April 26, 2015 / IF YOU'RE THE SMARTEST PERSON IN THE ROOM YOU'RE IN THE WRONG ROOM
April 26, 2015
Welcome to the Information Age. A current phase taking place in our society where communication and data flow fast and furious, and people are able to obtain knowledge with a simple keystroke. Items formerly swept under the proverbial rug are no longer hidden. People are free to share their POV and wave their banners proudly. Transparency allows knowledge to be gained and communications to commence. These are all good things. Sometimes.
Design your actions with intentionality
I acknowledge and applaud those who have chosen to stand up for change. I support, and many times agree with, what is being espoused—but sometimes I see the freedom of digital speech go wrong. Too many times blogs begin with a discussion about an important or interesting topic but the post quickly goes south when all eyes are made to focus on the person writing the article and not the topic at hand. These individuals want to be labeled the new, cool term “disruptor” and be regarded as those who go against the grain. There’s even a group that calls itself Disrupt, comprised of individuals (many are bloggers) who waive their disruptor banner proudly.
Does passion fuel intentionality?
I’ve always believed that people who stand up for change and defend causes are doing it because they are driven to do so, because of the cause—not to build a case for a desired label. No problem, rock on, but don’t mistake protests about an unjust practice or policy as giving back when in reality it’s self-serving. If someone truly wants to see change, be the change. If the cause is good and impactful others will see and listen. It’s wrong to manipulate people into believing important information is being shared, when in reality the driving force behind the words is only to garner the reputation of a cool kid.
Don’t disrupt the disruptor
A few months ago, I was reading a well-known blogger’s post that had attracted many comments. One of the respondents challenged the author and included links to research that supported his POV. The author’s vitriolic response was biting and ended with the comment, “I’m not defending my POV. This is my blog and if you don’t like it, you can f*^* off.” Well, I guess he told him. Out of curiosity, I revisited the site the next day to see if additional comments were posted. Yep, there they were. Supplementary comments were not on the article’s topic, but on the response made by the author—the latecomers raised their hands in support of the author’s anger and nary said a word about the content of the article. I don’t believe the responder supported his challenge very well because his research was weak, but his right to free speech was cut short by someone who considers himself a disruptor and not to be challenged. If the author deemed his content to be sound and read-worthy, he should have provided commentary that supported his point of view. Frankly, everyone involved in that chain of replies failed miserably. I still visit that blog from time to time and have not seen an exchange as unsavory. But this blogger has earned the label of self-serving malcontent, not disruptor for the good of change.
Consideration fuels the intentional disruptor
So to everyone reading this blog post, I hope consideration is given to your future writings. Do you hope to affect change? Do you have important information to share? Are you writing as a benefit for others? No doubt this post will make some people uncomfortable and some angry, while others will share my viewpoint and confirm it publically or privately.
My intention is neither to gather the forces behind me nor to assemble them in front of me. I’m simply asking for deeper circumspection about intentions. In some of my previous blog posts I’ve called out practices, processes and groups of people as outdated or misinformed. I stand behind those words. I wrote them with the intention to share a point of view, not with malicious intent, and certainly not to acquire the label of disruptor. Disruption should occur at the cause level, not with individuals longing to garner the label. A focus on the cause should be, and never waiver from, the cause itself. This is true intention. This is where a cause gains strength in numbers.