When people ask me what I write about, I usually give them a version of business and the modern trade. Which they roughly interpret as marketing and communications.
Of course, those are not wrong ways to describe some of the human technologies employed by businesses to trade.
However, given how charged those terms are by contemporary use (or overuse), organizational structures, and tendencies, encouraged by companies, to talk about the promotional end of things -- they hardly describe the whole picture.
There is a need to do marketing that makes business sense.
There is more, though.
Your identity is...
We need to rethink the way we treat conversation as a mechanism to tease out the model. Take for example the recent discussion about identity in Google+. For a bit of background, the essence of the issue is:
[...] when Google's chairman, Eric Schmidt, told NPR's Andy Carvin, "G+ is completely optional. No one is forcing you to use it", he implied the only time a service should come under critical scrutiny is when it is mandatory.
This simplistic theory of critical discourse is perfectly incoherent, implying that in a marketplace, the only role "consumers" have is to buy things or not buy things, use things or not use things, and that these decisions should not be informed by vigorous debate and discussion, but only by marketing messages#.
The very idea that people have just only one identity is an attempt at oversimplifying life and negates the reality of business.
This is just one of the current debates where you may have missed voicing your take and contributing your experience.
It's not a done deal. Things never are.
We just think they are, once again encouraged to do so by the convenience of having a social software with which to - and I'm saying this ironically - voice opinions. Instead of merely reposting and retweeting those of others.
It's fine to quote. Why repost without thinking?
Who do you want to be?
Are social media, and now social networks the new mindless activities?
Before you answer the question either way, take a look at your feed reader, then look at the mainstream publications about social and tech, then look at your network. How much diversity of thought is there?
My guess is not much.
Thinking is hard. Thinking differently is harder still.
Every day, I look for new sources of original thinking to add to my RSS reader. Because while it's great to continue relationships with many in the marketing and social media space, I believe in pursuing bigger thought about business, technoloy, and strategy.
Micro blogging should not give way to micro thinking.
In fact, my reader is filling with ever more interesting - and challenging - material. And I noticed it is making a difference in how I approach problem solving once again.
I do believe the greatest gift we have is that of thought. It precedes words and action. It informs them, and informs our view of ourselves and that of the world. Different for its own sake isn't a goal worth pursuing. Different as contribution is.
And while Conversation Agent, the execution, has evolved over the last five years, my promise to you remains firm: Talk can and does change our lives. See these recent posts by Paul Conley - always do what you're afraid to do - and Dan Conley's essays and writings.
Every day is an opportunity.
Every day is square one.
[hat tip John Bethune]
[image by Dan Machold]