On the Socioeconomics of Social Media

I thought this on the future of social media and how we might differentiate socioeconomically was so fascinating.

Odell believes that this sort of change will nonetheless reverberate, that it will revive support for noncommercial public spaces that benefit everyone. “If you can afford to pay a different kind of attention, you should,” she writes.

Newport quotes the comedian Bill Maher, who, two years ago, on his HBO show “Real Time,” said, “Checking your likes is the new smoking.” In the past year, both Twitter and Facebook have faced waves of bad press. For all its current ubiquity, social media might someday occupy a status akin to cigarettes, which are peddled as a pleasure and a relief to the lower classes but which élite Americans largely attempt to avoid. [New Yorker]

Maybe Mike Gundy was right.

Thinking About Thinking

Thinking about thinking sounds like the name of a ridiculous self-help book that would (maybe I should be embarrassed to say) greatly interest me. It’s actually the thesis of a recent post I read that doubles as one of the most important things you, creative worker, or your organization can do.

But few organizations think seriously about thinking, which, after all, really is the fundamental value-producing activity in knowledge work, just as divine communication was the metaphorical money-maker for the pious medievals.

The monks were on to something. Concentration is hard work. It requires, for lack of a better word, more serious attention. [Cal Newport]

I *try* to block off parts of my week just to think because I believe it to be one of the most valuable paths to working smarter (not harder) and probably the biggest way I can add value to my own work and the work of the people around me.

You need friction to come up with new ideas and modify existing revenue streams, yes, but you also need time to think about how exactly you want to implement or build those into your workflow.

What I Want My Kids to Know About Having Something to Say

I love the idea that leadership and solving interesting problems are the two most important things we can teach our children (other than the Gospel of course). Here’s what Seth Godin wrote about that today as he tied it to technology.

It might be that instead of spending more time looking for a louder platform, you could profit from digging in and doing the hard work of figuring out the change you seek to make. If you’re unable to influence one person in a face to face meeting, all the tech in the world isn’t going to help you change a million people. [Godin]

The fallacy of technology is that you can be ubiquitous, which I confess is certainly compelling. But there is absolutely no value in being ubiquitous if your content and knowledge aren’t good. It’s far more purposeful to be in one place at one time and to own that place with a deep and thorough wisdom of whatever it is that you’re interested in.

On Plodding

Tim Challies wrote this about Christian blogs and Christian bloggers, but I think it applies to everyone who writes for a living, and I especially loved this part.

What we’re convinced is a home run is often a single and what we’re convinced is a single is often a home rum. What I’ve learned over many years of doing this is that some of the articles I thought the weakest were the ones God used in the biggest ways. But I would never have submitted them to a ministry blog, which means readers never would have had the benefit of reading them. How many helpful and biblical articles are sitting unpublished because the writer thought they weren’t good enough? [Challies]

I have found that to be very true in my own work in my own circles, and it’s a reminder that as much as we try to plan and think about the future, it’s never exactly what we expect for it to be.

When Grain and Wine Abound

I love this from the psalmist in Psalm 4:7.

You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.

-Psalm 4:7

The Bible is big on feasting (which I love), which makes this an even more powerful statement than it maybe seems.

I don’t think we talk about the pleasures of food and drink in the Christian world — I think they’re very powerful and can often be idols — and because of that this verse maybe doesn’t resonate like it should.

Thoreau With Some Great Advice for 2019

I came across this in an article not even remotely about Thoreau (but kind of about Thoreau), and it flattened me.

I see young men, my townsmen, whose misfortune it is to have inherited farms, houses, barns, cattle, and farming tools; for these are more easily acquired than got rid of. Better if they had been born in the open pasture and suckled by a wolf, that they might have seen with clearer eyes what field they were called to labor in. [Nieman Lab]

Having Great Warmth in Your Home

Guy Yocom of Golf Digest didn’t set out to write about homes or community or warmth, but one line in this fabulously-written piece about Johnny Miller stood out to me. It’s something I want to be said of me and my family and our home.

Johnny typically answered the door wearing jeans, a golf shirt and loafers with no socks. Once inside, his wife, Linda, frequently made tuna sandwiches. He always asked about my family. There is great warmth in his home. All kinds of amazing golf bric-a-brac littered his houses. I’d pick up a driver resting in the corner and he’d say, “That’s the one Arnold Palmer used in the 1975 Ryder Cup.” Or, “That sand wedge you’re holding, that’s the one Billy Casper used when he won the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic.” He’d waggle them while he dispensed hot takes, homespun advice and unusual views on everything. [Golf Digest]

There is great warmth in his home. 

What a line. What a thing to aspire to.

Two Great By the Book Excerpts from Michelle Obama and Ben Sasse

I usually binge read By the Book articles by NYT when I come across one, and I always find either 1. Tasty little morsels in the idea department or 2. (at worst) 2-3 new book recommendations.

First, Obama on what she likes to read.

I love books that make me laugh every now and then. It’s something I hoped to do with my memoir, “Becoming,” because even if a book takes on serious topics, I think it should still be fun to read. [NYT]

Yes!

Now Sasse on why every family should have their own canon of books.

So I want to be clear that I don’t think our “family canon” is the only canon for every American family, but I do strongly believe that every American family should be developing their own canon of books they read together and repeatedly — and moreover that we should be comparing our lists with those of our neighbors and fellow citizens, so that we might enrich one another. [NYT]

The Inspirational Words of Job

I read this this morning, and thought it was not only an encouragement but a fabulous piece of writing. It’s something we sometimes miss with Biblical writing. That not only is it God’s word, but there sometimes is incredibly inspiring — not just inspired — verbiage and textual organization.

Oh that my words were written!
Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
Oh that with an iron pen and lead
they were engraved in the rock forever!
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.

-Job 19:23-25