Isn’t social media wonderful! The way you can share almost instantly what you are doing, where you are, who you’re with, what you’re watching, how you’re looking, what you’re planning to do next – how fantastic. How did we ever get along without it?
Donncha just hate social media? Sad sacks constantly cluttering up my in-box with inane updates, horrendously bad pictures and evidence that even though the weather is nice and a walk would be a good thing to do on a Sunday afternoon, there they are (with millions of other losers) updating their profile, reaching out to ‘friends’ and telling me that Aretha Franklin is great. Really?
Although my long suffering partner (aka the luckiest woman in the world) thinks that I live in Simon World, I’m pretty sure that at times we all share the above views, veering between amazement at the facility that social media offers us to keep in touch and connect with each other and despair at the inane volume of rubbish that it creates. And the volume control that dials up from love to hatred is twisted by what we receive – rather like the Happy Monday’s and their infamous melon. How amazing that they are back out there playing that song again to adoring crowds of 40 year olds. Who are all tweeting about it and you’ve not got tickets – you see what I mean?
So what to do? I think the British are probably reasonably well equipped to handle the challenge of technological change because of our values - we are traditional, accommodating and live in a very diverse society. We also don’t take ourselves too seriously and certainly spot people who do. So we’ll muddle on, dipping our toes into the filthy digital pool from time to time, loving it, hating it but flirting with it when it suits us. It is only a tool after all.
The uber connected information highway digital deluge frequently provides laugh out loud moments too. Last week I was hunting down intersections, inspired by the keynote presenter I’d worked with the week before. Frans Johansson is an author and consultant whose first book ‘The Medici Effect’ was a study into the nature of creativity and innovation. He’s about to publish his next, called ‘Click’, which will move his theory forward. So what he believes is that where two different fields of endeavour, or culture, or understanding collide you have an intersection and it is in those intersections that the space for real creativity and innovation can be found.
He backs up this concept with multiple examples based on exhaustive research and it is a compelling idea, one that had got stuck in my head so off I go hunting for intersections. Within three days I’d found one, in the form of Liam Tancock, a British swimmer who made it through to the Olympic final of the men’s 100 metres backstroke. In an interview after his semi final he revealed that he’s added some new elements to his training regime. These include ballet and kick boxing. So here is an intersection – by using the understanding of movement and balance that he gets from ballet, his performance in the water develops. By applying the disciplines required to control and release aggression found in kick boxing, he can get faster and better times in competition.
Brilliant – an Olympian intersection. I tweet it to Frans and he re-tweets it to his network. So far, so good. Then Liam gets into the pool for the final and comes fifth – but hey, all credit due he was in the final, so well done. In the poolside interview that follows the swim, he gamely says he’s looking forward to Rio. I tweet that he has displayed genuine British Bulldog spirit in the face of adversity. And lo - welcome to my new follower on Twitter – Oliver Bulldogs. Have we gone barking mad?