Thursday, March 5, 2009

Perspective, with a bit of Heresy

I'm baaaaaaaack, interwebs. Didja miss me?

Okay, I wasn't really gone for long--I took a week's worth of vacation to play some golf, connect with my brother who is going thru a divorce, and then once I was offline for awhile, I just got lazy, breaking the cardinal rule of blogging:

You must blog consistently or you lose your audience.

And sure enough, I can hear the echos and the reverberation of my own voice out there at this very moment. Kinda reminds me of Twitter.

Heh. I'll save my Twitter rant for tomorrow's entry.

Tin Foil Hat Goes Unplugged

I spend 10-12 hours a day online and unplugging comes very easily for me. I love being connected when I am, but I've got to tell you that I'm not the least bit concerned about email, my blog, Aim,
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr or work when I'm looking at a 30 foot downhill slider for birdie to win $2 against my big brother.

I'm as focused as Tiger Woods even if it's just a couple of bucks on the line.

A break from the computer helps put things into perspective too. My brother is a fellow who prides himself on being a bit of a troglodyte--he's not exactly a technophobe, but he doesn't use many electronic gadgets and doesn't see the need to. He doesn't text, checks his email maybe once every other day and the social media tool he uses most frequently is a telephone.

And he gets along in this world just fine, thank you very much. He has lots of friends that he sees often and connects with his long-distance friends and family frequently. He's even been known to *gasp*--write letters.

I have to say, I get a bigger kick out of getting a letter or a card from him than I do an email, even if I get both with about the same frequency. (once every couple of months)

He's a good touchstone for me--because every so often I have to explain to him what I do for a living and why someone is willing to pay me money to show them the wonders (and value) of social media and building online communities.

He gets it. He just prefers a different style.

For example, we originally planned our golf trip to San Diego to play PGA West, Torrey Pines and La Costa but it was raining like crazy the day we left and we reaaaallly didn't feel like paying that much money to play those great courses in the rain.

And there were rain clouds in the sky for a few hundred miles in any direction you looked.

Road Trip!

So you know what we did? We *could* have gone online and looked for weather forecasts, put an APB out on Twitter asking where we could go where it wasn't raining, downloaded weather maps to my iPhone or found any other number of efficient, online solutions.

But the purpose of the trip was to spend time together, so we just hopped in the car, starting in LA and drove south and west until we found sunshine and a golf course.

A few hundred miles later, we found a quaint little course in Blythe, CA where it was overcast, but not raining. We jumped out of the car, played 18 holes and got back in the car just before it started raining again.

We kept heading west, took a wrong turn, almost ran out of gas, ended up on Route 66, where we proceeded to get our kicks and wound up in Laughlin, NV, home to a couple of great golf courses, and cheap hotel casinos where we proceeded to win enough money on the craps and blackjack tables to pay for the golf and the gas.

We had a great time because we decided to ignore efficiency of all the technology available to us and just explore. (we also explored how high golf balls will bounce when dropped out of a 25th floor window, but that's another story)

Here's the Bit of Heresy

My brother is a good reminder to me that for as intense as this business of being wired 24/7 can get, and for all the many wonderful connections and relationships that social networking can foster, there are still literally millions of people in the USA who don't participate in online social networks and they live rich, meaningful lives.

Social networking online is beneficial. Useful. Enriching, even. Just not necessary.

It's a good perspective for me to not take all of this stuff so seriously and get in a tizzy about the latest marketing gimmick (Skittles), or tool (Twitter). Social media isn't the thing itself. It's the *way* to the thing. And that thing is...

...connecting with people. In the real world.


Thanks, bro. Had a great time, and thanks for making me go unplugged. :-)

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sosnowy said...

I laughed out loud when you said that you guys almost ran out of gas. I have to wonder who was driving. But no, don't tell me. I like imagining that it was Al. It really solidifies your brotherhood for me.

Actor, director, adventurer, community manager and social media geek. said...

I have NO idea what you're talking about. ;-)

The irony is that we almost ran out of gas *looking* for gas. if we had stayed on the main road, we probably would have been fine.

The actual driver shall remain anonymous.