How many copies do you need?

20130530-102758.jpg That’s the question I asked myself when I saw four copies of Outliers and three copies of The Tipping Point at the downtown public library. Does the library need that much Malcolm Gladwell? Yet, I can hardly find seven books written by Vonnegut. I was able to locate at least seven books by Hemingway but not all that much on Steinbeck. The experience got me thinking.

Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point is an interesting book, but how will it stand up over the years? It’s a bestseller now, but in 50 years, or 100 years, will it still be impacting readers?

Along a parallel track, will your favorite blogs have the same readership in 50 years? Some of the blogs I used to enjoy reading eight years ago have disappeared from the webosphere a few short years ago and the writer’s voice I looked forward to hearing is no longer there.

But books remain. Whatever their legacy, they have a space, or more, on the bookshelves of a library. At least for now.

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Why share your work in social networks?

One of the book cover designs I promote on the social network Behance.

One of the book cover designs I promote on the social network Behance.

“Why share our work in social networks?” was a question recently asked on a professional forum. My reply: two reasons: 1) promotion and 2) personal brand. It was a Malcolm-Gladwell-Blink response and I clicked the “add comment” button without much thought (which is not my usual practice). My thoughts still linger on that question, “Why…?”

A few months ago I came across a few articles asking the question “Does social media promote or enable narcissism?” [1] [2] The article that impacted me most was from a source I never read. In the post, the author, Dodai Stewart, reflects on piece in The New Yorker and her comments are stinging and self-revelatory.

Just look around: Between Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest, the whole ME ME ME thing has swept the nation. Here are MY thoughts, MY pictures, MY shopping wish lists! We call it sharing, but it’s just egoistic self-indulgence, usually. LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I WANT. But wait: Enough about me… what do you think about me? [3]

Hm, narcissism and self-absorption. Herein rests the lingering thoughts of a week or so ago.

As a professional, promoting my goods, services and whatnot help to grease the gears of capitalism, right? Conventional wisdom (or at least American business wisdom), purports that if consumers are not aware of your product/service, customers will not purchase from ME. So, I am advised by business owners and other professionals to promote MY skills, services, products, etc. And not only that, I need to establish MY personal brand (so that consumers can be more emotionally and psychologically invested in the products/services I provide).

Maybe social networks are not promoting narcissism and self-absorption as much as one might think. There may be a greater systemic issue that only social networks magnify.

NOTE: [1] Tara Parker-Pope, “Does Facebook Turn People Into Narcissists?,” New York Times, May 17, 2012 accessed January 2, 2013 http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/does-facebook-turn-people-into-narcissists/ [2] Steve Tobak, “Social networks and the narcissism epidemic,” CBSNEWS Money Watch, August 29, 2012, accessed January 2, 2013 http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505125_162-57502035/social-networks-and-the-narcissism-epidemic/ [3] Dodai Stewart, “Self-Absorbed Is the New Normal,” Jezebel, June 26, 2012, accessed January 2, 2013 http://jezebel.com/5921468/self+absorbed-is-the-new-normal.

To ruminate, or to tweet, that is the question

“For some kinds of thought, especially moral decision-making about other people’s social and psychological situations, we need to allow for adequate time and reflection,” said… author Mary Helen Immordino-Yang.

(via Tweet this: Rapid-fire media may confuse your moral compass) (hat tip: monkeytypist and azspot)

This seems to contradict the premise of the best-selling book, Blink. The article continues:

The study raises questions about the emotional cost… of heavy reliance on a rapid stream of news snippets obtained through television, online feeds or social networks such as Twitter.

My take away: maybe it is best to marinate and ruminate than to tweet.