Friday, August 03, 2007

Looking at your Johnson

Recently I posted about the short comings of stereotypes (and when they are necessary).

Well Lee Hopkins points out the shortcomings much better than I did, and gives a similar reason... attention span.

While I pointed out that a stereotype in necessary for a 30 second advert (even if you intend to show that the stereotype is incorrect) Lee does one better... he tells a story.

---quoting Lee Hopkins...
“Johnson!” barked the bulldog-like senior manager, “Get in here NOW!”

But Johnson failed to appear.

“JOHNSON!” screamed the bulldog.

Still no appearance of the missing subordinate.

Who immediately feels some sort of pity for Johnson? Who feels some form of anger towards the bulldog-like manager?

Why? You don’t know the context.

For all you know Johnson could have been away photocopying confidential information to pass to a competitor; the bulldog’s shouts might have been a cry for help because they’re having a heart attack — the screams no louder than a whisper to an outsider’s ears.

But this is the Age of the Instant Judgement, when we make snap decisions that can affect lives without taking the time to understand the context.


He goes on to point out that a lot of the blogging world and the entire Web 2.0 world means that there is a lot of first reactions. With the high output of posts and blogs, we skim posts. We skim information, a long post tends to be something put aside for later digestion (and might be removed from your reader, or memory when the next nugget of information arrives.

Slightly depressing, eh?


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