My audience is parents of kids who are in the market for purchasing building bricks. Parents with young kids are busy people and don’t have a lot of time to make decisions because they are mostly busy working to pay for an expensive life. Parents with young children will be more cash strapped than they were before they had kids and will be more receptive to language that appeals to the pocket book. The language must be direct and the proposition must be made in the headline. An image conveying the idea in the headline, as well as some links, will be sufficient to allow the audience to absorb the information with little effort. A personal story or example will also serve as a powerful way to drive the point home. The following example will show how we are letting parents know that buying generic building bricks can be a better choice than buying brand name building bricks.
Smart Parents and Smart Kids buy Generic Building Blocks and Not their Brand Name Predecessors.
Why buy the brand name building bricks when they cost 2-3 times as much as generic building bricks? In my experience, kids will play with both types of bricks with equal enthusiasm because eventually they invoke their own creativity. The pretty picture on the brand name building bricks is sensationalized and short lived. After building what is in the picture, what do you do next? Therein, lies the answer; you begin to modify and create according to your imagination. I did not mention the name of the brand names for fear of reprisal, but you know who they are. Some companies market the pants off of every single children’s movie and their characters to sell more of their toys! I don’t believe toy manufacturers are just asking for a small royalty of 5-10%, but more likely a 100%-200% profit margin on each box sold.
The average kid that is interested in building bricks will likely spend an average of $500 on these creative learning toys in their lifetime. If the end goal is to have more bricks to build more creations, then why settle for less bricks at a higher cost? A month ago I was shopping for building bricks for my niece and found that a 900 piece brand name building brick set was priced at $130. This particular set was not associated with any movie characters. I then decided to look at generic building brick sets and found that a similar set made up of 1000 pieces was selling for $49. When I did the math it worked out that the brand name comparable set was priced 265% higher than the generic brand set. Moreover, when looking at movie character sets, the prices quickly escalated between 400-600% higher in price.
So what’s the final deal? The deal is that $500 dollars spent on generic building bricks gives you the equivalent of approximately 10,000 pieces, which if otherwise spent on a brand name would cost the equivalent of anywhere from $1325 to $3000. So, next time you are in the market for purchasing building blocks consider how many bricks your dollars are buying and factor in how much it will cost you to give those kids a free range of creativity with as many bricks as possible. Smarter kids build more with more bricks and smarter parents pay less for those bricks–thats the bottom line! Check out these fantastic generic building bricks I found on Amazon.
An interesting concept comes to mind when I think of social media and physics. Einstein theorized that wormholes are two points in time that can either shorten travel or expand travel. The two points can be as close as a few meters or as distant as light years away. While the theory is normally reserved to space travel, in travelling through two points of time; I believe I experienced a wormhole in real life—many times.
I think many others may have experienced the same phenomena that I’ve experienced. I never thought to talk about it, because it’s one of those things that you realize is happening unobtrusively and is not easy to explain.
The first time I experienced this phenomenon was when I was 21 years old. I was driving up north from Toronto to Sauble beach. Normally, the trip would take no less than 2.5 hours. I’m not sure what it was about the drive that day, I just remember it was May and it was about an hour before sunset. The interior of the modest car I was driving was shaped like the inside of a spaceship cockpit, but in no way did this have any relevance to the wormhole theory. The CD player was set to autoplay. The album was a compilation of the best classical music, including Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, Chopin, and Beethoven— to name a few. As I began my journey, I got comfortable, set the cruise control and let the calm music play in the background as I enjoyed driving through the country roads. The CD might have played 4 times over. I am not sure how many times it must have played over. Surely, when I arrived, the time shown on my clock was right where it should have been; about 2.5 hours later. There was something mysterious that happened and I knew without any doubt that those 2.5 hours of time travel did not equate to 2.5 hours. That time and space I travelled through were definitely shortened, but not in a way that was measurable. I felt the time that transpired was in fact closer to 1 hour.
So why did the duration of my time spent in the car feel like 1 hour? What made my perception of time feel shorter? While it sounds utterly absurd to think that this is in anyway related to space travel, there are a few merits to this theory. In a metaphorical sense, can we not say that we travel though time when we get from point A to point B in a short amount of time? Why do 10 minutes in an unpleasant situation seem like an eternity, while 2 hours spent with your best friend might seem like only a few minutes at the moment you have to say goodbye?
Is the mind really aware of what a length of time feels like? What is the feeling of time? Can you touch time? Can you feel time? Can you create time? Can you see time? Can you hear time? Can you interact with time? The answer is no. We accept that time exists because of the constructs of physical space. So our physical space tells us that time is ticking. The sun is setting, so time must be passing by. But if we separate our awareness of our physical space from our awareness of our subconscious mind; we begin to experience time in an entirely different way. The mind’s perception of time is entirely changed when we stop counting and begin engaging with things not from this world.
The wormhole is a metaphor for expansion and contraction of the subconscious mind. When engaged on social media we can sometimes spend 4 hours on something and never realize the amount of time that has passed. Does the subconscious mind not make us aware that time is ticking? Yet when exposed to troubling news on social media, that shakes our very core, we are suddenly aware of every minute detail of that short videoclip. While we watch that short social video clip, all of our collected fears, emotions, beliefs and ideologies flash before our mind’s eye; playing an even shorter internal video relative to the short video clip of awful news. If our internal mind’s eye video could be extracted, what would it unpack for us? Perhaps, we would find a tightly packed suitcase of every subconscious second in our lives.
I am not a psychologist, but my sheer arrogance precedes me. Perhaps our natural defence mechanism warns us that what we are watching is so disturbing, that our subconscious mind expands time to compress all of these thoughts into a short clip. Maybe it does so in order to take immediate action or as in the case with social media; we switch the channel or face more anguish. Conversely, when there are good vibes coming towards us, we engage in a positive way and our mind allows us to flow that information for hours on end, without any special subconscious short clip warnings. I am sure if I was a psychologist I would have used the terms flight or fight response and stress to explain this process. But I am a strong believer that the best new breakthroughs come from those that have no prior exposure to the field. So, coming to terms with what is really happening to us when we enter these wormholes, is understanding that we are being worm-holed while using social media.
When the feedback is positive; we enter a positive feedback loop, we begin to engage even more and feel pleasure while doing it repeatedly. On the other hand if the feedback is negative, we begin to feel badly and seek ways to stop the ill feeling. While Freud might be rolling in his grave reading my nonsense, I still stand to gain from leaning on my wormhole psychology theory. I say that because many of the privileged psychology theorists of old, had wild preposterous theories; yet we still in many ways today, have the same prevailing structures in place, allowing for the same lunacy to prevail. Moreover, if good theories are worth exploring then why are they not in the mainstream education? I am not attacking the educational process, but I am questioning why social media is not a greater part of the education process. The power of millions to think about a better model, might offer a better treatment than a handful of intellectuals. Not to mention the industry motivated funding to institutions, which often exclude intelligent non-monetizable solutions.
Social media has the power to change the way we view psychology, in that we may develop a non-traditional branch of psychology like alternative-psychology. The alternative psychology might seek to resolve issues without the use of medicine and cognitive therapies; but rather by looking at our perceptions and feelings in an entirely different way. The wormhole might explain two thirds of the psychological conditions caused by exposure to media. Next time you are on social media, ask yourself if your wormhole is contracting or expanding? If it is contracting, you are gaining perceived time; your subconscious mind is allowing those 4 hours on your favourite topic to seem like 10 minutes. The mind is telling you to go ahead without any warning, to proceed with confidence, and enjoy. If the wormhole is otherwise expanding, then time is feeling longer than it is and suddenly the trauma sets in. The mind is telling you to stop, do not go any further, and a flash of all your deep relevant subconscious thoughts ensues. Perhaps, one day, psychology problems can be solved by people understanding how the mind works, from non-traditional perspectives. Perhaps, millions of us contributing our human capital potential together, will prove to be the largest experiment to replace previously indoctrinated solutions.
Would you ever watch a film or read a book adaptation of this wormhole story or idea? Perhaps an elaborated story of the wormhole thought expansion and contraction theory related to mind control; or even, a global awareness of the wormhole thinking phenomena, and how it shares a symbiotic relationship with social media?
Have you ever experienced a feeling of a wormhole, and if so, what happened?
Social media is weaponized for some entities, and linguistic manipulation is at the heart of the weapon. You may wonder how this is possible. It appears that humans are easily fooled by how they interpret communication. Communication experts are keen on the many linguistic techniques and methods applied to manipulate the masses.
Should we trust that our most protected organizations, corporations, and institutions, have our best interests at heart?
Perhaps, these entities are the ones that should be held to the highest level of linguistic scrutiny. It almost appears that we are in the rock ages of this process; with no regulation in sight on what words actually mean when delivered to the masses.
Orwell wrote that political language, “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
The art of linguistic manipulation today, has since been mastered far beyond the imagination of George Orwell’s 1984.
In the book the Juggler of Notre Dame, the clergy man asks his bishop, “May I smoke while praying?” In response, he receives a definitive no. Later, another clergyman asks the bishop, “May I pray while I smoke, and the bishop replies, “it is fine to pray at anytime.”
Positioning of words changes meaning and effect by emphasizing an act or a subject. The subject of an act can be easily switched to the act of a subject. These statements are related to the same thing but they both have different meanings. The facts can remain the same but the disposition of the words can subtly sway your perception of what is actually happening.
How does Social Media Affect Human Life?
One of the most important subjects known to humans, is human life. Who might have thought that human life can be such an important subject? It is certainly written in Section 7 of our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in plain english, “Everyone has the right to life.”
Jacques Ellul writes that “public opinion can only express itself through channels which are provided by the mass media of communication – without which there could be no propaganda.” When we consider that social media has millions of channels of influence, it is easy to see that public opinions can vary.
With human life being at the top of the list of priorities in our Canadian Charter, one has to wonder why cleaning the earth of toxic chemicals and homelessness is not trending everyday on the top 10 list!
So, we need to ask ourselves, if we are not hearing about the things that really matter, then what are we hearing about on a daily basis, which forms the consensus of public opinion? The answer is likely manipulation. We are being told what is important to human life and not what in reality is capital to human life.
It is important to recognize techniques used to subject you to the daily propaganda warfare. The last thing you want, is to realize that you have been slowly subliminally programmed to agree with everything that is disguised as public opinion.
Five Social Media Manipulation Techniques
The following are just a few of many manipulation techniques used on social media:
Astroturfing: Imitation grassroots movements used to sway the public.
Clickbait: Sensationalized headlines appealing to existing biases.
Propaganda Laundering: Focusing on the release of media reports rather than the actual story.
Distraction by Major Events: Using major events to distract public from priority issues.
Straw Man Fallacy: Making a statement appear false by referencing a similar but weaker example.
The Race against the Social Media Manipulation Bomb
Social media companies like Twitter have recently taken big steps to counter propaganda meant to manipulate public opinion. A recent headline, on THE HILL, read, “Twitter deletes over 170,000 accounts tied to Chinese propaganda efforts.” This along with many other propaganda takedowns and newly introduced tools, are making Twitter a formidable social media company to help form truthful public opinion. We will need more time to see just how Twitter and other social media companies will be able to democratize public opinion and help save human life on earth.
A recent article on Mashable, reported that Twitter was exploring crowdsourced fact checking as a way to address misinformation, which would rely on community moderators to make determinations on posted content. This would sound like a great solution, with the exception that the public would need transparency on the political inclinations of the assigned moderators. The stakes are very high for those that stand to lose against politically stacked moderators. The further we consider the implications of moderators for Twitter content, the more we realize that the social media company is taking the shape of an elected government; where we may need to elect local moderators to address the interests of the Twitter community. We must also consider how public opinion might take shape without the lens of the propaganda cultivators. We may find that people are more likely to assemble themselves quite differently if they could have fair and democratic access to public opinion. While the world contends with the real threat of a weaponized social media landscape; we are running out of time to save human life on our planet earth. Are you ready to join the good fight?
We have often heard the phrases like, “buy Canadian” or “don’t buy from countries plagued by human rights violations.” Are these words strong enough to withstand the competing mainstream narrative? The strength of the local economy depends on individuals buying locally produced goods, but the paradox is that the mainstream advertising is well funded by foreign made goods. Many Canadians trying to make ends meet, will tell you that they simply cannot afford to buy made in Canada, and that reason alone outweighs any attempt to boycott. The intertwined dichotomies of narratives between blogosphere and mainstream makes it difficult to see the other possible existing narratives. In my following personal story, I will attempt to change the old narrative by contrasting what is at stake if we refuse to buy Canadian and what we stand to gain in doing the opposite. What if the narrative for buying Canadian was to get rich or help you become wealthy? Would that get your attention?
The Canadian furniture manufacturing industry is a good example of how a once thriving industry was made virtually non-existent in less than 50 years after WWII. I recall asking my grandfather why furniture back in the 50’s was so expensive, particularly the $350 couch he was sitting on which was a 4 seater French Provincial. The couch was a real work of art, boasting a silk textured golden embroidered olive green fabric, hand carved cherry wood with beautifully curved legs and arms from all viewable sides; where only a selected few would be worthy to sit on this beauty and experience its intimacy.
I would ask him why they do not make these types of couches nowadays? He would answer, “do you know how much extra wood they had to use to make those beautiful cherry wood curves? It is just not feasible to make these furniture pieces any longer.” The expert woodworking artist once had the liberty of handcrafting furniture that would last forever. A larger quantity of wood was required to allow for the wide angles and curves which would make part of the exterior appearance. This higher cost could only be justified by the consumer willing to pay $350 for a luxury couch in 1951, while the average annual Canadian salary was $8,644 relative to purchasing power, according to Canadian Council on Social Development. On a side note, I also found it interesting to wonder how many of the items listed back in the 1950’s where produced locally in the USA, as published in the Fraser Federal Reserve History archives.
My grandfather further told, how the allure of saving half the price would buy you a frame made of plywood, lavishly covered with your choice of high quality faux leather or fabric. This consumer shift caused an entire generation of specialized woodworkers to disappear, due to the pressure to buy foreign goods to save money in the short term. What if we learned many years later, that the old antique hand carved French Provincial is now selling for just under $10,000 on websites like 1stdibs.com? We might eventually come to an understanding that good quality craftsmanship helps retain and even increase the value of furniture considered a work of art.
Although our Canadian furniture industry is not as vibrant as it once was back in the 50’s we still have an opportunity to reinvigorate its local roots. Next time you’re in the market for some furniture in Ontario, look to your Canadian manufacturers such as, St. Jacobs Furnishings, and Kroft. By supporting our local artisans we help retain jobs and expertise on Canadian soil which further contributes to the ability of Canadians to participate in the economy, in turn creating more local wealth. I believe Canadians now understand the inherent risks of ignoring our local producers. In many cases, we can buy something that might hold some artistic future value instead of buying something with an estimated shelf life. Even if we have to pay a little more now; it is far better than leading our next generation into a hopeless desert of non-existent local manufacturing. When faced with the threat of manufacturing decline, leading to certain economic death of our local economy, and losing the opportunity to invest in Canadian art; would you Buy Canadian or Die Trying? (Curtis James Jackson III, 2002, track 8).
Curtis James Jackson III (2002). If I Can’t. On Get Rich or Die Tryin [CD]. USA: Aftermath, G-Unit, Interscope, Shady.
How many times have you heard mainstream media mention the word blog this week? Probably never, because you either cut your television cable subscription or you were passed a remote in hand, at someone’s home from a previous generation. The blog is disruptive and opens new markets for the unknown 50 percenters. There has never been an economic or marketing term, that defines the 50 percenters in terms of individuals, belonging to a certain type of consumer class cohort more likely to buy unique items based on blogs.
I thought that creating a new term to define the 50 percenter consumer class, is the avant-garde way of creating a class of consumer before it even exists. My abstract observations sometimes end up uncovering a trend that exists in the marketplace that has yet to be tapped. Several years ago, I began to keep tabs on the age of individuals in my circle of influence that were more likely to purchase from obscure online shops. I found that people 40 years of age and under, were more likely to shop on Etsy or IndieMade, than someone who was above 40. With my limited anecdotes I further deduced that 40 roughly translates to the median age of an individual. So, I chose to define the younger half as the 50 percenters. Albeit, the 50 percenters can include anyone of any age, one day we will update this post with a survey to back up this unproven theory. You might eventually find that you are one of them. They are the ones that are more likely looking for that uniqueness that only exists outside of the mainstream and inside the blogosphere. The irony is that while the mainstream wants to sell big brands to the other half on the TV network, they use content like Dragon’s Den as a counter balance, to prove that the Queen of QVC can sell your wonderful unique items to the TV generation.
I think we can say that the veil has been lifted, as in the Wizard of Oz, when it comes to deciding who influences trends for unique products. The blogs have won the battle of selling unique products back to the consumer with a particular taste and discernment. So the question remains; what will we call the other hypothetical 50% that are staunch mainstream buyers? I think time will tell on how consumer behaviours will shift, as more individuals begin to read posts like these, but the Blog Revolution Will Not Be Televised (Scott-Heron, 1974, track 1).
Gil Scott-Heron (1974). The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. On The Revolution Will Not Be Televised [vinyl LP]. USA: Flying Dutchman Records.