Question 194 of 365: What should we brandish?

Question 194 of 365: What should we brandish?

I could have left the -ish off the question and had it be something completely different. I could have talked about all of the ways in which we need to frame our ideas and link to them and craft a language around them. I could have gone into what it takes to brand a concept from brainstorm to launch. But, that I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to talk about how to massage an idea into what will eventually become. I want to talk about the things we wield.

Our weapons of choice.

What is it that we use above all else to coerce others into doing what we want. We may not be proud of it, or carry it around without a sense of power and responsibility. But, we do it all the same. We pull it out when others question our authority or passion or motives. It becomes our signature and the threat behind which we can hide.

Most often, my weapon is that of obscure expertise. While having never been formally trained on much of anything to do with technology, it so happens that I can wield the most inane details about social networks, web applications, or learning management systems. People come to me believing that the problem they have is so intricate and difficult that they would not be able to parse it out themselves. When, in fact, there are very few things that I troubleshoot or tutorialize that could not be figured out with some simple trial and error. And yet, when I figure them out, there is a sense that I have brandished a fine tool and precisely killed off the beast that was plaguing them.

There is also, hidden within each request for help, a certain fear that everything could come crashing down at any moment with a flick of my wrist. It is a fear of unknown knowledge and unfathomable technologies. If the iPad is magical to people because they can’t understand how it works, then I am the biggest wizard around because everything starts from that singular lack of understanding.

I’m just not sure it is a good weapon to brandish. I’m not sure that being a wizard is what the world needs.

I feel like it might be better just to waive a flag, a rallying cry for everyone else that tells of my quest for the best insight and connections possible. Wouldn’t that allow for less coercion? Wouldn’t that allow for more stories and less commands?

I am under no illusion that people who do not have critical information at their fingertips are in need of some help. It just makes more sense to create the environment with flags instead of guns. That way, no one gets hurt and every time the wind shifts, we will know which way it is going. With a gun, you can only stand in the way of wind and see the everything pass you by as you try to point and shoot at nothing.

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