Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Let's say you wouldn't be irresistibly drawn to a site called "New Tech City." Could there be a better name?


Out with the old . . .

. . . and in with the new

by Ken

Not long ago I was pleased to call attention to an interesting project undertaken by the New Tech City podcast-and-blog of New York's WNYC called "Bored and Brilliant: The Lost Art of Spacing Out," which was designed to help smarphone addicts wean themselves from their addiction by embracing, you know, the lost art of spacing out.

It's true that I didn't do a whole lot of follow-up to see how the project worked out. The idea was for listeners-readers to share their experiences with the series of six challenges presented to them. Actually, I didn't do any follow-up. That could be because smartphone use isn't one of my addictions, or it could be, at least in some small part, because I didn't feel exactly a magnetic pull toward a site called "New Tech City."

Which brings us to this latest news coming out of NTC. It's not called that anymore. As the keeper of the site, Manoush Zomorodi, recalls in a post yesterday announcing the new name, on April 27 she sent out an announcement and a call for help:
Hello friends,

I've got some exciting (and kind of nerve-wracking!) news for you.

We are going to change the name of this podcast. And we want your help.

In 2012, we launched as a short news update on New York City’s burgeoning tech scene. Now, because of the good feedback (thank you!), we've grown into a real podcast.

And in the process, we've outgrown our name.We know "New Tech City" sounds like a show about infrastructure, subways, and start-ups. People who have never listened before expect urban designers who code. It feels a little funny coming out of my mouth after stories like this one. Or this one. Or this one.

Now, this podcast has more to do with the ways our brains, relationships, and values are changing at a pace never seen before in human history — how so many of us feel overwhelmed by the incessant amount of information coming at us, yet too busy to stop and read the fine print.

This is where you come in: What’s a name that fits this mission? I’m asking you because of a recent tipping point: that project called Bored and Brilliant that thousands of you did with me a few months ago (and some of you are still doing). You gave us tons of feedback, and you gave us hundreds of other ideas for topics you’d like to hear explored on the show.

So now, we want you to weigh in again. We're looking for something clear, pithy, and meaningful — for example, I love the name of "Death, Sex and Money," because my colleague talks about, yes, death, sex, and money. Gretchen Rubin's "Happier"? It's about how to be happier. "How to Do Everything?" Couldn't get much clearer than that.

Please click through to answer some questions that will help us think through our new name, whether you have the perfect suggestion in mind or not.

And believe me, your ideas can't be any worse than mine:


The April 27 appeal, Manoush informs us in the new post, drew more than 700 responses, "including, but not limited to":

"As I went through all the suggestions," Manoush tells us, "a theme emerged: we’re on a search for balance in the digital age."
In no uncertain terms, you told me you listen to our show because you're interested in "purposeful use of technology." According to our survey, the shows that seem to have resonated with you include:

Nine things we learned about phones from 16-year-old Grace,
A history of how technology has messed up our sleep through the ages.
• And, of course,the Bored and Brilliant project, when we took a week to rethink our gadget habits and jumpstart our creativity.
With you so far, M.
And so: We're renaming this podcast "Note to Self."

This is, Manoush says, "something I do every day, as I think about my life, my responsibilities, and the sorts of stories I want to cover for all of you." She offers examples including visual aids, like this one:

"My desk at WNYC, covered with just some of the notes I leave for myself."

Er, okay.
This show is a place where we find solutions together, both high and low tech (see above!). We're not just talking literal notes. We're here to do more experiments, stories, and reminders about how we can live and think better in an era of information overload.

Listen above for more about our new name. Soon you’ll be able to find us at If you're already a subscriber or a regular listener, you don't have to do anything at all -- you’ll just see a new logo and hear a new intro each week. We'll be updating all of our social media profiles, and you shouldn't have to do a thing.

Manoush has more to say about the new name, and the new plans for it, and she encourages everyone both to sign up for the newsletter and to provide feedback and suggestions of any sort. You can read all about this, and do your signing up onsite, and your feeding back and suggesting.

The only thing is . . . um, "Note to Self"?

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