“Never let ‘em see you sweat.” It’s all about ‘maximum control,’ right?
It’s difficult for me to understand how few people get this about social media, even now, when in Dog Years, social media is about 70 years old (?) give or take. Individuals’ and brands’ continued dedication to monolithic, broadcast-style “Moses With The Tablets” communication to a series of online communities that is all about conversation, collaboration and exchange passed irrelevancy (by my estimates) about five years ago.
Although the above paragraph makes a specific reference to business applications, it is a logical assumption that businesses are owned by and media budgets are controlled by individuals. These individuals appear to have difficulty adjusting to the reality that the nature of the game and to a larger extent the world is changing.
As a parent of three daughters, ages 26, 24 and 21, I have watched the metamorphosis of not only messaging, but of a shift in dialogue, innovation and evolution of how we, as a global community are learning how to engage each other.
Three things filter to the top of my awareness:
“Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
According to the Pew Research quiz “How Millennial Are You?” I’m a 96. This has nothing whatsoever to do with chronological age (48) but instead has everything to do with one’s comfort with flux and the changing paradigm of our evolving global society.
For example, my oldest daughter never went on a traditional date (ie. boy picks up girl at house, returns her to said house after dinner and a movie). Ever. Her teen years were spent with The Pack. Group dates were common and it was understood in our town of 26K that Fridays were Communal Date Night at the theatre.
My youngest did her homework on the sofa with three screens up: the television (which I consider to be “brick and mortar” media), her iPhone and her laptop. She would converse with her friends, compare notes, ask about particulars for specific assignments and collaborate with her classmates within one fluid experience.
Whether thinking about cloud computing or consensus building, learning how to shift gears quickly and to adopt/acquire information from disparate sources seamlessly is a non-negotiable skill.
“I think that the most beautiful thing lately hasn’t been in hardware or software per se but collaboration – the idea behind Napster, which uses the distributed power of the Internet as its engine.” ~ Steven Levy
Napster is a perfect example of how an evolutionary shift has been taking place. This peer-to-peer platform established a new sensibility that continues to evolve and refine itself. Resources are viewed as communal; the utility and necessity of curators, conduits and assessors is becoming paramount.
Folks who have a comfort with and a preference for what I consider to be organic collaboration position themselves to stay competitive and relevant. Some may say that this hive mind awareness may be instinctive, but I also think that it can be learned.
“All the means of action – the shapeless masses – the materials – lie everywhere about us. What we need is the celestial fire to change the flint into the transparent crystal, bright and clear. That fire is genius.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
This speaks to the rejection of the “never let them see you sweat” mentality cited earlier.
There is a power in letting people watch The Process. How is the sausage made? This generation wants to know. As a logical extension of collaboration, those who watch and learn from transparent error-making only succeed faster.
Throw back the curtain, Oz. We’re okay with knowing that you are some well-meaning dude from Kansas who got blown off course. Show us that you are human and how you figured out how to rig the balloon and we’ll help you get home.
Not only that, but we’ll love you all the more when you clue us in to the fact that we have the potential (ie. heart, mind and brain) within ourselves to create our own magic.
It’s liberating and empowering.
“Try again. Fail again. Fail better. “ ~ Samuel Beckett
Referencing again back to the “never let ‘em see you sweat” mantra from the opening paragraph, I would posit that there is a distinct difference between “effort” and “panic.” Letting someone see you fail with poise and intent is far different from watching someone melt down and flail about metaphorically speaking.
It’s possible to have the assuredness of letting a process unspool. This new acceptance of what it means to fail may be the best thing that has happened for awhile.
Your turn: When have you learned something from a “failure?” How have your experiences taught you how to incorporate collaboration? Can you share a success you’ve achieved from transparency?