When I was in seventh grade, my English teacher (Hi, Mr. Grabarek) assigned my class a complex sentence to diagram each week. During these tween years, this was by far the worst assignment of the week. I thought, “I know how to write and I know the difference between a noun and a verb, why do these diagrams matter?”
There’s a certain satisfaction that writers derive from publishing unedited content. It’s the ultimate sense of validation; a reinforcement that it’s possible to be both compelling and grammatically correct. It separates the good writers from the great writers.
As children, our insatiable curiosity manifested itself in the persistent asking of “Why?”. This was often, if not always, met with the definitive, “Because I said so.” Hearing this answer repeatedly throughout our formative years taught us not to question authority – be it parents, coaches or teachers. While this blind adherence to authority may have kept us safe as children, it all too often remains persistent throughout adolescence and adulthood – either consciously or subconsciously.
Well, it’s official. If we didn’t already know it for a fact, this recent New York Times business story predicting that digital advertising will surpass television advertising by the end of 2017 confirmed it. We’ve become a society of isolationists. Not political isolationists, but Social Isolationists. We’ve become a society of individuals who spend more and more of their time isolated in a world unto themselves, absorbing content in highly customized ways on our laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Those of you who chose to connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on Facebook know that, for the most part, I’ve maintained a pretty low profile over the last four years. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t checked in or that I don’t notice your posts. It just means that I’ve been watching, observing, and even studying what the vast majority of us do on all social media platforms.
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the role creativity plays in a communications era that is becoming increasingly decentralized, democratized, and, by definition, digital. Seemingly, everything about communications is changing from the time that I first suspended my fingers over the keyboard of an “electric” Smith Corona “typewriter” and prayed mightily that the right words would come to me.