Lobbing Facts Over The Wall...Or Having Real Conversations

Today, I've got nothing about how to make better business decisions while running your independent marketing, digital, or creative firm. Instead, I'm just going to share something that's been on my mind.

Most of us don’t have much of an audience—me included. When I realize that I have an audience of 0.0000125% of the world, I want to stop the effort and take a nap. But then I think of the people who influence me, and I realize that most of them, too, have a small audience. But over time I have come to see how they react to inevitable life challenges and how their views are (mainly) well-reasoned. Most of all, they have an epistemological humility.

I have a deep distaste for the idea of a guru or an influencer because those people are talking more than they are listening. I don't need more people lobbing facts over the wall—I want more conversations with humble and curious people.

The people I want to listen to often keep getting the same questions, but they patiently answer them without making people feel stupid, many times playing it back in their minds: is this really true? No, I mean, is it really true? Or just something I say to shut down an argument? I'm not good at the patience part, though I muster it during my better moments.

Wherever you are in this journey, this is a good day to revisit what you really believe and what that means about the choices you make. I retweeted something yesterday after laughing out loud (to just myself) when I read it. @patsajak was opining on what Twitter would become if Elon Musk had his way:

I don’t care who buys Twitter as long as we never lose the spirited, but kind, polite and respectful give-and-take for which the platform is known.

My own Twitter presence is a disposable personality where I have fun, mostly, and get serious at other times. I only visit when I have nothing else to do or I want a quick break.

It is not the sort of place where you have real conversations with real people, each looking to really “hear” someone. No, it’s a place that rewards lobbing your facts over the wall and seeing if you can hit someone on the head. But while you’re doing that, there are real people sitting across from each other having a discussion (see the lower left of the illustration). The participants are people and not keyboard heroes. They look someone in the eye and only say the things that they would say to someone while looking them in the eye.

Whatever you believe, today is a good day to look again at the “why” of that belief, and then the “what” that this should mean for you.

I was so certain of so many things when I was younger. Many of those have fallen away as “inherited beliefs,” but the things I still believe are fewer. But also far deeper.

Today your audience could be a TEDx auditorium of 2,000, or maybe several grandchildren, or just a single person next to you on the subway or someone driving you to the airport. Each audience deserves your respect and your honesty, as well as your curiosity about what you might learn and not how you want to correct everyone on the internet who happens to be wrong at this particular moment.

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