Talking about digital life style - a term “under development” at QT
Over the last several years, I have had great fun writing this blog. Most important, writing every day has put me into a much stronger learning framework. It has “opened the door” for me to a whole room full of new ideas and people.
I have to admit, however, that it has been an entirely selfish pursuit. I set out to write posts that I thought were interesting to me at that moment without worrying very much about search engine optimization, digital community building, key wording and so on. I have tried to make the posts entertaining. But I didn’t have the idea of building a strong web presence or even a dialogue in mind. Despite that, I have gotten into a few dialogues anyway (most notably the fascinating one about Caeasar and Cato last year).
But my attitude is changing just a bit. One topic is starting to grab my attention. That is whether — and if so how — does the web actually enhance my life? This is not a philosophical question. To the contrary, what better story lines does the web help me build?. Does it strengthen my appetite for life? Does it strengthen our shared appetite for life? (A quick side comment — You could justifiably question what I mean by “our” in this context)
When I first started thinking about this question, I thought the answer was at best “yes and no”. Yes, using the web gives me much better information access and entertainment possibilities. But no, the web has tended to pull me away from my own life rather than intensify it. And while I crave information and love to be entertained, I also value that intensity very highly. How to get it from the web?
I call that process creating a digital life style. I mean using the web to intensify who you are in the real world either as a leader or a follower (I am referring here to terms from my leadership course).
So - expect more on this as you read QT - and keep in mind one thought from William James. To the extent that our attitudes about life are based on emotions (and I would argue that they are), they flow from decisions ( BTW Dave Logan has brilliantly organized patterns of group decision making in his model about tribes). Interesting —-so, if we want to build digital life styles, we need web tools that enhance our decision making capacity. Tools that value our decisions as a critical part of our real world identity, rather than make decisions for us.
Yes, this is a direct swipe at Facebook (and sites that follow the Facebook model) that provide a set of ready made yet highly personal user tools (decisions). Facebook trivializes the decision making process because it pre-packages the decisions for us (for example whether to “friend” and “like”. And so I think it is deeply flawed as a life enhancing model. It is like going to McDonald’s in order to learn how to cook like Elizabeth David. We will get something, but perhaps not the type of learning that we need. Worse still, if we take Facebook seriously (and some people seem to), it will turn us all into digital couch potatoes. Gross!
BTW, that is an intentionally provocative assertion. I wrote it to challenge you. Yeah, you! To give you a chance to test your own decision making about this blog and the web in general. So, what do you think? I am full of it, right?
FOLLOW - Here is a quote that I think provides an ironic slant to our awareness of decision making as a part of our identity building
I guess I don’t know anything about you if you could (decide to) move to someplace like that.
From an article about the lovely Newport home of Richard Saul Wurman and his wife Gloria Nagy. Here is a link to the article (that has a fun photo montage).
FOLLOW - Thinking further about web story lines. I am getting bored by stories about tech vc’s and tech millionaires talking to each other about their gadgets. They are nice people, but the stories about get rich quick tech start up stories do not directly affect how I live. I want tech for me — not for them. And I want less web stories about them, and more about us. They should be serving us, not the other way around.