Monday, October 1, 2018

Bahamas, TLDR & Sharing Economy

Weekly Update 2018-39: The smooth voice of Bahamas, wondering why we must shorten the long-form writing style and tapping into Toronto's sharing economy for a fall cleaning.

Music: Bahamas
Afie Jurvanen, a musician from Barrie, Ontario, is quite a wonder. He is self-taught on guitar, has a voice like soft velvet, and is an amazing songwriter. He makes the perfect wind-down music, it's really calm and satisfying. Bahamas is also extremely solid as a live performer; I have really nice memories of seeing him on a sunny WayHome field while playing under a giant parachute, and a free show on an ice rink by the lake last winter. It just works for all occasions!

Honestly, start anywhere. You'll fall in love, just like I did.

We had our family Garage sale last weekend, selling off about 40% of the items which was pretty good considering the sheer volume. It was a lovely weekend with family, and a hobby whose process I think we all really enjoy.

The true accomplishment (and #1 goal for me) was to get these items in the hands of people who will use and enjoy them, so in donating most of the remainder I hope they will get some further use. Some of the items went back into the sharing economy with the help of Bunz, clothing swaps, and flea markets. See the inspiration below for specifics!

Autumn is definitely a time for change because I have not one, but two new jobs. Yep, I've already started a new part-time position as an associate instructor at BrainStation in their user experience design department. Honestly, after only one class, I am really enjoying the position. The staff are all really helpful and friendly, and the students all actually want to be there and participate. It's really great. I hope we can keep up the enthusiasm for the next 9 weeks!

A personal best for me, I managed to stay awake until 4:00am this past Saturday for Nuit Blanche, the annual art-based sunset-to-sunrise city takeover. To avoid lines, crowds of people and the cold of the night, I decided to tag along with Toronto Cruisers and check out the city by bike. Not to mention that biking in groups is always the best way to get around a crowded city. We all dressed up as skeletons and looked very spooky on our glowing bikes.

Ashleigh looking very spooky with a crow on her handlebars.

Apparently the Sukkot Geofilter has been somewhat popular and I got a referral from it! Yes, apparently weddings are also a popular place for a custom Geofilter, so I'll be working on that this week.

I also managed to squeeze one more free special exhibit admission out of my year-long AGO membership, so I'll be seeing Edward Burtynsky's Anthropocene this Friday. It involves some sort of augmented reality exhibit, which I'm pretty excited to see.

Random Thought: TLDR
In this technological age where we prize instant gratification over delayed and refuse to choose the right way over the easy way, a colloquial term has arisen to poke fun at this behavioural turn: TLDR. Short for "too long, didn't read", this term depicts the flippant way in which many people refuse to put the hard work in for a meaningful outcome.

I see it most commonly stated in regards to long-form articles, since people generally prefer to absorb (or at least scroll through) information at the quickest possible rate. Move down past the whole article and at the bottom, a miniscule TLDR warmly greets you in the glow of its glazed-over synopsis of the carefully worded and structured article above.

Why bother writing (or reading) the original article at all if you'll simply finish off with a TLDR? I choose to write long-form (though arguably this is more like medium-form) because I use the method of writing to decipher thoughts and feelings. The TLDR would totally miss the point of what I actually do with my writing.

I suppose I find the reduction of ideas into a summary allows the reader to be lazy, and doesn't offer the whole picture of how an idea was reached. It's just like design, where the process and journey are just as important as the outcome.

All of that said, we can do our best to write succinctly and in a way that invites the reader to enjoy the journey. These are user experience choices we make in our authorship, such as the choice Medium makes to display the reading time at the top of an article. We prime our readers on the length before they invest too much, so that they know what to expect.

Readers can decide if they want to spend 6 minutes on me before they begin reading.

I suggest that instead of providing an easy, cheap alternative to the challenging route, we learn to celebrate the journey of growth by priming our users and helping them along the less-trodden path.

Inspiration: The Sharing Economy
Living in a mid-sized city, I am constant delight of the way my fellow citizens reduce their carbon footprint every day. As you know, I hosted a garage sale last weekend in an attempt to give some of my overlooked possessions a new lease on life with someone who will use them. Having sold only 40% of the items, I managed to find quite a few outlets for the remaining items.

1) Our family garage sale in Richmond Hill
- generally older people, looking for a deal
- housewares and kitchen stuff was popular
- not much clothing sold - even at $3 per item
- a nice way to spend time with family and get rid of stuff that doesn't go anywhere else

2) Trinity Bellwoods Clothing Swap on Saturday hosted by Anne Boucher
- exchanged some of my nicer pieces of unwanted clothing
- limited myself to exchanging for half the amount I dropped off
- some very cool finds, possibly even some star pieces added to my wardrobe
- if I had stayed longer, I could have been even more selective and found some awesome things

3) Stop Shopping Clothing Swap on Sunday hosted by Don't Waste Your Genius
- exchanged the items I had picked up the previous day that didn't fit
- the organizer told me she is not collecting any items for her wardrobe for one full year, not by buying or trading or receiving
- what an inspiration
- kind of hard to see the true colours of the clothes in the basement of a dimly lit bar, but the makeshift changerooms were a nice touch

4) Secondhand Sunday in numerous neighbourhoods and happening twice annually!
- you can find quality used items by literally walking down your street (depending where you live)
- alternatively, this is the day to leave your unwanted items out on your lawn for people to come and take
- the social media was pretty good, with the organizers cruising around and taking photos of the items on lawns with a short description

5) UPCOMING Bunz Flea #8 at the Gladstone Hotel - Tuesday October 9!
- this is the most fun I can have in one evening
- pre-organize trades to meet at the flea or simply take a bunch of stuff with you and offer it for things you like
- there are vendors selling/trading their lovely wares, and an open trade table for anyone to come and bring their stuff
- if you attend this event, you will see me in my best form
- Pro tip: I like to take a picture of my items laid out before I pack my bag so I can just show the picture to people when I want something of theirs

For some sick, sad reason, we often become tired of clothing (and other items) long before it has worn out its purpose. Therefore the sharing economy is perfect for trading these items and resetting their "new, to me" value. Not to mention, it's amazingly good for the environment, allowing us to use up some of the excessively made manufactured goods we have just sitting around. It's one step closer to a happier, healthier world. Imagine if we could all choose to live on the items we already own, without acquiring a new item (beyond food and consumables) for a whole year.

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