As a proponent of lifelong learning, I often miss the indulgence of grad school where discussions in and outside of the classroom were pure inspiration to me. I often turn to TED talks as a way to seek new ideas; its global nature all the more rewarding.
The other day, I stumbled upon this TED talk called "The Museum of Four in the Morning," which I found both brilliant and thought-provoking. In it, the poet Rives shares a poignant and creative account of crowd-sourcing pop culture references to 4 AM which is both entertaining and fascinating.
I started thinking about my undergrad philosophy classes in "Constructionism" where we wrestled with the categorization of our universe and how any two items are infinitely similar as they are dissimilar, so why are they categorized as such? Rives, too, wrestles with "confirmation bias": just after minute 6:48, Rives says "Can't you do this about any hour of the day?...You are not getting clips like this at 4 in the afternoon....!"
Yet there is something intriguing about 4 AM specifically. I liken it to smart marketers spotting trends in data. There are infinite possibilities to become aware of, especially in qualitative research, but it takes a smart marketer to decipher which are worth noticing and what attributes about the trend they pick out are relevant, personable, and actionable.
Lastly, Rives brings forward a particularly interesting personal account of his research in the final minutes of the TED talk - his college sweetheart, a librarian, had Tweeted him "reminds me of an ancient mix tape" - and I'll let you listen to why. The story is fascinating itself, and extremely heartfelt; it makes me realize that we can derive significant meaning later from small things that happen to us now. Our participation in a pattern of "acts" can lead to a trend. The human memory works in mysterious ways. When we consciously notice, remember, and share something it can make the trend worthy enough to deem important. What will you notice today?