The Megaphone and the Mountain Range

The Megaphone and the Mountain Range

This is a blog post about blogging. You've been warned.

I don't want to be another one of those 'Why I choose to blog in 2017' writers and start to rattle off a list of pseudo-philosophical reasons for communicating in this way. I mean, yeah, I've got philosophical reasons for doing this, I've got professional reasons too, but that isn't the core driver for this activity.

I blog to help bring about a cultural change in how we consume information in the 21st century. Communication is a core part of my job and the design industry. The term being shot around now is the 'knowledge economy', a system that places higher value on what a person knows rather than what they do. We communicate primarily on the internet and how information is exchanged on this medium has undergone a sea change since the advent of social media platforms. The emphasis is now and the trend is increasing towards communicating less and less. Brands communicate with one or two words, or even a non-alphabetic sigil of some kind. We communicate with each other in micro-bursts on Twitter, Facebook,  Ello, etc. We communicate through the actions, by 'pinning' images we like for instance on our Pinterest boards.

To me, this is the real world equivalent of a family grunting at one another across the dinner table, with one key difference, a family has context that make the grunts meaningful.

On the internet, there is no context.

Or rather, there is so much potential context that it renders our twitter-grunts largely meaningless. This drive towards short meaningless context is exacerbated by the marketing and business development professionals. It is the accepted norm and seen as meaningful to communicate on the internet in this way. I see this as a major loss of fidelity in our signal. Oh look, here's a cheap trick in my bag of tools, let's consider what an intelligent alien species would think of the way we communicate today. It would be a stream of our quickest least thought out thoughts, contextless, a planet of digital prairie dogs chirping at one another excitedly based on whatever external stimuli enters our kingdom.

All right, maybe not quite that bad, I'm trying to make a point.

Communication is getting shorter and shorter, is being removed from its context via the technology of hypertext. I blog because I want to re-inject the internet with communication within context.

But, no one will see your message if it is too long, they will just pass right over it! Or some argument to that effect. I refute this. This idea comes from a more is better frame and I assert that less but more engaged is better point of view. The individuals that read a blog post through to the three thousandth word are more engaged, they understand you more, and they become a deeper ally (or enemy) as a result. I can see this change coming on the horizon, the days of the one hundred and forty four character message shot out to one billion 'followers' are due to fail. It will fail because without context, without references, without using hypertext for what it is intended for really, there is little chance of your message being able to be proved or argued true.

With context, with all of your thoughts on a subject laid out, not only do your readers learn something but you learn something as well in both the process of writing and the process of having your writing, your arguments, torn to shreds by engaged individuals. Blogs are the new black.

That is the core reason why I am standing on this digital mountain with my megaphone, shouting at other mountains, without a person in sight. I intend to get to the crest of this growing truth wave on the sea of hypertext and ride it into the next era of digital communication, one that banishes the grunts at the dinner table and demands a conversation.