We live in a maelstrom of activity and invention. A new world we are evolving every day; some days more than others. We sometimes, perhaps more often than we’d like to think, get caught up in the hype or in the detail of what we do. We get stuck on definitions and fads, guidelines and best practice, manifestos and policies.
We also forget about the simple beauty of the medium we work in. This is a personal reflection, indulgent perhaps. But I make no concessions: it sometimes good to take a step backwards and reflect on what we’ve got now and what’s in front of us.
We live in privileged times I feel. The shame is we sometimes forget that.
We are surrounded by debates, discussions, observations and rumours with colleagues, friends, celebrities and strangers alike. At any one time there are infinite conversations going on from the efficacy and longevity of the Skittles’ campaign, whether Twitter has a business model, that brands need to have conversations with their customers, through to how Stephen Fry got stuck in a lift, that Will Carling is having a cappuccino, @Schofe’s brother is finding his way round Twitter and for a moment of escapism we can follow the escapades of @Twitchhiker 2 c how far he gts in 30 dys.
These are perhaps the more mundane conversations taking place. We don’t even know about the ones going on in every corner of the world about the latest fad, fashion or fetish. We can be kept updated about the latest breaking news on earthquakes, fires, shootings and terrorist attacks, ahead of more traditional sources.
We all have opinions and share them on blogs or Twitter. We keep ‘friends’ updated about the minutiae of our lives on Facebook, MySpace, Flickr or YouTube. Our whereabouts are known at any time of the day via Brightkite or Google Latitude. We are contactable and connected 24/7. And I haven’t even mentioned FriendFeed, StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious. And if that’s not enough I can simply escape to Second Life; not that I have (yet).
Is anyone listening even? Does it matter? Dare I ask? Do you care? Too many questions, which I don’t want to ask and definitely don’t want to know the answer to. Actually, I am slightly curious to know…
We are deluged by new platforms, widgets, apps almost daily. Take Twitter for example. How many different apps have been developed for use with Twitter? I use Twitter, Tweetdeck, Twhirl, Twittergrader, Twittercounter, Tweet Grid and it’s still not quite enough. I don’t have a BlackBerry but I know of the existence of Twitterberry; there are iPhone equivalents. There is a whole new language associated with it where tweeple tweet in a type of shorthand, and if you’re lucky you’ll be followed on a Friday (#followfriday). I am no longer Guy Stephens but @guy1067 or whatever I choose to put in front of ‘@’.
We’re evolving the whole digital space as we speak, as we tweet, as we add another app, as we even add another photograph of our holidays. There are no real rules, perhaps some guidelines. There are no real rulers or despots, perhaps some influencers (ie. Scoble, Kawasaki). There are, however, lots of critics and commentators (ie. Drama 2.0, @Jowyang, @ChrisBrogan, @Armano). But that’s okay.
There are lots of brands looking on from the sidelines – go on take a leap of faith. And lots actually taking part (ie. @ScottMonty, @JetBlue, @Zappos, Mars and Skittles, Marmite on Facebook – not sure why I thought of them). I’ve even been called an ‘early adopter’ in a recent article by Business Week. That’s a first. I’m a creature of habit, I like my routine. I’ve only recently seen Top Gun for the first time.
But the simple beauty of all of this, is that it’s up to you. We’ve got the platform, we’ve got the technology and we’ve certainly got the desire and the motivation. You, me, we, are all privileged to have the choice, the opportunity to speak, to listen, to engage. Or conversely, not to.
But I say, if you do choose to engage – enjoy it, be inspired by it, be a little in awe of it. Enjoy the conversation, the debate, the discussion, the observations with your ‘friends’ while they last, because we’re the last generation for whom this isn’t the norm. Our children are already growing up in it, they’re web-savvy, they’re old hands at IM and SMS. Much of what we are evolving will be their norm.
The conversation will have shifted by then, so make sure you enjoy this one.