Social Deprogramming


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How much are you controlled by your social and cultural programming? Too much. Override default settings and reclaim control of your social life! Talk given at blinkBL_NK in Singapore in November 2010

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Social Deprogramming

  1. 1. Social  Deprogramming   @benjaminjoffe   blinkBL_NK|  Singapore,  2010.11   With  commentary!  
  2. 2. Traveling  &  Living   blinkBL_NK   Have  you  lived  or  traveled  out  of   your  home  country?  
  3. 3. If  so,  you  might  have  enjoyed   discovering  local  culture  &  quirks  
  4. 4. Durian Strudel! (Singapore, 2010)! This  one  is  from  Singapore  –  not   sure  if  it  is  such  a  great  idea…  
  5. 5. The  other  thing  you  learn  when  traveling   is  how  others  view  your  own  culture  
  6. 6. Which  is  oRen  quite  different   from  your  own  percepSon…  
  7. 7. Behavioral  Programming   In  Japan,  people  bow  oRen  –   even  on  the  phone!   ARer  4  years  there,  my  body  language   became  a  weird  mix  at  Smes…  
  8. 8. Kiasu?   Society  and  culture  shape  behavior.  Singaporeans  “love  to   queue”  maybe  because  they  are  worried  about  missing  out.  
  9. 9. “The  Accident  of  Birth”   ARer  living  in  6  countries  and  visiSng  dozens,  my  current  view  is   that  our  character  is  dominated  by  our  cultural  and  societal   programming.  This  is  not  a  happy  thought  for  me.  
  10. 10. Just  like  you  computer  is   approached  by  viruses,  we  are   invaded  by  ideas  all  day  long  
  11. 11. Study_hard/become_doctor/buy_condo   This  is  an  idea  that  might  be  invading   many  in  Singapore  today…  
  12. 12. Issues   •  Default  se^ngs   •  Get  in  the  way  of  social  interacSons   •  Undermine  happiness   The  key  problem  is:  those  ideas   are  not  YOU  and  do  not  reflect   what  makes  YOU  happy   And  they  get  in  the  way  of   your  social  life.  This  will  be  the   focus  for  the  rest  of  the  talk  
  13. 13. Reforma^ng  Your  Social  OS   If  things  go  well,  you  might   reformat  part  of  your  social  OS  
  14. 14. Field  ObservaSon   I  looked  around  me  for  learning   about  social  interacSons.  I’ll   share  some  observaSons  here.  
  15. 15. How  do  you  feel  about  this  guy   eaSng  alone?   If  so,  you  might  have  enjoyed   discovering  local  culture  &  quirks  
  16. 16. A  photography  project  in  Singapore  interviewing  people  dining  alone.   The  social  sSgma  is  there  but  many  are  actually  quite  self-­‐confident   and  like  being  by  themselves.  
  17. 17. A  social  place?   Cafes  look  like  social  places  but  quite   oRen  this  is  closer  to  what  you  see…  
  18. 18. Is  this  seat  free?   This  is  a  situaSon  where  you  might   like  to  have  higher  social  skills  :-­‐)  
  19. 19. Speed  daSng   •  Context   •  Time  constraint   •  xxx   Speed  DaSng   This  is  another  example  of  people’s  interest  in   meeSng  people.  Note  the  shared  context,  the   formaled  engagement  and  the  Sme  constraint  
  20. 20. Pillow-­‐Fight  Flash  Mob  (Toronto,  2008)   What  do  you  do  when  you’re  done  with  the  specified  acSon?   Maybe  not  as  social  as  it  looks…  
  21. 21. Field  Research:  Santa  Con   (London)   My  own  experiment  with  idenSty  in  a  a  special  costumed  group.     Santa  Con  is  as  much  about  partying  as  it  is  about  Christmas  :-­‐)  
  22. 22. Analysis  
  23. 23. Did  she  noSce  him?   I  think  so.  
  24. 24. Engaging   Talk  to  her   Wait   The  usual  choice  is…  
  25. 25. (Approach  Anxiety)  
  26. 26. Is  he/she  interested?   •  Poin%ng  feet  in  your  direcSon   •  Smiling  at  you   •  Talking  to  you   •  Touching  you  
  27. 27. Looking  
  28. 28. Ge^ng  Caught  Staring  
  29. 29. The  SoluSon  
  30. 30. The  Real  Trouble:  Disengagement   The  reason  people  are  guarded   when  engaging  or  being  engaged  is   because  there  is  no  clear  Sme  limit   to  the  interacSon.  
  31. 31. The  Real  Trouble:  Disengagement  
  32. 32. The  Real  Trouble:  Disengagement   Stranger   You  
  33. 33. Physical   +   Psychological   Framing   (context)   Leveraging  or  creaSng  a  suitable   context  for  the  interacSon  is  key  
  34. 34. Summary   3  Key  Elements   1.  Approach   2.  Disengagement   3.  Context  (Frame)  
  35. 35. Back  to  our  flying  friend…  
  36. 36. Inner  Monologue  of  a  Guy  Si^ng  Next   to  a  Hot  Chick  on  a  Plane   •  How  long  should  you  wait?     •  Is  it  based  on  %me,  or  distance?     •  Is  it  a  percentage  of  the  total  Sme/ distance?   •  Is  it  the  same  whether  the  flight  is   one  hour  or  thirteen  hours?  
  37. 37. Classics   •  “Hi!  I’m  Ben”  (handshake)   •  “Heading  home?”   Some  classic  lines.  Second  one  is  much  beler  as  it  starts  a   conversaSon,  not  just  a  polite  exchange.  
  38. 38. Unique  Style?  Accessories?   Anything  that  stands  out  is  a   good  starSng  point.  
  39. 39. What  to  say?   •  “Nice  swan  dress!”   •  “Nice  swan  dress!  What’s  the  story  behind  it?”   •  An  original  item  is  an  invitaSon    
  40. 40. Eventually…   Speak   your  mind!  
  41. 41. Technical  soluSons  
  42. 42. Chatroulele  shows  people  are  curious,  but  both  engagement  and   disengagement  are  too  brutal  to  enable  meaningful  interacSons.  
  43. 43. You  can  sSll  play   Chatroulele  Bingo.  
  44. 44. Vchaler  is  doing  a  much  beler  job:  unique  ID  (first  name),   moderaSon  and  reporSng,  and  topics  suggesSons  based  on  the   other’s  interests      
  45. 45. In-­‐game  dates!   Even  online  games  can  be  seen  as  social  places.   This  service  offers  to  arrange  in-­‐game  dates.  
  46. 46. How  do  you  say  “Hi”  to  people  before   ge^ng  to  know  them?   A  service  a  bit  strange  by  a   Japanese  startup  
  47. 47. How  do  you  say  “Hi”  to  people  before   ge^ng  to  know  them?   A  drrop  is  a  text  posted   by  someone  in  the  world   in  the  last  24  hours.   By  wiping  a  drrop,  you   can  see  another  drrop.   It  is  basically  “eavesdropping”  on  Facebook   comments  to  start  conversaSons  
  48. 48. Why?  
  49. 49. MoSvaSons   •  Boredom   •  MeeSng  people   •  Vague  promise  of  sex   •  Human  Zoo   Other  ideas?  Please  let  me  know!  
  50. 50.    Be  my  mail  friend!   When  mobile  email  was  launched  in  Japan  10  years  ago  people   were  sending  messages  to  random  numbers  to  make  friends.   This  disappeared  as   spammers  took  over  
  51. 51. Lovegety  (Japan,  1998)   (Never  seen  anybody  use  one)   Never  seen  one  in  Japan  –  probably  a  summer  fad  reported  as   “big  in  Japan”,  but  sSll  interesSng  from  a  sociological  standpoint.  
  52. 52. HumanNetworkLabs   •  Short-­‐range  communicaSon  device   •  Find  or  track  things  and  people  within  200m   Sounds  like  Lovegety  to  me  ;-­‐)  
  53. 53. Loopt   A  service  to  help  people   get  together  
  54. 54. Foound   A  service  to  help  friends   get  together  
  55. 55. Mobile  Social  Network  for  Pets   Pets  are  great   proxys  for  people!  
  56. 56. Another  interesSng   concept  
  57. 57. Start  conversaSons!   designed  based  on  sociological   &  anthropological  research*   Use  your  mobile  and  a  topic  you   create  to  generate  interacSons   and  conversaSons  
  58. 58. Rethinking  Social  Places  
  59. 59. Queuing  for  StarCraR  2   Queues  are  great  social   places!  Why?  
  60. 60. Queuing  for  LV   Because  they  have:   (1)  Shared  context   (2)  Time  constraint   (3)  Physical  proximity   That’s  all  you  need!  
  61. 61. Rain  as  an  Ad-­‐Hoc  Social  Place   People  waiSng  for  the  rain  to  top   –  shelter  as  social  place.  Same   reasons:  context,  proximity,  Sme   constraint.  
  62. 62. The  “9”   experiment   9   A  social  experiment  in   Portland  –  wear  this   badge  if  you  are  in  the   service  industry  and   able  to  give  freebies.   You’ll  give  them  to   people  with  this  badge   and  receive  freebies  in   other  stores  too!  
  63. 63. blinkBL_NK  Experiments  
  64. 64. “Stepping  out  of  your  shoes”   Let’s  experiment   together!  
  65. 65. Let’s  remove  our  shoes!  
  66. 66. Now  find  someone  with   your  size  to  trade!  
  67. 67. 1-­‐minute  Sme  constraint   Other  experiment:  have  a  1  minute   conversaSon  with  another  alendee  
  68. 68. Lame  Opener  Experiment   Final  one:  talk  to  anyone  you  are  interested  in.   Your  opener  can  be  as  lame  as  you  want!  
  69. 69. Thanks!   (you  have  the  rest  of  the  evening  to  find  back  your  shoes    )   That’s  it!  Thanks  for  reading.   You  can  reach  me  at  @benjaminjoffe   or