Waterski or Deep Sea Dive? That is the Question.
We all waterski these days. With so much ground to cover, we ride behind the fastest boat we can afford, and we skim over the waters of information in our lives, turning left, turning right, skimming over things that interest us, but rarely slowing down long enough to really understand them. Here is a recent conversation I had with a friend who always checks in with me on all things social media.
Nameless friend: “Oh well… on to Tumblr or back to Facebook with the rest of the middle-aged crowd.”
Me: “You don’t like FB?”
Friend: “I like it! I am just reacting to the news this morning that young people are moving away from it — because their parents are on it!”
Me: “Not exactly what it said. It said they are still on it because everyone is on it and that is where it is happening, but they are saying they don’t like it… and that they are spending time off it on other social media platforms. Big difference.”
Friend: “That is not what was said on CNBC.”
Me: “Sat on a webinar yesterday on it. FB put out the report. It is more complicated than what you heard. The report says that young people are also using other platforms (Instagram, etc) now. They need to make some changes, but make no mistake, it’s not a mega trend shift at all, in my opinion. Besides they can buy Pinterest. Read this if you want to really understand. It will help.
Waterskiing. She watched a two-minute piece on CNBC, and the next thing you know, Facebook is only for old people and the young are gone — in her mind — for good. Oh, my. But we all do it. We all waterski through the information highway, which is no longer two lanes. It is now an ocean you need to cross, even if you’re only going to the corner store for some bread. Okay, no one eats bread anymore, but you get the picture.
It takes deep sea diving nowadays to really understand anything. And it is important to realize that you do not understand something unless you choose to stop waterskiing over it and deep sea dive into it. With “to do” lists longer than our lifespans, we surely cannot deep sea dive through our ocean travels. We would run out of air before we knew it.
So, how to decide when to study something deep in the sea versus on the surface? That is the big question, and in my opinion, there is no answer to it. Deep sea dive if it matters to you personally or professionally. Going to change vendors? Deep-sea exploration is needed. Hiring someone? A phone interview is not brilliant. Packaging for your product or service? Deep sea dive, for sure, or assign the trip to the ocean floor to someone in the company who loves the topic and wants to win.
Knowing when to waterski and when to dive is not really the most important thing, however. I struggle with assessing my data. When did I ski over something? Do I trust the skier’s view as if it were a deep sea diver’s study? I do that sometimes. I believe things to be true because they struck me as true when I was skimming the information. I am in dangerous territory when I can’t remember whether my opinion is based on a fly-by, or a deep-sea study.
Blue Shoe Note To Self: Always ask yourself and your cohorts where your information came from, and then assess whether you need further study to make a decision or voice an opinion.