I think that digital technology does flatten people. But it flattens more than just people. It flattens objects, concepts, publics, and relationships as well. And it’s not just digital technology that flattens things; the daily act of working, of day-to-day practical living flattens things too.
Reporters may go into journalism to be with the public; they eventually find beats and sources and the daily grind instead. Reporters may go online to find a community more responsive than the one they encounter in their daily work, but it’s a community that can be exhausting, pummeling, and not quite real. So get offline if you wish. Get online if you can. But in either case, never make the mistake in thinking that you’ve found a community, a public, a reality, that’s more authentic than the one you’ve left behind. We can’t will authentic community into being. It sort of sneaks up on us. And just as quickly — as soon as we turn our heads — it’s gone.
I was reminded of this old piece by C.W. Anderson tonight. It’s an important reminder, at least for people like me, of just how fleeting the authenticity of digital communities can be. (via azmatzahra)
I really like this line: "Never make the mistake in thinking that you’ve found a community, a public, a reality, that’s more authentic than the one you’ve left behind.”
And once in a while, but not often, and usually when you least expect it, you leap
The most common lament in this collection is from people who worked at the same company all their lives and now realize how boring they must seem. These people passively let their lives happen to them. One man described his long, uneventful career at an insurance company and concluded, “Wish my self-profile was more exciting, but it’s a little late now.”
The Life Report by David Brooks
I still can’t get this David Brooks column out of my head. The column describes a collection of essays written by the Yale class of 1942. In the essays, the alumni look back and recap the stories of their lives. Risk is a strong theme, here’s my favorite line:
Nobody regretted the life changes they made, even when they failed.
Read the full column here.
Related: Buridan’s Donkey
Someone has to be the new, great filmmaker, artist, scientist, author, etc. So why not let that someone be you? What’s different today than back then is that there is no clear path anymore. Lines are smudged, career trajectories are murky. But that’s also what makes it so exciting, don’t you think? You can create your own journey and become a trailblazer. I mean, is that a ridiculous thing to suggest?
Wise Words for The New Workforce
If I had a commencement address to give, this would be in it. It’s spot on.
Especially poignant: The line about smudged lines and murky career trajectories. It will only get more blurry as we go.
You will be judged (or you will be ignored)
Which Would You Prefer?
I came across a great Seth Godin blog post that I think is worth sharing (and so, here I am, sharing it). The title is “You will be judged (or you will be ignored),” the rest of the post is quoted below. It will take a minute to read, and is well worth the time. Make it happen:
Those are pretty much the only two choices.
Being judged is uncomfortable. Snap judgments, prejudices, misinformation… all of these, combined with not enough time (how could there be) to truly know you, means that you will inevitably be misjudged, underestimated (or overestimated) and unfairly rejected.
The alternative, of course, is much safer. To be ignored.
Up to you.
Seth’s Blog: sethgodin.typepad.com