This week we are taking a look at another WNYC show. After Radiolab last week, I just randomly scrolled down the list and happened to pick Note to Self before I even realized it was a WNYC show. Either way – I wasn’t bummed to see that my next show was from the high-quality producer. Additionally, as someone who has grown up with technology for the vast majority of their life many of the negatives are a little less obvious to me, which made this podcast very interesting.
Even their bio has me learning new things about technology. “Is your phone watching you? Can wexting make you smarter? Are your kids real? These and other essential quandaries facing anyone trying to preserve their humanity in the digital age. Join host Manoush Zomorodi for your weekly reminder to question everything.”
Ok – hold up. ‘Wexting?’ Stay right here while I Google that…
Ahh, walking and texting. Alright then – that’s a new one to me. Am I not that technologically hip? Either way host Manoush Zomorodi does a great job of looking at different things that are inherent to humanity and how technology is changing them. Some of these you have probably asked yourself. “Is my phone watching me?” “How ethical is Facebook’s ad tracking?” Some of them maybe not so much, like “how is technology changing politics?” This is just one of the few points that make this show great – let’s dive in…
High Production Value (Again – I know…)
It feels like a bit of a cop out to use High Production Value as one of my main points but it really does add to the show. Plus, it isn’t always a key point to a podcast. Some of the top podcasts don’t have this level of production and that is kind of the magic behind why they work.
In this case, the production of Note to Self is a key point. This extra value is used to set the scene and paint the ideas in a very clear manner. Instead of people just chatting about the danger of technology the show has a specific purpose to it. Each episode wants to make a specific point or question a specific topic. The production and editing will help all of the different ideas surrounding the subject to weave into one. It makes things into sort of a story, which helps ideas stick.
Personally, I am someone who is really bad at listening to people talk about problems when they don’t mention a solution. It gets on my nerves and frankly is a major weakness of mine. Fortunately, Note to Self tends to have quality and actionable advice. Each show isn’t just “oh technology is bad. It’s scary. Humanity is doomed.” It’s much more calculated. It goes into the details of the problem and really breaks it down from several angles and often ends up giving advice. What can people do about their own distracted driving? How can we change the behavior of other distracted drivers? How can we help our parents understand technology? Or why Googling a bunch of random things can help throw off government tracking.
Being able to listen to and understand different ideas – especially when you disagree – is really good for the human mind. While listening to Note to Self I found myself analyzing the different perspectives, forming my own opinions on things, and even disagreeing with the consensus from time to time. But this is the beauty of things. Even if I disagree, I still enjoy the show and I gain a better understanding of how other people view technology. Don’t just live in a bubble and focus on the positives of technology that the tech geeks talk about. Expand yo brain – listen to Note to Self.