“In the courage of creation, they find a place to hang their individuality.”
Rightly said Mr. Levine, rightly said. It is not easy to be creative. Rather it is not easy to share your creativity. It does in fact take courage. It takes someone who is willing to candidly search deep within themselves for the voice that has been lost in the corporate shuffle of usurping the consumers attention long enough to deceive them with disingenuine “conversations.” It takes someone who is willing to stand up and say, “Heaven help you if you get in my way or try to stifle my voice.”
E-mail is certainly one of the fastest growing forms of not only communication, but conversation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still an old fashioned mail, open my box and see a letter sittin’ in it kind of gal. I have and always will appreciate the feeling of adoration that comes from receiving a home grown, pen-to-paper letter. That said, I am also well aware of the fact that in this day age, old-fashioned letters are not exactly practical. I have realized this especially being a college student in New York City, hundreds of miles away from my home and my friends that I left behind. It is not practical for me to expect to be able to sit down and write a letter to every one of my friends that I miss so dearly. However, it is practical to expect to send them an e-mail. Particularly when I have the option of sending them each a personalized message, or sending them all the same generic update of my life (though I am not a fan of the latter of these two options). E-mail is a convenient form of conversation that lends itself to human qualities- spelling errors, iconic smileys and all. It’s exciting. For many of us, it was our first small taste of freedom and independence. The first thing I did when we got the internet in my house was to sign up for a Hotmail account. After all, if I was receiving letters the old fashioned way my parents would know when and from who. But with my e-mail, that was all mine. They were my secret conversations that no one else could be a part of unless I wanted them to. Though I do believe in e-mail and think that it gives a wonderful opportunity to be ourselves and use our voice, I also think that it can allow us to shy away from who we really are and create distance between ourselves and others. If we let it, it can become impersonal.
Similarly intriguing is the world of chat. It offers a new world where anything is possible. It is possible to become anyone. But most people choose to face their fears and choose the most daring path by choosing to be themselves, choosing to let loose for once the voice that has been crawling inside of them, clawing to get out. “You can adopt a new persona, but you’re going to need to button it all the way up and live it, or we’ll be able to tell there’s someone else underneath.”
Levine was correct when he said “talk is cheap.” That is unless that talk signifies taking action. Strange as it may sound, the internet has now provided a forum where talk can indeed be action. Take the case of the Saturn employee. Just like Scoble, this employee “took a risk” to become “humanized” with the customers. He created a credibility not only for himself, but for his company by taking the time after a 12 hour day to answer a frustrated customer’s question. Not only did he answer it, but he answered it honestly and explicitly with taking caution to giving the company he works for a little bad PR. It is human nature to disbelieve what is perfect and to trust and accept what is not. By showing the world their flaws, companies would regain the trust and respect of the consumer to which they are trying to market.