Today was an auspicious day. Just as many good days throughout history, it started like crap. Yesterday afternoon, I had a major flat tire on my cab which lead me to staying put all night rather than running the highway at night as I like. Staying put shifted my schedule and caused a late start this morning. Nevertheless, I managed to get to one of my familiar neighborhoods this afternoon and I was headed to the grocery store. I travel with a bike hanging on the back of my cab, but when I got it down, the threaded cap on the quick release of my front wheel was missing; it must have vibrated loose. The bike was out of action.
None of this sounds like positive news yet, but hang on. Luckily, the grocery store is only about seven tenths of a mile from the truckstop. Even better luck, when I googled “bicycle shop near me” there was one right between me and the Kroger store! I got out my knapsack rather than my bicycle saddlebags and trudged off for the bicycle shop and the grocery.
I expected to have to buy a whole skewer rod assembly or maybe even an entire rim at the bike shop. Yet when I explained my trouble, the bike tech dude grabbed a gallon-size zip lock bag full of random skewer assembly parts out of a drawer. He dug through and found me the threaded cap and the spring that I was missing. After discussing some options for hanging the bike in a better way, I bought a bike fork mount; something I’ve been considering as a solution. With that he threw in the skewer rod parts for free!
So I hiked on to Kroger and picked up several days worth of provisions. At the checkout counter, the sweet older southern lady asked if I had a Kroger card. I checked my wallet but didn’t, so she suggested I try a phone number. I thought about it for a minute and entered a number literally four phones ago; the last time I remember shopping regularly at a Kroger. “Yep, there you go, it took it,” the sweet lady said. “Saved you $8.74!”
After walking back to the truck stop with a full knapsack on my back and eight or ten pounds of fruit in two grocery bags -- one in each hand -- I was a little warm when I got back to the truck. I just happened to be at a truck stop chain where I rarely fuel. I wasn’t sure that I had a shower on my card [truckstops have loyalty cards just like grocery stores and give a free shower with a fill-up]. The back of my shirt was soaked through from the heat of carrying the pack and I was soaking through a couple spots on the front of my shirt. When one of the clerks saw me walking in -- really needing a shower -- he handed me a key freely without checking my card. “Here ya go, man”, he said with a nod and a wink.
So, critical bike parts free, a good grocery discount and a free shower all in the space of two hours or so! And now for the meat of the project -- hack my news feed, please.
Some of you may recall that Facebook got in some hot water in June 2014 when it was revealed that they had run a social experiment on almost 700,000 people without notifying them.
From an article in the Guardian at the time: “One test reduced users' exposure to their friends' "positive emotional content", resulting in fewer positive posts of their own. Another test reduced exposure to "negative emotional content" and the opposite happened.”
A little creepy perhaps, but without taking a side on the issue, this is great news! What an excellent hack: your positive posts lead to your friends being more positive with their own posts, which will lead to all of their friends [including you] being more positive. This is viral by definition; scientifically proven.
We are in control of this and can change all of our lives together. Let’s resist getting mired in the negative bullshit that is so easily trafficked online.
Let’s infect our social media with positive posts!
So, it may sound like I've gone over the edge and I'm singing about unicorns and rainbows in a straitjacket, but ...
... it could still work. Let's try it.