Listening to Someone You Don’t Even Know

The Internet has changed the way people communicate ideas and has impacted humanity in the same way the printing press changed the world so many hundred of years ago. Ideas flow instantly from keyboard to brain in a blink of an eye. Words, images, sounds travel around the world in a never-ending frenzy to be seen, to be read, to be absorbed.

We get access to ideas instantly if we can latch onto someone interesting. With seven billion people in the world and at least 2.4 million people accessing the Internet there are a lot of opportunities to listen to someone you don’t even know.

The key, as it has always been since ideas started traveling from community to community by weary travelers is to figure out if what you are hearing makes sense, if the idea has validity, if the information can be trusted.

With so many people accessing and contributing to the Internet, I wonder if at some point there will be a technological innovation that changes how we absorb information in a way that we can’t even comprehend today.

But for today, I have found that I can only trust and give attention to a limited number of sources of information.

I’ll find a blog or podcast or Youtube video channel of someone interesting and give them some of my attention. If they continue to say interesting things, I’ll keep them around. If they go astray, I hit the little unsubscribe button.

In today’s world, we only have so much attention capacity in our heads. It is important to use that inventory wisely.

Here’s some good words of wisdom and words of encouragement from someone I don’t even know.

Proving the Skeptics Wrong by Seth Godin
July 10th 2013

"It’ll never last…"

"Someone with her background will never make a go of this…"

"Are you kidding me?" "Pathetic! Delusional!"

"Social media is a fad, the iPad is a toy, you’re never going to amount to anything…"

Here’s the thing about proving skeptics wrong: They don’t care. They won’t learn. They will stay skeptics. The ones who said the airplane would never fly ignored the success of the Wright Bros. and went on to become skeptical of something else. And when they got onto an airplane, they didn’t apologize to the engineers on their way in.

I used to have a list, and I kept it in my head, the list of people who rejected, who were skeptical, who stood in the way. What I discovered was that this wasn’t the point of the work, and my goal wasn’t actually to prove these folks wrong, it was only to do the work that was worth doing. So long ago I stopped keeping track. It’s not about the skeptics. It’s about the people who care about, support and enable.

Instead of working so hard to prove the skeptics wrong, it makes a lot more sense to delight the true believers. They deserve it, after all, and they’re the ones that are going to spread the word for you.


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Filed under All Posts, History, Internet, Traditions

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