Sometimes it feels like we’re fighting the tide.
The world as it was is the tide.
1. There’s the tide of institution, wherein the established people put down those who aren’t established because they aren’t established…or just because they’re different. I wear a black fedora and a long black coat with a red scarf. I look like a bad immortal from Highlander. Some people look at me funny. And what fearful mortals must they be.
2. There’s generational inertia, where old ideas get enshrined and people don’t want to change. I made the mistake of trying to have a conversation about theoretical physics with someone who thought the field of physics had stopped developing in 1964 (coincidentally the year of his graduation from university.)
3. There’s the know-it-alls who can give you lots of reasons why you’re wrong and shouldn’t attempt anything new. Just. Like. Them. Doing something creative and new and different takes are certain amount of unreasonableness. We’re nice. But we have crazy ideas that just might work. “Put away your market analysis and focus groups and look what I made!”
4. There are envious people who feel safe in their rut if you get down in that rut with them.
5. There are people who are afraid and don’t know the way out is to act brave, especially when you don’t feel brave.
6. There are people who have their opinions and those opinions were true a short time ago. Those outdated opinions were dead on, but things changed and now they are dead. I’m hearing people worry about the death of newspapers who haven’t ever given a single thought to the end of home milk delivery.
7. Some opinions were snarky and funny for a short time, like Twitter being all about what you had for lunch. This is usually from people who haven’t tried Twitter…yet. Are these people still going around saying, “You are the weakest link!” How about, “Where’s the beef?” Move on, please. And spring for dial-up, will you? You’re Internet connection is nearly unusable.
8. There are know-it-alls, but many more know-nothings. Don’t cast your pearls before swine.
9. Then there are people who have a vested interest in keeping things as they’ve been. (Publishers holding back on e-books to squeeze a little more out of trees and authors comes to mind. Outmoded contracts are bad. Trying to retrofit old contracts to new markets is criminal conspiracy.)
10. And sometimes we’re wrong to fight. Sometimes we’re on even ground and don’t know it.
Story time: When I graduated from the Banff Publishing Workshop, one of the faculty said, “Welcome to publishing. Come to create, not to destroy us.” It hit a rather defensive note. They had put us through the wringer, so maybe they had some reason to expect us to be a little pissed.
I stood up and said, “We aren’t coming to destroy…but we value our opinions just as much as you value your own and this is a subjective business. Nobody has to feel bad about that. No one knows what’s going to be a bestseller, so let’s not pretend we know. There is no secret to selecting the right book to publish. That’s the secret.”
And yet, we were expected to feel bad, even in areas we had experience if not expertise. I often felt too young to have an opinion, year after year. With every one of my birthdays, the establishment got a year older, too. Screw that. I’m old enough to see the pattern now. Or am I too old to have these opinions?
Below is a link to an interesting article about how Twitter is changing.
It starts a bit slow and the lead is buried, but once you get to the charts, you get the real chocolate flavour.
As Dennis Miller used to say—way back when he was good and relevant— “Of course, that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.”
- The Power of Twitter in Information Discovery (cloudave.com)
- English Courts Embrace Twitter, @judge Already Gone [Voices] (voices.allthingsd.com)
- Conversations with Twitter’s Top Comedy Writers (splitsider.com)
- There’s a Right Way and a Wrong Way to Ask for Newsletter Signups on Twitter (blogs.constantcontact.com)
- The Essential Twitter Dictionary (socialtimes.com)