Several weeks ago, a person commented on another blog that I had an obscure blog.
What exactly did she mean? I wasn’t really sure, so I turned to a web dictionary.
Obscure: indistinct; indistinctly heard; faint; far from centers of human population; out of sight; hidden; not readily noticed or seen; inconspicuous
This woman is an association executive, leader and owns an association management company. We are both members of the same association and she serves in a leadership role there.
She felt that my opinions and perspectives were hidden, out of sight and far from anyone being able to find me. Odd, since my blog and opinions were on the web for anyone to read and view. My point of view was out in the open.
She further felt that I should bring my concerns behind the association’s membership walls and follow a chain of hierarchy to voice my matters privately. She was upset that I had aired dirty laundry. As I said to her, if the association washed their laundry, there would not be any dirty laundry to air. I also said to her that the conversation could not be controlled by anyone, never was controlled, and to think that it was, was old guard, old school typical boomer thinking. (That comment pushed her buttons and she let me know so.)
She felt that I was not a valid blogger or legitimate member with an authoritative voice. I’ve heard this argument many times before concerning blogging and social media. Some people say social media and blogs are only for illiterati, the uneducated, amateurish, immoral unprofessional.
Here are the comments I left on another blog about a very similar issue where educated journalists were crying foul about so many bloggers and that internet publishing was for hacks and idiots. My comments on that post apply to this situation as well.
Those who decry, disparage and denounce social media and digital publishing are protectionists living in a world of nostalgia, yearning for yesteryear. The tougher times get, the more nostalgia seems the clever play.
The smart money, of course, is moving on. New technologies, new markets, new opportunities, new hope, new conversations, new writings, new communities — time and commerce never go backward. Nostalgia is just a way to convince the frightened that someone else is to blame. Erudite writers [and old guard association leaders] refuse to embrace that the world is changing and that people don’t want “talked at” or even “talked to,” they want “talked with.” People want an open, honest, transparent, two-way conversation.
We are tempted to pine for former days, to imagine that life was better in some “golden age,” and to believe that some evil power forced modernity on us. That all we need for restoring sanity to our lives is to go back to a bygone era’s certainties, when top down control was embraced and those who marched to a different drum were pronounced heretics. [That association members are to keep their opinions to themselves, get in line and be quiet.] That only an exclusive few have the ability to communicate and write with any panache and the rest of us are to consume those thoughts and litanies without causing any provocation.
We play with fire when we cast longing looks backward and refuse to embrace change. We risk losing today and compromising tomorrow. We lapse into delusion, as if rekindling a high school romance wipes all slates clean. Today’s problems don’t get solved by imagining better times, especially when those times weren’t any better. How can we make a useful contribution to today’s society if we are fighting over yesterday, freezing time in an ancient place and treating writing and publishing as a profession that stopped with the invention of the Internet? We must not emulate these pedantic writers [or association leaders].
Freedom is hard duty. To paraphrase a great quote, “Off with their pens!”
So what do you think? Should nonprofit associations welcome and encourage divergent thought and opinions? How should organizations deal with a variety of ways people voice their concerns and issues today?