Finding my voice again

June 4, 2017

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything that would constitute the normal length of a blog post. I couldn’t give you an exact word count, but more than a few paragraphs, I’d say. I used to love writing. I never really stopped loving it, but it became more bite-sized, digestible, shareable. I feel like, in a weird way, it made the weight of my words less valuable. I’m looking at you, social media.

Now, when I want to write something a bit longer, I begin to struggle, because my mind just doesn’t really think ahead towards the next paragraph, since I’m so used to writing only a single paragraph, or even a sentence. I find it odd that this is hard for me, because after the post has been published, there is so much more behind the thought that needs to be conveyed to express the full meaning, intent, and context.

Those last two paragraphs only constituted a total of 151 words. I used to have no problem writing 1000, or even 1500 words in college. That’s nothing compared to the normal rigor of academia, at least in my experience. Is it because, in that rich learning environment, I was better able to see the big picture, fully research a topic, comprehend it, contemplate the research with my own values, and articulate it? I’m now beginning to think that of all the education I have received throughout my youth and young adult life, this might be the most valuable skill of all; being forced to really think and work through every problem, and draw meaningful conclusions.

Part of this might issue might be the nature of the business I’m in; web development. While many industries reward catching and riding waves, sometimes it feels a bit out of hand. “Don’t get too committed to a particular stack! Why invest so much time becoming great at only one language or framework?” “LAMP is out, MEAN is in!” “Separating HTML, CSS, and JavaScript was a good goal yesterday, but now we’re combining them again!” “The user interfaces of yesterday are useless. Even though people have developed a lexicon for certain UI elements over the last 30 years, we can make them better by giving them something brand new that they’ve never seen before, because we know their minds with UX research!”

This “unprecedented information technology age” or whatever it’s called has had many benefits, but some nasty side effects as well. Why can’t we just stop and smell the flowers, think things through all the way, stop being so paranoid about being left behind, and really make technology work for us instead of destroying our attention span and our planet?

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