Loud Shirt Day is a fun one day event on Friday 21 October when you can wear your brightest clothes and raise money to help give the gift of sound and speech to deaf children. Wally Lewis and Romelda Aiken (Firebird Champion) kicked off the festivities and were a great inspiration to us all.
Visiting these play group sessions has really shown me the meaning of ‘industriousness‘ – which is about encouraging ‘focused, hard work’ rather than ‘workaholism’. Really it’s about quality – not quantity.
The small amounts of quality play time that these children receive each week is imperative to their development and teaches them so many life skills. It’s not about how much play time they have together, but how good that playtime is – their parents, their siblings and the magical people at the Hear and Say Centre work very hard to ensure that every minute counts. Wally Lewis and Romelda Aiken have such busy schedules but take time out for the things that matter – and they’re always there giving 100%.
At Brio Group I always try to make the most of every minute of the day. Time is precious, deadlines are tight and I value my personal life so I always give 100% to make sure I can go home at a reasonable hour and have a little balance in my life.
What’s your work philosophy? Do you work hard (and play hard)? Or would you prefer to take things a little slower? Do you live to work, or work to live? Keen to hear your thoughts!
6:40am. The alarm goes off. The alarm on my iPhone. I’ve not had an ‘old-school’ alarm clock since my early teens. I reach to turn off the alarm and still half asleep open email, scan and delete in a frighteningly drone-like manner. Check Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr for overnight updates. Get out of bed. Continue to get ready for work checking my iPhone for the time. Check public transport app for next bus.
Arrive at the bus stop and observe my fellow commuters entranced by their [insert device of choice here].The majority of us fashioning various styles of earphones in our ears. Our own personal soundtracks keeping us company as we travel to our destination.
iPhone, Android, iPad or E-reader we’ve stopped looking up, talking to the person beside us and being ‘ok’ with our own company, idleness or silence. With a constant demand on our attention we are seeing the emergence of anxieties as a result of data surplus and information overload.
A new generation, one that grew up with a data surplus, is coming along. To this cohort, it’s no big deal to miss a tweet or ten, to delete a blog from your reader or to not return a text or even a voice mail. The new standard for a vacation email is, ‘When I get back, I’m going to delete all the email in my box, so if it’s important, please re-send it next week.’ This is what always happens when something goes from scarce to surplus. First we bathe in it, then we waste it. – Seth Godin, The Shower of Data
When did we cease to disconnect in favour for a distracted and digital existence?
I spoke with Damon and asked him a few questions about distraction.
Brio (B): What are the biggest distractions in the workplace and what do businesses need to do to overcome them? Can they be overcome?
Damon Young (DY): Email is often a focus-killer. Studies suggest that we reply quickly, sometimes within six seconds. Then it takes a minute or so to recover our train of thought. Then another email arrives. You get the idea. Used clumsily, Twitter, Facebook, internet browsing can also be distractions.
There’s nothing wrong with email, or other online technologies. They’re just tools. The trick is to make sure we’re not enslaved by our own habituation, laziness or hunger for novelty. Set realistic limits. Check email or Facebook at regular intervals, rather than just responding to beeps. Speaking of which, turn off notifications, like bouncing icons and dings. This helps to reinforce the rhythms of work, rather than disrupting them.
Other diversions include gossip and status anxiety – getting sucked into petty office or industry politics. This is perhaps a harder habit to kick, but talking to folks outside our own profession helps. It offers a little perspective – the forest instead of the professional trees.
B: Does it have to be as plain as ‘one or the other’? There’s a trend for people to take ‘digital sabbaticals’ to remedy digital overload or go cold turkey. Do we need to go to such extremes in order to balance these devices and technologies in our lives?
DY: Extremes can seem easier than moderation. This is partly because we rightly don’t trust ourselves – we know if we have a taste of Facebook, we may want more and more, until we’re nervously fingering our smartphone over dinner. So we hurl ourselves into cold turkey. This works for some. But for many, we feel either horrid or suddenly sublime, and then throw ourselves back into e-junky benders because of desperation or over-confidence.
A better way is managed moderation. Realistic limits to technology use, for example – checking emails at certain hours, for so many minutes, and no more. This not only diminishes use, it cultivates authority: I’m in charge here, not the inbox.
We can also play our talents off against our weaknesses. For example, if we’re reliable with money, we promise to save a certain amount, each time we successfully keep to our limits. Saving, which we’re good at, then becomes a reward for undistracted work, which we’re not so good at. At the end, we can give ourselves a gift. Other examples might be exercise, dinners out, treats for a spouse. We leverage virtues against vices.
B: Why are we so easily distracted and why are we so quick to forgo long-term satisfaction for the quick hit of social media?
DY: We’re distracted because: we get easily addicted, we’re curious animals, and life is frightening.
Addiction doesn’t always involve drugs. It can be stimulation or certain rhythms – the ‘hit’ of a new email, for example. Like Pavlov’s dogs, we’re habituated to the stimulus.
Curiosity is a good thing. Researcher Jaan Panksepp talks about ‘seeking’ behaviour: sniffing, foraging, digging, and stalking. It’s a primal state, which is more about anticipation instead of reward. We get off on ‘looking-for’. Google, Facebook, internet browsing turn on this state, and keep it on. The result is we just keep seeking and seeking, without ever finding. Nothing wrong with the state – the point into guide it into more rewarding pursuits.
Grown-up life is scary. Work, friendships, and intimacy – they can all be intimidating, embarrassing or just painful. It’s easier to flee into distraction than to confront life’s ambiguity, ambivalence or fragility. “Haste is universal,” wrote the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche over a century ago, “because everyone is in flight from himself.” But as Nietzsche himself counselled, life is more rewarding when it’s lived fully, rather than in flight – whether this ‘flight’ is online browsing or too many beers.
What do you think? Have we forgotten to disconnect? Are we driven to distraction? What are your remedies for staying focused?
I was reading the Brisbane Courier Mail on Friday and came across this story by Alex Dickinson about “the next big” social network, created right here in Brisbane.
Kondoot – a social network based around live streaming video – was quietly launched last month by a small Brisbane team of young technical programmers and already has users from more than 100 countries signed up, with most interest from the US.
It started out as just an idea last year and has taken a little over a year in the making when a few of them got together to see if it was possible. The tight-lipped technical crew has managed to keep it quiet until now.
Mr Hoad, 24, one of the team’s programmers, said Kondoot was a mash-up of the best features of the major social media websites. “Most of them do only their thing – nobody really covers more than that,” he said. “YouTube, for example, is big into video but the social side is not so good. We add that other dimension.”
The team of 10 who work full-time on the site’s business, legal and IT needs is currently working 18-hour days to develop new features.
Users can “friend” others, just like Facebook, but the main point of difference is the wide range of streaming video options.
Kondoot will allow users to broadcast streaming video from home or work live to the world.
“The video calling and text chatting is there and posting to profiles, but we add another dimension,” Kondoot spokesman Nathan Hoad told The Courier-Mail. “It’s mostly about connecting people and video is just one way to do that. “We think we can make a massive splash in the social media scene.”
It was the widespread availability of social media – namely Facebook & Twitter – which enabled the coordination of the recent London riots. It was also the Blackberry which made it difficult for Police to uncover the crimes as the Blackberry’s instant messaging is not easily encrypted. The majority of British youth prefer the Blackberry as a smartphone because it’s cheaper and offers free private internet/3G communications.
Now in the wake of the riots in London and several other English cities, British Prime Minister David Cameron, has asked for a review of this “free flow of information” in order to avoid the abuse of social media for evil. A meeting with the British Government and representatives of Facebook & Twitter is planned to be held over the coming weeks.
Of course most of us are advocates for free speech so may be dubious about social media being censored, but it’s also human nature to care for our safety and security, so I welcome the review.
On the flip side, social media also made it possible to coordinate a cleaning army to hit the streets in full force. The larger community gathered with a positive spirit to clean up the mess left behind after the 4 nights of rioting. Good wins over Evil!!!!
Everyday at Brio Group our team works hard to help our clients’ businesses grow, blossom and become the best they can be. This is made possible because of our amazing team, who together become the life force of Brio.
One day we asked: what if we could use our skills to help people on a larger scale – to really make a difference to somebody’s life every single day? Enter: 365 Ways We Care – Brio Group’s Charity Program.
Our team goal is to donate a percentage of our turnover to a charity every financial year. So the more successful we become, the more people we can help!
Last year Brio Group supported the Fred Hollows Foundation – a wonderful independent and non-profit organisation that focuses on blindness prevention and Australian indigenous health. We gave the gift of sight to the equivalent of 545 people – smashing our team goal of 365 – which was one for every day of the year.
This year we’re proud to announce that Brio Group has set a team goal – to support the Hear and Say Centre by sponsoring a child. This will allow us to help give the gift of sound and speech, changing our sponsor child’s life forever. We’ve just met Rhylee, a 4 year old boy who lives in the south of Brisbane, who’s journey we will follow over the next 12 months.
Yesterday we were invited to join Rhylee’s family and friends at his ‘Switch On’ ceremony where his cochlear implants were switched on for the very first time. It was an incredibly moving experience to see Rhylee hear again and see the beginning of his sound and speech training.
Rhylee hasn’t always had a hearing loss – Rhylee passed his newborn hearing screen test only for his parents to find his speech wasn’t clear at 2 years of age. Rhylee’s hearing has deteriorated over the past 6 months, so much that hearing aids are no longer strong enough and cochlear implants were needed for each ear. Rhylee’s friends, family and the dedicated staff at the Hear and Say Centre are all working hard to help him regain his hearing and improve his speech as he begins prep next year.
The Hear and Say Centre is one of the leading Paediatric Auditory-Verbal and cochlear implant centres in the world. Since 1992 the Centre has taught children who are deaf or hearing impaired to listen and speak.
The Brio Group team felt really inspired to support the Hear and Say Centre, and Rhylee, as we believe helping a child to communicate is one of the greatest gifts we can give.
F-Commerce is the term given to the rise of transactions of various types across the Facebook network. The trend began in 2007 when Facebook released their Virtual Gift Store. The Gift Store processed approximately 15 million transactions prior to August 2010, when it was shut down by the social giant.
I came across a great infographic today that shows the history of F-Commerce and has some predictions on it’s future in terms of retailer readiness to accept this type of commerce and their ability to expand across the Facebook network.
On Thursday 30 June 2011 the Brio Group team held the Ultimate Public Tea Party in Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens. We shared 365 cupcakes with the community and raised almost $800 for the Cancer Council as part of Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea. The event celebrated our milestone: donating the equivalent of 365 gifts of sight by supporting The Fred Hollows Foundation over the past year.
Each cupcake represented one of the 365 gifts of sight we’ve donated in 12 months. The event was a huge success! The Nova Sandman and The Good Guide popped in for some fun too.
I hope you enjoy the video above which is a nice little wrap up of the event.
A huge thanks must go to our wonderful sponsors and media who helped make our event such a success. The delicious cupcakes were supplied by Cake Star and paper by KW Doggett. Thanks to MX, City News, Nova 106.9FM, 96.5 Family FM, The Good Guide and Cancer Council Queensland. Thanks must also go to Terry Kwong from Take Two Productions who produced the video above, thanks Terry!
The world’s first social media powered film will make it’s debut on Monday, 25th July and you’re invited!
The Inside Experience is directed by Disturbia director DJ. Caruso and is the story of 24 year old Christina who has woken up to find herself locked alone in a room. Her only connection to the outside world is a laptop and this is where the social media genius kicks in. The object of the movie is to interact with Christina via the inside experience facebook page. The facebook page is Christina’s link to the outside world and her key to not only figuring out where she is, but to escape.
Members of the Facebook page, which can be found here: The Inside Experience are asked to assist Christina in her escape by posting to the Facebook page wall during specific hours of the day. All times are US time, so if you are as keen on this idea as I am, we are both going to be up very early!
Suggestions and advice given by the social audience are read by Christina and her decisions in the game are made based upon this advice. Of course, there will be a filter applied to the inevitable “not so useful” advice, but on the whole, I think the interest in this movie event far outweighs the users who may attempt to dilute the experience for those who are genuinely participating.
The movie is being sponsored by Toshiba (who supply the laptop that Christina uses in the film) and Intel (the processor on board the laptop), so this is the marketing angle of the movie in full swing, it’s integrated quite smoothly though so there’s no real hard sell on the average user.
I’m pretty excited about this new move by social media into what I like to call “live direction” of a film. If it works, I think we can expect to see more of this type of film being produced, perhaps even via iphone apps in your cinema chair. Imagine the possibilities, heading off to the same movie a number of times with the ending always being different depending on who else is sharing your cinema!
Please, let this idea take off!
Check out the trailer for The Inside Experience below:
At the Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a really interesting announcement about upcoming enhancements to Facebook’s chat capabilities. In particular, he’s announced what’s called Group Chat.
Facebook Group Chat is a multi-person feature which is inspired by the functionality already inside the Facebook Groups chat area. The functionality is rolling out progressively as of now so it should be interesting to see what the take up on this type of chat functionality is. This will also be incorporated into the design of the new Facebook chat.
The thought process behind the upgrades seems as though it is to make Group Chat more accessible to all users and allow more ad-hoc conversations and interactions to take place.
In a business environment, with Facebook becoming more and more prominent in daily operations the introduction of Group Chat may just be what we’ve all been waiting for. A quick and easy way to chat to an industry group, organise an event, even recruit new staff. Also, with the pending release of the Skype powered video chat feature, I think this is a massive solidification of Facebook’s place in any digital or social media strategy.
What are your thoughts on Facebook Group Chat, will you use it?