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

Are you paying attention?

Anne says: It wasn’t the article title, “I Talked to the Cassandra of the Internet Age”, that caught my attention, it was the subtitle: “The internet rewired our brains. He predicted it would”.

I’ve written before about digital distractions and was preparing myself for another article that espoused giving up all our devices, digital detox, and all the associated do’s and don’t’s. I was wrong! This is about the man, Michael Goldhaber, who popularised the term “attention economy” in 1997 (if you’ve got the time, read it and remind yourself it was written in 1997. Long before social media existed).

This article is based on a recent interview with Goldhaber and revisits the key propositions of the attention economy and layers that against our current turbulent “fake news” times. As we live our lives through our technologies, our attention is power – whoever can capture it (the article calls it attention hijacking) has the power. Of course, there’s discussion about former President Trump but I’m not going there!

What I found worthy of (my limited) attention was Goldhaber’s concerns for the future. From someone who predicted these issues before social media existed, where would we go next? He framed his response by quoting Howard Rheingold (author of NetSmart):

“Attention is a limited resource, so pay attention to where you pay attention”.

Goldhaber recommends allocating your attention in ways that are more focused and intentional, be critical and understand what messages we are amplifying, and re-evaluate our habits. He says we can’t escape it, but we can use it ways that may allow us to redirect our attention to people, issues or causes that are more worthy than the powerful attention grabbers.

As the article’s author says:

“I’m finally going to pay attention to where we pay attention”.

How about you? Where are you going to focus your attention next?

Read: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/04/opinion/michael-goldhaber-internet.htm

How to make small talk remotely — without sounding like a weirdo

Jakkii says: Most of us have been using remote work tools in an all-remote situation for a while now thanks to covid. Yet, that doesn’t mean we’re all comfortable with every aspect of it. One area that can still feel awkward and weird is making ‘small talk’ using social, collaboration, comms and messaging tools like Slack or Teams, and with remote work continuing and the trend towards hybrid workplaces, there’s never been a better time to try to improve our remote small talk than right now.

This article was written by an employee at Zapier, who offer integrations to tools like Slack and Teams. It was originally posted on the Zapier blog so that is called out in the article, but it’s worth mentioning again here so you have that context in mind before proceeding. Fortunately, the article isn’t merely a sales pitch for their integrations, and offers some useful things to think about from why it can feel weird to reach out to someone online through to why small interactions matter.

The tips including reaching out to new members of the team, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and not taking delays personally. One that stood out to me as particularly interesting and potentially useful, though, was “Respond privately to comments made in public channels.”

I admit, before reading further, my immediate reaction was “No! Why??” As someone who tries to get people to work out loud and be open and accessible in the workplace, the idea of responding privately to public comments made me shudder. However, when I saw the examples provided, I can see the benefit, at least to the people involved in the private conversation. For example, privately thanking someone for contributing to a discussion could be a way to kick off a conversation, but even if not, it is a great first step in helping you to build a connection and sense of trust between you and this person over time. My only suggestion would be that if you do kick off a conversation and your private discussion leads to insights that would be useful to others, that you share that back in “public”, wherever that’s appropriate (e.g. back into a public Slack channel, or into your team’s wiki, etc).

Do you have any tips you like to use for making ‘small talk’ remotely with people you don’t know that well? We’d love to hear them! Share them with us in the comments or on social media.

Read: https://thenextweb.com/growth-quarters/2021/02/01/how-to-make-small-talk-remotely-without-sounding-like-a-weirdos-slack-work-from-home-syndication/

Friday Fives

Hybrid workplace

Remote work

Communication, engagement and culture

Sydney Business Insights – The Future, This Week Podcast

This week: working from home, hybrid offices, climate, Gen Z, AI and UBI, the surprising lessons we’ve learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sandra Peter (Sydney Business Insights) and Kai Riemer (Digital Disruption Research Group) meet once a week to put their own spin on news that is impacting the future of business in The Future, This Week.

The stories this week

01:36 – What were the most surprising lessons we’ve learnt from the pandemic?

Other stories we bring up

Our previous conversations on universal basic incomeartificial intelligence confusionclimate and the environment, and Gen Z

Our interview with Jonathan Haidt on Gen Z in The Future of Power

Venice’s canals without tourists

Translation AI had trouble keeping up with COVID terminology

COVID will have negligible impact on climate crisis

The future of hybrid work

The Overton window

Spain launches the largest test yet of no-strings-attached income

UBI in Europe

Working harder during the pandemic

Listen: https://sbi.sydney.edu.au/lessons-from-covid-19-on-the-future-this-week/


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