Issue 04: The Slow Scroll
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Welcome to Issue 04

Thanks for tuning into the The Slow Scroll. This week, we're taking a look at how technology may be liberating or crushing in the Orwellian sense. On the bright side, we can turn off the tech and simply say hello to strangers to help ease the existential angst. Read on for more. 

'Doublethink' + Deep fakes = trouble?

While we don't live in a totalitarian society, this piece from The Atlantic does argue that we are constantly watching ourselves. 1984 is making headlines again in 2019, and the concept of doublethink is making everyone...think twice again about how information is disseminated through technology, and used to exert influence upon politics and our lives.

For those who need a refresher from the mandatory high school read, double think is "the acceptance of or mental capacity to accept contrary opinions or beliefs at the same time, especially as a result of political indoctrination." The classic examples from 1984 itself read as: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. Perhaps in newspeak today might one say... TECHNOLOGY IS GOD?

Especially worrisome is that we live in a world where deepfakes have already been used to deceive people and can be created simply by typing in a few words. Perhaps that's enough encouragement to leave your devices at home and go out and live life in the real world from time to time?

"Friluftsliv" Now Trending

If all this newspeak is freaking you out, turn your attention to the latest Scandavian term to trend over to the English language: friluftsliv, which loosely translates to 'enjoying life outdoors in the fresh air'. 

Latest reports say that on average, "a holidaymaker spends nine hours browsing social media on a week-long break"

There's nothing like the beauty of the great outdoors (and poor cell signal) to get you out of the digital world.

For the curious, this is how to pronounce frilufsliv

Interview: Say Hello With William Cromartie

“If you’re in a corner or in a box, it’s not necessarily because someone put you there, it’s because you’ve agreed to be in that box. Once you realize that no one put you there, you put yourself there that you’re responsible to come out of the box—everything starts to change,” —William Cromartie

If there's somebody who lives in the present, it's BART station agent William Cromartie. We caught up with him and got some tips on saying hello to strangers.

What's the best way to say hi to a stranger?
You just have to be observant and see what physical cues people are sending. You can look at somebody’s face and tell what kind of mood they’re in, and where they are in that precise moment. It starts with the other person and acknowledging where they are right now.

Whenever you speak to someone, look directly in their eyes—it only takes a moment.

How has tech changed how people interact at BART?
Well, people are on their devices more but at times, they can give contradictory information. Instead of people asking for directions, they now ask to plug in their devices because their battery has died. When the technology has failed, that’s an opportunity to go back to the original way. In inclement weather, the GPS systems, Uber fails, when the time is off due to software issues, when it doesn’t work out, the human is the fall back and the fail safe. 

Having a human person describe to you what’s happening is more powerful—I don’t think that’s ever going to change.

How about how tech has changed the way we live in general? 
One of the things that is wrong with America right now, is this overload of information. Before, everyone was on the same page, watching the the same thing. But now, there’s so many other things to watch, so many shows to watch, and so many places to watch all of this content.  It’s harder to share experiences with someone—everyone becomes a compartment of what they like, and just what they like.

Before, there was a common sense, that we were watching the same things and progressing, learning together, but now we just listen to what we like and it’s “if you don’t agree with me, I can delete you, unfriend you,” and “hey if you don’t believe this, please unfriend me,”, which is really disturbing to me. 

"Having a human person describe to you what’s happening is more powerful—I don’t think that’s ever going to change."

What tips would you offer our audience on how to have a healthier relationship with tech?
I think if you’re in a situation with another person, and they’re interacting with their phone, it takes away from the immediacy of the moment. Electronics get in the way. We have a rule, at the dinner table or out at a restaurant, all the phones are put away.  It’s not easy to do, because the device is so persistent, it pings you, it vibrates, it flashes. Sometimes my phone just breaks out into podcast when I’m walking!

It’s like, in the olden days, you’d butt dial a friend, but nowadays, it’s not a friend on the phone, its the media.  Whenever possible, put away the electronics.

Thank you William!  If you've read this all the way through, thank you for your time and attention. We appreciate you and any feedback, so feel free to email us your thoughts on what you see here!

Why ‘The Slow Scroll’?

Social Isolation is Killing Us. Tech companies are failing us. And we’re all hopelessly addicted to our screens.

Living IRL has never been more important.

That’s why we created The Slow Scroll, a weekly newsletter by IRL Labs, sent directly to your inbox (oh the irony). The Slow Scroll curates the latest and most inspiring content and resources, empowering readers to untether and live slowly.
Send this to a friend who needs to slow down. Then grab a cup of coffee with them.

Brought to you by...

Ivan Cash, Editor-in-Chief
Cyrena Lee, Editor and Lead Writer
Erin Ellis, Illustrator

Emily Lin, Producer

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