Want a more Intellectual Internet? Start with your Voice.In 2004, Chris Anderson of Wired proposed a theory called “The Long Tail”. Flash forward to 2018 and it’s been proven true. Today's world of extreme connectivity has created a sort of chasm.
Quality content on the Internet is at an all-time high, but there is so much low-quality content it is becoming difficult to differentiate signal from noise.
Before you turn your nose and say “Oh no, another article about how the web needs to change its business model” - carry on. This is not one of those articles. There is enough written on the subject that dissects why we have seen both extremely thoughtful and provocative content and unfortunately a blight of “fake news”.
It’s time to focus on something more pervasive. That’s the overwhelming amount of low-quality, well-intentioned noise out there. Most of this is in the form of resharing, rehashing, or restating things. This phenomena is known more colloquially as a “social circle-jerk”. All of us are guilty of this as we look for that little endorphin hit that comes with someone liking or sharing what we’ve said. Who knew people cared so much, right?
Some say there is no original thought left. I beg to differ. I think this very statement is intellectually lazy. There are plenty of people doing amazing things, or doing things a different way and reporting the results. If you seek you shall find.
So today I want to focus on that. How do we foster original thought and find our own voice? I believe that if we focus on this, we can and will create positive change. In the big picture, each of us will start shaping a more intellectual web. As with most problems that society faces, we need only to look inward to start finding solutions.
What I am proposing is more consideration in what content we share, write, or produce daily. This is the way that we can all achieve more high-fidelity content. Before you create anything, consider whether what you’re about to say is what you actually feel to be not only original thought, but moreover, original truth.
I define original truth as something that is not only original thought but gets closer to the heart of the subject matter as you see it. It can be derivative in some senses, but that does not mean that its ok to reword someone’s original thought. Sharing ideas is important, but in today’s age, parroting something you’ve heard doesn’t bring value to the conversation. It only brings you value in the sense of it may get you attention in the social media circle-jerk.
We are all guilty of repeating unoriginal thought, without exception. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for better. That’s right I’m encouraging you not to join the conversation….right away. This is the antithesis to what everyone has ever told you about social media, or most anything online. It’s ok. It’s for the greater good.
Another way we can help reduce noise online is by stopping the mindless resharing links. Give some context to why you’re sharing this article. That way it doesn’t look like you’re just whoring your feed for likes, retweets, whatever. Sharing thing gives traffic to things you care about. Sure that’s great. But look to provide some reason of why you’re sharing it.
Lastly, stop sharing as much generally. Start creating. You may be sitting there saying “Whuck?”, but seriously think on it. If we stop focusing on taking the easy way out by sharing, and focus on creating it will make for a better web. Creating something starts the creative process in your brain. It helps you start looking at things from a different perspective and examining things and guides you to finding your original truth.
Creating things also creates confidence in yourself and your own process. It is a cycle indeed. So, get out there, start examining the world more closely in silence. Start seeing things from a different angle. Get out there and create and share your original truth.
This is how we create a more intellectual internet.