My active online muse (as opposed to my semi-retired online muse who has a new regional job in Europe and has no time for her muse responsibilities), has inspired me again, this time by suggesting I post about the publication (self-publication on Lulu.com) of the first instalment of "Is Rex a Dog? The Short-Story Collection". At first the insight didn't seep through, then I walked my dog-ters through the park and the wheels began turning. Then I read this eye-opening article on Charlie Sheen in Newsweek by Bret Easton Ellis. Then I 'got it'. I gave birth to something that I've been nurturing, pondering and mulling over for the past nine months or so.
You see, what's been astounding the Boomers and more conservative Gen Xers out there ever since Charlie began his very media-savvy ranting of late is how he continues to not only maintain media attention, but use it to make MORE money! Sold out 'concerts', a million twitter followers, millions of YouTube view, etc. What Bret's article led me to understand was something I've been gradually creeping towards in the back of my brain: int this day and age
Bret had this to say about, not just the newest cohort that is entering the workforce, the Millennials, but all the Gen X males who are in Charlie's age group and fully support his ability to be 46 and live like an irresponsible multi-millionaire frat boy:
A week ago my muse convinced me, just by doing what she does (blog a LOT of intimate details about what's going through her mind and heart) that I was not 'getting it'. Many of my 'change-o-philic' colleagues have leapt into the world of Web 2.0 'sharing' by blogging relentlessly about their families, idle thoughts, hang-overs and conflicts at the office. I sat back and dealt with my own compulsive urges to 'share' by separating my thoughts into 'business-related' (this blog 'channel'), 'personal' (Just One Cynic's Opinion) and creative/intimate (Is Rex a Dog?). I even went so far as to keep the latter anonymous due to the now-antique fear that I might lose credibility and contracts/work should colleagues and/or clients if they realized I was a bit 'out there' -- like they can't tell!
In my typical 'all or nothing' style, having intensely and obsessively blogged and tweeted to the point where I understood how these new media worked -- and then realized I both had not accumulated a million faithful followers NOR had made a single cent from all that effort -- I ceased and desisted (for the most part) from putting a lot of energy into the blog focused on "Where Marketing is Heading After the Novelty and Hyperbole About So-Called 'Social Media Marketing' Evaporates, as it Should" for the past nine months. What was the point, I asked myself, and the answer was "it merely satisfies your OCD need to get thoughts out of your brain so you can move on to the next insight". Didn't seem worth it, really...
Of late I've been asking myself what would Charlie Sheen do?
NOT with a view to desperately wanting to become famous, to 'earn' a million followers (take note all you fellow tweeter/bloggers not only spending up to 25% of your productive work hours posting irrelevant, useless and largely inane 'thoughts' -- "Just photocopied my latest post for the wife. She won't read my blog online!" -- think about it, the 'fame' you are desperately chasing doesn't bring in a single cent for you or your firm, yet every time you stop work to tweet eats up several minutes several times an hour, every 6 minutes is another 10% of each hour). What Charlie Sheen, who is an 'A' type personality, who is manic, who is sharp (big-brained), has OCD issues and can't resist blurting things out (might even be some Turret's tendencies in there), 'gets' is that there no longer is an invisible line between personal and public personas, there is only you with all your oddities and predilections.Quite seriously!
What are you imagining is going to happen in 15-20 years from now when all of today's Millennials enter their 30's?
Honestly?Where do you think all those 'sexting' photos and home-porn videos shot on their iPhones of now 16-20-something year old kids are going to go?
Do you really think that 16 year old boys who, two weeks after receiving the photos 'broke up' with those same young ladies, are going to erase the files? Or are they more likely to 'share' them with 20 friends, or post them on an "ex-GF" website or on PornTube? Once on those sites, where are the files from auto-website-scraping 'bots' on www.archives.org and www.waybackmachine.com going to go? You know where -- not the trash bin! Those videos and photos (and drunk or ill-conceived blog-rants or Gmails, for that matter) are going to be available for the rest of time eternal.
Folks, we have entered a new age, and Charlie Sheen is just one of the eldest leaders of the change.
There is no line between public and personal/private anymore. Get used to it!You can desperately try to hold it back, you can obfuscate and use Internet scrubbing services to try to hide your inner demons, but the 'winners' get it. They understand that the leaders of this new era are not going to be able to hide their private sides. The outgoing, risk-taking, 'A' type, early-technology-adopting leaders of the future, the politicians, inventors, authors and top business people of 2025, are going to have to live with the fact that all the same tendencies and predilections that pushed them to the top ALSO led them to shoot naked pics and sex videos of themselves back in the day and that the world will be re-watching their hard-bodied younger selves when they become the front runners of the future.
Think I'm making too much of something that is insignificant? Ha! You really don't understand young people very well, do you? They do not have sufficient development in the regions of their brains responsible for calculating long-term implications of spontaneous risk-taking to quell the hormonally-elevated reward/pleasure centres in other regions of their brains. Give any one of these kids (no, they are NOT "young adults") three vodka coolers, a cute partner and a smart-phone with an HD camera...
So what does any of this mean to you or me?
What should we be thinking about in terms of our own individual (personal) "brands'?You might as well 'put it out there', folks. We are who we are, and, especially today, everyone else is going to figure out who you really are, through and through, sooner rather than later!
Over the past couple of weeks (in my usual highly detailed/focused OCD way) I've been cross-linking my blogs, fiddling with the promotional, traffic-enhancing tools, 'taking responsibility', if you will, for my private and professional thoughts, insights and odd predilections. (No, I'm not posting any erotic short stories just yet, Rex is racy enough!) I've been considering dropping the 'professional channel' altogether. I've been coming around to a new perspective on my gradual evolution from:
- Odd, barely passing grades, OCD kid/teen,
- To intense, summa cum laude college-grad,
- To global ad guy,
- To marketing strategy guy,
- To business consultant,
- To OCD blogging guy,
- To human-insight/keynote-speaking/seminar-leading guy,
- To storyteller.
I hope some of you will follow me through the exploration on my blogs.
(It will involve some really deep s__t that seems simple on the surface. ;-)