We live in the information age. And this is a splendid thing. If not for YouTube, how would you know how to knot that bow tie mere minutes before the fancy evening? If not for Google, where could you query important matters like, “Why is my goldfish turning black?” And without Wikipedia, how would you unsuspectingly fall into loosely connected rabbit holes of knowledge that would make your local trivia night guy creepy-smirk with delight? [Seriously. I was just trying to see how old Richard Nixon was at resignation; 4 hours and 17 imbedded link clicks later, I could give a podcast-worthy lecture on Soviet Espionage in 20th century America.]
Social media is a mostly splendid thing too. It connects people and enables human interaction. But it’s been impressed on me lately just how much of a shallow, sound bite-driven world we live in much of the time. It might be fair to say that we’ve created this world by necessity. We’re overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of information, the ease of receiving it, and the ever growing sources assaulting us for attention. If you can’t tell it in less than 141 characters, you can’t tell it. Because nobody has time for that.
So where do we engage and interact in a meaningful way? Every so often I choose to peruse the comments section of a thought-provoking Facebook post, but if I’m being honest, that perusal is at least partially motivated by a cynical desire to laugh at palpable ignorance on display rather than to engage in and learn from the dialogue. And that desire usually does not go unfulfilled (it’s not my Facebook friends at fault of course … just their friends).
Let’s be real: if you look up “the absolute worst” in the dictionary — right below the primary definition: “willfully following the lives of the Kardashian family” — is an entry for internet comments sections.
All this to say, I think there is growing demand for a platform that enables the articulation of ideas whilst simultaneously promoting thoughtful discourse. I want to grow and contribute to a community that helps others grow. I think Medium might just be such a community. I at least want to find out.