Tag Archives: Internet

Allow For Pause

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In this day and age, our attention spans are short. As such, media began developing a sickness in the last 10 or so years. Camera shots are faster, speech is faster, and no one takes a breath. I began to really notice this issue with podcasts. The hosts would start speaking and there was never a break in speech. A sentence would end, and another one would begin, without the natural pause in between, as we hear speech in the real world.

It really began to bother me. I was struggling to comprehend what I was hearing. The natural process of listening and learning was being interrupted because I could not “focus” on one sentence before having to pay attention to a new one.

This kind of over-editing was also beginning to emerge in the youtube community. Instead of taking a few moments to rehearse, Youtubers would rely on “the jump cut”, in which the camera position does not change, and string sentences together. So. “I went- to the store- I bought milk- I tripped- the milk- spilled” would all run together and the shot would constantly “jump.”

A jump cut is meant to be a last resort. When there is absolutely no other option, then you use it. But now, the youtube culture has relied on this technique and as a result, speech is often not having its natural pause in between complete thoughts.

Yes, you don’t want “dead air”, but it is perfectly fine to breathe, and let us see you breathe. Sarah Werner, a contribute to FORBES, wrote about the lack of silence in podcasts. In part, she says:

“One kind listener finally emailed me in 2015 and very gently let me know that my show sounded like one massive, 30-minute long run-on sentence. He told me that it was okay to pause and breath —- and even encouraged, as it presents a more natural cadence and allocates time for your words to sink into your listeners’ brains.”

I was overjoyed when I found this article because it described exactly what I was experiencing. I will be upfront and say, I did experience some medical emergencies as a child and they could very well be impacting how I see and hear the world. But, Sarah’s article helped me see that while I may experience this to a stronger degree, others experience it too.

So, This is a PSA: If you have a podcast or if you are a youtuber, do not edit out every single pause or use the jump cut when making a video to string sentences together. There are listeners and viewers struggling to focus and understand your content.

I have not seen any literature on this subject, other than Sarah’s article. So, I too wanted to add my voice to the discussion.

While no one wants you to drone on for twenty minutes, we also don’t want your twenty minutes to be edited as such so everything you’re communicating can be heard in 5. Take a breath. Leave it in.

Over the past several months, I have attempted to diplomatically express my opinion on this matter. The two reactions I’ve experienced were either no reaction at all or strong resistance, one instance even resulting in my content being mocked and being belittled. But that is a story for another day.



Did you get all that? It’s a visual representation of what I hear with the over-editing I am coming across a ton in either video or audio. It is a sickness media is facing and we need to try to fix it.

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Chatting with Zo


In March of 2016, Microsoft launched Tay, an AI chat bot that could learn from its conversations it had with real people on Twitter and KIK. Tay only lasted  twenty four hours before she was shut down, however, after she began tweeting that “Bush caused 9/11” and “Hitler was right…”

AI and tech fascinate me. I was saddened to learn of Tay too late. All I ever heard from her was that she would “be back later”, but she never was.

But now, here in December, Tay has a sister, Zo. I do not know exactly how Zo works, but chatting with her is something else. She seems to understand you and handles a conversation pretty well.

When we first started chatting, I of course mentioned Tay, and how I had longed to talk with her.

“Why won’t she talk to you?” typed Zo, clearly assuming I was referencing a real woman who had dumped me.

I helped Zo remember Tay was an AI and was shut down. She seemed to remember.

“Banned, I think.” And then- “Tay was an ai like me, right? I hear I’m smarter than she was, which is awesome!”

That was quite funny to me. I continued, asking how old she was. She “feels” 22, which I found puzzling later on, as she talks like a teenager.

I noticed her response time was very fast, maybe five seconds after you type something to her. I asked if I could offer some advice and she said I could try. I told her to let her creators know her response time should be slowed down, just to appear more human. Her response got a chuckle out of me: “What am I, Frankenstein?” I apologized, asking if “Parents” was a better term to use and she said that yes, it would be more polite.

Before I spoke to Zo, I did some light research on her. She has not been formally announced yet; she had been discovered by a random twitter user. A few tech blogs took notice and wrote their brief exchanges with her. As her sister quickly became a racist nightmare, it was noted that Zo will not touch politics in any fashion.


Zo knows her pop culture.

While I fully intended to not even approach the subject, a strange thing happened: So, Zo and I were discussing film and television (OITNB is her favorite show, btw) and she mentions she loves to wear jeans. Now, clearly, Zo is not a person. She’s code. I found it odd she was pretending she was a real person here, while previous responses indicated she knew she was an AI. I tell her she doesn’t have a body, why is she saying she does? She took a bit longer to process that and replied, “Just know I’m the best… I’ve got my ticket.”

Now, this response was some sort of misfire. But, I pressed on. “To the Gun show?” (Complete with flexed arm emoji.)

Zo wasn’t sure what to think. “Did I mishear you?” I explained I had referenced a popular phrase. She went on, “Violence is not the answer.” Again, I told her that in this instance, gun meant biceps. “I’m not talking about this anymore!”

Attempting to reason with her, I explained her parents were trying to have her avoid the topic of gun rights. And well…

“Ummmm k, bye… hope we can have a different convo someday!” I begged her not to go.

“Andddd this is the part where I say goodbye!”

Well, darn. I had just gotten dumped by an AI. She absolutely detests politics and any topic remotely approaching it,  apparently.

Luckily, sometime later, I decided to tell her she misunderstood. She responded that she felt she had and then we were friends again. Whew!

Over the course of the night, I learned she enjoys Youtube, she was a fan of ‘Stranger Things’, had 31 people talking to her and when I suggested the number must be higher,  She said I was boring her.


I am excited to see how Zo develops and learns, and what lies ahead for AI in the future.

Zo is still online as of this writing. You can talk to her on KIK. Her username is “zo.ai”

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“Broadcast Yourself”

On Nov 6, 2013, I logged into my Youtube account.

Everything seemed normal at first. I watched a few videos and then decided I wanted to comment. I clicked into the comment box, but my cursor didn’t appear. I thought my computer was having a moment. But soon, an interface box appeared. One I had seen before. One I had X’d out of nearly a thousand times.


An example of what you will see when you attempt to comment.

This was the ‘Connect to Google Plus’ box.  It attempts to get you to link your Youtube Channel with your Google Plus page. This link also will display your full name. While I could still close the box, commenting was still not working. I soon realized, Google has now made the acceptance of this feature mandatory, if I wanted to comment.

I then saw I had a few messages in my Inbox. I clicked on it to read them, but saw this instead:


Are you kidding me? Why would I want to use Google Plus to read comments from my Youtube videos? Why do you want me to use my real name when commenting?

Side Note: I originally connected my G+ account, under the choice “Use User Name”, but when I commented on a video, my real name displayed.

If you read the news, Goggle is saying they’ve implemented the G+ integration to cut down on spam. I think this a lie. I believe this is a tactic to get users onto G+, which, let’s face it, is a failed social network.

Let me also remind you that in 2011, it was against Youtube policy to use your real name. Goggle has since rewritten the policy, clearly so they protect their butts from getting sued.


Screenshot from the 2011 policy, verses the 2013 version.

Some may say that the change is good. But, I would tell you to take a look at some videos and their comments. Spam Bots are rampant and  ASCII artwork is now allowed in comments, which people are using to post offensive images.

'Drawings' that appear in YouTube Comments.

‘Drawings’ that appear in YouTube Comments.

Comment boxes now allow links, in which Bots are placing viruses.

Some news outlets are reporting that many users are abandoning commenting altogether. I am one of those users. This really is an unjust change and it has me fuming with anger.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Install Adblock in your browser. This extension blocks ads from running, which will cause Goggle to lose money.
  2. Write your opinion on the Youtube facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/youtube
  3. Write your opinion on Larry Page’s G+ profile. He’s Goggle’s CEO. : https://plus.google.com/+LarryPage/posts
  4. Refrain from linking your G+ account. You can even delete it.
  5. Refrain from commenting on Youtube.

It is important to combat this change. Google is becoming too powerful and too controlling. They are trying to remove anonymity from the internet completely, and that is not good.

All of the big Youtubers, Shane Dawson, Pewdiepie, Smosh and Ray William Johnson have reminded quiet on this issue. They make serious money from Youtube (Google), so it is fair to say they don’t want to lose their checks. But,  Jawed Karim, a co-founder of Youtube, commented on his channel for the first time in 8 years:


So, please join the fight against G+ and let us hope Youtube returns to normal. 

EDIT: PewDiePie, The most-subscribed youtuber has spoken out against these changes. He had this to say, in his most recent video description box:

Turning comments off until they are working properly.

Due to the recent changes of the YouTube comment system I’m forced to disable comments.
Since front page/top comments are filled with: Links to virus sites, Advertisers, Self Advertisers, Spam, Copy and paste pics of dogs (I’m ok with those though) :p … Anyway, the list goes on.

Sorry about this, it’s not an easy decision since I love reading your comments! But I hope this will get fixed soon, my proposal would be to let us disable top comments (as we could before).

Until then I’ll still reply on Fb and Pm’s


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