Saturday, November 30, 2013

Oh, Sure, Have My Nonexistent Traffic

As you may know, the byline for this blog is 'be less stupid'. I've had it for quite a while. So when Jon Hotchkiss of the Huffington Post shows up announcing a new regular feature he'll be doing that is straight-up called 'Be Less Stupid', I'm going to tend to notice.

But hey, I'm a sport. I'll even go ahead and take up Jon's opening topic today. To demonstrate the topic, have a look at this video.

When you're looking for one thing, you tend to miss other things or changes in the environment going on in the background even if they're also staring you in the face. That's called change blindness. When you see something familiar, you mentally reconstruct an image of what you're looking at even if that's a different image from what you're actually looking at, so subtle changes in it might not get picked up. That is called inattentional blindness. Which means pranks like this can get played on you.

After explaining this, Hotchkiss explains how you put that knowledge to good use. In this case, it's simply knowing your limitations and making decisions based on those limitations. This isn't to say don't make decisions with incomplete information, but it is saying try to leave yourself room to change direction if some contradictory information presents itself.

For example, if a guy uses the byline you've been using to title a feature on a much more popular site, you don't immediately go assume he stole it. You leave open the very large possibility that you're simply too small to get noticed and it's a total coincidence. At the same time, you do leave open the small possibility of nefariousness, because you don't 100% know. On balance, with the information available, you can be very, very confident that there's no harm done or meant, and you can go on based on that. But in the unlikely instance that there was harm meant...

...nah. Really, really not worth it even if there was. Best of luck to you, Jon.

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