evolution tech smallLast week sometime, a passing acquaintance on Facebook referred to something he had written 10 years ago regarding joining the final demographic. It prompted me to think about marketing demographics and how I must have fit in, as a tribe of one.

After some thought, I realized I was maybe part of an interesting demographic to marketers for a period when I was… creative… in how I described myself to get magazine subscriptions for things I was interested in. These were days when you filled in a postcard that was provided in, for example, a magazine, and asked how much purchasing authority you had, and so on. Filled out right, you’d magically get stuff to read that was in a specific field. My mailbox was never empty, something always interesting to look over, opening new worlds to me.

So there was that. Perhaps for a while based on income, or spending habits, but those two were something could be creative about, at least for a period, and that generally came with some benefits. Trying some free samples out, telling them whether you thought it was good or bad. But then… generally, I was never a part of the demographic marketers look at because I have broad interests and have never just stuck to one thing very much. I was never an ideal demographic. Age wise, sure, I had my moments, I may still have them, but overall – I was never very interesting to marketers.

I made mistakes with credit cards early, which screwed up my credit rating, and then when people were talking about ‘cutting them up’, I simply stopped using them and something magical happened after a few years: I couldn’t do stuff because I had no credit history. That means that nobody really markets to you, since one of the demographics most sought after is those people who buy, buy, buy, and go in debt, debt, debt!

Even employers loved to see you get an expensive new car because then they were more secure that you wouldn’t leave. A new baby? Your employer hit paydirt! Ahh, those were the days. You could almost see the resignation in people’s faces when they had debt and the promise of future debt. Some people say it made them grow up. Mature. But really, what I saw was a measure of compliance with the way things worked. Equating that to maturity means a broken horse is mature, and a wild horse is a child.

Demographics. Now the world has no real need of those sorts of things other than for feeding bureaucracies. Marketers buy your information from wherever they can get it, and there is plenty of that still – or they just use one of the massive Big Tech companies with millions – billions- of users, run a few ads and see who responds, using the BigTech algorithms to go fishing for us.

Demographics. How long is that going to last for?


266843669_10165786532015150_2257642047355982724_nDouglas Adams was on to something with The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. If it were an option, I would have left the planet decades ago in the hope of finding something better, running away from the problems. I’m not proud. I’d love to be transported into a future where just changing the polarity of shields would solve a problem.

It just doesn’t work that way, nevermind the pet peeve I have with Roddenberry naming the USS Enterprise when it’s mission wasn’t to protect merchant shipping. ‘Discovery’ might have been better, really.

These past years have shown plenty of weaknesses in systems that we humans have depended on for sometimes centuries. Everyone’s talking about how much of a problem the pandemic is when it’s only been a problem because antiquated systems continue to fail, and we continue to shore them up. I’m not saying we should descend into anarchy by any stretch, but looking around it’s pretty clear the anarchy of our world is having a field day with our systems.

Trust the governmentIt’s sensible to distrust systems that pretty consistently fail, and almost always these systems has something to do with government. Nobody, regardless of their political lean, goes out and blames the trees for bad weather. Nobody shakes their fist at a hurricane and says, “I didn’t vote for this!”.

Well, not yet anyway.

The speed with which we see the problems, globally, is sped by our ability to communicate while the response of government has not kept pace. Bureaucracy, as Gleick pointed out in ‘Faster’, was designed to slow change – it keeps things from happening too fast. For centuries mankind has been frustrated by systems that are slow. When things are slow, as individuals, we tend to find ways around them because we don’t have time for dealing with them. We’re busy running around trying to get shiny things to trade for things we need within other systems that are not working for lots of people.

Is that a condemnation? No, it’s an observation. As individuals, we don’t have the time to figure out everything that affects us because of the sheer complexity of the system. Right now (February, 2022), the Inland Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States is overwhelmed in processing tax returns – people haven’t gotten returns from 2020 (this is 2022), and the tax system is so complicated that an entire industry has been built around taxes.

Let’s take stock. The system by which monies are given to the government has become so complicated that people are making money off of making it simple. The only reason that’s not considered corruption is that the laws permit it – if I told you I could speed up a government process if you paid me, under different circumstances I could be a criminal. I’m not saying that people and companies that help with the tax returns are criminals. What I am saying is that the system got complicated enough that it’s easier to pay someone else to deal with, and that means people are paying money to get diminishing returns. Who wouldn’t be upset about that? How far have we come from hiding livestock from the King’s tax collectors?

“We are so POOR, sir…”

1555562_10152473548405197_3394893658298250242_nHaving lived here and there, and having visited here and there outside of the tourist traps -they are, after all, traps – I can say that the problem is global, and if there is a human somewhere that doesn’t have issues with the system of taxation, they are a distinct minority. We double down here, because how that money is spent is decided by people who win popularity contests. Politicians.

What’s more, in the United States, with the case Citizens United vs FEC, corporate spending entered U.S. politics and with that, marketing which has been used effectively to sell people stuff that they didn’t want by creating a need, or selling products that are less than useful, like politicians. There are children who will say that they want to be President and yet I have never met one who aspired to be a politician. Maybe I hang out in the wrong circles, but if you do too, well, we have the beginnings of something more than anecdotal.

Meanwhile, it seems like every media outlet is echoing a sentiment of how much is spent on things that people believe are important, such as education. This is not a good metric. I can go buy a car that meets my needs for a few thousand dollars or a few million dollars. If you spend a few billion dollars on education and students aren’t learning more, what does that spending mean? Worse than nothing, it means that money is being wasted. Is it the government’s money? The government says so, but whose money is it? The money of those governed, with the exception of monarchies, authoritarian states and oligarchies where they don’t bother being dishonest about it.

Things are broken. We live in an age where we can communicate faster and somehow we manage to say less in unit time about things that are important. How do we change that?

First, we have to recognize that there is a problem. Sure, we recognize that there are problems, but in the acknowledgement of some problems it’s always about them. They caused this. They did something, or they did not do something. They. Them. The exception would be those that use they and them as pronouns, and while I don’t have an issue with people asking to be called by specific pronouns, it seems like an odd set up for self-persecution when we always seem to blame thems and theys. That seems inconvenient for them, but it is what it is and the flag has already flown.

When we weed through that mess and stop blaming people out of a matter of convenience, what we find is that there are people who simply believe differently about things. And why is that?

Education, largely, or lack thereof – and not training for jobs, but actual education, and ongoing education. Marketing of narratives for politicians and their parties. Biases in cultures we don’t understand, even in the same countries, much less what is known about other countries. And, largely the most important aspect: personal responsibility that gets lost in over complicated systems.

Stand For, Not In.

Wall with ShadowHistory doesn’t repeat itself. People repeat history.

People make a choice not to change things. Sometimes it’s because they like what happened, sometimes it’s not, but it’s always because people didn’t want to change things. They won’t complain if things are going well, or they’ll gripe about it if things are not.

And, unless people change things, there will be a repeat. That I felt the need to write this seems to be the result of wandering through life and watching people beating their heads against their own walls, blood trickling down their faces. They’ve grown used to it, I think, and they might miss that wet and sticky feeling on their faces should they stop – that metal taste in their mouths feeds them to continue doing what they’re doing, and yet… every now and then, they might pause and wonder why they’re doing it.

And, with renewed vigor, they go back to doing the same thing again and again and again.

As a society, we’re pretty good at this as well – and in an age where we can communicate so quickly around the world, social media seems to move to a rhythm of people beating their heads in time against walls. And they chatter about it.

Your Brand TM

So, picture this – picture you have this thing that you hate, you hate the smell of, and you have it in this pot that you show everyone who will come by. Everyone agrees it smells bad. Everyone agrees that it looks awful. Everyone agrees it smells awful.

You’ve been stirring this crap so long that the scent is in your clothing, in your hair… but you’re used to it, so maybe you don’t notice it – but everyone else does, other than the ones who are doing the same thing.

Flaming pile of shitAnd you – your brand – gets associated with that smell. That look. That very thing you hate so much, yet you are drawn to share. Meanwhile, people who really don’t like that scent or look…. well, they’re going to avoid you.

I just described a person at least everyone knows one of through their social media accounts. That one thing.

Want to learn how to deal with issues and affect change? Well, we can start by not smelling like the problem you’re trying to fix. People typically avoid things that smell bad.

Look at successful advocacy, such as the EFF. They don’t smell like what they’re advocating against. They smell like what they’re advocating for.

Or, by all means, continue beating your head against the wall.

Facebook Page?

cropped-puzzleOnce upon a time not so long ago I began – an answer to my more personal writing in a time when I was chained to technology on, when I wanted a clear space to publish my less technical side and explore it. And allow others to, to allow myself to see who was interested in what I had to write otherwise.

It’s a bit over a year now. And out of the blue last week, Facebook asked me if I was the ‘owner’ of and allowed me to be in charge of the RealityFragments Facebook page.

I paused. It had happened because my profile mentions the site – it is, after all, something I do – but this isn’t a business. It’s not a news source in any true sense of the word. I’m not looking for writing gigs. Truth be told, I’ve been procrastinating successfully with regard to writing a book by kicking around book ideas for the last 3 weeks. So. Why do I need a Facebook page for it?

I don’t. But I took it because of the key issue on the Internet, on social media: Someone else might. And it has become part of a brand. Maybe even marketing of my brand for whatever purpose that has yet to be decided. So it sits there, this page, and I have no idea what to really do with it.

Facebook seems intent on me adding a button to it. I found it enough to simply upload some images for the page after I claimed it. And then a few people liked it.

So. A Facebook page for the site – something that maybe a decade ago would have been something people immediately did so that they could somehow do something that other people thought was cool. Now, it seems so pedestrian.

This is the first blog entry I’ll share there. And it’s not designed to do anything cool, but instead explain why it exists, and why I’m not too impressed… and why I don’t think others should be. Yet it has potential for users to discuss and comment on things if they choose to. Invariably, someone will call me a liberal or conservative, someone will use Hitler in a conversation, and people will either disagree or agree with what I have written.

I suppose they can start here.

Stay Up To Date.

technology is good for youHello. We’re the people selling the stuff that makes you stand in lines to get the latest one.

Our technology is good for you. Don’t think about the time you spend getting it to work, or getting it if you can. Don’t think about how many hours of work it will take for you to afford the new thing that is pretty much like the old thing with some humble improvements. Those humble improvements are going to make you more efficient and more happy.

Don’t worry about all your old stuff going to landfills. Why should you worry about the water table? We’ll make an app for that.

Use technology. It’s good for you. It will make your life so much better. It’s not that it will make you more attractive; it’s that if you don’t have it you won’t fit in. Stay up to date.

We care about you. We’ll gather your information and tell you things about yourself you might want to know – but we definitely want so that we can sell you more stuff. We’ll even map your house for you and sell it to people. You shouldn’t be ashamed of your house.

We’ll even sell your fear and outrage.

Technology is good for you.

Drink deep. We know what we’re doing – and our investors truly care about your money, which is why we make things that last just long enough to get you to a newer version.

You’re saving the world.


Not yours.


DematerializationAll too often, we don’t recognize how limited we are. We, who would expand our canvases beyond our simple neural inputs, we who would try to do good, are limited to our own fictions as we pull together the information we take in.

It used to be simpler, when it was all just sound. Then we figured out how to scribble things, and things became more complicated. The recorded and transmitted sound captured our ears, where ‘The War of the Worlds’ scared people into thinking that there was an actual alien invasion.

Television came along, first in black and white, then in color – and then in an escalation of realism that makes fictions all the more immersive. While that was happening, we learned to record things – and artists, with all these new canvases, pushed the limits beyond what we collectively thought possible.

Fictions rivaled reality, but reality has always been our fiction – individually and collectively. The world is not as we experience it; the world is as it is and we only experience it through some rudimentary inputs. Science and technology have allowed us different perspectives, launching us into new fictions about the universe around us. They drive us out of both fear and wonder.

Yet the most dangerous fictions are what we tell each other. as we increasingly master how to tell each other things. We make our points by appealing to emotion more than intellect, largely through the study of marketing. We are more impressed by a politician on the news than the people actually effecting change, and we have become more impressed as they are marketed toward us.

Our fictions are dangerous in that we create our own fictions by dehumanizing others to take from them that which we would have. They are dangerous in that we believe them to the point of not questioning them, not even daring to imagine outside of them. Conversations aren’t to be had; they are narrated by those who profit from them – not as the conspiracy theorists might say, but by what sells advertising.

Enter the Internet, where we can now share these fictions easily and in such volume that if they were things of worth they would be valuable – but they are not of worth, largely. They are simply the conversations already narrated, with few capable of having the presence of mind to question.

Society’s fictions have to be mastered, not by those who tell them, but by those that consume them.

Critical thought would be a welcome addition to our society.


spaceWe used to look up.

I don’t know exactly who I mean by ‘we’. Maybe it was my generation, when we had seen man actually make it to the moon. Maybe it was people of my mindset.  I’d like to think it was my generation, with parents who had watched the original series of ‘Star Trek’ – and our generation who saw the original ‘Star Wars’. Or,  ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, or even, ‘E.T.’.

We used to look up. We used to stare at the stars, some of us, while laying in the grass.

I’ve spent most of the day watching this live stream, in the background, as I read and did other things. It’s beautiful. It’s amazing. And we take it for granted, we sit there staring at phones, communicating about little of worth.

The things of worth we do talk about are about how we can’t keep things from flooding, or people from doing dumb things, or arguing over which idiot is better than which – we who could put a man on the moon, who could build an international space station, who could go peeking at other planets like a nosy neighbor.

We have the capacity to know where we are on our own planet with accuracy that would make ancient mariners ecstatic, and we have that on devices that Tesla told us we would eventually have. It wasn’t so long ago that these things didn’t exist. We dreamed big.

Then the Internet happened – a complex system of communication, too complex for our communication as we began to talk to people around the world. Kittens and pornography propagated it across the world.

Some were so intent on selling their products, services and thoughts that they got really good at marketing. In fact, they got so good at marketing that their marketing became better than their products, services and thoughts.

Somewhere along the way, I think we stopped looking up with a sense of awe. We stopped seeing what our combined efforts could do if we chose to work together.

We should look up.

Scorned Dreams

Commercial Seafront

“ I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. Goddamn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables – slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”
Tyler Durden (Fight Club, 1999)

People are angry. At the turn of the millenium, though, just about every model showed that there would be more social unrest.

Every day, my generation and those after are inundated with marketing about how products and services are going to make their lives better – with the goalpost of better being set culturally by old ideas that bureaucracies were built to attain. They grew like trees, twisting and turning with the weather of domestic politics in every nation until the Internet, where global politics still sways them like a hurricane force wind.

These are largely all flawed systems that some have grown to depend on. The systems are sometimes failures, based on notions that no longer seem to apply in society, but citizens around the world were told that the benefits of the systems outweighed any negatives. There are generations now that beg to differ.

And they’re angry. Sad. Disillusioned. In the U.S., I’ve seen people my age working 2 and sometimes 3 fast food jobs at a time in a downturned economy where the banking systems quite literally strip-mined people of latent wealth through bad mortgages and loans. In the Caribbean and Latin America, I’ve seen the shifts of global politics make economies tumbleweeds. In Trinidad and Tobago, where the economy was never diversified as it should have, I contrast the people at Starbucks with the people that still use outdoor latrines almost daily.

And they are all told that the world is better than the lives that they have – and they are all lead to believe that things are better than their situation and that if they work just a little harder so that they can spend just a little more, they’ll rise to better lives.

Ahh, marketing. Immigration becomes an issue for the mass media producing countries- the world looks so much better on a flat screen, which used to be only a large white screen for a projector but now includes wall displays, computers and yes, even phones. “We’re wonderful. You’re not allowed here. Special terms and conditions apply.”

And if you do get there, a different reality sets in.

People all around are figuring this stuff out – that they can’t have what is being branded as developed nations. Terrorists, for all the wrong reasons and for imagined good ones, started attacking these ‘evils’ that they see just like a crab drags other crabs down in the barrel. “It is our reality, let us share it with you…” – horrible atrocities, branded under religious fervor but really just really, really bad marketing that directly kills people – a waste of life – too combat the overly good marketing that indirectly robs the majority of the human population with a sense of value.

Every bright eyed idealist and gilded futurist looks forward optimistically. I do so myself, though I’m careful with expressing my thoughts since all these flawed systems came from people not thinking things through beyond political terms, or because of emergencies.

We have been walking into thorny bushes. It might be time to reassess the systems we’re using that lead to all these injuries on our more sensitive parts of society.

These Matters of Mind

A StartMavens swoop down from their perches
Tear at the teaming creatures below
Ripping apart their hearts, their minds
Trying to discern their thoughts
When they cannot speak
Prescriptive, Descriptive
The cognitive war battles on
Yet the masses do not know
The mavens are doomed.

They are the minority.

Written in 2007. In fact, that picture may be of this from somewhere in Panama City, Panama.