On Transparency

“It’s impossible to move, to live, to operate at any level without leaving traces, bits, seemingly meaningless fragments of personal information.” – William Gibson

As a self-accepted bibliophile, I have read something from just about every genre. During my teenage years of angst and self-discovery I read the novels of William Gibson – one promise after another opened up like delightful fortune cookies. It’s been years since I messaged in DOS and went by MonaLisa, but when something sparks a memory of his work, I might as well have just put the book down.

When I read the Wired article about Evernote, I was taken back to those heady visions of instant access to other’s details, to the projection of so many personal information bites that someone can “know” you in mere moments. It sure beats a handshake and a card. Now I know that I am getting ahead of things, but can you imagine?

Think of the ease of communication when all of our shared information is available with an instantaneous download. Refer back to my earlier post regarding the handshake data exchange. Now imagine this commonplace and people offering up who and what they are in the first moment you meet – be it in person or in the virtual world.

I know there are already warning tales in abundance of hacking each other’s information, hacking your own information and just about every cyber nightmare available. In my mind though, we are already suffering from that with identity theft and government spying and the list goes on… if it can be hacked, wouldn’t you rather offer it up willingly?

As you work to live a transparent life and others start to do the same, is it that hard to image people and corporations taking better care to regulate their own actions? When it comes to a choice between the difficult and illegal maneuvering to cover something up and the momentary pause required for making a decision between doing “good” and doing “bad”, I think the latter will predominate.

Honesty. That’s the key word.

Image: GreenGrassDesigns

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Communication Overload

I’ve already mentioned my addiction to Bloglines, but I thought I’d delve deeper as I find myself getting overwhelmed and falling behind. I pin A LOT. Days when I don’t have much time – meaning most days – I scan through my feeds, read the short ones and pin the longer ones that look interesting. My goal is to go back and read them when I have some free time, but the best of intentions…I am also a neat freak; I hate clutter. So I have to go back periodically and un-pin stories, even if they are still something I’d like to read. This can be painful as I will do a quick skim and momentarily wrestle with myself over clicking on that little blue pin. Is there a way around this? Perhaps cut down on the number of feeds I receive? I’ve done that too, with little improvement as I will inevitably come across a new one in the next week or so.

Here are a couple that I kept myself from pinning this morning. Perhaps if I include them with my daily blogging I will feel better about taking time to read them through while sharing something of interest. 

Shel Holtz discusses Sprout, an application I have yet to check out, but one that looks very interesting.

The BBC covers Japan’s moon footage. Wow! As someone who is a bit fanatical about space exploration (Do it, Do it, Do it!), images like these along with Japan’s plans to get a similar look at Mars make my morning.

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Eric Eggertson talks about being yourself. This one has been pinned for a while as I think it’s a great point and not necessarily the easiest one to follow through on. He says you need to know what makes you tick and basically make sure what you do fits… I for one love social media, love communication and love research, so my profession is a great fit. This doesn’t make “being myself” any easier. I am also a very artistic person who likes to express myself visually and in a more chaotic, creative environment. This isn’t always easy to integrate into my work in the PR field as from what I’ve found; a great deal of the profession tends to be rather conservative. So how do you find a way to integrate self and work in an environment that is “almost” a perfect fit?

From Grinding.be, your business card becomes a handshake. I think this is a great idea! Yes, there are issues of privacy, but don’t we have those in abundance anyways? We have to learn to navigate through it all as we become more and more “instant” dependant.

Well, I think this sort of worked, but now it’s time to get to get busy. The rest will be pinned and saved for later :).

The Paris Hilton Meme

A very good question: Why hasn’t the Paris Hilton meme died yet?? For more, read this article in Wired. Memes are a very interesting concept. As someone who is passionate about communication and how we are able to connect to our family, our friends, our co-workers and our market, the meme study is very compelling. Going back to my post on social sites and their long memory, I think it’s smart to apply this information.

You can control it only in the very beginning, but then like a virus, the meme spreads of its own accord, growing without any direct guidance. Can you imagine the picture you paint of yourself on Facebook spreading like that? An idea that takes on a life of its own and if you weren’t honest or you were TOO honest, you are left with nothing but regret.

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“Someday” Communicates to Me

OK, so while this post is related to my stated topics of choice, it does divert a bit. (Perhaps I should start a second blog that’s more like a certain P. Hilton’s?) I had a debate with a friend of mine recently over, of all topics, the importance of Nickelback. If you aren’t familiar with this band, they are a handful of men whose lead singer belts out songs about everything from Spiderman to the state of the world. He sings in this sexy gravely voice, that to me, says volumes.

And there began our dispute. My friend who shall remain nameless asserts that this band has nothing to say, that they are a pop-culture creation (pretty on the outside, empty on the inside) not worth the investment of the time it takes to listen to them. I on the other hand feel that whether or not they write their own songs (they do), they have a certain effect that can’t be discounted.

Why is that important? Because I think that’s what most of us strive for in some way, however small – to make an impact. Does it really matter if everything you sing about has obvious political or social importance? I don’t think it does. If you are able to communicate your message, whatever that message happens to be, then you are one step ahead of so many others. And, as my friend would argue, what if that message is just about the accumulation of money and fame?

Then I can smile as I enjoy their music knowing that in a small way I have helped them reach their goal. (Hey Chad, if you need a publicist…!)
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Image: Idolator.com

Roadkill Is Not Pretty

Alright, so this is going to be a bit of a rant. As I was walking home from class tonight I had an encounter that made me start thinking a little deeper about the ease of instant communication and the hazard it poses when not used properly or safely.

I had just started across a cross walk, minding my own business, at a light with the walk signal on (in other words, safely and legally) when this twit on cell phone comes inches from plowing me into the pavement. Now I’ll grant it was dark and she had a car full of friends, but excuse me… I don’t think that’s a valid excuse. Put the phone down girlie and pay attention to your driving.

I love my cell phone almost as much as I enjoy driving but have I ever been that oblivious or that hooked on my instant gratification (read: cell phone) that I’ve done or almost done heinous damage to innocent pedestrians? Not that I know of. OK, so that isn’t saying much but at least I have no questionable tissue samples lodged in my tires or heart stopping moments that wake me up in the wee hours.

To elaborate on “properly”: There are alternatives to a hand held cell phone. Yes folks, in this age of quick and easy communication, there are gadgets to make it both safer and more convenient to have that conversation that can’t wait until you park your car. Try Bluetooth, try using your speaker phone, heck – try waiting until you are stopped at a light and ask them to call you back using that great technical innovation called speed dial. Picture: Sticker Giantphone.gif

A Layered Approach?

I am a Bloglinesaddict, I can’t help it. The ability to read the headlines from my favorite sites ALL AT ONCE… wow! Today one of my favorite bloggers, Seth Godin, wrote about organizations being bound by restrictions, practices, etc. that prevent them from “layering” and thus growing. I love the idea that we have a term for the sort of approach that best helps a company (a person?) to grow. And I like Godin’s term. It works. We are merging so many different aspects of communication at an ever expanding rate, much like the idea of the universe billosign.jpgwing out and out and out…

The complexity of how marketing, PR, advertising and other forms of communicating with the public for commercial reasons are now intertwining is astounding. It’s crucial for a company to apply the layering approach that Godin mentions. We can no longer afford the time to plot and plan and finally, present. The universe is expanding and you have a choice to make – are you going to grow with it or fight against it? I have an idea which one of you will win.

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