Tag Archive for social processing

Design for Emotion, for Empowerment

Aimee Mullins legs collection

I use a cane to get around, a consequence of an unfortunate encounter with a taxi many years ago. I have many different canes (each heel size, for example, requires its own cane). All are cool. Some have animal carvings, some have silver, some have gold, some are complex in design, some are very Deco in style, and one has a sword (another a compass and a secret compartment). I get stopped on the street all the time — people love my canes and always comment. I was even told once that my limp is sexy — whatever… What I don’t have is an “old woman” cane — the kind you buy at a pharmacy. I’m just not that old, and plan never to be that old. I want funky, I want things that match my outfits and my moods. And I want them functional: the right hight, the right feel of the cane handle, the stability of the tip, the light weight, the structural security. I want it all and I want it sexy. Cane is a product — a very personal one. But most are stuck with poorly designed, boring, ugly, you-make-me-feel-like-an-invalid cane. Why? Aimee Mullins is a…

Rewired Brain

Our kids have grown up in the world where computers were always present and always on. They can’t conceive of a time when they can be cut off from the Internet (vacations in the Internet-dead zones are definite no go). Our kids are the generation of fully-connected always-on Internet users. What about the kids that are born right now? Not the Millennials, as they are being called, but these babies born in the age of the iPad? The iTouch Babies? How are their brains being rewired from the experience of having the iPad as their first toy? Check out this video of a baby girl growing in the iTouch World.

Community of Practice and Knowledge Propagation Circle

This summer my family and I travelled to Rome. While the temperatures didn’t reach the usual astronomic heights, it was rather warm. But we, and other visitors, didn’t have to worry about thirst. Rome has the best network of public drinking fountains that I have ever seen. Every few blocks, there’s a beautifully-designed basin with a spigot of continuously running water (I know, being from California, the never-ending stream made us very uncomfortable, too). There are two bits of information that have to be passed on to the first-time visitors of Rome: the water is potable—safe to drink, and how to use the fountain—there’s a bit of a trick to them. Above is my son demonstrating a little secret interaction. There’s a small hole on the top of the pipe that can serve as drinking fountain if the main hole at the end is plugged up (with a finger). While we learned about the great drinking water in Rome from many traveling guides (books, online sites, etc.), we obviously didn’t know about the trick until we watched a pro do it. Knowledge Propagation Circle Information propagates through communities. When we first encounter a novel bit of data, it tends to…

Cultural Differences from the 4th Dimension: Time

Some cultural differences are brought to you by geographic distances, but some derive their wonderful exotic qualities from temporal separation. The ads below are all American…just from a different America—America of yesteryore. Role of Women What wives are for? Make her happy this Christmas—make it a hoover! Blow smoke in her face, she’ll love it! Go ahead and cry for it… Housework makes wives cute! Housework makes wives healthy. Healthy Kids Beer for mommies and babies… Give that baby a cola! Give your children the benefit of TV. Healthy You! Give cocaine a chance… Doctors prefer Camels. For a slimmer, flatter, more sinuous you, go with tape worms!

Lost in Translation: Cultural Differences in Advertising

“Lost in Translation” was a wonderful movie by Sofia Coppola, starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. It depicted the delicious confusion of Western tourists in total Japanese cultural emersion. In particular, the scenes where Bill Murray shoots a liquor commercial for the Japanese market are simply priceless. In retrospect, I see where Ms. Coppola got her ideas. Her cousin, Nicholas Cage, have been making wonderfully odd (to our sensibilities) commercials for years. He clearly had stories to share. Here are a few of his gems, courtesy the World Wide Web: and But it’s not only Japan that surprises our/my cultural biases. This morning, my husband and I went to a local grocery store in Rome, Italy. In the cheese section, there was a little paper bottle of parmesan cheese with a mouse of the package. The mouse didn’t work for me at all! So much for cultural differences. Here’s a small collection of ads for McDonalds from all over the world. Please compare it to the packaging and menus for this restaurant chain that I’ve posted here in the past: “Cultural World Domination”. Notice all of the anchoring errors, metaphor mistakes, cultural biases, mirroring errors, and general cognitive and cultural…

Social Networks

Making Money on a Bet Yesterday, I came across a little post on LinkedIn: L.G. update: “I have a bet with one of my colleagues today. He thinks that using LinkedIn is a waste of time and does not see the benefit. So he has agreed to give me £1 for every like/comment I get. Considering I have over 2000 connections I reckon I will get £300 easy out of this. Start liking this update people!” It wasn’t from anyone I knew. But a LOT of people I did know (and are linked to) commented and liked this update. I added my like as well. To date (the original comment was made 2 days ago), there are 6,298 likes and 1,286 comments! Mr. L.G. stands to make some money here. With Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and the like, all pushing the value of social networking, it was interesting to see this little experiment making a direct conversion from social networking to money. And it’s not over—the post sparked an emotional response among the members of LinkedIn. The emotional trigger is still there. With each new like and comment, the temptation to add another like on the pile grows. It’s contagious!