Digital Detox on Thisissamstown.com

Back to stone age, a digital detox with #TCMarcia

I know storms. I know gales. Being born in Brittany, I have been used to strong winds, massive waves crashing inland, bad weather overall. I even celebrated a new year, when living in Scotland, stuck in my flat, seen waves the size of a two-storeys building crash inland, pushed by winds blowing at 170 km/hr.

This was nothing.

I had never faced a cyclone. I have found myself in one now with Marcia, the tropical cyclone hitting Queensland.

A cyclone is a traumatizing experience. And beyond that, puts things back into perspective.

Home alone

With due respect to Macaulay (borrowing the title of this major piece of art), sitting home, waiting for and going through a cyclone involves little fun. From getting ready to following the forecasts before just sitting it and feeling the damage, the overall experience proves a long frustrating run more than anything.

Furthermore, with the power going down – and the internet – a window on the outside disappears. When the phone network falls as well, reaching friends and family becomes impossible.

I was listening, yesterday, to an interview made by Jason Roulston, at Just Digital People, and one point mentioned was that making (lots of) money does not matter much in the end if it means that it keeps you away from friends and family.

Call it the Scrooge principle for instance. Your gold can’t offer you a beer or give you a hug.

As true as it is, it also felt like so déjà-vu and common logic for me after more than 15 years of working and never really gunning for the money.

But it needs to be said. And repeated. Again and again. Reflecting on it now, I could say that again a thousands time. People are key. Not the money. And when your neighbourhood is being torn to pieces, regardless of origins or riches, comfort is only to be found in them, people.

Which, in the end, makes the experience more traumatizing when even phone lines are down and you can not reach people.

Digital desert

A digital desert. That is what happens when the Internet is down and so is the phone network.

Following on my previous point, this desert proves the worst as it makes it impossible to check on family and friends and prevents from reassuring them as well.

People end up waiting and wondering … .

This is the time when smartphones prove either dumber than dumb phones and the old fashion radio becomes the most wanted piece of tech around. Talk of a jump back in time by almost twenty years.

Beyond not being connected anymore, this sheds some light on how fragile digital jobs can be. No internet, no data, no way to work … . Just because of an outburst of wind and rain.

But this is only frustrating. The unsettling side of it is going from information overload to nothing.

With the internet running, I could see the forecasts, the tweets, the (scary) evolution of the cyclone up to category 5 as hours were passing. But once everything crashed and the cyclone was there, no information were to be found anymore apart from general radio reports.

All of a sudden, people find themselves in the dark.

This is an experience similar to looking at someone throw a punch, in slow motion, when the target is your face.

You know it is coming, you see it, can think of how bad it will hurt, take time to look at the ring on one finger which is going to butcher your cheek but you have no chance at all to avoid it, do not know what the exact outcome will be and how badly you will be hurt.

We could follow Marcia, define the course, the fact that it would hit hard but then … . Nothing more but a blank space and questions.

Make the call

Back to business, somehow, this also translates in everyday’s life. Be it on a personal side or at work.

I am often stunned (or pissed off) seeing people sticking to email and holding on to it like their life depends on it. For one major reason – which also helped texts and messaging apps grow that much – people fear speaking to people.

We live in a world where people would rather send a dozen emails, asking a dozen questions, rather than just place a call and sort things out in a matter of minutes.

Yet, in a crisis situation, with phone lines down, when being able to place a call becomes the only way to know about the safety of loved ones, priorities change. Calling turns into a necessity.

I place calls. And being stuck, not able to call when I am wondering whether my family is safe makes it even more unbearable.

This is a cry for all stupid spammers out there, grow some heart (…) and use your phones when that is so easy to do it.

TBC …

To be continued. Shit happens – and is due to keep happening. Life is just a matter of keeping track of  priorities and of what matters most.

Family is key and so are friends. Technology, if massive, finally weak and not necessary. Guts, lost for many in the workplace but maybe found by others.

That is one take of that experience. Some people suck, some are great but the best ones always shine in darkness and prove amazing when crisis strike.

I love digital but, hey, people, remember it is just a tool.

Happy 2015!

Happy 2015! by ThisIsSamsTown.com

Just a merry Christmas!

Merry Xmas

Merry surfing Xmas !

Losing millions … of time

Lack of time

Time is the new currency.

Or so they say. Time has indeed become so important in our society and everybody seems to be lacking it.

However, have things really changed that dramatically over the years that time is so scarce nowadays ?

I wonder … .

 

 

Fancy being rich ? If time is currency then stop throwing away millions!

The era of the typewriter and the future of writing

Typewriter vintage

We live in a new era. A modern era of technology, connected tools – the Internet of Things – phones smarter than their users and definitely a time of numerous and fast changes.

Still, having a quick look through the window of my Mac, the world seems to be going backwards on some specific matters.

Writing on billboards

I do write. Using various tools and even a pen and paper. Which does create an awesome amount of frustration when I have to then type the whole 2000 or so words I have hand-written … .

But, at the same time, computers do offer less and less appeal for writing.

From a crashing Word to a WordPress interface, the dedicated writer has to cope with either bugs or noise. And that goes without mentioning the many keeping a Facebook or a Twitter open.

In the end, the writing world found itself longing for the old times of the white, blank, page.

Novelty or re-invention ? 

The wish for an old-fashion white page has driven various developers and entrepreneurs to develop an answer to these new needs, the back-to-basics digital white page.

The writer in me can now benefit from a digital haven while giving birth to new stories or just putting a few bits together to create this post.

Is it the new vintage ? WordPress offering a “distraction-free” interface, the likes of Blogo boasting a “blank” design and so on. The latest tool, Desk, being the tool I am using to write down this piece.

I want a typewriter

I do actually would like to use a typewriter. Why ? In order to ensure using a tool only fit for one task – but also a tool dedicated to this one task. Further than the point about avoiding distraction (it is mainly a matter of turning off notifications and not get struck by a sudden Twitter FOMO) just for the sake of benefiting from a free mind.

I started writing with a pen and a notebook. This encompasses writing in the sense that not only was it quick to take notes, add memos or just write a wee piece while stopping at a terrace for a few minutes but also because it was a relaxing experience.

And now, I want a typewriter. Not that I fancy having to type and retype (later, on my Mac) but for the sake of using a dedicated tool. And halfway between the laptop and the typewriter, I came across the Hemingwrite. I now want a typewriter.

The essence of writing 

Writing is more than a job, a duty or a constraint. At least, it has to be.

Content or inbound arketing, Growth hacking, and the next one(s); regardless of names, the current trend implies the creation of an awful amount of content. Hence writing as an industrial process.

However, writing should remain an experience, a pleasure and not a cold, almost mathematical, process of putting together a set of 5, 7 or 10 tips for startups or social media marketers.

A university teacher told me once that language is music. If the music does not sound right then the sentence is wrong. The same goes with writing.

So, with a trend to seek this old fashion notebook quietness, may we also hear some old fashion writing music.

What of being the best ?

Goals and achievements

A short post on being the best. People want to be at the top, companies want to hire the best of the bests. Oh chosen one, you are the new fashion.

A lot of work left for me to get there. But, maybe that is not a bad thing as long as I keep working towards this goal.

I meet people having achieved lots and considered the best at what they do. They are, until I meet someone better than them.

Whatever the level of expertise, a person is the best as long as he/she does keep moving forward and working on improving.

The best people are the one never considering the fact that they are the best but still seeing the gaps in their skills, the never-ending road to expertise, in a few words, the challenges ahead and take them on with a smile.

In the wise words of a tattoo artist friend : “If you seriously think you’ve mastered your art, you’re as good as dead. I keep learning everyday and will, for sure, never be the best. Because there will always be room for improvement and new stuff to learn”.

And, in my regards, after you reach a mountain’s summit, once the magical moment falters, only one thing is left, going down to the bottom.

So what of being the best ?

Just strive to improve. To be better everyday.

That is how you truly are the best.