Why is is so hard, the more we communicate, to actually say anything?
Even more: if you do manage to say something why does social networking make it so easy for people to apply the wrong context to what you say—or apply no context at all?
Last night, Brian Clark, a Search Engine Optimization consultant of some reputation, tweeted a couple of times. He was complaining—I think— about people taking his words out of context:
- This why twitter is flawed. You can treat it as a narrative stream all you want, but people react to the most recent tweet with no context.
Brian Clark’s a smart guy. And never more than here.
Note, though, that I make both of those statements by applying my own context to Brian’s words. I honestly don’t know what Brian was thinking when he opened himself up on Twitter last night, so I’m assigning the context that makes sense to me; namely, I think Brian was frustrated, and said so in 140 characters a couple of times. Or as he pointed out, you can be authentic, but too much authenticity is bad.
Which sounds like a contradiction all in itself.
Last summer, I called out Chris Brogan for missing the boat on authenticity (Chris Brogan, incidentally, is a business associate of Brian Clark). Chris must have taken those works to heart; he’s gotten back to being a whole bunch more authentic, and as I pointed out just last week, is working very hard to make business change happen.
Authenticity, as Brian Clark displayed on Twitter, is about doing and saying what you think are right.
Notice the emphasis on “you”. You can’t be authentic if you worry all the time about what everyone else is thinking. Which is a hard business change lesson—not so much to learn as to enact.
Be authentic. Tell someone what you think. You might like the business change that leads to.