Do you have a happy place? I do. It’s a cozy little beach town in New Jersey (no boardwalk, no bar scene) where I’ve been going forever and ever. I love visiting my friends there, playing cards, hanging out, shopping, and taking long walks by myself on the miles of quiet beach. Being there is both energizing and restorative at the same time.
On my drive there Saturday morning, I listened to my backlog of podcasts. One clip in particular made me think then, and lingered with me as I walked on the beach Sunday morning. Tim Ferriss interviewed Caterina Fake (Flickr co-founder and Silicon Valley investor) and the conversation covered the difference between social media and online communities. Caterina said:
I had to press pause on the podcast for a little while as I drove because she summed up what had been nagging at me for a few weeks now. While I like social media, I miss the online communities of the earlier days of consumer internet usage. I’m a dinosaur who ruled electronic bulletin boards and the AOL chat rooms of the early 1990s. I miss the sense of community one was able to find online not only to meet new people around the world who were into what you were into, but also to enrich communities and connections in real life.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Now that I’m attuned to what has been bugging me about social media as of late, I’m noticing others are, too. My friend, David Lebovitz, opined in a Facebook post that a blogging convention well known to the food world now hosted people that none of us OG food bloggers ever had heard of. That’s because social media influencers have broader appeal and reach, and brands love that.
On her podcast, The Dork Forest, he wonderfully hilarious Jackie Kashian interviewed Judith Stephens, a producer at Marvel who has been a longtime cosplayer, and they talked about the days when online communities helped you find your people, share common interests, and help one another.
I’m thinking a lot about community these days and thinking about what I can do to ensure that sense of connectedness doesn’t get lost in my little corner of the world.
Here’s a little look at some things I’m reading, listening to, or otherwise consuming this week:
What I’m listening to: Born Standing Up, the Steve Martin memoir on audiobook. I’ve read it twice and am on my third listen. When I need or want writing or creativity inspiration, I listen to this or to Stephen King’s On Writing. I’ve got some interesting projects coming up, so I’ve been listening to Steve Martin’s book for a half hour each morning.
What I’m reading: All That You Leave Behind, by Erin Lee Carr. Erin writes about her life when her father, New York Times media columnist David Carr, passed away unexpectedly in the newsroom one night after an event they had attended together. I had the great fortune of knowing David Carr professionally and he was a giant. This book is lovely and heartbreaking and so beautifully written.
What I’m watching: Nothing right now. I’m very into reading through my huge book pile from the library and catching up on my backlog of podcasts. I’m even thinking about canceling cable altogether … which is not easy for a PR person to do (we love the news!). But it might be time. We’ll see …
What’s canceled: White people. White law enforcement, to be exact. #WalkingWhileBlack
What I’m learning: Gamifying certain things in my life helps me build good habits. I have long loathed exercise. Until I got an Apple Watch a few years ago. Now, it’s my goal to close those three exercise rings every day. I gamify money, investing, and savings. And now, I’m gamifying some habit training. I downloaded the Streaks app, which lets you track whatever you want and
What’s making me think: The sound the baseball made when it hit Phillies player Jean Segura on the head during Saturday evening’s game against the Marlins. The pitch not only slammed him on the side of the head at a precarious angle, it knocked the batting helmet clean off. I can’t get that sound out of me head and cannot even imagine what it would be like to have something hit you at 94 mph.
::shakes off image/sound of batting injury, sits up tall in chair::
Let’s go make this week an awesome one. Do something that helps set you apart from others and makes you memorable. Be remarkable. Do some cool shit.