I love serendipity. The more a system or technique accommodates serendipity, the more value I tend to place on it. Conversely, I tend to abandon systems and techniques that have lost their ability to generate it.
So this morning I am reading Seth Godin’s blog post in which he arranges forms of communication along a two-axis chart: one axis represents distance in time and space between what he terms the “creator” and the “responder,” and the density (or “quality”) of information exchanged.
(Love him or hate him, at least Godin is honest and straightforward about what he is — a salesman, a marketer, a classic old-school huckster. He’s all about the deal, and never pretends to be about anything else. But he’s also a better-than-average observer and analyst of the power of words, which is why he’s part of my daily reading.)
Anyway, his chart is sure to provoke — Is art really a low-bandwidth form of communication? Surely “quality” is more than just density? — but it’s designed for a simple purpose: to map out the fertile spots in the land-rush for profitable communications technologies. While you can extrapolate some interesting implications from his chart — you could argue that plotting from the asynchronous to the synchronous appears to correlate with a transition in the nature of the medium from the permanent to the ephemeral, for example — it’s probably best not do too much of that.
Anyway, he ends with this question: “If you had seen this chart three years ago, you obviously would have invented Twitter. Now that you see it today, what will you create?” While I was contemplating an answer to that question, I received an e-mail from a friend with a quote from Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941):
By riding words that are bridled and reined
Man has quickened
The pace of time’s slow clock.
Yep, I think I’ll stick to creating most of my things in the high-bandwidth half of the chart — lots of asynchronous stuff like writing, of course, but mostly in the upper-right quadrant, where the most valuable, meaningful, and timeless stuff can be found. That’s where relationships live.
Categorised as: Life the Universe and Everything
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