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10 Indications That The Social Singularity Has Arrived

"The term singularity describes the moment when a civilization changes so much that its rules and technologies are incomprehensible to previous generations. Think of it as a point-of-no-return in history." - Annalee Newitz, "What Is The Singularity And Will You Live To See It?", io9
To be connected is to be social, either latently or actively. And today, the gulf between the "social" and "non-social" person is so vast that the one literally cannot comprehend the other. But the "social" are younger, and they will soon overtake the world.
In the world of "social":
1. Every person is expected to be online in some way.
2. You are expected to be online all the time, or nearly.
3. One mobile device to connect to the Internet is not enough.
4.There are never enough plugs or sufficiently powerful chargers. 
5. Babies learn iPads before they learn English.
6. Presidents take selfies.
7. Brands "talk" on Twitter as though they were human beings.
8. Fifteen-year-old coders have better job prospects than most Ph.D.s.
9. Most everything we wear, own, use or drive will soon be connected to the Internet.
10. The ordinary person is puzzled by the concept of privacy.
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All opinions are my own and do not represent those of my agency or the federal government as a whole. Screenshot: TwoAgesPilgrims.com via Fanpop.com

The most fundamental thing to remember about branding.

...is that it is a form of method acting. You have to actually breathe, eat, sleep, walk, and talk the brand. But know it is always a brand and not real. 

That is critical - the capacity to step back and observe, reflect and recalibrate. To orient everything you do toward a specific, focused,  rational goal.

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Reposting my answer from Quora. All opinions are my own and do not represent those of my agency nor the federal government as a whole.

5 Productivity Secrets Your Boss Won't Tell You

When you're first starting out in your career, it's easy to think that your job consists of "what my boss tells me to do," followed closely by "how my boss tells me to do it." But after fifteen years of study, practice and mostly observation, I've concluded that the most productive employees in the world take a different tack. As follows:
1. Don't work for a boss you don't respect. It's true: There aren't an infinite number of jobs out there, and you don't always get to pick the boss you want. That said, you will inevitably fail at your job if you insist on working for someone you don't think very highly of. Because your feelings will inevitably leak out in your attitude, in your words, and in your work. And when your boss gets wind of the fact that you are contemptuous of them, nothing you do on the job will be right -- even if all the work you do is brilliant. That situation alone is the ultimate productivity-killer.
2. Tell your boss what your boundaries are. All of us have tasks we need to decline. Sometimes they represent a higher volume of "ask" than we can shoulder. Other times, they're too outside our scope of work. Still other times, they violate our sense of integrity. If a request is not doable for you, it's important to say so explicitly.
3. Make a regular schedule for pursuing a passion outside the job. Engaged employees are productive employees, and it's a fact that no work environment can be endlessly engaging. You have something in your heart that you love to do, or maybe it's a few things, and it's nothing to do with work. Even if you feel like your tasks are overwhelming, and you're afraid you can't keep up, force yourself to do what you love for at least one hour a day. You will find that the energy, excitement and empowerment that comes from being fulfilled will "spill over" into the workplace. You'll bring more attention and accuracy to your work, because you'll have the confidence to take charge of the job -- to do as well in the office as you do outside of it.
4. Learn the "iceberg" of your corporate culture. In organizational development we visualize the workplace as a kind of iceberg. Most of what you need to know is submerged beneath the surface, and you can be sure that nobody is fully capable of telling you what lies there. So while you should do the things you're explicitly told to do -- that is, the tip of the iceberg -- most of your time should be spent on the invisible levels. At a very broad level, these include the implicit requirements, meaning things you're supposed to know, and the unspoken ones, meaning things that cannot be articulated. The way to explore these seemingly solidified and impenetrable masses is to ask about the implicit even if it makes you feel stupid. Once you understand that, you will be sophisticated enough to surmise the unspoken.
5. Organize your work into "projects" and "programs," and keep track of them. Everybody has things they need to do once and not again; these can be considered "projects" and their minutiae fill up most of your inbox with a flurry of emails back and forth. The rest of your work, and the more important part consists of "programs," that is things that you will repeat doing on a regular basis and that don't get as much attention. To be a productive employee you have to independently keep track of both of these things, and be able to report on them at a moment's notice. Every successful person I know has a binder or set of folders kept close to the desk, and they're ready to display the contents when the boss shows up and abruptly asks for a briefing.
While it's true that talent is something you're born with, the skills associated with being a great employee are most definitely learned. Anyone can become an invaluable asset, if they only take the time to study and practice.
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All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my agency or the federal government. Photo by Val Pearl via Flickr.

Some Reflections On The Death Of Dave Goldberg

The sudden news hit me pretty hard. I didn't know him, nor do I know Sheryl Sandberg, but there it was. How frightening:
  • That things can go horribly wrong, abruptly, without any explanation at all.
  • That we don't know if this was, punishment, or fate, or what the problem was.
  • That we can't predict our own fate, or the fate of the people we love.
So instead of having fun yesterday in the park with my family, I felt upset. I knew I was bad company and so stayed back while everybody else went boating on the lake.
But it left me with some time, and the time spent reflecting left me feeling better. The dark cloud of disorganized feelings gave way to an orderly think-through. Here's the result in case it's helpful to you:
1. Nobody really knows why bad things happen. We did not create ourselves. So trying to decipher the slings and arrows of fate is irrational.
2. We can only control our own actions, not the results. We have so much technology at our fingertips that it's easy to assume we should somehow make everything perfect all the time. But we can't.
3. Emotions do not help things. Action does. Feelings seem intense and so very real, don't they? They seem like they alone can move mountains. But the only thing that helps things is behavior, grounded in rational risk-benefit calculation.
4. Realizing that we're weak makes growth possible. People who act like they're bulletproof also never learn anything. As Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson puts it, "There is a crack in everything - that's how the light gets in." (Plus they tend to seem like gigantic jerks.)
5. We are deeply loved, all the time, no matter what. I felt pretty bad about myself, sitting there in the park, basically feeling terrible, crying and alone. But there were all the manifestations of G-d, holding me in their arms: sunlight kissing my cheeks, wind wrapping itself around my shoulders like a cloak.
My husband and daughter emerged from the rowboat. "Are you all right?" he said to me.
"Yeah," I said and I meant it.
I don't know who Dave Goldberg was and I don't know why he died. We will never really know the answer, I think.
But that is not the important thing.
By virtue of our existing, G-d always loves us. Fully and completely.
Just the way we are.
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Photo credit: Aftab Uzzaman via Flickr. All opinions are my own and do not represent those of my agency or the federal government as a whole.