SMC logo UPDATE

The Power Of Fiction

Generally, I read nonfiction, and after a career producing documentaries, I go out of my way to watch as many of them as I can. But as the news of the day becomes overwhelming, I find myself looking to fiction as a means of intellectual escape. Ah, if only it were that easy. Today, I’d like to share with you two works of fiction, one a film, the other a novel. Both of them turn out to be journeys that

Read More »

What Is News On TikTok?

According to a recent Pew Research Center study, more Americans, especially younger adults, are getting their news on TikTok. The share of U.S. adults who regularly do so increased from 3% in 2020 to 14% in 2023. And for those who are regular TikTok users, 43% say they get their news on the site. When the report came out, one thing was clear: Consumers were getting their news in a new way. The data is important and forces us to

Read More »

When Bad Spam Gets Smart

I get spam — lots of spam: According to the scientists, there’s a healthy substance in your bathroom drawer that slows down the onset of Alzheimer’s by 200%… Your FEDex has been delayed; click to learn about delivery. A bunch of emails from the United Nations, offering to send me money. On Facebook, I get about three “alerts” a day telling me my page is going to be shut down, and I need to log in to get my page

Read More »

A Tale Of Two Parades

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is, more than anything else, a two-hour-long commercial. Albeit, a fun one. There are brands looking to refresh their image, performers who want to be back in the limelight, and above all, Macy’s, which seeks to launch the holiday shopping season with a powerful reminder of the department store destination, as well as hoping to trigger a burst of nostalgia. There is the on-television experience, and then there’s what happens on the parade route. This

Read More »

We Have Questions For Mark Zuckerberg

Sometimes the best conversations you can have are with people who aren’t in the room. Over the past few weeks, no one has been the focus of more of my conversations than Mark Zuckerberg. So when I sat down last week with Frances Haugen and Zamaan Qureshi, Zuckerberg was high on the list of topics. Haugen, you remember, was the Facebook employee who was a product manager on the civic integrity team. Before that she was at Google, Yelp, and

Read More »

Social Media Harms: Victims’ Voices Matter

Emma Lembke has done more in her young life than most of us have done in a lifetime, and she’s hardly done. But for her, testifying in Congress about the impact that social media has had on her remains a high point. “When I sat there, I really felt as though it was the most important conversation that I was going to have in my life. It’s incredibly daunting,” she told me last week. “But also I think for me

Read More »

Barack Obama Calls For A New Kind Of Media

Former President Barack Obama is thinking about media’s impact on society and democracy. Obama spoke at the annual Democracy Forum in Chicago sponsored by the Obama Foundation. The room was full of young activists and organizers. And, with the backdrop of the war between Israel and Hamas, he was thoughtful about the growing strife between American political parties. “I’ve had discussions with young politicians and media figures,” Obama said, choosing his words carefully. The question he was coming to: “How

Read More »

Meta Lawsuit Shines Bright Light On Painful Profits

Depending on how you look at it, Oct. 25 was either a very good or a very bad day for Meta and its two primary products, Instagram and Facebook.First, the bad part.On Oct. 24, 42 states and the District of Columbia decided to take legal action against Meta. They’re basically saying that Meta is causing harm to kids by invading their privacy and not being honest about the potential dangers of kids using their apps. It’s not the first time

Read More »

Gen Z Says: Design It For Us!

I was flying home from a business trip, and next to me was young mom and her small child strapped in a car seat. The toddler turned to his mom, and as the plane taxied away from the gate he said, “Phone.” And then, more urgently, “Phone.” His mom put big headphones on him, and handed him her phone with a game app opened up. As the plane climbed skyward, the toddler didn’t look at the window, or notice. Instead,

Read More »

“The organizing principle of today’s politics is stay interesting”

Max Fisher, author of: The Chaos Machine: The Inside Story of How Social Media Rewired Our Minds and Our World, in conversation with Jon Favreau, on Offline. (episode 91). Heather Cox Richardson on Donald Trump, Democracy, and Taylor Swift – Offline with Jon Favreau Heather Cox Richardson, historian and author of the Substack’s most-read newsletter “Letters from an American,” joins… overcast.fm Max Fisher: It is not a coincidence that people like that like the insurgents like Donald Trump like big insurgents were like

Read More »

Hi, I'm Droid.

How can I help you today?