What are you practicing?

Something that's been burning and churning around in my head seems to be a pretty good method of inducing introspection, the simple question "What am I practicing?"

It's rooted in the notion that the most basic premise of neuroplasticity that you'll get more efficient at doing whatever it is you practice. It's a slight twist on "What am I doing?" with a built in reminder that you're getting better at whatever you do. At the same time, it's an invitation to question whether or not you want to get better at what you find yourself doing at the moment you ask it. That line of questioning conveniently leads to the opportunity to compare what it is you're doing, what you're practicing, with the goals you have.

If you want to take the introspection a little bit deeper - if practicing introspection is one of your goals, you can hit yourself with the followup question: How is this serving me?

As far as I can tell, everything you do is in service to you in some way, shape, or form. When it's not readily apparent how what I'm doing is serving me or when what I find myself doing is not in alignment with my goals, I like to examine it from the perspective of identity reinforcement. I've found this to be a fairly efficient mechanism for uncovering beliefs about myself that like to hide under my conscious awareness, and often find my unexamined actions to be reinforcing those beliefs.

Less now than before (as I've been practicing) I would find myself scrolling through my social media stream in search for identity markers. Scrolling through the data flow in search of resonance - things that I could plus, share, or comment on that would signal to myself and others: I'm here, I exist - this is what's important to me. 

Increasingly though, my data flow seekings have been more about self-education - arming myself with the knowledge and tools that will serve me on my journey from who I am now to who I want to be.

Image source:  http://www.deviantart.com/art/Capoeira-10498827



I wanted to drop by and say a word about perseverance. It could be argued that I haven't demonstrated much to you with how long it's been since I've dropped a new post.

Of course, if you brought it to my attention, I'd have excuses at the ready. Despite deciding to rename this 'Raw Thought', I don't find it easy to drop raw thought here. Maybe it's because it's a blog and I read so many good ones, I'm hesitant to push anything out that isn't a step above what I post elsewhere (G+ and such). Maybe it's because pushing past that fear and hesitation, getting to the right mental space, is something I can only infrequently accomplish.

Excuses aside - I wanted to post this. I wanted to let those of you kind enough to read it that I'm still here. Now that all this time has gone by, I can tell you that there are times when life will knock it out of you. That what it takes to keep going sometimes won't be visible to those watching - but you can hold onto it.

I can tell you also that the closer you get to where you want to be - especially when you finally start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel - it will seem harder. Those last few inches between you and the surface you're about to break through to are the hardest. Many will get close and cave at the edge. Don't be that guy.

It's true, you might lose. You might not make it. If so, don't let the reason you don't make it be that you gave up. If you're going to go down - go down swinging.

Image src:  http://www.deviantart.com/art/boxer-113364046


Crypto-Currency and the Attention Economy

I have this crazy notion, and it has somehow convinced me that it's crazy enough that it just might work - or that if I can somehow get it into the right minds, it can mutate into something worthwhile. It won't leave me alone, so I'm getting it out here - letting it be born so I can redirect my cognitive energy elsewhere. I'll first walk you through it's conception, but if you skip down to the notion itself I won't tell.

One of the parents of the notion was this TED talk. Specifically the bit at about 9:50 that talks about Community Currencies. If Communities can create their own currencies, should that not also hold true of digital global communities?

The other parent was a bit of an embarrassment to me. A development was ignorantly reported and spread, and I assisted in it's spread:  http://goo.gl/J6Mxvm - this got me thinking about how sources need some sort of metric. That those notable sites did some bad reporting highlighted to me a need for us to communicate the value of a piece of information to each other.

I spend a fair amount of time on Google+ because I value the information and perspective exchange that I find there, as well as the value of the relationships I am able to build by spending my time and attention there. However, this value isn't really captured and doesn't translate into meatspace value. The plusses, reshares, and comments are indication of value that I add to the network, but none of those things have yet translated into a form that can put food on my table.

The Notion
The foundation of the notion is that attention is of value. This can be translated, as if I'm able to garner enough attention advertisers will pay me to put their product in front of your eyeballs.

If attention is of value, then the social signals of plussing and resharing can be used to measure that value - and theoretically a crypto-currency could be created to help translate that value into a meatspace equivalent of the value it represents.

As in the video above, one key factor in a currency is that there be a limited supply. This is not currently the case on social networks. I can plus as many posts as I see. What if that was limited instead? What if the ability to plus was limited by time. What if every day you were granted some limited number of plusses? For the purpose of example, let's say you were granted 5 plusses to dole out every hour. That would introduce discernment into whether or not you plussed something. Was this actually of enough value to you to give it a plus?

I don't think these plusses should translate directly into value. They are indicators of value, but a direct translation into currency might result in me taking my daily allotment straight to the store. Then they would have been free. I wouldn't have done anything to earn the value I was spending. However, if only the plusses received were of value (not the ones granted), then I would be providing the service of indicating to the environment what was of value - and those responsible for creating the value I recognized would be rewarded with bits of crypto-currency they could use for actual exchange. Essentially all participants would have the 'job' of identifying value.

The second parent prompts me to throw in a clause - something along the lines of 'daily value confirmation'. At this point, I see this simply as a re-evaluation of what you indicated was a value the previous day as a requirement to 'unlock' your next day's worth of currency. In the case of the article that was determined to be of less value in the link above - I would be able to remove my previous valuation of it when I realized it's lack of worth.

There is also the issue of the value of reshares and comments. Should the plus of a comment be equivalent to the value of original content? I think not. Perhaps the plus of a comment should be worth some fraction rather than a whole.

With regard to reshares, I'm providing a service to the content creator of spreading the value that I had found. Perhaps plussing a reshare would grant the content creator 75% of the plus, and 25% to the person who put that value in front of your eyes.

All in all 
I don't know whether this notion has any actual merit or not - but at least it's out of my head. I hope you find some value in it.