March 29, 2012

New Media Pioneers Would Rather Live in Atlanta, Metaphorically Speaking

Back when I lived in Charlotte, I had dinner one night with a group of friends and met another recent transplant to the area. He was from Philadelphia and admitted that he really missed the city. I said that I'd just moved from Atlanta. He said that he had been to Atlanta before, but wasn't too impressed by it. "In Philly," he said, "there's so much history everywhere you look, you feel like you're standing on the shoulders of giants. In Atlanta, everything is too new. There's just no history there."

My immediate reaction was to say something about Sherman's march, but I bit my tongue and sipped my wine instead.

Urban Nirvana, Atlanta, GA 1992, photo by Dave Henderson
This photo is from Dave Henderson's blog
about Atlanta in the 90's, Return to Atlanta
His comment rankled, though, and it took me a while to realize why. What I liked about Atlanta was that it was so new, that the city was in the process of discovering its identity. I loved the feeling of being part of that discovery. I don't want to stand on the shoulders of giants - I want to stand among the giants whose shoulders others will someday stand on. I want to create history, not just appreciate it from afar.

This post by Brian Solis brought back the memory of this conversation. He warns that surfing the waves of change is as dangerous as it is exciting. He warns that a lot of people don't like the disruption and uncertainty caused by change. I know this is true. For heaven's sake, I've worn the same shirt for the last 14 years: I understand the appeal of the status quo.

But as much as I appreciate the comfort of a familiar shirt, I also love the excitement of novelty. I'm an optimist at heart and believe that all the changes being brought about by the information revolution promise an amazing future.

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