Can’t sleep. Princess Little Tree has been gone for three days now. I find it surprising that though it’s only been 8 months that we have been living together full time (I do not presently travel back and forth to NYC on a regular basis as was usual), there are so many things that seem different and difficult without her constant presence. Including sleep. The days are longer. Much longer. The evenings even more so. The nights even worse. I’ve always been a night owl since I can remember, but due to the three hour time difference here on the west coast and the need to be on east coast time for better business and communication AND the fact that it just feels better to be aligned with the rhythm of the home and the people in it, I began keeping more regular hours since living here full time. In the last six to eight months I’ve been getting to bed between 12 and 1 am most nights and waking up around 7 or 8. (It may not sound like much, but for anyone in the arts it’s damn near supernatural.) For the first time in my life. That could be a whole entry unto itself, this fascinating contrast between the pros and cons of night owls versus early birds. But I must say I haven’t minded it as much as one thinks they would, and in fact I have been pleasantly surprised by the advantages that can be had from awaking so early in the day. Definite benefits to it.
With that said, being here alone, better put, not having Princee Little Tree here with me as a time keeper, more precisely, as the stable reference point that I’ve quickly become aware that she is, the mechanism of getting to sleep at a decent time seems to have eluded me once more. Staying asleep once down just as challenging. It’s nearly 3 am now and I’ve been up for a little less than an hour, which means that I was only able to stay asleep for slightly more than an hour. And here I am wide awake, sitting up and writing. As if I never went to bed.
If that were the only challenge posed from her absence this setting could be bearable. Unfortunately it’s one of the least bothersome out of a seemingly endless sea of many. How on earth a man is supposed to eat properly without his beloved escapes me entirely, save the occasional waffle, bagel, bowl of cereal or slice of pizza. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen worse. Vancouver, who has yet to hook up with any permanent better half, eats as if he were a homeless person (no offense towards homeless people. But I’ve honestly never seen anything like it…) Of course I jest. Understanding how sexist an idea like this must seem to the more progressive among us. But unfortunately as with most things truly funny there is more truth to this than fiction or poetic license.
Most of all what I find the most disturbing is the unquenchable longing for her presence, her beingness. To see her smile. That smile of hers that only she can pull off. As if it were born to illuminate and radiate and lighten. She’s a miracle in her smile alone. To feel her essence in my space. That is something that nothing else can replace. It is a heavy aching longing of a feeling, one that I am grateful to be feeling After all, what is worse? To long for someone or anyone to miss? Or to miss someone that we are longing for? Having experienced both now, I choose the latter. It is for all intents and purposes what I had always guessed true love feels like. Severe pleasure when you’re together. Severe pain when you’re apart.
[Editorial note: typing on an iPhone — any smartphone for that matter one supposes — seems to compel us to subconsciously refrain from choosing large words or attempt to compose sentences even one-tenth as erudite as we would under normal circumstances. Especially given the iPhone’s inept auto-correct feature’s maddening penchant for distorting our intended words so blasphemously. (Even more so if you’re doing it with only one eye open and the other closed due to being so sleepy that you can’t see straight with both eyes open, as I’m apt to do late at night like this.) People are always shocked when they hear that many of the Transcendence Diaries entries are composed in the pitch black of the dead of night on an iPhone. I find it a gratifying sign that, although I’ve certainly grown up a tad and taken on at least an air of having more responsibility since getting married, that the general manly laziness that I’ve carried with me most of my adult life hasn’t entirely been left or been remade.
[In any case, this drag on our willingness to write as well on our handheld devices is subtle and tricky; it’s a slippery one to catch. But it’s there and must be subverted. You’ve got to remain vigilant and committed to writing as eloquently and completely as you would under any other circumstances. I assert that although an entirely new nomenclature is fast being created in society — more shortcuts, contractions, acronyms and slang, less allegiance to proper spelling and grammar, etc. — due to the advent of so much of what we do now being on smart phones, that it is still just as important to keep the torch lit for the art of good writing. One of the last vestiges of etiquette and civility left for us in this fast paced data-overloaded culture of diversity and recklessness. This trend is one of the Signatures of the Personal Expression Age we identified and predicted early on. Frankly i believe we are only seeing the beginning of it now and that the primary language of modern casual communication is going to become much more truncated and nuanced as younger generations grow up within the age not ever even being aware of what proper writing once looked and sounded like. Even punctuation is quickly disappearing from our day to day communication like frost on a windshield when you first start your car; it was there and now it’s not… the proper use of requisite capitalization has already left the building. Descriptive words will soon wither away and fade as well, seeming unnecessary, (or they will replace, stand in place of, the intended object). All as more and more people try to say more in less time and with less effort. But alas there are a few who are still attempting to uphold the old time-honored tradition of writing as an art form.]
So where were we…. Yes. The actual purpose for this late night intrusion into my solid eight was to make mention of how utterly unbeneficial (sic) and possibly even counter-productive it is to be constantly pimping one’s wares on the great social networks of the world. Facebook Twitter Tumblr StumbleUpon… they’re all becoming giant public billboards rather than meeting and greeting places. Sales conventions. That word “social” is what gives it away. Most of this is already in the aforementioned book and I dare say that if I don’t get to the releasing of it soon then I am bound to give most of it away in these pages so much so as to render it unnecessary.
But let us at least observe that when browsing a social network it is becoming increasingly more prevalent to see these so called “sponsored posts” or “recommended pages”, and if we didn’t call them up ourselves, i.e. desire to pull them towards us, into our awareness, all the pushing them down our throat in the world is not going to lure anyone into clicking or consuming any more than if you came pounding on our door in the middle of dinner like a Jehovah’s Witness. In fact that’s what it’s starting to feel like. One big “buy my religion” sales convention. Luckily, or not, depending on what your goals are, the advent of that blessed invention called the HIDE button on Facebook, is making it increasingly easier for us as consumers to escape the onslaught of social network sales people, and hence increasingly difficult for any of us as entrepreneurs to show our wares. A conundrum indeed. Of course if you aren’t pitching anything, if your profession is outside the realm of necessity of social, then this is entirely worthless information. This does beg the question though, “What professions in the modern world don’t at all need to rely at least a little on having a presence in the social networking world?”
I assume there is a plethora of data and opinion already in existence out there that reflect on these ideas. I read recently that “every idea ever invented since the dawn of man is now being re-invented and disseminated online every 48 hours.” It’s enough to lead one to believe that to say anything at all is a worthless endeavor. But I’d still suggest that the subtle style of suggestion goes a lot further in terms of long term growth and sustainability, and certainly in regards to respect and admiration, than hardcore pimping and selling in the modern age. There are people who use social media for nothing but sales, to the point that they will even take natural disasters or the worst human tragedies and turn them into a self centered sales vehicle. It is as if they aren’t aware that society has caught up with and is more than tired of them. Then there’s the user who will post the same music video ten times in a day; that’s where the Hide button really comes in handy.
True engagement from the heart, sincere conversation and dialogue goes a lot further than mere selling in today’s world, even if the goal is to ultimately sell. (That isn’t the goal for many of us. But for some it is. And it’s important to learn this lesson. The days of old fashioned selling are over. Especially if it makes one appear as if there is nothing more to them than meeting some quota or stroking their insecure ego. Social media may go a long way to serve in that at first, for most of us are generally kind and generous with our attention as long as it doesn’t hurt; the problem is that it quickly starts to hurt if it feels like it’s a one way street. “Watch my new video!!!!” or “Hey guys check out my new song!!!” seems a very 20th century way to promote oneself today.
I have been reluctant to mention this, for it’s been brewing for some time, but interestingly there is another phenomenon that opposes the above viewpoint and that is this: if you display and talk long enough about something, the product, if you just absolutely refuse to go away, people begin to soften to it, which has the effect of increasing that product’s sell-through potential. What may be completely uninteresting, not-preferred, undesirable, even objectionable or offensive one day has a good chance, if given enough of a push for a long enough period of time, of still being eventually consumed, even paid for. This applies to products, services, people as products, and equally to ideas.
Think of so-called hit songs. Hit songs are products that have been promoted to a small panel of radio stations, the distributors, across a particular country to play repeatedly in exchange for large sums of money and other forms of compensation; the key to it is the “play repeatedly” aspect, oftentimes more than any measurable quality of the product itself. We all know of thousands of songs that we now consider hit songs that when we first heard them we thought they were utter crap, only to slowly and inevitably change our mind about the same song a few weeks, months or years later. These songs achieve hit song status if enough listeners appear to “like” the song based on various data and feedback provided by said listeners. But what’s fascinating about this particular example is that the consumers in this case, the listeners, have a very slim chance of being the ones who decide whether or not they really “like” the product or not. Why? Because they hear the song so many times that they just start softening up to it, regardless of how they felt about it to begin with.
This isn’t the case for all hit songs. Obviously some appear on the scene and from the moment most people hear them they just fall madly in love with it, the true measure of a hit song, and a winning product. But in a large majority of cases, listeners have almost no say in what they consider a hit song; it’s played so many times in such a short period of time, giving the appearance of being a hit, that even those who despise it eventually begin to find something they believe they like about it. There are a variety of reasons why this happens — the human need to belong, not feel like an outsider, feel part of something bigger, and perhaps more than anything just the phenomenon of infinite repetition seems to break down resistance.
People as products, celebrities in some cases, work much the same way. Resist the Whoopi Goldbergs and Rosie O’Donnels and Mel Brooks and Kathy Grffins of the world all you want — but if they just find a way to keep themselves in front of people long enough they eventually become part of the accepted consciousness stream. We might spend the first twenty years of their first appearance on the scene wondering what the hell this person even does or offers — especially if their claim to fame is “being funny” but they don’t happen to be funny for example — but inevitably their desire to be an accepted and consumed product often overrides anyone’s doubts about their qualifications to be such.
Ideas offer an even more substantiated example of this phenomenon. Most are aware that the idea that the earth was round and revolved around the sun had been proposed more than a thousand years before it eventually became accepted, which means that the idea that “the earth is flat and is at the center of the solar system” was an accepted idea for a thousand years even though there was no proof of it and in fact more proof of the exact opposite theory. The idea was just pounded into mass consciousness and for lack of _________ (fill in the blank… resolve? strength? courage? knowledge? resources? access?) people just accepted the idea to be fact; walked around their whole lives assuming and teaching their children and children’s children that the earth was flat and that the sun revolved around it. I am sure we could think of hundreds of ideas that could serve as equally substantive examples of this same phenomenon. (What’s most intriguing is to pose the question “What current ideas in human society do we assume and take for granted NOW that will one day fit into this same group and seem outlandish and ludicrous?”)
Same sex marriage is an excellent example of this. An idea as a product, at first unaccepted and undesirable, offensive and objectionable to many, but slowly gaining traction in society as a whole right before our eyes, in our own lifetimes; we are witnessing the blowback in real time from the various groups around the world who still refuse to accept the idea, or, still refuse to consume the product. Many say it is an inevitability. It appears that way. And yet there are plenty of people who still resist it. Just as I’m sure there were who resisted the idea that the earth was in fact round and revolved around the sun.
What changed? Well for one thing the idea, the product, didn’t go away. Like a Whoopi Goldberg or a Kathy Griffin or a fill in the blank_______________. And that seems to be the key. Keeping the product, no matter what it is — tangible object, service, idea, person — in range, in line of sight, in earshot, for as long as it takes for people to soften up to it no matter how much they might resist it at first. Softening up leads to acceptance, reluctant or not, which seems to eventually lead to increased potential for consumption. (How many times have we bought an album years later, just “because”, by a musical artist that we once swore we “didn’t like” at first…?)
So how does this relate to not pimping your wares ad nauseum on social media? The ideas seem to be antithetical. Don’t pimp your wares to people who aren’t interested in buying if you want to earn respect and admiration. But if you could care less about respect or admiration, and instead your mission is mass consumption, think Donald Trump and his various enterprises — Celebrity Apprentice for example — then you strap in for the long haul and just go hog-wild pimping your product regardless of how it is initially received.
The funny thing about all this is that one notices that eventually the resistance dissipates, the resistors and naysayers seem to drift away, room is made, and eventually even respect and admiration can be had by even the least admirable and respectable products or persons a society has to offer. It seems to be only a matter of time, AND a product’s, or its promoter’s, degree of willingness to endure rejection, ridicule and criticism. Snake Oil anyone?
– Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone