Thursday, June 23, 2016

Why YouTube Activism Doesn't Work

This doesn't just go for YouTube. It also goes for Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and any other form of social media. There are those in the world that think that pasting a video on YouTube is a viable way to proselytize and win converts. This isn't true. Think about it: YouTube is the site where people go in with the full intention of never having their mind changed whether or not what is being put forth and they disagree with is true. This is a big problem. I see videos of people saying controversial things all the time. The biggest thing is probably the Evolutionism vs. Creationism debate that has been raging even without YouTube's aid for decades.

I have never seen or heard of any instance in which the mind of someone was changed through a youtube video. YouTube can be used by propagandists to bolster the views of those who have already been won, but the noncommittal nature of the site says that if someone is saying something that they disagree with, all they need to do is move the cursor to the search bar and type something that is the opposite of what they were watching to receive validation and reinforcement, especially if the reasons given in the video were a little too convincing for safety. As Jordan Taylor points out, you shouldn't never question your beliefs. They are right no matter what. Of course, knowing the nature of Blimey Cow, virtually everything they say is sarcastic, which might have gotten me in trouble on Facebook once,  but essentially, there is no reason to when on a site like youtube, because you can find anything you want hear.

This is not a problem. It is perfectly fine to look for reasons to believe what you believe. The problem arises when content creators think that they can change the mind of people that already have an opinion.

I think of people like Vi Hart, who used to post videos about math. They were always fascinating and never a disappointment, until several months ago when she decided that she no longer needed to post videos about math for her subscribers, and instead would post videos centering around slightly more controversial topics. I agreed with one of them, and really it was only because I didn't know enough about it before. I would hate to be compared with the person whose opinion is won by the first person to talk to me. This isn't true. I have changed my mind on a number of things after investigating the topic further. The machine I am typing this on is an obvious example. I used to hate Mac and Apple, but now, I still don't like Apple, but I can't help but admit that Apple knew what they were doing when they designed OS X and the current MacBook Pros. Yes, people can be swayed, but there is only so much swaying that can be done in a five to twelve minute video. It is far more likely that you will change their opinion through a book, if you can convince them to read it.

How do we change people's minds, then? You'd have to ask a social engineer. I have some thoughts, but not really anything serious.

I also hate to admit this, but the only way to use YouTube to actually influence someone is through something called the bait and switch. It is a marketing strategy that many are familiar with, where you show someone the big TV and make him think he's getting the big TV, but when he get's the item shipped to his house, it comes as the little TV, that he had seen, but not considered actually buying. In some circles it's considered fraud, but on YouTube, it's something else. It's a form of deception, but on YouTube, it's not quite that, because you see everything at face value. How do we use this without making them run away like in all of the other activist videos?

Once again, Blimey Cow is a prime example of this. What they say is said in an inventive and funny way, albeit, rather sarcastic, but their strong views about the world are always present, but disguised as humor.

This is deceptive, is it not? But it isn't because they are saying all of it. Soft disclosure might be a better term, but at the same time, that's not quite what it is.

I'll just call it the Blimey Cow Effect.

Anyway, if you are a content creator on YouTube, or even better, someone who wants to be a content creator on YouTube, remember that influence is earned. If you want to influence someone, you need to first get in the door, and only after that can you make the truth known to them.

Anyway, that's all for me right now. See you later.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Rhapsody on Typing

Toady I realized that I am typing faster than I ever have before, and I am really surprised at how fast this occurred. I think that it has to do with a set of factors.

A) I type a lot.

B) I switched to a layout that is easier to learn than what I started out on all those years ago.

C) I learned touch typing, which I will say, makes little difference on the typical QWERTY layout, but the ASK is specifically designed for touch typing.
I am an avid organist and enjoy using my fingers for complicated maneuvers and other such work.

But about C, I have heard people say that it was designed so that commonly typed letters fell under strong fingers. This is complete and utter balderdash. The Sholes QWERTY layout was designed more than ten years before touch typing was actually recognized as the "correct" way to type. The man who developed it likely had no foresight as to how people would type without looking at the keys, and really, when you think about it, that really doesn't make much sense. Don't you want to be able to look and confirm what letters you are typing? At first this might seem time consuming, but your brain always looks for patterns (even when they're not there) and there is nothing it likes more than consistency, and there are few things more consistent than the static locations of fifty-three keys that correspond to the letters that make up the essence of humanity. With this in mind, your brain will learn to utilize the keyboard fully, with only glancing at the keys.

With that being said, if you are learning QWERTY, in the long run, for functional typing, you do not need to learn how to touch type, but if you want to win speed tests, you will need to learn it. On the other hand, after touch typing was invented and accepted as the correct way to type, many people designed layouts specifically designed to make it easier to type, and the stipulation of these alternate layouts is that it assumes that you are going to learn touch typing on it like you did for QWERTY (right?) If you don't, the advantages quickly start to disappear, and it becomes another layout in which the keys are placed in completely arbitrary locations.

Anyway, I am typing very quickly now. I might even be able to beat my mom in a speed test, which would be very cool, since it would mean that I have achieved the speed that I previously possessed using the QWERTY layout.

I will leave you with the encouragement of learning an alternate layout, especially Dvorak, since it is probably the most widely accepted alternate layout out there, and it really does make sense. I find that it really is easier to type on it than qwerty, partially from learning to touch type, but also simply because my fingers really are not required to move as much as they used to.

In any case, thank you for reading this effervescent piece on the wonders of typing, and I hope you will join me in the American Simplified Keyboard revolution!