After finally getting my last couple of posts out of my head and onto this blog I now want to riff off them and further some of these ideas. This serious of Current State blogs was an attempt to lay some kind of foundation, because you can’t work out where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.
The “What to Do” Angst
I think one of the driving forces to write the last couple of posts was a real need to work through my personal issues around “what the hell am I doing?”. As someone that’s been working with digital media and technology since I was a teen I was paranoid about the direction technology was heading and the implications that has on society. I felt out of control and out of the loop just as things were spiralling away from me and I couldn’t help it. There was a real angst waking up in the morning. I’ve managed to move on from that a little more now, I get the pang every now and then, but I feel much more comfortable.
“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams”
– Willy Wonka
Yes, my blog just reached a new level of awesome – quoting the Gene Wilder Willy Wonka is a sure-fire level up!
That quote really sums up my new attitude and it comes back to this concept of Passive Consumer transitioning to Active Owner – I am in control of what I do, I dream my dreams. The awakening to this transition has seen a shift in my mindset – The world is not out of control, because I am now in control.
“If you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product.”
That quote is often used to justify businesses inflicting changes on passive customers, but to me it is a statement of empowerment. WTF? Well lets create a hypothetical, say Facebook. Here’s a company that doesn’t sell anything – except you and your data to advertisers. If you decided to delete your account, the number which is the basis that Facebook uses to sell its product is impacted. You now ‘own’ Facebook. From one person to the next this ownership has little value. But what if a million people walked one in one day? 10 Million? What would happen then? I am guessing share prices falling, heads would be rolling and a general ‘what to do’ angst across the company…. so in that sense you probably should feel like you have a little more power than when you woke up. “True, but your one person – how can you matter?”. In the same way social media played a role in the Arab spring and other democratic movements – you are connected. Remember that 6 degrees of separation thing? Society is no longer formed along purely hierarchical lines, we are connected across class, income, cities, countries, continents and language! And one of the most beautiful things is that the opposite is also true – that we are also connected regardless of class, income, cities, countries, continents and language.
Dream the Dream
Ok, lets take that feeling of empowerment and move on. It’s time we realise we control our destiny. It time to stop being passive and start to feel in control and take ownership. Start doing it by simply making decisions. If something pisses you off then take yourself, your time and your money away. If someone is trying to take or destroy something you love, fight for it. As easy as it is to opt in, it’s just as easy to opt out, but don’t do it by yourself, use your connections. Leverage the network. If the social network is us, if we are the product, then we are in control – don’t fall under the illusion that it is any other way.
Disruption is Something you Do
I really like the idea of disruption, but quite often it’s seen through the lens of the neophile, but new doesn’t equal disruptive. No, disruption is something that you do, it is the subsequence of action. Action is the key – we are the music makers – it is only by doing that we can embrace disruption and participate in it. I love the emerging cultures around Makers, Hackers, Fixers and Tinkerers. These are movements of people not bandying around a flag or product – but to act! They do it to own their destiny and play a part in actually creating it. If you want change make it happen. Do it however you can, no matter how small, share it and use it to connect. If you cannot change the world, take ownership of the things you can change and connect to change the things you can’t. If you feel static, frozen, bored – get the ball rolling and create momentum. Experiment, fail, break and pull apart the things you are part of. Learn to put them back together, learn about the different parts, learn about the intricacies so that you can shape it and make it your own.
I’ve decided to dream the dream and to look past what is currently happening and listen deeply. Hear past all the noise to what beats at the very heart of what I do. To hear the beat and to join in the music making – to riff, to jam, to improvise and let the music take me places I couldn’t imaging.