Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tweety 2.0

The Intersection of Mel Blanc & Steve Jobs

"I tawt I taw a
Puddy tat," tapped Tweety. (I
Tweet, therefore I am.)

I was listening to ESPN radio while making tempeh Friday and the commentator was interviewing the Sports Compliance Officer (read Rules Police) for Oklahoma State University, who was lamenting how much the world of communication had changed in the last five years, greatly complicating his job to make sure than communications between student athletes and professional agents stayed sufficiently chaste.

"Today," he said, "It's extremely hard to stay on top of everything because everyone texts, or is on Facebook and Twitter." Hearing that, I paused and shook my head. Everyone?

I probably spend 3-4 hours in an average day treading water with my email, handling phone calls, and even writing the occasional letter. I essentially write the equivalent of a report, essay, or proposal every day. I'm not even counting face-to-face conversations—which I still do—yet for all my dedication to communication I have yet to text a single message (I don't even own a cell phone) or to make an inaugural entry on Twitter. To be fair, I have offered up a handful of Facebook entries the last few years (in service to the FIC Cause page), but I otherwise travel incognito in that realm (where do people find the time?) I was appalled to learn that without even taking my oar out of the water, I may had inadvertently drifted out of the main channels of communication. Yikes!

While I'm not so worried about being out of touch with the musings of 300-lb interior lineman hoping to go high in the NFL draft, I note with dismay the increasing frequency with which my emails and phone messages gather virtual dust as I try to get the attention of friends and family habituated to their Blackberries and iPhones. As communication options proliferate, how many do you need to employ in order to stay in the game?

My wife, Ma'ikwe, loves Facebook, and I believe she derives genuine value from it (this is not an oblique nod to her online Scrabble addiction, the value of which is a bit more suspect), yet it scares me to death. It's an alternate electronic reality and I'm not at all excited about the prospect of yet more time in front of my laptop in order to service it. Does the world need duplicate email platforms?

Reading the tea leaves, I suspect it will soon be deemed necessary for me to be available on Facebook in order to offer clients and my network counterparts the communication option that is most comfortable for them. Sigh. I'm uneasy about it, yet probably cannot afford to become invisible by virtue of insisting on a narrower (less sexy?) palette of communication. While I penned (now there's an anachronism) the opening haiku with tongue in cheek, it's potent because it hints at the dystopian prospect that your existence may come to hinge on your choice of communication. That is, if I'm not on Facebook, will I become faceless to the FB aficionados? I'm wondering.

We talked about this at the FIC spring organizational meetings. As the organization's main administrator, do I have an obligation to play all fields? This blog got started that way (we first discussed the prospect in spring 2005; by December 2007 my blog was launched, principally to experiment with whether a steady presence in this form of contemporary social media would help drive traffic to the FIC website). I'm questioning how many options we need, and the increasing amount of time I'll need to spend learning new technologies, remembering which format is favored by the person I want to reach, tracking whether I posted a message on email or Facebook (or both)—none of which is about content. How much of this is just chasing one's tail?

It used to be that the standards of making progress in the world were getting a job and being able to afford a Montblanc pen. Now it's more confusing, and I'm worried about getting Jobbed and drawing a Blanc. Tweet!

1 comment:

Yeshapi said...

Thank you for your continuing blog entries. As a newish subscriber, I not only enjoy reading your blog-flow as it generates, but also have found much value from past writings (especially sorted by topic) you've make available on the blog-site.

A quick comment about this "tweetie" post, as someone with not-too-disimilar attributes (being a 57-year-old male resinating with many of the values you write about)...

I think you DO need to stay current with the evolving media to remain relevant and effectively reaching your intended audience. But I also think it might be a bit easier and less daunting than I ~felt~ (can one feel within a blog entry?) reading your post.

Twitter for instance...
Rather than creating alternative content, you could simply post headlines and teasers that reference those interested in more to your blog entries. Really, it's just a quick additional task to generate a tweet every time you Blog post.

You may be surprised how people you otherwise do not reach will discover you through the re-tweets of your followers within the twitter-verse.

You may also surprise yourself as you cruise a bit of new people you ~find~ through Twitter, that will enrich, inform and entertain you, in ways far beyond the trite tweets that led to their discovery.

I say this not a a savvy social media master, but rather as someone also ungracefully grappling with these same challenges. And seeing the value in learning new tricks.

For what it's worth, I discovered you only through a reposting in Facebook by Wren Tuatha.

Thanks again for the intelligence and thoughtfulness of all the "real content" you provide.