A couple of days ago, enjoying a beautiful winters day on the edge of a quiet oval, I had a bit of an epiphany.
I had been receiving tweets on my new twitter account for something like a month, and blogging for a little longer. This great tide of information had been washing over me, but had kind of felt like somebody else's conversation.
Until Wednesday, with the sun warming my back. It was then that I finally realised the true value of social media. And this is that there is an almost bottomless wisdom and intelligence in social media - be it twitter, facebook, blogging, whatever.
Of course, there is also limitless inanity, but that's the easy bit. Just ignore that. The fear is not tapping in to some vapid stream of consciousness, but rather missing pearls of wisdom.
My realisation was that social media gives you access to a million minds, each turning over similar questions in wholly unexpected ways. Many writing blogs of immense value, the sort of blog that you would truly cherish in a book, challenging your thinking. indeed forcing you to think.
Then there's the more instrumental observation. There are a whole heap of people who blog, tweet AND run businesses in waste all around the world. And they are invariably doing something that is really interesting and deserves adaption for local markets. There is a lot to learn, digest, turn around.
Social media, in short, makes you realise that the world is quite a bit larger than Perth, Western Australia. That the ideas are not limited to that which circulates around this goldfish bowl. That you can learn without cease. I had not felt this for many years.
I also realised that social media goes further than being a kind of uber-library. It holds the possibility of fundamentally changing the way we are.
Critics will write of how these changes are for the worse. A lack of attention, inability to express complex thoughts, confinement to an echo chamber of peers and so on. Of course this is possible.
But equally possible is a remarkable deepening of humanity. I see this with the personal branding described by Trevor Young in his book "The Micro Maven Manifesto". I see it in the annual report prepared by Jonathan Fields. I see it in the flowering of individual expression, each working toward the more perfect fulfillment of their self. A person can finally be all the different people he/she really is. People no longer need to give simple answers to "What are you?"
I realise that is naff, but I find it immense. To be able to be authentic and find people prepared to listen is humbling. To be able to work hard, knowing that the work you are creating is forming a part of the world EXACTLY as you want it, not mediated through the lens of an employer, is empowering. And for this opportunity to be available to so many is truly incredible, creating a rich ecosystem in which many can find their own niche.
This was my epiphany. A realisation that there is a vast library of work just waiting to be found, and a whole host of people helping me to find it. A realisation that I am in the perfect place at the perfect time. A realisation that all of the hopes and dreams which have been (poorly) bottled up inside my brain can be free.
There is no need to pretend any more. Garbologie is just the beginning.