BLUR: a new paradigm for engagement

weird two-faced dude

I am looking for a great project. My engagement with the projects I have been focusing on has organically either hit a maintenance phase or has been completed, and I am finding myself, as many entrepreneurs do from time to time, under-utilized.

I'm not looking for a job, I'm looking for a context in which I can use the things that I am good at like well oiled tools.

I'm looking for a group of people I can join voices and hands with to create a world that is beautiful.

It used to be, when you were seeking employment, that the prospective employer and correlated HR department did not have access to any information about you beyond your references and your CV. There was a natural buffer between the public and the private: between your professional existence and your personal life.

That is no longer the case, especially if you are someone who is creative outside of whatever gigs you are working at a particular time and whose creativity is channeled in part through the World Wide Web.

Social networks have given prospective employers access to the tools we use to connect in the world, and unless you master a strategic plan in which you manage an assortment of different accounts for your personal and private lives, those lives are automatically going to BLUR.

Initially, this strikes fear into the heart of any cultural creative trying to rub some sticks together in the real world.

Traditionally, the first strategy is a defensive one. We hide or we edit ourselves, maybe we encrypt our messages in some way, we speak in third person and we censor all the thorns, and in the process end up creating these 'not-quite-us' personas on twitter or on facebook or linkedin.

The reason this is important is because we create who we are by speaking ourselves into the world. This is not just some metaphysical hooha, this is something so innate in our humanity that most of the worlds cosmologies contain - as part of their creation mythology - stories in which a given deity speaks the world into existence.

What happens when the digital persona you create for yourself and that gets reflected back to you - both when you re-read your own posts and also when your 'friends' respond to them - is the boring edited version?

Human beings are naturally creative, and our expression is integral to the mechanisms we use to create opportunities of all sorts in our lives. What happens when the contexts in which we find ourselves expressing that creativity consist (more and more) of forums in which we are only partially visible? Do those other parts of ourselves disappear? Where do they go for expression?

But even more importantly, are we loosing our right to exist as unique and independent thinkers? If we hide are we giving away our power as interesting people who do interesting things in the world? How, what and if we edit determines how we exist in the digital sphere. Are we fracturing ourselves as people in a way that feels to many of us unideal and even unhealthy?

At this point, the dialog about this phenomenon is only beginning to emerge. Billy and Laney at Memphis Punch Studios have decided to kick that conversation into high gear in their conference 'BLUR'.

I think that to engage this conversation in a broad and meaningful way is a remarkable and important impulse.

This conversation is about engaging and maneuvering culture: it's an offensive strategy in which we begin a dialog. BLUR promises to create a unique space and collection of individuals who want to feel more empowered about the ways they express their creativity and vocations in the world, and who are pioneering ways to make that happen.