Every day I get up and I say, “It’s a big day!” Oftentimes, I tweet it.
If asked why, my response is always, “Every day is a big day.”
Three reasons why every day is a big day:
1) Life can be short.
Both of my parents died young (54 and 69; here is a post about my mom’s recent passing). And here I am at age 43. Best case scenario, my life is half over. I have too many things that I want to do with my life to waste time on non-big days.
2) Life can change quickly.
You don’t what is around the corner. You think you have it good and you have all the time for the things that you want to do, but the recent events here in Boulder highlight how things can change quickly (for the worse). Treating every day like a big day avoids regret. [Addendum: here is what happened at my house. Thankfully, it was not so bad.]
3) Life should have some urgency.
This is not a gimmick. I truly believe it. You have heard this message before (e.g., Carpe diem and all thet), and it still holds true – even if Robin Williams is not saying it.
Do others support the Big Day Theory (though, technically, it is not a theory)?
Yes. I have shared the Big Day Theory with a few friends and loved ones. They like it and use it.
I like what Darwyn Metzger has to say about it:
The magic behind “Today’s a big day” (TABD) is that it creates an expectation for greatness out of a vacuum of mundane communications.
TABD is especially powerful over text message where we often initiate conversations out of need or agenda. Imagine being awakened by a text early in the morning from your mother. Before you even read it, you might find yourself imagining all of the terrible subjects that the text is almost certainly going to dump into your lap… But when you read “Today’s a big day” you are hit with an immediate sense of relief, of optimism & immensely positive curiosity.
Consistently for every ten TABDs I send, I get seven responses of “Why is today a big day?” (to which the proper reply is “because everyday is a big day), three of “that is great news!” and I am yet to receive a single “No it isn’t…”
This reinforces something that I have believed since I was a boy… We all inherently want to believe that today is big, we just forget to expect it.”
Well said, Darwyn. Thank you.
Reposting something I wrote last year during last the Bronco’s season opener:
It may sound crazy to some of you, but I recently made the choice to stop caring about football. The seeds were planted many years ago when I skipped a Super Bowl (the Packers were playing, I think.)
The three reasons why I stopped caring about football:
Three-and-half hours sitting on my butt is not good for me. I already sit a lot for work, and evidently sitting is the new thing that will kill me.
My team will lose 50% of the time. Even if my team betters those odds, because losses affect people more than wins (i.e, gains), watching football makes me more unhappy than happy. (I once wrote a paper about this phenomenon.) Moreover, who wants to put their happiness (literally) in the hands of a bunch of athletes and an oblong ball?
3) Opportunity costs
The time I spent caring about football could be better spent doing other important things.
This is not one of my reasons, but Seinfeld has a nice take on my choice:
Caveat: I still watch the occasional game, which I will consider doing if: A) friends are involved, B) the game is in some way compelling, and C) I am asked nicely.
Which is the most sinful country?
Simon’s project is really fun, but it has challenges. If you want to measure the frequency of sins, then you need to find a proxy for that sin. That is not easy.
Fairness in grading is important to teachers and students. I am trying a new technique with the hope of increasing fairness. I have invited members of the Denver/Boulder business community to serve on a “Board of Evaluators” for my consumer behavior class. Later this semester, students will be creating short YouTube presentation on branding. The board, which has a couple of former students on it, will be involved in grading it.
And here they are:
- @lindspanther: Currently in sales at Gnip. Previously held stints at Splick-it and Major League Gaming. CU Alumni. Ignite speaker and marathon runner.
On occasion, they will check in on the class hashtag (i.e., Clashtag): #m3250
Twitter recently surpassed 200 million users, and it is about to get a few more. I am asking my consumer behavior students to use it as part of their course “engagement.” From my syllabus:
You will be evaluated based on the quality and quantity of your participation in class and on the clashtag (#m3250), as assessed according to relevance, depth, sincerity, and consistency. (There is no expectation that anyone “follow” anyone else.)
Class + Hashtag = Clashtag. Get it?
I asked Linds Panther (@lindspanther) to write about why business students should be on Twitter. Linds is a former student and current member of the class’s Board of Evaluators (more about that later).
Guest post by Linds Panther: Why you should be on Twitter.
Ask someone who is unfamiliar with Twitter whether they could see themselves using the service, and it’s likely that they’ll respond, “Why would anyone care to hear about what I ate for breakfast?”
A common misconception of Twitter is that it’s all about tracking brief updates about what one person is doing throughout his or her day. On the contrary, Twitter provides much more, allowing instant access to diverse conversations and the exchange of real-time information on a global scale. For example, many recent news stories are first reported on Twitter (e.g, Osama Bin Laden’s death). Twitter, moreover, facilitated real-time text, photo and video updates for on-the-ground reports of Hurricane Sandy and the Boston Marathon bombing.
Not only has Twitter accelerated the change in how you consume news in the digital age, but it has also fundamentally shifted how consumer brands across a wide array of industries reach their consumers. While brands are often quick to associate themselves with technologies that draw a large base, because of Twitter’s conversational capabilities, these same brands have needed to develop new strategies to stand out within the mass market: through meaningful dialogue that resonates with their audience.
Marketers are using it
Marketing managers often use the term “earned media” to describe the results of their social media efforts, but for the brands reaping the benefits of a strong Twitter presence, it comes down to creativity and adaptability. In a recent case, Nabisco, the parent company of Oreo (@Oreo), seized a golden opportunity during the blackout of Super Bowl XLVII by using Twitter to pull off a timely campaign on the biggest advertising stage of the year. Similarly, Proctor & Gamble, parent company of Old Spice (@OldSpice), famously took to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter during its 2010 The Man Your Man Could Smell Like campaign to encourage users to submit questions for The Old Spice Man. The hand-picked entries received a personal video response that was produced and published to YouTube within just a matter of hours. In addition to raising the bar for marketers and agencies looking to reach consumers, Twitter’s proliferation has also changed the way consumers communicate with brands.
By default, every Tweet is made public on the network and accessible to anyone on the web. Transparency means that brands are no longer solely in control what’s being said about their products and services. Instead, it’s what their consumers are saying about them that ultimately shapes the brand. This means that the power of voice has effectively shifted from corporations down to the individual. To see this effect in action, just look for a Twitter user who has publicly Tweeted his or her discontent with a brand. Due, in part, to this leveled playing field—one that promotes transparency in dialogue—Twitter tends to be the most effective route for getting a response to a support-related inquiry for many of the top consumer brands.
Aside from being the go-to destination for breaking news and dialogue with consumer brands, Twitter represents an important avenue for personal brand development, too. Everyone from thought leaders, industry experts, athletes, celebrities and corporate executives are using Twitter daily to interact directly with their followers and attract new ones. Legendary Skateboarder Tony Hawk (@TonyHawk) and his team run an annual Easter egg hunt of sorts using Twitter to reveal the location of various goodies that have been hidden around the world. Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) is known to interact with constituents on a regular basis via Twitter. While some of the world’s most influential and recognizable people have found their voice on Twitter, it’s far from an exclusive community of individuals.
A global conversation
Twitter makes it simple to listen to, and communicate with, any of these people across the globe, instantly. Unlike other digital forms of communication such as email and text messaging, which allow one person to communicate with specified individual or group of recipients, Twitter allows people to share thoughts and information on a truly global scale. For the millions of users who access the service regularly to follow the people and companies they care about, Twitter represents an important medium for discovering and organizing with other like-minded individuals.
Within Pete’s consumer behavior class, Twitter will add a new dimension to the course by enabling students to engage in fast, back-channel communication and access information inside and outside the classroom. It will serve as a substitute for message boards within the course website.
I expect a mixed reactions to the use of Twitter in my course. I am optimistic, however, that most students will eventually find value in the tool. Importantly, it should increase the ease and frequency of their communication with other students. I also predict that brands and members of the business community will be drawn into the conversation on the clashtag (#m325), thus increasing value for the class.
If you are not familiar with how to use Twitter, here is a primer on the microblogging tool. If you prefer a book, check out @markwschaefer’s book The Tao of Twitter. (At least one professor is going even farther, using Klout scores as part of the evaluation of a course project.)
There is not much research on Twitter. One paper finds that Twitter helps increase engagement within a consumer behavior course:
Rinaldo, S. B., S. Tapp, and D. A. Laverie. 2011. Learning by tweeting: Using Twitter as a pedagogical tool. Journal of Marketing Education 33(2): 193–203
Marketing professionals use Twitter extensively for communicating with and monitoring customers, for observing competitors, and for analyzing chatter concerning brands, products, and company image. Can professors use Twitter to engage students in conversation about a marketing course? The authors argue that Twitter has many benefits for marketing educators who are interested in engaging students in experiential learning. In a real-time environment for student learning, professors may use Twitter for direct communication with students to generate discussion and interest in the course topics and examples. Just as marketers use Twitter to generate interest, discussion, and brand image, educators can use Twitter to generate this interest in a course through social media. Furthermore, Twitter is a fast, easy method for making announcements, solving student issues, and performing course-related administrative duties. In three studies, both quantitative and qualitative data suggest that when students engage in Twitter use with the professor, students feel better prepared for future careers. In addition, students indicate that Twitter facilitates achieving traditional educational goals. The qualitative data offer insights into potential problems. Suggestions for educators interested in using Twitter are offered.
There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. — Niccolo Machiavelli; The Prince (1532).
Indeed. Making change – personally, professionally or organizationally – is important, yet difficult. Why?
One reason why change is hard is that potentially negative outcomes often have a greater on perceptions and behavior than potentially positive outcomes – which is typically known as negativity bias or loss aversion. I even wrote a paper about it.
For example, how much money would you need to win in order to play this gamble?
50% chance to win $____ and a 50% chance to lose $900
Consistent with a loss aversion account, people demand to win about twice the losing amount ($1800 – $2000) to accept the gamble.
When choosing between starting a new path or sticking with an old one, loss aversion often causes a strong preference for the status quo. The negative aspects of the new path loom larger than the positive aspects.
A variety of strategies can help facilitate change (e.g., nudges, increasing rewards). Academics and industry types provide numerous solutions:
-Professor John Kotter’s 8 step approach.
-The Prosci system.
-Lewin’s change management model.
-McKinsey has a solution too, with their 7S framework:
-Chip and Dan Heath’s (excellent) approach, documented in their book Switch.
Add me to the list. I will be talking about how to use humor as way to address the status quo bias. My talk suggests that humor helps overcome loss aversion by: 1) creating positive emotion (increasing positivity and decreasing negativity), and 2) facilitating a reappraisal of potentially negative outcomes (transforming a violation into a benign violation). More on this later.
Time to put humor under the microscope
Daniel Dennett makes a good point in his TED talk, Cute, Sexy, Sweet, Funny, when he argues our sense of humor must accomplish important evolutionary objectives. Why else would we find things funny and laugh about them – pretty unusual activities, when you think about it – unless doing so helped us survive as a species?
According to Dennett, humor evolved as a way for the mind to incentivize the discovery of mistaken leaps to conclusion – or as he puts in his talk, it’s “A neural system wired up to reward the brain for doing a grubby clerical job.” This so-called “Hurley model” (named after lead author Matthew Hurley), makes sense from an evolutionary perspective.
But the Hurley model of humor is based solely on argumentation, intuition and thought experiments. To be sure, that’s been the de facto way of devising humor theories ever since Plato and Aristotle contemplated the meaning of comedy. But the results don’t always withstand scientific scrutiny. Take incongruity theories of humor, which are based on the intuitively-appealing belief that humor arises when people discover there’s an inconsistency between what they expect to happen and what actually happens. In truth, scientists have found that in comedy, unexpectedness is overrated. In 1974, two University of Tennessee professors had undergraduates listen to a variety of Bill Cosby and Phyllis Diller routines. Before each punch line, the researchers stopped the tape and asked the students to predict what came next. Then another group of students was asked to rate the funniness of each of the comedians’ jokes. Comparing the results, the professors found the predictable punch lines (i.e., the less incongruous ones) were rated considerably funnier than those that were unexpected.
That’s why when Pete, the scholarly half of our duo, began wondering what makes things funny, he launched the Humor Research Lab, aka HuRL. With his collaborator Caleb Warren, he’s been developing and testing the benign violation theory, the idea that humor arises when something that is unsettling, threatening or wrong (i.e., a violation) simultaneously seems acceptable, safe or okay (i.e., benign). All kinds of humor fit the model, from puns to sarcasm to tickling. But more importantly, the theory is being validated experimentally.
In one HuRL experiment, a researcher approached undergraduates and asked them to read a scenario inspired by Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. In the story, Keith’s father tells his son to do whatever he wished with his cremated remains—so when his father passed away, Keith snorts the ashes. Those who found the tale of Keith and his obscene schnozzle simultaneously “wrong” (a violation) and “not wrong” (benign) were three times more likely to smile or laugh than either those who deemed Keith’s actions either completely okay or utterly unacceptable. If appreciating humor is simply a mental debugging system, as Dennett suggests, these results are hard to account for.
Also encouraging are the results from our Humor Code project, a global expedition exploring what makes things funny. Everywhere, we found evidence that humor is born from violations, from things that are wrong, threatening or disruptive. We accompanied Patch Adams on a clown mission into the Amazon, where the jokesters helped impoverished communities by breaking down social norms and shattering cultural preconceptions. And in Palestine, we discovered a vibrant comedy scene mining the decades-long turmoil for laughs.
Similarly, it was clear from our travels that humor only takes root when situations are also playful, safe, or otherwise benign. In New York, we learned from the geniuses behind The Onion that even something as terrible as the 9/11 terrorist attacks can be joked about in a timely fashion, as long as the butt of the joke deserves it. And in Japan, we discovered that nearly anything goes in the name of hilarity, but only when it occurs in certain “safe” locales like comedy theaters, odd game shows, and of course, bars.
What’s nice about the benign violation theory is that it fits from an evolutionary perspective, too. According to influential work by evolutionary scholars Matthew Gervais and David Sloan Wilson, laughter likely first evolved between 2 and 4 million years ago as outgrowth of the breathy panting emitted by primates during play fighting. This early form of laughter was a signal that danger was low, and now was as good a time as any to explore, to play, to lay the social groundwork that would lead to civilization.
“There could be a violation or incongruity of expectation going on, but what’s being signaled by the laughter is that it’s not serious, or it’s benign,” Gervais told us. “What the humor is indexing and the laughter is signaling is, ‘this is an opportunity for learning. It signals this is a non-serious novelty, and recruits others to play and explore cognitively, emotionally and socially with the implications of this novelty.”
Do benign violations underlie all of what we have evolved to find funny? To be sure, arguments, intuitions and world-wide travels will inform the answer – but, in the end, let’s settle it in the lab.
For more about the Humor Code, check our:
Huffington Post blog.
Psychology Today blog.
Most importantly, pre-order a copy of The Humor Code, to be published by Simon & Schuster on April 1, 2014.
Reposted from last year.
Doctoral students and post-docs who hope to score an assistant professor job in marketing will soon be headed to the AMA’s Summer Educator Conference. There they will participate in a round of short interviews in which they present their best research.
Not to terrify the candidates too much, but here is one of the more notable nuggets from his post:
The interviewers will have looked at your CV for about one minute a couple months ago, and for a few seconds as you walked in the room. They will never have read your entire cover letter, and they will have forgotten most of what they did read. They could care less about your advisor and will get offended that you didn’t cite their advisor. They’ll pay attention to everything they’re supposed to ignore and assume nothing except what you repeat five times. Flouting 50 years of research in judgment and decision-making, they’ll attach a small weight to your CV and fly you out based on your interview.
I like Twitter. I use it (And I will be using it for my consumer behavior course this fall. More on that later). On occasion, I notice something that re-reinforces my belief that Twitter is becoming an increasingly important.
Here are three interesting (political) things that I have recently noticed on Twitter:
-Israeli defense forces used Twitter to warn Hamas (11/14/13)
Egypt’s President tweets about rebellion (7/2/13).
What striking thing – political or not – have you seen on Twitter?
Bram Van den Bergh, assistant professor at Erasmus University, answers the question:
Prius drivers, what do you think? Are you signaling that you care? Are you signaling that you are paid? (Note: electric cars are not actually cheaper at this point).
Read more about the paper HERE.
Griskevicius, V., Tybur, J. & Van den Bergh, B. (2010). Going green to be seen: Status, reputation, and conspicuous conservation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(3), 392-404.
Why do people purchase proenvironmental “green” products? We argue that buying such products can be construed as altruistic, since green products often cost more and are of lower quality than their conventional counterparts, but green goods benefit the environment for everyone. Because biologists have observed that altruism might function as a “costly signal” associated with status, we examined in 3 experiments how status motives influenced desire for green products. Activating status motives led people to choose green products over more luxurious nongreen products. Supporting the notion that altruism signals one’s willingness and ability to incur costs for others’ benefit, status motives increased desire for green products when shopping in public (but not private) and when green products cost more (but not less) than nongreen products. Findings suggest that status competition can be used to promote proenvironmental behavior.