Vicki McLeod.

Vicki McLeod.

Untrending: More wisdom from the inbox

‘The death of long-form writing.’

I’m a bit of a Chris Brogan fangirl. If you don’t know his work, you should. He’s a genius, although he would never say so himself.

A New York Times bestselling author of nine books and counting, he’s a journalist, speaker and strategist, and the CEO of Owner Media Group. He’s an eagle-eyed trend-watcher, and one of only a handful of modern marketing gurus I allow regular access to my email.

What I like about Brogan’s approach is that, despite his authority, he doesn’t proselytize. He seeks out useful information and presents an analysis and interpretation of it that is free of judgment, but big on insight.

Sometimes I find his observations alarming, as happened when the subject line of one of his missives announced the death of long-form writing. I give him lots of room, though, believing him to have a compassionate heart and a clear eye, traits I attribute to him based only on a brief conversation at a conference in Boston, Massachusetts, where we discovered a shared interest in the teachings of Buddhist, Pema Chodron. Such is the way that trust can bloom.

In his recent correspondence, titled “Notes from the Front Lines,” he draws our attention to recent emerging trends. He notes that “three of them point to somewhat more isolating human experiences (digisexuality, dining in, chatbots helping people with care needs who might otherwise be isolated). That is most definitely a trend.”

He then goes on to ask: “What can/will/must companies do to adjust to a world where people aren’t moving towards destinations as often as they’re bringing what they want to their doors?”

Much like my experience when I first read his take on of the demise of long-form writing, my heart starts to race, and my mouth goes a little dry.

“Wait,” cries my inner voice, “more isolating human experience?”

Despite my resistance to the message, Brogan is not wrong. These trends do point toward more isolationist social choices (is that an oxymoron?). What worries me is not so much what companies will do to adjust, although I admit that’s important if businesses are to remain relevant, but what we will do as flesh and blood humans to sustain a sense of connection to other humans?

Alongside these trends, we see the ever-increasing rise of siloed interest groups catering to narrow sets of opinions and perspectives, blatantly biased news networks, and an abundance of micro-niched online communities.

We lament the amount of time spent on screens and devices (regardless of what we’re doing there) and spend less time offline with friends and family, finding ourselves with reduced attention spans, disrupted sleep patterns, and increased social anxiety. No wonder we want to stay home, watch Netflix and order in.

In my book, #Untrending, A Field Guide to Social Media That Matters (2016), I pose the question: “How do we communicate the blood and bone of our perfectly imperfect humanness via integrated circuits and microchips?”

In response to Brogan’s peek into the future that is now, I must ask: are we up for the challenge?

• vickimcleod.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue swift water team drives up the Lower Falls trail at Golden Ears Park to help a women who lost her way. (Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue/ Facebook)
Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue aid woman stranded by waterfall

Hiker found herself unsure of the way back while walking in Maple Ridge’s Golden Ears Park

Coun. Chelsa Meadus
Maple Ridge councillor calls out province on homelessness

MLA says he has been willing to meet with the city, more addiction treatment coming

Maple Ridge city hall recently conducted a citizen satisfaction survey.
Homelessness and poverty detracting from quality of life in Maple Ridge

Citizen survey shows more than three quarters of residents are satisifed

The intersection at Harris Road and Lougheed Highway (Google)
LETTER: Pitt Meadows resident wonders why traffic signals not updated

A local man has contacted the city and road contractor with concerns to no avail

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

BC Place Stadium in a photo posted to cisc-icca.ca.
Roof of BC Place a stage for performers during online music festival

‘This will be the first time any artists have performed from the 204-foot iconic Vancouver rooftop’

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Driver crashes vehicle twice in one day near Princeton

Abbotsford woman, 29, wasn’t injured in either incident

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Most Read