Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive

This week’s cartoon

Anne says: Well – it’s a video about cartoons. It’s delightfully humorous, engaging and elegantly uses a translator in a way we could all consider (instead of using boring sub-titles).

Rayma Suprani explains in a story-telling manner her journey with drawing to explain situations – from her bedroom walls to her political satire. She shares her inner drive to express situations with cartoons – and why people (politicians) hate them.


Coronavirus is the first true social media infodemic

Anne says: Of course, the coronavirus outbreak is all over the mainstream media. But the impact in social media has reached such a fervour that it’s been deemed an “infodemic” by the World Health Organisation (WHO). What’s that? Here’s their definition:

”an overabundance of information—some accurate and some not—that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.” The way social media has allowed viral disinformation to spread and flourish at unprecedented speeds sets the coronavirus apart from previous viral outbreaks.

The WHO has partnered with the social media platforms in an attempt to reduce the spread of misinformation but the sheer volume of content is overwhelming!

On the other hand, there is a positive aspect to social media’s role enabling communication (and verifying reports) to be posted and shared with journalists when other forms of communication have been shut down. And of course, there’s the data mining aspect that can be used to track the spread of the disease when traditional methods are restricted. While organisations like the WHO can communicate messages about how to protect yourself and what to do if you think you need medical assistance.

In the meantime, there’s some sound advice on how to talk to other people (who may be citing or even sharing inaccurate advice) on social media – see the next article below.


9 ways to talk to people who spread coronavirus myths

Anne says: While we’re dealing with our own ability to decipher messages in the social media infodemic, how do we respond to people when we realise they’ve been duped or sharing misinformation on the coronavirus (or in fact, other misinformation on social media). This article introduces some useful strategies – in some ways you could apply them to your own consumption of information too.

The first step is important:

Abundant research shows what doesn’t work. Telling people not to panic or their perceptions and beliefs are incorrect can actually strengthen their commitment to their incorrect views.

Then – consider the following stages:

  • People only listen to sources they trust. So you need to be confident your information is correct or reliable, and also be prepared to admit you don’t know, or in fact, you may be wrong.
  • Understand how people perceive and react to risks.
  • Recognise people’s concerns.
  • Be aware of your own feelings – outrage is common, particularly on social media, but not useful.
  • Ask someone why they’re worried – understand their assumptions.
  • Remember – especially at the moment – facts are going to change, be prepared to keep your own understanding of the situation as current as possible.
  • Admit when you’re wrong – or perhaps your information isn’t as current as you thought.
  • Provide your own perspective (politely, of course – without emotion).
  • Model the behaviour you want to see – particularly on social media. Don’t share information if you’re unsure it’s verified.

Ultimately – we can only shape our own perspectives based on what information is being released officially but with all the scams and misinformation it’s becoming confusing, even from verified sources. Be wary to commit your own perspective to knowledge that is too early to be certain, be flexible and try to keep up-to-date.

And, as an added myth-busting bonus, there’s a link to the Debunking Handbook for other strategies.

The current situation is far from over, let’s all take care of each and be careful not to amplify the wrong messages.


Zappos has quietly backed away from holacracy

Christoph says: I took the bait and clicked through on the article since Zappos and its shift to holacracy made major waves back in 2013. It inspired many case studies and some other companies to follow suit. Well, damn me. When I read through the article, it became apparent, that holacracy at Zappos had evolved and the company has adopted its own version.

In lieu of a typical corporate structure, with power concentrated at the top, the online shoe retailer would adopt a decentralized system with “no job titles, no managers, no hierarchy.”

Madness, utopia, chaos people exclaimed. I found it a bold move to try to change how companies are run and managed and definitely worth an experiment. Zappos has hit some snags in the road. Unfortunately, the article does not detail them. Instead, it describes a new reality at the company. All teams now operate as small businesses maintaining their own P&L. Picture it as a marketplace, where each team is incentivized to develop new product lines and services for Zappos’s customers. This is the new vision of Zappos, as it feels that it cannot grow in its old business model anymore.

Taking a page from the AWS playbook, Zappos now wants employees to envision what it might look like to provide a suite of Zappos-branded services to entrepreneurs, providing everything from legal support to web analytics. To help employees vet and build out their ideas, Zappos provides an internal “48-hour founders” service that includes coaching, mentoring, and education based on the principles of lean-startup methodology. Promising ideas receive $5,000 in seed funding. The hope is that a year from now, the company will have many new lines of business.

What is the key take-away? Zappos tried out a new managerial system by introducing holacracy. The idea was that it would spur innovation and speed. Well, it ended with a lot of confused employees and (ex)managers and an overburden of structure. Zappos realised this and adopted its own version (460 team circles that are all part of an internal marketplace). It is still empowering teams and individuals to self-organize and make decisions, as this is where the knowledge and expertise sits. However, it cut down on the things from holacracy that did not work well at the company.


How deceptive UX patterns trick you into doing what companies want

Jakkii says: You may already be familiar with dark UX, but if you’re not, this article is a good primer. The headline sums it up quite nicely: dark UX is essentially designing to manipulate. But for a definition, the author gives us:

A dark pattern is a term used in user experience that presents the user a user interface carefully crafted to trick users into doing things they might not otherwise do.

After a quick intro to the dark UX and the difference between bad UX and dark UX, the author explores how dark patterns work, and, importantly points out:

Dark patterns … have always been regarded as bad design practices that ultimately hurt businesses and users more than they help them

It then turns to some examples of dark UX you should never use in your product – for those of you who are not designers or product managers, they’re still a great list of patterns to understand exist and of which to be mindful:

  • Forced continuity
  • Bait and switch
  • Roach motel
  • Privacy zuckering

Have a read through the article for more detail on each, and maybe even click through to the twelve categories of dark pattern types the author suggests. Once you’ve familiarised yourself with dark UX you might start to spot it for yourself from time to time – I know I’ve experienced these before. Just remember that difference between poor UX design, which may feel bad but isn’t intentionally trying to trick you, and true dark UX which definitely is trying to trick you. Lest we think UX is all doom and gloom though (it isn’t!), here’s a look back at UX from the 1980s and what it can teach us about product design. Design – and the products it leads to – can be great!


Tech Friday Five

Social Media Friday Five

Impactful technology – Our fake future

As we wait for season 7 of The Future, This Week from Sydney Business Insights to kick off, this week we take a look back at a compilation of podcast clips on our fake future.

The clips discuss:

  • The fake information apocalypse
  • Humans are hard-wired for fakery
  • Truth talking
  • Digital humans – the next species?


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