Conversations

One of the things I get to do as the County’s PIO is interview people on County Connections Radio Show. The show begins as a live broadcast at Yaquina Bay Communications Studios. It is simulcast on KWDP (Walport), KNPT (Newport), KBCH (Lincoln City). We archive the broadcast as a podcast on the County’s web site.

County Connections is one of the great joys of my work for the County. Sometimes, guests are a little nervous about appearing. Typically, after the first break, I find they are more at ease and realize the public speaking thing is not all that bad: this is a conversation, after all. With commercial breaks we have about 18 minutes of air time. The show goes by quickly. We do our best to stay on point.

(L to R) Aimee Thompson (Thompson Sanitary), Sarah Means ( Office of the Governor – Regional Solutions), Toby Winn (Neighbors for Kids), Jesse Dolin (Oregon Coast Visitors Association), Lucida Taylor (Habitat for Humanity), Emily Bell-Dinan (Lincoln Soil and Water Conservation District)

The show is an opportunity to spread the good word about what the guests and their organizations are providing our community. And, now that I think about it – this is an assumption I bring to the table – and attempt to flush out during our discussion.

Recent Shows – County Connections

Nicole Fields – COVID-19 (4.2.20)
Susan Trachsel – COVID-19 (3.26.20)
Susan Trachsel – COVID-19 (3.19.20)
Jessica Palma and Azusa Ogawa – Problem Gambling
Mike Hereford – County Personnel Director
Alexandria Scott – Mid Coast Water Partners
Peggy O’Callaghan – 60+ Activity Center
Patti Robb – Juvenile
K
atey Townsend – HELP Centers
Emily Bell-Dinan – Lincoln Soil and Water Conservation District
Aimee Thompson – Thompson Sanitary Service
Toby Winn – Neighbors for Kids
Lucinda Taylor – Habitat for Humanity
Sara Herd and Shelby Houston – HHS Behavioral Health
Sarah Means – Regional Solutions, Office of the Governor

A “conversation” template works well for the show and is not unlike how I approach other exchanges. Audio is a medium that I spend much time in outside the office. I am a podcast junkie, for sure.  I spend more time listening to podcasts than I spend on TV, print, and social. Wait… lemme check the Screen Time setting on my phone – up 20% from last week! So… I spend more time on social media, apparently. But, but…

Commissioner Jacobson and I had the discussion about “the upside down”, yesterday.  Algorithms are serving up what some corporations think we want to hear and see. In this effort to maximize their advertisers marketing potential we are exposed to a lot of bias; we may not be indulging in counterpoints of view. The result is more cognitive bias. Are these statements, too heavy? (1) “Today, recommendation engines are perhaps the biggest threat to societal cohesion on the internet—and, as a result, one of the biggest threats to societal cohesion in the offline world, too. (2) The recommendation engines we engage with are broken in ways that have grave consequences: amplified conspiracy theories, gamified news, nonsense infiltrating mainstream discourse, misinformed voters. (3) Recommendation engines have become The Great Polarizer.” (https://www.wired.com/story/creating-ethical-recommendation-engines/) Pretty doom and gloom. It’s not this bad, is it?

Look familiar? Before she was our County Commissioner Kaety spent 16 years working for the Oregon Sea Grant Extension Program as a fisheries extension agent. Here we discuss “Shop at the Dock”. Learn about what’s in season, how it’s caught, if it’s sustainable, and how to purchase high quality seafood. (http://video.co.lincoln.or.us/Audio_2018/6-28-18_KaetyJacobson_ShopattheDock.mp3)

Perhaps, I should have the community make suggestions about the topics they would like to hear on County Connections.  That might help me interrupt any bias I am serving up myself and the listener. Got any ideas? Email me! (https://www.co.lincoln.or.us/boc/page/staff)

I try and mitigate the bias problem by deliberately reminding myself to consider the alternatives. Think of it as self-imposed “positive disruption”.  As noted in The History and Theory of Rhetoric: An Introduction , “One student would create an argument based on this widely accepted claim.  Another student would then challenge the argument on the basis of other widely accepted notions… in a series of exchanges that, it was believed, would yield skill in debate as well as a better view of the truth.”

I’ve been waiting to serve up reference to one my favorite and most powerful essays of recent memory. In The Fine Art of Disruption, Gary Hubbell, says, “I invite you to consider that you may possess at this very moment everything you need to move in the direction you want. In fact, the on-ramp to the future you most want to see may be your very next conversation.”  Elsewhere, he says, “Every conversation is an open-ended, co-created, never-completed co-construction of a shared future—part of a pattern of making sense about the path to the future.” I LOVE this. Such great wisdom and faith about the potential of any conversation. The future of entertainment and the path to knowledge is us!

Ariel Ruben. Oregon Coast Venture Catalyst for the Oregon Mid-Coast Region (Florence up through Lincoln City). Oregon RAIN’s mission is to partner with Oregon communities to catalyze entrepreneurial ecosystems, connect entrepreneurs to resources (including overlooked entrepreneurs), and contribute to the creation of prosperous economies. (http://video.co.lincoln.or.us/Audio_2019/5-3-19_ArielRuben_RAIN.mp3)

What if we took 10% of our media diet from things like Netflix and moved it to “local media”? May sound familiar… When we “Buy Local Lincoln County” we activate the “The Multiplier Effect of Buying Local”. Coast and Vine (@coastandvinepnw) comes to mind.

If we shift our consumption to locally based mediums then we might simply improve our knowledge of local news, events and activities. A little break from Stranger things and G.O.T.… You’ll survive! I’ll direct you, good listener, to a section on our Emergency Management page for a quick list on local media. Most of which have digital options. Media Partners for Lincoln County:
https://www.co.lincoln.or.us/emergencymanagement/page/media-partners-lincoln-county

Even changing the way we approach posting and interacting with our social media accounts can create a paradigm shift of more inclusiveness and thoughtfulness. Lately, instead of just hitting “like”, I have been making a bigger a effort to comment on posts. It’s like the cousin of taking a moment to breath before responding in a conversation. Instead of mad dash rapid fire clickety-click scrolling, I stop. And, think. It’s not the volume of likes that are most meaningful. “Engagement” is the real standard for marketing and Facebook know this is true for our health on their medium, as well. Ever given a speech and afterwords had person tell you how important your words impacted them? Chances are it was more meaningful than the applause at the end. What the person who asked good questions? Someone was listening!

I’ve been kicking around the idea to teach local citizens how to make their own field recordings, interviews and podcasts. I’ve had some preliminary discussions with KYAQ to do this. My hope would be that we could have more local content with – real people. This is not a difficult technology to learn and the barriers to entry for hardware costs are not terribly high. Cell phones have audio recording capabilities baked in the device.  Keep you posted on this. I’m still scratching my head about why Facebook has not integrated audio as an optional default upload feature. Try it. No recognition of audio formats. Disappointing.

Linda Gray and Jodie Pereira discuss children’s mental health. Lincoln County has support groups for families and their kids who have behavior challenges. Waldport, Newport, Toledo and Depoe Bay. Holistic services to families. ( http://video.co.lincoln.or.us/Audio_2019/5-2-19_JodiePereira_LindaGray_ChildrensMentalHealth.mp3 )

The Tim Ferris Show Podcast is one of my all time favorites.  I’ve often thought… What might conversations with “regular” folks sound like who are asked the same questions? What about the wins of you and I?  The “richest”, “most successful”, ” high performers” do have something to offer. But, after hundreds of shows, the most successful have similar sounding stories in regard to what makes them most happy. It’s meaning – not money – that provides the deeper satisfaction.

I’m running out of steam. So, here are a couple of quotes of cut and paste. If you made it this far… thank you. 🙂

TEDxChange 2013: “Disruption is usually unwelcome. It represents conflict, chaos, and potential danger. We discourage disruptive behavior in our homes and our societies, often favoring passivity and compliance instead.

But disruption can be a positive — sometimes vital — catalyst for change. It can challenge old assumptions, ignite conversations, activate authorities and expose new possibilities. Disruption can shed a unique light on difficult issues, giving a fresh urgency and perspective to the challenges of our global community.”

Fast Company: “Social platforms–in their effort to keep users continually engaged (and targeted with relevant ads)–are designed to surface what’s popular and trending, whether it’s true or not. Since nearly half of web-using adults now get their news from Facebook in any given week, what counts as “truth” on our social platforms matters. When nonsense stories gain traction, they’re extremely difficult to correct. And stories jump from platform to platform, reaching new audiences and “going viral” in ways and at speeds that were previously impossible.”