“If it doesn’t exist on the internet, it doesn’t exist.”

Kenneth Goldsmith is right. Check out the entire essay here.  Furthermore, if you’re not open, you might as well not exist. If you hide behind pay walls, subscriptions, logins and passwords, you’re not really on the internet, and you don’t exist. If you wall yourself off in a secure network, in a closed loop, behind a price tag, you don’t exist. If you’re free and open, you exist. If not, well, you’ll soon cease to exist. And when the techno-rapture occurs and benevolent machines begin mapping and uploading individual human psyches in order to preserve them in the inter-galactic internet, you’re screwed if your data is behind a pay wall. I’m just saying.

So What?

From Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds, page 64:

When building the content of your presentation, you should always put yourself in the shoes of the audience and ask, “so what?”

Same goes for essays, stories, or any form of writing. I’m fond of this Stephen King quote: “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.”

In step 1, be concerned with what you want to say. Block out everything else. Ignore convention. Ignore the rules. Ignore trends and styles and advice.  The best writing is driven by self-interested exploration.

However, in step 2, it’s time to consider the audience. Who are they? How will your message be received? How can it be shaped for maximum effect? How can you make your ideas appealing without sacrificing your core content?

A good way to start:  look yourself in the mirror and ask, “so what?”

Meme of the Minute vs. Meme of the Moment

I.

The meme of the minute will expire shortly.

The clock starts with the first mention of tiger’s blood and ends some time after the doors of rehab slam shut.

Or else the meme of the minute begins with a morning announcement, alarming and aggressive like the coffee grinder, of some political debacle destined to occupy us for the next 24 hours, which, of course, can be measured in minutes.

The meme of the minute is always expiring.

It will go right on expiring for ever.

It excels at this.

Remember when Elizabeth Taylor died?  That was a meme of the minute. By the time Sunday came, her syndicated obituary was pronouncing ancient history.

 

II.

The meme of the moment generates no discernible revenue, little buzz, and operates under an ambiguous conception of time.

The moment is always now.

Except that its primary activity is re-imagining the past in service of the future.

The meme of the moment is not a sound bite to consume; it is a reality in need of a creator.

We have become so obsessed with playing God we have forgotten to play as God.

“God is dead” was the meme of the moment once, twice, again. Ancient history is the newest new.

The meme of the moment is the news of the universe, to borrow a phrase from Robert Bly.

There is never anything new in the universe.

 

 

A-Changin, A-Changin, A-Changin

Technologies that seemed revolutionary six months ago are now antiquated. Yesterday’s avant-garde become today’s defenders of the status quo and tomorrow’s destructive reactionaries. Do you feel the fierce urgency of now? Of course, as Dr. King wrote, “time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively.”  Actually, as is the nature of catastrophic change, the destructive and the constructive arrive on the scene together. The printing press destroys the Church, but new ones spring up. Rock-and-Roll divides parents and children while bringing a new conscientious generation of young people together. Smart phones remove us from our immediate environments but connect us with others around the world. Humpty Dumpty shatters. He won’t ever be the same. What shall we do with the pieces?