Wednesday 6 March 2019

Storytelling - or why we should become suspicious when someone wants to tell us stories

Storytelling is a very powerful way to spread your message - hence the hype about storytelling in business and politics. That's how it reads, for example:
"The most successful companies in the world have profound stories behind them (often deeply tied to their founders) that instill a sense of bigger purpose and meaning into what they do. For example, Apple, Tesla and Google are so much more than companies - they are legacy brands created by visionaries who aspire(d) to change the world." 
Most of these "profound stories", however, belong to the field of hagiographic edification literature for executives. They are post-hoc rationalizations in which the interplay of talent and (happy) coincidences is subsequently interpreted as the work of an entrepreneur led by visionary foresight. But where do stories get this power from?

Monday 3 December 2018

Fake News are a frontal attack on the fourth estate in a democracy

The phenomenon is not specific to the Internet era: In 1898, the USA and Spain were on the brink of the Spanish-American war. In January of the same year, the battleship USS Main had arrived in the port of Havana. A few days later it sank after a devastating explosion in which 268 people lost their lives. The public mood in the USA had been heated up further, among others, by two competing publicists: William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. Hearst's instruction to his correspondent in Havana has been passed down: "You furnish the pictures. I'll furnish the war." [1] At the time, the press market was an extremely lucrative business and any means was fine in the fight for an increase in circulation. Possibly, the Spanish-American war would not have broken out if this bitter battle for market share had not taken place. These and similar excesses were the reason for various press codes. And it took decades for the press to build the confidence that a fourth power in a democracy needs. [2]

Wednesday 5 September 2018

Do virtual social networks destroy the social fabric?

There is some debate as to whether virtual social networks have a net beneficial or net detrimental effect on society. [1]  And it must be admitted that the question is difficult to answer. For instance, what is the social fabric that is threatened by social networks? Research on social capital could provide an answer.

Monday 11 June 2018

The social Internet has come to stay

Critical voices have accompanied the development of the internet from the very beginning. Recently, there have been increased warnings against the dangers of the social media. The main reason for this: Facebook's blatant misconduct and the way in which the company deals with its mistakes. However, we will all have to get used to the social internet, because it has come to stay. The social media are the expression of our human nature.

Sunday 18 February 2018

“Can we go back to using Facebook for what it was originally for - looking up exes to see how fat they got?” (Bill Maher)

Recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook made a name for himself when he spoke out in favour of restricting the use of technology in schools, suggesting that he had banned his nephew from participating in social networks. And Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster and long-time Facebook consultant, is quoted as saying,"God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains". Social media has a problem, and not just since Facebook's inglorious role in the American election campaign. Platforms whose self-declared goal it is to bring us all closer together and make us happy seem - indeed - to have the opposite effect.

Monday 18 December 2017

What makes a good instructional video?

Video supports education in many areas and online courses regularly include instructional videos. Video transports the content both audibly and visually, creating a multisensory learning environment that is said to be particularly conducive to learning. The fact that multisensory learning environments can be beneficial to learning (and when it does so) has been investigated a lot of times in laboratory experiments. In practice, however, there is still uncertainty about what really makes a good video.

Thursday 14 September 2017

What's with the hype about videos in Social Media?

Videos are currently being hyped in connection with social media. Look at your social media accounts and you will see that videos have become a dominant form of content. And apparently, the supply is matched by a corresponding demand. A company like Facebook would not place so much emphasis on videos if it hadn't come to the conclusion that this kind of content is particularly popular with users.