what, let's make a board game about operations. And that's pretty much what I had in my head, it was exactly that bunch of bunch of decisions being made by people have switchboard pulling leaders. And so I loved it, I thought it was a very clever way of doing it. And the communists have pieces about using information to make decisions. And then, you know, sort of taking the action and seeing what the results were. And then learning from that result, is pretty much how most, you know, expert systems are built anyway. But I thought it was such a clever way of doing it. And I think they used it for an actor as well, that's been around.

Heather Bicknell  2:40  
Yeah, he was in Mad Men.

Ryan Purvis  2:42  
Yeah, yeah. So that that also makes it funny for me. Now, that was great. I mean, you know, the reason why I want to chat about this is, you know, a lot of these tools. And I think I posted on LinkedIn, the this the new high school pyramid of needs, because named Laszlo Atlas, and it goes through the different levels, there was actually very carefully done in the sense of, you know, some of some of the social networks are very much around, you're feeling good about yourself, or petitioner feeling good about yourself, versus someone professional. And some are, like, I remember the levels where and I'll have to find the image again. But the reason why I thought this whole thing going back to the point is, you know, when we, when we design any software, we're trying to do exactly what these guys are doing. Or what they pointed out in the sense of trying to make not only the system usable, but sticky, and come back and usable. And you definitely want when you when you sort of gamify the application, if you want to put on emotions. Now we don't look on the emotions, if I look at most systems, you know, to to make someone depressed or, or unhappy, we're trying to instill or get out of them as the do the right thing, emotion. I've done the right thing. So I should feel good about doing the right thing, then we talk about that. And from an enterprise point of view, it's things like giving back software that you're not using, or giving back devices that you're not using, because those are typically things that are being cost for a company buying licenses or having hardware, now I'm sitting with three laptops with me at the moment that aren't being used, you know, they just they're just depreciating they're not being utilized. But we don't, you know, we've sort of taken a view that we're going to go BYOD now, so as long as we can monitor where we're sort of 30 K, what the devices and and those are, you know, where the gamification comes in not not so much for the for the operational staff per se, but it's getting the end user to have the right behaviors. I think what makes the social dilemma interesting is they've taken on a consumer level, which, which I don't think a lot of people realize that they actually been Beloved, in the nicest sense of the word, but it is yeah, I thought I really enjoyed the movie and I didn't really want to watch it because I kind of felt like it was gonna be painful to watch. But actually, the more watch the more endured it.

Heather Bicknell  5:16  
Has it made you think about your own habits when it comes to social media? Or are you already, you already kind of watch how much time you spend?

Ryan Purvis  5:26  
I've already already been on the train. So I mean, I hear when Facebook first came out, yes, it came out when it became global. It was one of the I wasn't in my group of friends, I was one of the first cars on it. So I've been on there for a long, long time. And I've had, you know, you know, highs and lows or peace draw of usage on it. And I often sit there and go, actually, I think I'm gonna need to now be over to my account. And there's always one little thing that keeps me using it. And, you know, whatever the thing is, at the time, it always comes back at the moment, I'm keeping it purely because the awesome groups, I'm actually seeing some, some value out of that those groups that are not necessarily driven by I don't know, the more trivial sort of reasons why you're on it.

Heather Bicknell  6:13  
You know, like your friends?

Ryan Purvis  6:15  
Yes. Okay. Your friends? Well, I actually I follow everyone. And I only really look at the groups. And I think that's what's what's different on the train hobby on is I have no notification for social media, and not even WhatsApp. Which is ironic considering I actually do a lot of communication via WhatsApp. But I schedule time to look at WhatsApp. So every hour, I spend five minutes looking at WhatsApp and catching up. And, or if I'm at the shops, I'll show you guys my wife sent me something to do. But that's that's how I manage, it's always a conscious decision for me to look at it as opposed to getting the red icon and Red Badge or a notification across the top of the screen. So I turned off all those sorts of notifications. So I don't have any of that. So a lot of the things that they have done to hook you don't really work on someone in my position now, because I've deliberately turned all those things off. And even if I look at Facebook, I mean, I limit my social media to give you an idea down to 15 minutes a day. And that's LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, telegram, and WhatsApp. Now WhatsApp obviously, doesn't make sense because of chickening out every every hour, but that's the only group that's editing it check outside of that limit. Because it is a communication tool, not so much a social media tool for me. How do you handle it?

Heather Bicknell  7:38  
Well, honestly, I think if I didn't need to use social media for work, I wouldn't be on it at all. And I was just thinking about how LinkedIn sort of held all of anyone with any sort of business role sort of a little hostage now, because if you don't have a complete LinkedIn profile, and some activity, I think you're just not going to get as many job opportunities. And it's become sort of like a professional expectation that you'd maintain that profile. Um, but I've been off Facebook for about a decade. So I actually did this program at my university where we spent a semester without any tech. So it was it was a spring semester. So it was shorter. But it was a program where we went out to the woods of Maine and sort of lived a communal lifestyle study, you studied the author's out there. But we didn't have our devices, there was no, we didn't have internet, so very disconnected. And that sort of experience before that, I probably would have definitely been checking Facebook every day. And this was before. I think a few people at the program had smartphones, but this was like very early on. So I just had a flip phone, but even just not having my phone not having anything else really did rewire my brain and sort of break that habit. And then when I came back into that world and got my phone back, it's like, I don't want this anymore. It's such a burden. To have to like feel like you have to, you know, respond to messages right away or, you know, pay attention to these things that really weren't bringing me a lot of value. And after that I just never really got back into social media in the same way. And even since then, you know, I'll adopt things like Snapchat, because you know, my friends are using it. I want to stay up to date with their lives, but I just find myself not checking it not checking, not checking it. And then I just kind of falls by the wayside. So that's sort of my pattern now for social.

Ryan Purvis  9:51  
Yeah. And I mean, I would love to do that kind of detox. I just never had the time to do but I read a book called Making topical Make time are making time. And they call these sort of things infinity pools. And it's it's in that article to reference the verge as well. The problem with a lot of these applications is, and this is a continuous scroll thing as well, that you're constantly scrolling, looking for something new. And Ellington, you focus very much there. Because our find that I always keep deleting the apps, I delete LinkedIn, I delete Twitter and all the rest of it, because I find it on my phone. And there's obviously more propensity to pick them up and look at them. However, the reason why I keep them is because I want my context to be up to date, my address book. And that all synchronizes through through my phone into an app that does all the sorting, and merging and all that kind of stuff. So I tend to not look at, I try not look at social media on my phone, I try to look it on my iPad or my desktop, because I find the scrolling is actually frustrating. So you don't tend to score as much, which is very easy on the scrolling your phone with your thumb because obviously designed for them. And so so what I've done now is I've got everything installed again, but they're all hidden away. Just so I get the synchronization to work for the context and stuff. And the reason why I do this has come back to the make time thing is is that what I was finding is that when I was getting getting bored, or just or not or not engaged in a conversation, like on a conference call, whenever I would look at that one of these things too full to stimulate the brain. Mm hmm. I had to physically change those and every so often to fall back into no one's perfect, but I've gone back to pen and paper to avoid picking up my phone to look at and and get caught in that because you end up getting that distraction is not really worth it. And then because now you don't have that opportunity to sort of, because you're there call with someone remote, you can actually walk with him on the way back from the meeting go. So what did you hear in that media and you sort of fill in the gaps that you may have in your main memory because you you got distracted. So that's that's something I think is make time but was quite cute with quite well placed in at the time for me to get rid of these things. There were a couple other techniques about or considerations to the notifications of changing your color, the color of your screen on your phone from full color to to black and white. Those sorts of things, which also helps your brain to tune out this constant need to get the you know, see what the red thing is. Yeah. Which was drive that behavior again?

Heather Bicknell  12:29  
Yeah, definitely. I know. Yeah. I mean, that all comes back to even though they feature in the documentary, The I think former Google employee who started the so the Center for humane technology or something like that. But he really started this digital wellness movement, I think he was the one who suggested the graying out your app icons and everything like that. But he said something, he said something in the documentary that kind of drove me bananas, and was sort of my, maybe my biggest sort of gripe with the whole thing, which was he made this comparison that when the bicycle came out, everyone just treated it as a tool. And there wasn't this hysteria around it, which is actually not what happened, there was hysteria around the bicycle, particularly with women riding it, and you know, God forbid, women put some pants on and ride the bicycle around and be able to move from point A to point B, and there was at the time, you know, people would write about, you know, is the bicycle, you know, ruining this or that. So it's not, I don't think social media is unique, I think, in terms of, you know, inventions that have changed society and had everyone talking about it for that reason, you know, the novel did the same thing. At one point, it was very, you know, it wasn't considered like an educational thing to read a novel. You know, it was like a pastime, like how we talk about TV. So, and it's not the first time we've been through this. And I think, looking back at those examples, I think there is more to learn. And I think in the documentary, they just sort of dismissed that line of logic outright. I consider it ridiculous, but I don't think it is. I think there is something to that. And it's helpful to look back at history and think about that in the way that we talk about social media.

Ryan Purvis  14:28  
Oh, you're right. I mean, if you if you go back to two wire books, rooms, I mean, the original books were all hand handwritten, and they were hand copied. So they might only be 10 additions of book because the 10 marks that would sit and make copies of all the pages. I think that's how they were doing them until the printing press was invented. And then all of a sudden, you could have a little bit more, but it wasn't necessarily what it is. Now you could pretty much you know, besides digital books, you can get, you know, books anywhere. And you know the other thing about about the bicycle is I mean, there isn't I'll come up with the exact phrase, but but the the, the reward pedal, the result that the output you get is almost unmatched in return for every, every, every stride, you take on a bike to what you actually get back for the step is as soon as huge return, which I don't think you get from social media, I think social media drains you. I didn't even know it. And the reason why I had to put the limit in, if I have a day where I am busy with conference calls and working on stuff, and then I'm still looking at social media, you never have a break and you absolutely mentally exhausted. Because you're just stimulating all the time, you need to have, you need to have breaks, even even from hours and hours of conference calls to go look at the screen, you want to look at a book or go walk outside or whatever it is, you don't want to go walk outside of them, it could be photographed what's happening on Twitter right now. Or, you know, whatever, whatever the thing is, so, so I think you're right, in the sense that I think they have oversimplified some of that stuff. We didn't want to dig into that. Because I know it's a, it's a can of worms. And that probably means that there'll be a sequel or series of movies about it, because it is it is complicated topics. But I think the thing that fascinates me is the ability for people to concentrate for long periods of time, is what is reducing every year. Don't think people hurt I think there's a there's a conscious, we need to we need to fix that movement, because we should be able to concentrate. We know we need to do more deep work, not less deep work.

Heather Bicknell  16:43  
Yeah, no, I think you're right, that the digital nature of it does do something differently to our brains and that you aren't, you know, it is i think i think there is something about just that we're staring at, you know, light on a screen versus interacting with the world around us that does, you know, feel different and fatigue you differently than if you were, you know, reading a book or what have you. I guess the other part that I really wish they would have maybe explored a little bit. And maybe this was due to a lack of research, or there just hasn't been enough time with these things around, but his voice assistance and having them in the home, and just IoT in general. Because it's not only I don't even think about just you know, kids with the smartphones, it's also they have the Alexa in the house and like what is that doing as well. And that's a component that, I think, is a bit more modern than a lot of what they touched on his voice search. Because they did talk about Google and Google monopolizing search, which is 100% true. All that stuff, it's very familiar to me as a marketer, that sort of World of, you know, your business lives or dies by Google, and you have to play by the rules. But they're extending that now into the voice realm as well. So that's their next frontier is taking over, you know, instead of typing to search something, we're gonna all be using our voice assistance, and I know we all more and more, but that's definitely where things are, are moving.

Ryan Purvis  18:18  
Yeah, I mean, there's definitely ethical consideration. I was more okay with with with that line of direction, because I think it's a natural. Because if you can, if you can reduce your need to go over to screen and type into Google window and type something, and you can use sitting across the kitchen, Tommy, with the latest scores on X, Y, and Zed. And that saves you time, and that gives you more time back to do stuff with your, your family work, whatever that problem with them. I think the problem I have with with general social media and and that is, you know, Facebook, really made it their business to keep you on it, because they need to make revenue. So so their ethics and their morals and all the rest of it and error about the good of the end user or the good of the people on the platform is on monetizing the people on the platform. Twitter to a lesser extent, I think there probably fits in there, you know, the the blurry lines around that. And so does so does Google to an extent that they have sort of platforms form part anyway. So I don't think that really matters. Very, I have many use cases I can think of where social media actually, necessarily is always a good thing. But they are some where, you know, networking with people like LinkedIn is good for that. Trying to find someone or help from someone that you know, from your past, you know, it's good for that. And I live in a country, you know, 10,000 kilometers from the rest of my family. So one way for them to stay contact is via social media if it's not Facebook anymore. We've moved that over to WhatsApp, but it's still Facebook is over. Facebook. So that's probably the other issue is that you, you've got to be very conscious of who owns what technology you're using? And what are they going to do with your data? Because in the end, it's your it's your putting data on the platform, and whether they'll give it back to you, or whether they'll keep it and use it is the thing you need to be very clear on.

Heather Bicknell  20:22  
Yeah, so

Ryan Purvis  20:24  
it's, but anything that that's put on, it's at least in South Africa, and it's true here. I know, in South Africa, anything is put on a whatsapp group, regardless of being encrypted or not, view the admin of the group, you are responsible for that comment. So if someone says something racist, or sexist or defamation, whatever it is, and you don't tell you the avenue and you don't condone it, or you don't do what you're supposed to do, and says a moderate, and someone complains, they can take you to court, they can put you in jail.

Heather Bicknell  20:55  
I didn't know that. So I'm not as familiar with WhatsApp, it's just not as popular in the US. So I didn't even know. Yeah.

Ryan Purvis  21:05  
I mean, I just remember there being a case. And I think it was a racial thing. If I remember correctly, I think someone was texting someone on the plane. And the passenger who's next to saw when she wrote, and she took her to court. I have to find the article and see if I can find a bit. But there was no mass appeal. And this is the thing I don't think a lot of people get or they don't appreciate is that anything you write on social media on any electronic medium, and can be used against you. And

Heather Bicknell  21:38  
it also doesn't go away. Not a lot of people don't realize it's it's never gone, which I think is where protecting kids especially really needs to happen. And I just think about all the cringe worthy things that I did as a teen on Facebook, not thinking that, you know, this lives forever on the internet, even if you delete it, it's never gone.

Ryan Purvis  21:59  
But it's not like I check Facebook to see what pictures pop up going on. Like why do we do that? Really?

Unknown Speaker  22:06  
Yeah, yeah.

Ryan Purvis  22:09  
There was something else or the management was it? Oh, so So the other thing that we've done, so we go, I mean, a lot of these techniques are sort of gamification of an application. And we've used these techniques in various pools and stuff. And the thing that I always find fascinating, and you sort of alluded to, when you said that LinkedIn kind of owns the space now, I mean, I definitely any person I meet with I look, I look for their LinkedIn profile, and I can include them or whenever it is, because I want you know that that's a good way to stay in contact afterwards. And also good way to see if you know, your, your interface, etc. And I'm fascinated about the amount of internal social media networks that occurred within the business, you'll have a, an intranet, and you'll have a place where you create your own profile and your skills. And the intention behind that is also to provide this place where you can, you know, interact with with other stakeholders in your business and share knowledge, etc. But those don't seem to ever take off. Very rarely do you see people duplicate what they've got on LinkedIn, to what they have an internal corporate environment. In fact, most people I know would still look through LinkedIn before they weren't internally infected, then find the presence there we go look them up on LinkedIn, connect to them, and then then work with them. It's just an interesting, almost credibility that LinkedIn has. I can see how open it is compared to me.

Heather Bicknell  23:36  
Yeah, I'd be curious if if you have any ideas on why that is, I guess, to me, it seems like if you're going to invest your time into something that will, you know, pay off for you in the long term. And the status issue is, you know, a thought leader, you don't want to do it in the public forum and not on something where, you know, you're only talking to a limited audience.

Ryan Purvis  23:57  
Well, I think there's two things one, and I know for me, I'm lazy. So I'm not going to go and do the walking over to profiles to maintain a lot, especially if I'm working if I if I know that I'm potentially going to be in business for more than, you know, two, three years, which is typically how long I'm involved in business with anyway. And LinkedIn is persistent in that sense. But I think the second thing is, from a profile point of view, unless unless I've got the time, or it's part of my role to to be, you know, you see some CIOs that are on a blog every month in tune in or accident LinkedIn as well. I mean, that are writing those blogs, typically. I mean, yes, they might, might jot down some ideas and stuff. Typically they've got they've got a person on the staff that's going to write it for them. That That to me is the right way to do it until I get to that sort of stage. Because I'm Moranis okay, but I think there's people write much better than I do. And I think that's, that's when you want to build your profile internally and you can be community committee. Getting in most cases by email, not via a social media platform internally, because people typically will read an email that's been officially communicated. As much as we think they don't they tend to because everyone's comfortable with email, and less quiet. And you're like I said, you will have people that are comfortable with the social media aspects of it. But LinkedIn, in that sense, is for the is bully, as you said, building your profile globally. And which way you want to invest your time you want to be seen, typically, I think, as an authentic, credible post is why at some point, you're gonna need a job, or consulting work or whatever it is, and we need to be able to point them somewhere if you haven't got a website to say, well, there, there I am. There's all my activity. There's my there's my connections, my credibility.

Heather Bicknell  25:47  
Yeah, exactly. Why no, we're up on time. But I feel like we could even do a part two of this, because there's a lot we didn't even you brought a female at the end there. But that's something they also touch on that we didn't even get to so and then we'll really work side of this too. Yeah.

Ryan Purvis  26:02  
Well, yeah, yeah. Well, I think we should I think this is a you know, the, the user user behaviors and, and behavioral economics and all those things, is a common theme in the space because you are trying to understand your user to make them work, or make the work as efficient as effective as possible. And there's many things you know, we should unpack on it differently. Tomorrow. Thanks a lot.

Heather Bicknell  26:30  
Talk to you later. Cool. Jazz I

Ryan Purvis  26:34  
thank you for listening today's episode. Hey, the big news producer, editor. Thank you, Heather. for your hard work for this episode. Please subscribe to the series and rate us on iTunes or the Google Play Store. Follow us on Twitter at the DW w podcast. The shownotes and transcripts will be available on the website www digital workspace that works. Please also visit our website www dot digital workspace that works and subscribe to our newsletter. And lastly, if you found this episode useful, please share with your friends or colleagues.

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