Understanding professional efficiency and etiquette in a digital age.

Melissa Bell published an article on her @WashingtonPost blog addressing what she has called “e-Peeves”.

She identifies a variety of practices that are common place in the digital world. Sadly, many of these practices are not merely inefficient, they actually cause more trouble than if they were absent entirely.

Why bring this up? Aside from the shameless chance to thank Ms. Bell for plugging my tweet about my personal distaste for certain electronic communication practices (NEVER send an email without a subject) I also think that the practices she identifies speak to another problem–a deeper problem. The world we live in today tends to take care of us. It just does, therefore why think more than a few steps down the road. To quote my father, we lack attention to detail.

In the admittedly cryptic about section I mentioned that we have to be WATCHING what is happening otherwise we will be blindsided when the world changes under our feet. If our cultural email writing tendency is any indicator, we’re in for a serious spam attack by reality.

Ms. Bell pointed out several things that really need to be thought through a little more before you hit send. Lets keep that attention to the small stuff going through the rest of our work day.


“You have one unread future, don’t blow it”


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Something wicked this way comes

And so history is made.

Sunday, May 1st, 2011, US Navy Seals entered a home in Pakistan and took down the head of the terrorist snake: Osama bin Laden. If you haven’t, read it here: CBS NBC CNN Fox ABC

First, this is a significant victory. It is a victory because an individual who has and does cause great harm and death to innocent people has been deposed of power to continue his harmful acts. Many will critique ways and means; the end is beneficial to the majority of the peace loving population.

Second and last, Mission accomplished. What is next? Seal Team Six will receive rightful congratulations for a job well done, and will get up the next morning and ask, “where may I serve my country next?” The intelligence agencies will celebrate for a few hours or days, then set to work pouring over the information and pursuing the sources of new and greater threats (presumably) to the nation.

Be grateful for victory. Be vigilant for your country. And get to work on time tomorrow to provide for your family.

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Ants in an ant farm.

As I enter the blogosphere–where, as the De-Motivational calendar on my wall says, “Never before have so many said so much about so little to so few”–I am inclined to make an introduction to this inevitable waste of web (maybe).

I have, for many years, read, studied, watched, and learned from the abominable overstimulating monstrosity that is the United Statesian world I live in. And, while I may be entering the social medium of blogging a tad late in the game, I have not failed to hear, copy, form, destroy, propose, and debunk conclusions and observations about this intricate civilization called human existence. It helps to have been to have been to a few different continents and have lived in a non-english speaking country for some time.

In the recent months (or days), however, I have reached the rare tipping point. The point at which i realized that while I had been observing, hearing, etc. etc. I had not been truly seeing. I am, by nature, a skimmer and a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-er. This is why I received a handful of C’s in college but was often thought to be “too smart for that”; why I generally prepared for presentations in the car before the meeting, and why I am, for the most part, a fairly low stress individual. I was acquiring information about the world around me in great detail, dismissing most of it as unnecessary, and moving right on down the page.

This has worked for a quite some time, and will likely continue to work for me in the life I prefer to live. However: the tipping point. I realized, that, while much information is unnecessary per say, it is not unimportant, and therefore should not be dismissed so readily. To compare life to an ant farm on a desk: I would not have considered myself an ant–I wasn’t simply punching my time card and moving the dirt that the pheromones told me to move. I was an outside observer: slightly more analytical and aware of the outside world. But I was still myopic, I would notice that the ants of human existence stored food, laid eggs, fought enemies, dug tunnels etc. I even knew most of the elements of why they did this: food, protection, propagation of their species, and the like. But I did not understand the How of the Why: How did the forces in their world cause them to dig here, store food there, lay eggs over there?

I believe that I understand some people’s motivations for a certain set of actions. But how those motivations feed their actions, and the feedback to the motivations, and the crosses between one group’s actions to another group’s motivations is an arena of psycho-anthropology I had only acknowledged existence of without pursuing to a deeper root level. It is from these more fluid and ambiguous levels that I believe I can then, not merely recognize the ants, but more subtly anticipate their movements and trends. Or, more subtly still, influence them.

Not to say there isn’t a certain aloof appeal to this sort of analysis, but this also greatly appeals to my nature: Give me ALL the data, so I can analyze its every detail, and then dismiss it as unnecessary. Only this time, I want to be able to tell you the data you’re going to bring before you bring it.

This is a worthwhile effort in futility. Some may read this blog; a few may even find it entertaining, humorous, provocative, or better yet, appallingly wrong and worthless. It probably is. But it is here nonetheless. For all to see, and none to see. I believe it the mere fact that it is an outlet makes it successful. Even if only to me. It is, as described in the About section, a research repository, and (limited) public soapbox. I would like to provide evidence of the things I see in our ant farm. I would like you to provide counter evidence and counter opinions.

We are at the dawn of an age. What that age is will be defined by us and will define us. Let’s not be blinded by the darkness that fools us during this diamond ring effect.

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The Diamond Ring Effect

It has begun. About.

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