Regardless of your religious background, you’ve probably heard something about the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve lived there for a long time in total bliss and happiness, and all they had to do was avoid the Tree of Knowledge. If they could just avoid eating that apple, they’d be fine. But a serpent fooled them into thinking that their transgression would not be noticed, so they partook of the one thing in the world they were not allowed to have. And here we are, wearing Prada and Calvin Klein instead of tree leaves.
When I first joined the Social Media world about a year ago, I kind of felt like I had stepped into a very 21st century Garden of Eden. The possibilities were endless, not just for business but for improving the world. When a disaster strikes in Italy, Haiti, Greece, Japan, Libya, or Jopin, Missouri, the online world can situate itself to respond and help. What could possibly be more magnificent?
But there is a serpent looming. The serpent says that there is big money to be made here. The serpent says that if you can just outshine everyone in the online world, you can work from home, make the exact kind of living you want, and never have to worry about a thing. I hear this serpent’s voice more and more clearly every day. I think about listening to him. I bend down to listen to what he has to say.
I need to step on his head.
A bit of a perspective shift
Here is the reality. We have this immense opportunity to improve the world. We have this amazing technology that has enabled us to forget what long distance phone service is. Time zones and languages are no longer barriers. We can talk to people who are living history. We can talk to people who are making history. When we read a book we like, we can tell the author, “Hey, I loved your book.”
And yet, with this veritable feast at our feet, what are we writing about? What are we tweeting about?
• You’re doing it all wrong
• I’m better than you and here’s why
• Here’s why you don’t know what you’re talking about
• My biggest problem is that some people online are kind of annoying
Are you kidding me?
If the salad days of Social Media are ending, it is only because we’re talking them out of here.
I’m facing the facts. I’m spoiled rotten.
I remember when I had to try to contact my friends via hand-written letter because computers weren’t really being used for email yet.
I remember when calling from 30 minutes away was a huge expense. Talking to someone in another country seemed virtually impossible.
But all of those memories are in the long forgotten past of 10 years ago now. The online world is eating me up and is making me forget about what really matters.
With all that is going on in the world (and there is a LOT going on in the world), I am sitting here with my MacBook in my air conditioned abode, getting ready to watch some tv in my comfortable neighborhood, and I have spent time this week lamenting how poopy the online world has become.
How ungrateful I am.
I can’t do that anymore. If I’m going to use this technology, I want to use it for something really amazing and important and useful. And if other folks want to spread rumors about each other, tear each other down, start whisper campaigns, convince themselves that they’re the most important people ever, or lament that people are idiots, that’ll make me sad, but so be it.
Right now, while this technology is young, while people are still learning their way around it, right now is the time when we can use these tools to make a difference in the world for the better. I intend on not using this space any more for “Gosh the online world is a depressing place.” How dare I do such things when my town is becoming over-wrought with homeless people who are creating shacks out of shopping carts and blankets? How dare I?
What would a Sudanese refugee say about our problems with spam bots and people asking us to promote them all the time?
Really? That’s our BIGGEST aggravation?
It’s not *really* worth talking about, is it? But that person from the Sudan – they have problems we could talk about, don’t they?
Why don’t we do that for awhile?
Image by shyle zacharias. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/gunner07