Tag: New York Times (page 1 of 14)

Testing a 4-day work week

I already work what most people would call ‘part-time’, doing no more than 25 paid hours of work per week, on average. I’m glad that employers are experimenting with a shorter workweek (for the same pay) but inevitably one of the metrics will be ‘productivity’ which I think is a ridiculously difficult thing to actually measure…

“After the pandemic, people want a work-life balance,” Joe Ryle, the campaign director for the 4 Day Week Campaign, said in an interview. “They want to be working less.”

More than 3,300 workers in banks, marketing, health care, financial services, retail, hospitality and other industries in Britain are taking part in the pilot, the organizers said. Mr. Ryle said the data would be collected through interviews and staff surveys, and through the measures each company uses to assess its productivity.

“We’ll be analyzing how employees respond to having an extra day off, in terms of stress and burnout, job and life satisfaction, health, sleep, energy use, travel and many other aspects of life,” Juliet Schor, a sociology professor at Boston College and the lead researcher on the project, said.

Source: Britain Tests a 4-Day Workweek | The New York Times

The rise of first-party online tracking

In a startling example of the Matthew effect of accumulated advantage, the incumbent advertising giants are actually being strengthened by legislation aimed to curb their influence. Because, of course.

For years, digital businesses relied on what is known as “third party” tracking. Companies such as Facebook and Google deployed technology to trail people everywhere they went online. If someone scrolled through Instagram and then browsed an online shoe store, marketers could use that information to target footwear ads to that person and reap a sale.

[…]

Now tracking has shifted to what is known as “first party” tracking. With this method, people are not being trailed from app to app or site to site. But companies are still gathering information on what people are doing on their specific site or app, with users’ consent. This kind of tracking, which companies have practiced for years, is growing.

[…]

The rise of this tracking has implications for digital advertising, which has depended on user data to know where to aim promotions. It tilts the playing field toward large digital ecosystems such as Google, Snap, TikTok, Amazon and Pinterest, which have millions of their own users and have amassed information on them. Smaller brands have to turn to those platforms if they want to advertise to find new customers.

Source: How You’re Still Being Tracked on the Internet | The New York Times

Unsolicited advice might not be so bad after all?

I’ve followed Tressie McMillan Cottom on Twitter ever since she did a keynote for ALT a few years ago. In this article for The New York Times, she talks about ‘advice culture’.

Cottom is wonderfully forthright in her interactions on Twitter, so I was expecting her to rail against advice culture. Instead, she talks about it as a form of small talk, and (I suppose) a form of necessary social glue.

In the social media era, advice culture feels bigger and more pervasive than ever. After all, what is social media if not the gamification of advice? Every time we post something on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, we are implicitly asking others to make a judgment of us. And we find ourselves unable to understand why someone would post or share an experience if not to solicit our evaluation. That is what “likes” and comments and “friending” has done to our brains…

Advice culture is so pervasive that it must serve some other function, do something more than assuage insecurities or performing status. Sociologists generally agree that advice is up there with small talk for how it facilitates human connection between strangers. But I recently began thinking advice is no longer a mere subset of small talk but has become our culture’s default common language. Advice is small talk. The decline of social associations like the Rotary Club and the bowling leagues not only weakened our connections to community; it also atrophied our linguistic tool kit.

Source: Why Everyone Is Always Giving Unsolicited Advice | The New York Times