Tag Archives: travel

If Facebook Can Experiment, So Can You

Change up your own social algorithm and see what happens.

The Many Faces of FacebookThe world has been aghast lately at the revelation of Facebook’s creepy social experiment. Sure, it’s weird at best and borderline unethical, but it got me thinking: what if we took a cue here and did some experimenting of our own? Can something good come of this?

Smile More

In the past few months I’ve been making the conscious effort to smile more at others. I travel on business regularly, so I’m constantly in front of zillions of service or travel industry workers, whom I’ve been smiling at more so lately just to see what happens: simple grins and a little eye contact for everyone — not weird, extended fake smiles — just friendly, quick expressions at a drive-thru, coffee counter or lunch table.

And you know what? I’ve seen more smiles as a result. So what if it’s a conscious effort on my part? It’s simple enough and is a basically effortless way to give & receive some positivity.

There’s nothing groundbreaking about my informal experiment, but it’s interesting to me that I’ve been doing some content altering of my own here lately and have gotten some useful qualitative feedback, especially in light of the latest Facebook debacle. Here are some more non-scientific but interesting examples:

Making people smile on the London underground

High Fiving Strangers

What about you? Ever changed up your routine or made a conscious effort to see how a certain behavior makes an impression on others? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Making Things Happen: Now Featured by WeAreJUXT

Making Things Happen by rsmithing
Making Things Happen, a photo by rsmithing on Flickr.

Two things I’ve been doing lately: travelling and listening to Beats Antique (often simultaneously). The music is, for me, a perfect mood-setter: stimulating, forward moving, and compelling without lyrics. I saw the band twice in 2012, and captured this image of Zoe Jakes at a gig in Asheville, NC. This snapshot makes the perfect foreground for this vista from above the clouds off Florida’s Gulf Coast, brought together via iPhone with the masks & textures of Photoforge2.

Update 3/3: Now Featured by WeAreJUXT

JUXT LogoBig thanks to the folks at WeAreJUXT for including this image in their weekly showcase! This is the second image of mine featured there (here’s the first) and I’m totally flattered, since they constantly and consistently highlight such great creations with insights from their creators (and I’m not just saying that because I’m there). You should definitely check out the whole JUXT site. Here’s what I say about this image over there:

My favorite art is the kind that gets the viewer to consider things in new ways. I believe that’s the most exciting thing about sharing creativity: the opportunity for a mind-expanding experience. That can happen for me through words, music, or with visual art as in the works of my favorite artists, Salvador Dalí and Jerry Uelsmann. The story behind this image is that I was on a business trip last month and happened to be in the air at just the right time to capture a glorious sunrise from above the clouds. I knew I wanted to remember the moment, but didn’t know what form that would take. This week, the vision hit me: a dancer amid the clouds with selective lighting and textures was what I wanted to make happen. I instantly thought of this silhouette image I shot last year at a show by one of my favorite bands, Beats Antique, which happen to be on heavy rotation during my recent travels. The mysterious form in the foreground is the troupe’s Zoe Jakes as shown backlit from behind a screen with exotic costume accents. The spell-casting pose along with textures, layer modes and and masking in Photoforge2 makes the mind-expansion thing happen.

Vintage Travelers

A view of some well-traveled old souls from the local antique mall. When people carried their bags, dressed for travel, and wore hats. Shot via iPhone using Hipstamatic with Blanko film & John S. Lens.

Have you ever owned this style of suitcase? Do you have memories of your parents or grandparents having such? Ever find anything cool at an antique mall (and if so, what)? Let us hear from you in the comments!

An Airline Gets it… Right?

In these days of security pat-downs, rising travel costs, and seemingly ever-declining customer service, it’s with great interest that I read the story of Mile Runners — freakishly dedicated travelers who go to great lengths (literally) to rack up frequent flier benefits. My favorite part of the article, however, was the official response from Delta:

We take mileage runs and our customers’ commitment to maintaining their SkyMiles Medallion status as confirmation that we’re offering highly desirable benefits to our customers. The lengths our customers will go to gain and maintain their miles are impressive, and we take it as a compliment. [read full story]

I mean, wow — here’s an industry with very real challenges gracefully acknowledging the positive aspect of their powerusers. More importantly, they’re taking the right approach from a customer service and media perspective. And rightly so; everyone wins in this story:

  • Delta gets confirmation that frequent flier benefits are attractive
  • They get some free advertising for said benefits
  • Mile runners get a bit of glamor with their specialized knowledge

All of the above is a win-win for any company and its superfans, especially a company facing the sometimes very public challenges Delta and other airlines surely do every day. Props to Delta and spokesperson Chris Kelly Singley for getting this one right.

I don’t know that I’d ever take up mile-running, but it’s good to know the industry might be behind me if I did.

What do you think? Did Delta do right? Or do you have a similar example to share? Let us hear from you in the comments!

Recent travel photos. More over at Instagram, or on the web at Statigr.am

Thanks to Mary Julia Smith for inspiring this story. See also: Shira Levine, MilePoint.