Jed Cohen

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Paralysis

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I’ve got so many things that I want to write about that I start a ton of posts and don’t necessarily finish them.  I’ve got drafts in WordPress.  Virtual sticky notes on my computer and phone.  Voice memos that I recorded on my phone (some taken while driving, which probably wasn’t the best idea).

Yet I haven’t posted anything in a month.

Why?  Because work has been crazy.  Because I start something here but forget to finish it as this blog is low in my list of priorities (it really should be higher).  Because I’m a little too perfectionist when it comes to posting.  Because I spent more time proofreading and editing my posts than writing them (thank high school essays for that one).  Because I forget about this blog.  Because I’m paralyzed by the routine of my schedule and don’t adjust for the things I want to accomplish but don’t.

Sadly, almost posting doesn’t count.  It’s yet another one of those areas where showing up is what matters.  So I thought I’d start by listing all of the things I’ve been thinking about writing about lately.  It’s a way to jump start writing posts about some of these ideas.  It’s also a way to make sure that I actually follow through, as putting this out in public places imaginary social pressure on me to start writing.  So without further ado, here’s a few lot of seed ideas:

  • Symbols allow us to inhabit a shared reality (see Walter Lippmann).
  • Why time isn’t fixed despite the fixed nature of the second.
  • There is so much information online we need to rely on the Internet to process and store it (think exocortex).
  • How the branding of commodities isn’t that different from the branding of general retailers.
  • Why I have way too many profiles on way too many social media networks/websites/platforms.
  • How being on the inside often means we can’t communicate with the outside – even though we know everything about the inside and there’s nothing stopping us from talking. (Expanded a bit in Inside, Outside, Upside, Downside)
  • Overriding Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a defining aspect of free choice.  Also why every single professor I had who mentioned it in class thought it was inaccurate (except for my Intro to Psych professor).
  • Tweeting like a pro isn’t that different from playing video games like a pro. What does it mean to be a power user?
  • What quantum mechanics teaches us about Russian Roulette and our understanding of success.
  • How going from a user to a marketer on a platform allows for the possible growth of a kind of code of ethics of marketing in that space.
  • Twitter = microblogging = tiny blogging. How does the Twitter ecosystem change our definition of blogging? Or should we redefine our definition of Twitter (note that Twitter did this a little bit today)?
  • How ritual allows us to access personal and cultural memories, leading to a continuity of expectation and ability to surrender the decision-making process to precedent.
  • Plan your dive, dive your plan.

And last, but most definitely not least:

  • How I work best when extremely busy (as in every hour of the day accounted for and filled with some kind of activity).  How I need a new side project (five to ten hours a week).  What I’m looking for in said side project (social media, community outreach, marketing, etc).  Why I like working virtually (and generally for free).

I know that not all of these make sense right now.  They don’t necessarily make complete sense to me either.  Which is why you’ll probably never see full posts on all of these topics.  You may see mini-posts focused on one or two ideas from a bullet point.  Or what’s written above (kind of a micro-post) might be it.  We’ll see.

Twitter, the Psychology of Reciprocity, and Self-Reinforcing Micro-Networks

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As I get this blog off the ground, I thought that now would be a good time to take a look at something that I’ve noticed lately on Twitter.  Now I’m sure that just about everyone reading this has at some point heard something about Twitter and the psychology of reciprocity.  Basically, the argument is that if I follow a whole bunch of people, then a certain percentage of them will follow me in response.  The reciprocity principle has been proven to have an effect in many situations; it’s why some non-profits send you those little address labels when they ask you for a donation – it actually increases their donation rates because people feel like they should pay the non-profit for the labels (see Robert Cialdini’s work if you don’t believe me).

Now I’m not arguing with this.   Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jed

April 30th, 2009 at 1:45 am