It’s A Small World After All

October 5, 2014


Some of us worked in an industry that deployed network infrastructure that would enable “users” to engage in two directions.  We heard our chief engineers proclaim about what would come to be known as Web 2.0 and functionality that altered  “life as we know it.”

There were meetings (that lasted for what seemed like days) in which the concepts of what we now know to be Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and their brothers and sisters would come to be.  Some of us were charged with letting the planet know that we would soon be able to share photos, music and video with one another real time.

Some of us feared for our young children who came of age when something called My Space was born.  We learned that our innocent young things might meet grown ups that didn’t have their best interests at heart.  We were conflicted – this was our business and these capabilities ran on our networks and – at the same time, threatened the safety of our offspring.

There is a certain beauty in the ability to connect with friends, plan trips and research all from one’s home.

And then there are the unintended consequences.

The Sunday, September 28th New York Times published several articles with authors lamenting their own addiction to social media and an inability to “be here now. “  Do I post the photo of my kids skiing or do I simply focus on our shared experience?

Guilty as charged.

And then there is the thing about the “changing use”  of personal pronouns.  This “selfie” and “look at me” trance has secured usage of words like “I” and “me” and downgraded the terms known as “we” and  “us.”

Those of us who serve clients are wired to make life about others.  Candidly, no clients want advisors who ride on their backs for personal self-affirmation.  Further, clients really don’t care for agencies that use the work for said clients as a way to bolster prowess into new market segments.

This speaks of a more disturbing trend.

Tom Brokaw wrote about The Greatest Generation. (Those who came of age during WWII) And it has been confirmed over and over again, that they were.  Ask any man or women (and daily there are fewer of them left) who remember that time, what life was like.

They talk about coalescing around issues that matter – together.  They gave up their favorite foods and materialistic desires.  They focused on cause and freedom.  They were united.

Hindsight is often revisionist and romantic.  But it  also impossible for any one person to remember how hungry, sad, scared or anxious they felt.  They now have full stomachs and lead lives.  That is —  the ones who survived.

And yet we live in a world today in which we partake in posting every moment of our lives – and review moments of others – around the planet.  We quickly see protests, trouble, beauty, fear and opportunity.  And maybe, we see humans in places who might believe differently that we do and also have families and lives.

And just maybe – what is known as annoying narcissism actually brings folks together.  Maybe these smiling faces look and feel just like us.  Maybe we won’t ever be The Greatest Generation – but we will be the people who made a big world small.