How many jobs have you had where the expectation was that you would be “comfortable with ambiguity“? Be honest….is anyone really Comfortable with Ambiguity?! Or is this just the company’s way of stating the obvious: everything changes, so hang on?
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I am not a BIG FAN of product support…..except, of course, when things go south. Perhaps it comes from the days when I operated in that capacity (and occasionally still do for at-home items, but I digress), or from the bad old days of sitting on hold for untold hours waiting for someone with the actual answer to give it to me, so I could fix the broken whatsit and get back to work/play/whatever.
Things have gotten better….
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Bill Wasik, senior editor at Harper’s magazine, makes several interesting and interlacing points in his talk (seen here). I feel that his assertion that “short stuff” will never be monetized is essentially correct. Short posts by an author or organization are too much like Twitter, and most of these same authors Tweet their short stuff, so why would I pay for that?
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When I tell a story, there is a distinct “movie” going through my head and the words are an attempt to express that “movie” in such a way that others can appreciate the story the same way I do. That covers the written narrative and some kind of multi-media or video representation of it. What about “static media” like graphics, paintings or illustrations?
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I have had a few careers so far: professional musician, music teacher/band director, software developer, college instructor, technology specialist for developers, consultant, product planner and product manager. Every one of them, along with every other subject I’ve ever studied and things for which I have a passion, are what I bring to what I do. My primary motivator in each of these is helping people (OK, so playing music is helping people enjoy themselves….or so I hope…).
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I am a big fan of the comedian Brian Regan. He is the only artist I’ve ever seen from which I came away physically in pain because I was laughing so hard. In one of his bits he tells about growing up in a household full of brothers who were, shall we say, “encouraged” by their mother to go outside and find a “good activity”. Activities discovered were more or less not totally destructive…hilarity ensues.
Anyway, this thought always comes to me when I sit down to write. Although I can sit for long periods of time and spin out stories and opinions to friends and family, when I am confronted with a screen and a blank page, my mind goes into Choke Mode. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, it’s just that I’ve read so much great stuff from my colleagues and others that I follow across the web that I feel stymied about what I have to contribute.
This morning I ran across a post by Tac Anderson entitled “How to Blog a Lot” that, for some reason, pushed me over the edge (at least for today…). His guidance is a little self-referential: in order to blog a lot, you should blog a lot. A kind of “practice makes perfect (or at least better)” methodology.
Great advice. However, I, like most everyone who works with some kind of PC sitting in front of them all day, spend most of the day responding to e-mail, creating presentations, working on documents, attending meetings, Tweeting, etc. In other words, taking the time out, as Tac suggests, first thing, going over the daily news and posts and then writing about what I find takes a discipline I haven’t really cultivated yet. I guess part of my hesitation has to do with the organizational expectations around e-mail. I have, in the past, tried to remind my colleagues (and myself in my more hassled moments) that e-mail is designed to be asynchronous and that it is unlikely that, if I do not respond to a particular mail for an additional 30+ minutes, the world will end or someone will die….just take a deep breath and allow myself to do something that may contribute to the conversation in the greater community that is the Web. Then I can jump into the swamp-like morass that is daily e-mail.
So I guess this is a good activity……
That’s the idea: Green
I feel that there are a lot of possibilities with a more abstract phrase/word. Aside from the most currently common definition today (environmentally friendly) and the obvious definition (um……well, green…), several others come to mind easily:
- Overcome with envy
A few other associations come to mind:
- green belt
- green card
- little green men
- green thumb
- greens keeping
- green light
- green tea
Given the breadth of experience and the depth of creative talent in this class, I feel that this would be an exciting topic.
In the several roles I have online (professional, educational, consultative, personal) I find that I have to cope with varying degrees of perceived authenticity. I’ve been reading Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath, partly because I’m a storyteller and I appreciate being able to look at the way I formulate ideas and thoughts into stories in more a narrative arc, and partly because of the Web Strategies for Storytelling class I am taking this Fall at the University of Washington in conjunction with my Master of Communication in Digital Media (MCDM) program.
Anyway, the chapter I’m reading now is on the credibility of your story. Since credibility leads pretty much straight to authenticity, I started to think about how credible I am in each of these arenas and how that came about (and how it might change). Not surprisingly, the online roles that are bolstered to some degree by personal, face-to-face contact carry a different quality of credibility. This really points up the nature of the more human nature of social media (“I’ve met you, I know you a little better, and that helps me trust what you say.”). It also points to the challenges of online roles that have little or no face-to-face components.
I watched an online video today on Jason Falls’ blog about four books he recommended reading. Although I only came upon his blog (“met him”, if you will) today, he has attained greater credibility with me because of two things:
- His video book reviews. He has personalized an experience that is important to me; I enjoy hearing about good books in my chats with friends and colleagues, and the video creates an openness that reached past what a simple blog post book review would have done.
- I already have two of the four books on my Kindle. OK, so that’s serendipity, but it strengthens his other recommendations to me. And it also made me bookmark his blog….
So these are all things that I want to get to. The kind of online credibility and authenticity that makes a first-time visitor go with your recommendations (or at least some of them) and want to come back for more.