2013 – Wow, how’d that happen?
I don’t post much these days (you noticed huh?).
You could say I got bored with stating the obvious or adding to the general noise of the blah blah blah brigade.
There’s little value add to that.
“Value add” seems to be a prevailing theme that keeps popping up a lot for me these days; be it in my conversations with friends, face to face, or with my kids veiled in failed subtleties designed to try and impart that little something without the alienation part, or online in a comment or a tweet somewhere.
I tend to look a lot more before I leap these days. No point making mistakes if you just keep on making them eh!?
Today, I like to think that in a lot of my actions I’m far more considered; I like to think that I give things a whole lot more thought than I once did. Sometimes I practice what I preach and sometimes I’m pretty sure that I don’t, but hey, I’m trying! That’s all of any of us can really do, right?
Online, back in the day when I could be bothered; I must have spent a few thousand hours reading, and occasionally chiming in to a bazillion debates around search related stuff from absolute positioning to z-indices; the aim of it all? No points for guessing, but at some level it was to add value, both to myself and the people I was either trying to help or debate with. I learnt through debate and discussion, I enhanced my ‘street cred’ (or destroyed it dependent upon your perspective) and generally helped myself learn the many facets of an industry I felt strangely compelled by back then.
Sometimes it was fun, other times it was all a little painful and more an exercise in walking through a minefield of egos; weighing up the personalities, appreciating the politics of the day, choosing the right words that made the point and assuaged the finer delicacies of a similarly flawed lump of flash and bone.
The online watering holes have come and gone, some have changed ownership, others have withered on the vine, some just ran out of steam, others have just disappeared; whole fora with 10’s of 1000’s of posts along with a few good individuals, some announced and some not so.
For the announced, the reasons are oft clear; a lack of resources, lack of will, lack of patronage – could it be argued that at some point in the analysis of their decision to withdraw, that their perception of their situations concluded a lack of ‘added value’ too?
Maybe they’d decided that the space was too crowded, that there wasn’t enough love to go around and the effort required to get them there just wasn’t there – Who knows?
The upside is that some places continue to progress despite being sold, despite changes of personnel at the helm. The old guard thrives – People like Jill Whalen and Bill Slawski continue to serve, along with other fine stalwarts challenging, debating, and educating the old and the new around the ever changing face of ‘online’. The thing they have in common? ‘Value add’ perhaps? The commitment and energy to help someone solve a problem – cut through a seemingly intangible – demystify a complexity, because of course, anyone can build a forum, install a blog, create a community platform but not anyone can add sufficient value and sustain that impetus over time.
There are of course 1000’s of other places and personalities online all of which add their own flavour and taste to the mix – that’s the beauty of the web, anyone can create a persona, create a community and cultivate a following – success is a relative measure; capital growth, number of employees, turnover or followers will invariably have different meaning to differing people but at some point, anything worth anything will be adding value, else it’ll just die a death.
We all have our aims and goals and some us will have our clear milestones set out aligned to job title x or house size y, bank account balance z . For some of us, a lot of that won’t always be immediately apparent. We’ll struggle with career paths, relationships, life choices, unforeseeable events and drive ourselves mad agonising over options A or B if we’re lucky and A through Z if we’re not so.
All of us will in later years look back and reflect upon things that we think went wrong or didn’t pan out as we thought they might. We might recognise times where we were used to further the aims of others and upon recall perhaps, bear mild resentment to such folks or ourselves choosing to hold on to it all, gnash teeth, plot revenge, and rail against the injustice of it all allowing it all eat us up until we’re dead. The luckier among us having experienced the same, will be able to accept such things as an integral part of what was required to get us to where we’re at today older and wiser, ready to impart the benefits of our experience to those we may mentor or nurture down the road.
Most of us in reality will be somewhere in the middle of the two; some things are a whole lot easier to forgive than others and few journeys of note can be absorbed or detailed if traveled too quickly. We do have a choice though; one choice adds value and the other doesn’t.
Happy 2013 all, may your decisions be good ones and your mistakes few, keep on trying!