Not all that long ago – albeit longer than we may care to admit – families gathered around large living room radios and listened to news, dramas, comedies and live music. People read newspapers and heard the words spring to life in their heads.
We watched and listened to television. Along came the Internet and we listened, the words and pictures and videos grafting onto our collective consciousness with immutable force.
We consumed, we thought, we learned and kept listening, listening, listening.
Then, one day, we found a voice. We always had one, of course, but now with social media, our voice could be heard.
So we talked. A comment here, a blog post there – a video, a photo, a review, a status update, a tweet, a pin, a question, a commentary, a discussion; an argument.
Everybody talking, everybody “engaging in conversation” and “creating content.” It sounds wonderful, and by and large it is – in fact it’s one of the greatest advances in human culture since moveable type.
But now that we all have printing presses, we all believe we can be writers. Now that we all have a radio and a TV network, we feel the need to develop and distribute “programming” (or re-distribute others’ programming as is more often the case.)
We are talking so much that we have stopped listening – or at very least it’s getting harder to hear, so we compensate by talking louder and more often, hoping some of us will get the message between rushed breaths.
The more scarce and precious something is, the more valuable and important it becomes. But there is so much talking, so much “content,” so many aggregated and curated echoes that there’s no longer any value or meaning. Ideas get lost in the binary fog, swallowed whole by the cacophony of endless creation.
The truth is, the less you contribute the more value you add.
So contribute less. Create less. Talk less.
Listen, once more.