Seamus Heaney, Billy Connolly, the Beeb. Five Fables. “Five medieval Scots fables, translated by Seamus Heaney, have been brought into the 21st century as enchanting animated tales for BBC Two Northern Ireland.”
Creativity is there already in our brains. Waiting to be left out. The old saying that “giving something a name gives you power over it” holds true when trying to understand things in our own mind. Having a language, a vocabulary, a corpus to describe your ideas can make them a reality.
The language to describe the things in our heads that we want to create is a hidden language for a lot of people and it’s only through reading, learning or understanding that we can structure it for everyone else (and even ourselves) to interpret it too.
So when we read, view, see art and so on, that allows that fuzzball of creativity to find the language anchors or context to describe it with our own experiences if we want to produce art. As they say, that statue is already there in the marble, you just need the tools and skill to reveal it. The language to tell your brain what it is may very well be the idea of muscle memory and knowing how the marble can be molded.
Quantum Mechanics needed a new form of mathematics to be made before people could describe it. It was always there, what it was though was something that couldn’t be described with the language that already existed so it didn’t fit into the real world (in a way) until the language was figured out.
Programming has many languages. Programmers take ideas and put them into a language they know that gets a computer to do things and there we go, something is created. The efficient way to describe that process is what can make an app into an amazing app, the language that describes and defines the user interface might make it as easy to use as the iPad operating system. Software will eat the world and those knowing how to communicate efficiently in code will get fat.
You are creative, we all are creative but maybe for some of us it’s the lack of ways to describe what we want is the thing holding us back. Yeah we have the idea of the 10,000 hours but probably in those 10,000 hours are lots of figuring out how to describe to the world and ourselves, what we want to do.
Getting it out of your brain is that scene in Total Recall. The shit old one, not the shit new one.
I listened to the final Reith Lecture by Grayson Perry earlier and maybe it was ideas and imagery in that that made me take that idea that’s always been there and allowed me to put it into these words.
How do you get it out?
So how do you get it out? When you walk along the same part of the carpet at home, you just wear that down more. Stop rubbing the same part of your brain with the same subject matter. It’s the equivalent of using a set of Ann and Barry books to try and map out the history of the world. It’s going to come out at the same level as those books.
So be diverse. Want to succeed in business? Stop reading all your Richard Branson books. Stop waiting for his next one before you do something. In a way, experience the world. Read lots of different things, experience the language of those things and how their creator sees the world.
It can become much easier if we have a clear way of describing it. So it’s always been about you, you have the creativity, you just need to know the language to decode that fuzz.
Business ideas, Neuroplasticity, Music, more. All have their own languages, fluency in them or experience of them could give you an advantage. You have the ideas, find the language to describe them.
Now I’m the most positive future of tech person around so I decided to do an Andrew Keen type post about some odd things I’ve noticed. Accents are important. Identity, even if a construct, readily uses accents. It tells people where I’m from or it can be used to hide where I’m from. The old joke about going home to top-up the accent is like many jokes, based on reality. You can trust, let down your guard, get turned on, get scared, get aggressive with someone from an accent alone. So what if modern technology forces us to speak in a certain way?
Already we have kids with American and British twangs because of Disney shows and Ben Ten. But they’ll move back into the localised accents over time. Maybe. Hopefully maybe. Now in fairness they’ve been saying that about kids accents ever since One and Two channel land first imported TV shows and to a little degree the words we used and the sounds they make has changed because of this. Language and accents evolve too and naturally so. Stan Carey is the person for all of this and more.
However, with the increase in interactions in verbal ways with technology, what will become of our accents and the way we structure sentences? Today we have to change the way we interact and how we intonate what we say to keep the machine happy. Smooth down a Scottish accent to keep your iPhone happy. Talk like a mid-Atlantic DJ for Siri to figure out that we’re directing them to phone Mam.
Listen to how Siri is pretty condescending to James. It suggests you’re the fool here James, not it.
Everyone is going to have a smart mobile device in the next 5 years and the amount of non-touchscreen interactions is going to increase drastically. So human to machine verbal interactions are going to explode. We have all seen the video of the baby trying to swipe pages on a magazine. What with a world of human to computer chatting?
I got thinking about this piece you’re reading when watching (don’t laugh) Pound Shop Wars when a machine tells operators in a giant stock warehouse to go collect items. They interact with the big machine in the sky and they end up talking in their sleep in the language the machine accepts. The machine does not learn, it does not adapt, you turn for it. The machine sounds like a tape recorder being fast forwarded. It’s far from the computer in Her.
Irony that they then subtitled the workers.
Reminds me of the droids in Star Wars (the shit one):
We have a bit to go however when the same machines have no idea what they themselves are saying:
Interesting few years ahead of us with this. And again with everyone in the world having a mobile companion, it will impact the whole world.
Now if each phone was a mullti-million dollar device… Scary scary scary
Remember when a hard drive from IBM was the size of a room? The above is maybe 10 to 15 years away. Will our language hold to then? I wonder will France, cos it has to be France, put a ban on the Siris of the world?
Stevie G has done so much for music in Cork and Ireland. Genuine trailblazer and lest we forget, did a lot for upcoming generations when usually told to fuck off from loitering outside the local Centra.
Giving teenagers and young people a voice is probably the most satisfactory and fulfilling thing you can do in some ways, and it doesn’t seem long ago when myself and my friends were kids and didn’t have that voice.
At the recent UCC Journalism conference (where RTÉ told us with great pride how they’re gatekeepers and won’t allow us to see silly celeb stories on the news), a student asked for advice on starting out in journalism. This was the advice I gave.
Don’t wait for anything in particular. Just start writing now.
2. Pick something you think the media isn’t covering.
Something the media isn’t covering that you think they should? As per this post, you write it. Media has finite resources and the work journalists are doing is increasing while their pay is not. There are going to be gaps. Fill that gap.
3. Your writing is going to be shit to start with. So what, you’ve started. 10,000 hours is what makes a lot of people go from average to talented. It doesn’t occur naturally for most. Work work and work. Read and write then read and write some more. And stop with the excuses. The worst thing for your writing is to stop writing. Runners don’t wait for the “right” race to train.
All writing is difficult. The most you can hope for is a day when it goes reasonably easily. Plumbers don’t get plumber’s block, and doctors don’t get doctor’s block; why should writers be the only profession that gives a special name to the difficulty of working, and then expects sympathy for it? – Philip Pullman
4. Become obsessed about a topic you have a genuine interest in.
Read everything about it. Oh God, you’re one of those people at a party. Did I know the Ecuadorian yellow parrot has …? Remember bands we idolised and how we knew everything about them? Even the stuff that would never appear in a pub quiz? Become that person for a topic. When you write about the topic your passion and knowledge should stand out because of that obsession. Read every angle about the topic. Pro, con, neutral, rumour. You are now the knowledge base for this topic. You should now be able to create timelines and linkages and more for that topic. Observe from outside, how you write and structure content about the topic. Maybe use this as a model for other topics then? Obsessions teach us a lot about how to research and get a feel for things.
5. Pick a fight.
In terms of getting attention, it works well. But be justified. If someone is misinformed then call them out with proof. Rebuttals, corrections and more can work well. Be level headed the whole time. No personal insults. See the next topic too.
6. Know your defamation laws.
Irish defamation law is a motherfucker. Designed to make rich people keep the masses down while making lawyers nice and rich. Know the limitations the law says your writing has to have. Do remember though that you will get bogus threats too that you should stand up to.
7. Look at available information sources. FOI is great for this. The eTenders website is too. Data journalism is a nice new area of journalism. It’s a new name for what has always been there: Proper research and seeing a story where others don’t. Kildare Street. Even Daft.ie are good places to get information. Learn how to sift through data and tell a story
8. Write for people you know
Write for your mother, father, granparent, friend. Anyone can copy and paste from a press release or rob from the Irish Times and the Indo for their churnalism site. The value is not in who is fastest to repost a press release, it’s in crafting something that has a start, middle and end and that has added value to the life of someone by the time they’ve finished reading your piece. Having someone pictured in your mind as you write focuses you on how to communicate the information to them, how to write it in language they understand.
9. Know how to write killer headlines.
Use Twitter as a platform. Look at stuff in the Irish Times, Independent and give them better, catchier headlines and see what ones you create get the clicks on Twitter and Facebook. This headline guide from Upworthy is great.
10. Pitch and Collaborate
It’s never too early to pitch ideas to features editors. Start with local publications and see will they take your content for free. Again, look at topical issues and look at gaps and pitch for that gap. Yeah you work for free but now you’re published. The more places you are published, the more people will take you seriously.
Done your FOIs? Gotten juicy stuff? Pitch the story to a journalist and see will they write it with you. Get your name in the by-line in a paper then. This actually happens, not a lot but it does.
11. Read stuff on content and how to write
This list from me might also help in terms of new forms of content. Media changes, be there for the changes instead of catching up. Fail fast but fail cheap instead of failing slowly.
Fan generated Star Trek original series episodes. High production values. Above we see the self publishing revolution data, will self produced TV be on the way too and be profitable? Also what’s interesting is pirate websites are giving this content a push. If Netflix can do it…
Dear Fellow Employees of Paypal. Use our app or leave. Why aren’t Paypal staff using the Paypal app is a good question.
We can’t come off looking like we think technology is the answer to every question. Technology is part of the answer but people are obviously part of the answer, as well.
Steve Case (Remember him from AOL) on tech companies and responsibilities. The tech world he alludes to is also the one where people feel good that they teach homeless people to code. And insist if everyone learned to code the world would be so much better. I’m sure some kid in Asia can unstarve themselves by learning python in their slum that doesn’t have electricity. Is there an Uber for getting a clue?