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A Year Later

In 12 months, 28 issues and 252 links, we've shared many stories ranging from the inspiring to the downright bizarre. Emerging tech and resulting culture shifts have altered everything from media to healthcare to retail to education and beyond. Despite the diversity of topics we've covered – and there is no shortage of them – the abundantly clear bottom-line is that we need to embrace these new advances. They leave no sector untouched. 

Consider some of our most-viewed links. Presidential candidates rooted their campaigns in social media influencers. One of the largest ever "gatherings" of human beings took place at a concert hosted on Fortnite. A video slowed to 75% speed undermined our trust in media and politics. And deepfakes continued to amaze, entertain and frighten us. These unexpected use cases quickly shock and then become the norm. 

“I think you may have miscalculated the length of the modern attention span.”
The New Yorker
Hearing what resonates with you has helped us collectively stay on top of the most relevant developments. We monitor newsfeeds, learn from partners and experience hands-on work that demonstrates emerging tech in practice. It takes a village to both execute on daily tasks and stay educated in new advances. More and more we see that those who can move back-and-forth between execution and exploration are doing better work, and are more comfortable with unknowns.

The key is learning. But how do we find time in our overloaded schedules for the in-depth work necessary to learn? In today’s Deep Take, Dave Pell suggests that knowledge requires training like an athlete. If anything, the commitment will save us time from having to play serious catch-up in the long run. Newsletters and resources like our study guide help make the process easier — stay tuned for more learning tools to come in the future. 

Thank you for following (you can encourage others to do so 
here). As always, share any thoughts, links, books or recommendations with me in response to this email. 

Chris Perry 

As always, if you find this newsletter valuable I would be grateful if you encouraged others to sign up by directing them here.
What We're Reading
Media Forensics
Why Teens Are Creating Their Own News Outlets
By Rainesford Stauffer, Teen Vogue

Claiming young adults are zoning out on current events instead of zooming in ignores the fact that they’re digital natives, who grew up navigating an increasingly tech-reliant culture. Instead of staring at cable news, they’re pioneering new ways to engage with the stories that meet them where they are.

Content Experience
Point. Smile. Click. Repeat.
By Andrew Keh, The New York Times

Selfies are supplanting the signature as a sports collectible, and players on the U.S. women’s soccer team, who interact with their fans as much as any team in the world, are getting very, very good at taking them.

Synthetic Content
Alexa Will Be Your Best Friend When You’re Older
By Tanya Basu
, MIT Technology Review

Pop culture may be enamored with a stereotypical idea of older people struggling to use gadgets, but it’s a demographic that’s excited to use voice tech in their daily lives.

Platform Dominance 
The Teens Are All Right
By Madeleine Aggeler, The Cut

16-year-old Gillian Sullivan took to the beloved Gen-Z social media platform TikTok to organize a general strike in solidarity with her high school teachers. The video and the response to it likely has less to do with TikTok itself and more with the generation that’s using it. Gen Z has repeatedly shown it is not only technologically savvy; it is politically engaged.

Synthetic Content
China’s Red-Hot Face-Swapping App Provokes Privacy Concern
By Colum Murphy and Zheping Huang, Bloomberg

Chinese face-swap app Zao rocketed to the top of app store charts over the weekend, but user delight at the prospect of becoming instant superstars quickly turned sour as privacy implications began to sink in.

Media Foreniscs
Angry Fans Keep Wrecking Podcasts With One-Star Reviews
By Ashley Carman, The Verge

Podcast reviews can be easy to game, and Apple Podcasts has become the main target for angry fans interested in taking down a show. The service is one of the few major platforms that allows listeners to leave public reviews. While hosts abused that feature in the past to beat the system with fake positive reviews, others have used it to inundate hosts they don’t like with a barrage of one-star marks, making the shows look like a bust.

Emerging Technology
Commerce Cream

Commerce Cream collects and highlights the most beautiful commerce experiences on Shopify to help inspire designers, developers and merchants to create amazing things. And it's a great resource for DTC brand examples.

Deep Take
Learn Like an Athlete
By David Perell,
Athletes train. Musicians train. Performers train. But knowledge workers don’t. 

Knowledge workers should train like LeBron, and implement strict “learning plans.” To be sure, intellectual life is different from basketball. Success is harder to measure and the metrics for improvement aren’t quite as clear. Even then, there’s a lot to learn from the way top athletes train. They are clear in their objectives and deliberate in their pursuit of improvement.

Knowledge workers should imitate them.

Copyright © 2019 Weber Shandwick

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