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

Elon Musk bought Twitter – so what?

Anne says: If you’ve been watching or reading any news channel, or using any social media channel, then you already know that Elon Musk actually bought Twitter for a humungous amount, US$44 billion. If you didn’t know this – don’t read on.

I’m not even going to attempt to cover all the media reports, the issues (and there are many), nor the changes that may – or may not – occur now that Twitter is under private ownership! However, there are a few pieces I’ve seen so far this week that I think are worth sharing.

Firstly, our colleagues at the University of Sydney Business School, and hosts of “The Future, This Week” podcast that we regularly feature at the end of this newsletter, have written a pertinent piece in the Sydney Morning Herald challenging the issue of free speech.

On the somewhat lighter side, The Guardian’s Technology editor, Alex Hern, takes a more tongue-in-cheek approach with 25 tweet-long takes on Twitter’s future under Elon Musk.

And finally, the team at Gaping Void address the “why?” question that everyone seems to be asking, and answering, from a range of perspectives. Their take – the cartoon below – says it all.

While all the opinion writers go wild, the resounding answer to all the questions is: We just don’t know! So let’s wait and see… but certainly, we need to be alert, and the issue of free speech will be at the heart of all the ongoing discussions.

Read:

Jakkii says: I’ll add one more article to Anne’s excellent selection this week, a long read that’s worth diving into for its in-depth analysis, Techdirt’s “Elon Musk demonstrates how little he understands about content moderation“.

Critical thinking is about asking better questions

a pile of dark grey question marks with one bright yellow and one bright blue question mark standing out from the pile, depicting better questions

Jakkii says: This piece is, expectedly, focused on critical thinking and problem solving in a work context, and it is primarily for that reason I’m sharing it today. However, it bears noting here that critical thinking is an important skill in all walks of life, not least when faced with misinformation, disinformation and ‘fake news’ online. It’s imperative people develop – and continue to improve – their ability to navigate the sometimes murky waters on social media (and anywhere!), which relies on questioning and applying a critical lens to the information that comes across our feeds and our attention.

Critical thinking requires us to analyse the available information and come to a judgement of some kind. In the context of reading something on social media, that might be assessing its likely veracity or value. In a workplace context, however, it’s more likely to be related to problem solving and decision making. Either way, the author proposes adding rigour to your curiosity, and using a loose framework for asking better questions to enable you to make better judgements, and better decisions.

The following suggestions are offered:

  • Hold your hypotheses loosely

  • Listen more than you talk

  • Leave your queries open-ended

  • Consider the counterintuitive

  • Stew in a problem

  • Ask the hard follow-up questions

As always, you can read the article for the detail of each. For me, I particularly appreciated the first point – it’s important to hold your hypotheses loosely to allow room and flexibility for new information to change your base hypotheses when appropriate. Holding strong views on a topic makes it more difficult to assess, absorb and adjust to new information. As a researcher, this is something we have to be conscious of all the time – being too wedded to a hypothesis or an idea can cloud your research and, potentially, the data you collect.

This holds true for the other points, too – each of these headings can easily be applied to the research process, where your job ultimately is to discover and elicit data that will enable you to make informed, people-focused decisions. Essentially, to return to the language of the article, it’s all about asking better questions to enable your and your team’s critical thinking about a given problem or situation.

What do you think about these suggestions for improving your questions and critical thinking? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so let me know in the comments or on social media!

Read: https://hbr.org/2022/04/critical-thinking-is-about-asking-better-questions

Friday Five

Here are five things we think you might find interesting this week:

Sydney Business Insights – The Future, This Week Podcast

From our colleagues at the University of Sydney Business School, this week podcast hosts Dr Sandra Peter and Professor Kai Riemer discuss what should you wear to work: the end of the suit and heels and more hybrid office fashion.

Listen: https://sbi.sydney.edu.au/hybrid-office-fashion/


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