Mike Fromowitz
Apr 14, 2012

Four things I am certain of

Our daily life increasingly revolves around blog posts, emails, and status updates.Is this messaging overload? I think so. What do you think? How much of our time are we really wasting on the ...

Four things I am certain of

Our daily life increasingly revolves around blog posts, emails, and status updates.

Is this messaging overload? I think so. What do you think? How much of our time are we really wasting on the Internet?

Take a look at these startling numbers below:

In one day, enough information is consumed by internet traffic to fill 168 MILLION DVDs.

294 Billion emails are sent.

2 Million blog posts are written. (That’s enough content to fill 770 years worth of TIME Magazines.

172 Million people visit Facebook. And spend 4,7 Billion minutes a day.

40 Million visit Twitter.

22 Million visit Google+.

17 million visit Pinterest.

532 Million people update their statuses every day.

250 Million Photos are uploaded to Facebook each and every day.

864,000 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube... each and every day!

Internet users spend 14.6 minutes a day on average viewing porn online.

Every day there are 1288 new apps to download and more than 35 million apps have already been downloaded.

iPhone sales outpace the human population: 378,000 iPhones sold per day vs 371,000 babies born

We are in the midst of a creative revolution.

It’s a time of great change and innovation—thanks to the “creative economy” in the digital age.

What do you think?

Here’s a great example of where we are going.

I’m a big fan of the newsletter Brainpickings.com. Recently they posted an article about one of my favourite thinkers, artist and writer Austin Kleon who has written two books called  Newspaper Blackout and Steal Like an Artist.

Kleon is one of the most interesting people on the Internet. His Newspaper Blackout project is essentially a postmodern florilegium (compilations of excerpts from other writings and newspaper articles, where he mashes up selected passages and connects the dots from existing texts to better illustrate a specific topic, doctrine or idea.) Kleon uses a black Sharpie to make art and poetry by editing and altering information on a similar theme from multiple sources and turns them into a single work.

Recently, he was invited to give a talk to students, the backbone for which was a list of 10 things he wished he'd heard as a young creator.

In this excellent talk titled Steal Like an Artist, Kleon makes an articulate and compelling case for combinatorial creativity and the role of remix in the idea economy. Kleon believes it’s our ability to tap into the mental pool of resources — ideas, insights, knowledge, inspiration that we’ve accumulated over the years— enables us to combine them in extraordinary new ways. In order for us to truly create and contribute to the world, we have to be able to connect countless dots, to cross-pollinate ideas from a wealth of disciplines, to combine and recombine these ideas and build new ideas — like LEGOs. The more of these building blocks we have, and the more diverse their shapes and colors, the more interesting our creations will become.

The following illustration by Kleon is a list of 10 things he wished he'd heard as a young creator.

So widely did the talk resonate that Kleon decided to deepen and enrich its message in Steal Like an Artist – an intelligent and articulate manifesto for the era of combinatorial creativity and remix culture that's at once borrowed and entirely original.

Kleon delineates further the qualities you'll need to cultivate a creative life – things like kindness, curiosity, "productive procrastination," "a willingness to look stupid" – demonstrating that "creativity" isn't some abstract phenomenon bestowed upon the fortunate few but, rather, a deliberate mindset and pragmatic ethos we can architect for ourselves. As he puts it,  "you are a mashup of what you let into your life."

Immersing yourself in Kleon’s book Steal Like an Artist is as fine an investment in the life of your mind as you can hope to make.

Read it and let us know what you think.

I believe we still need real, “person to person” face time.

I’m finding that most clients today prefer to Email you rather contact you with a personal telephone call.

They seem so darn busy that they prefer to Skype, email and text if they need to pass along information. Is this happening to you?

I believe we still need real, “person to person” face time. After all, we are suppose to be in the people business.

What does this mean?

You are most likely not going to share the most important information in an Email. Over a coffee in a cafe or a quick lunch, the client can let you know far more, even stuff that’s off the record. In person, the client can explain a situation, add more light to a subject, and tell you what he believes or thinks about a strategic direction or campaign idea you’ve presented.

Good business relationships happen when people talk. Talking face to face creates bonds. It’s more natural than being buried behind an email.

When you visit a client at their office, don’t you learn much more? I do.

I think emailing is making us lose our ability to communicate on a personal level?

I could never understand people sending me e-mails when they were just a few offices down the hall. I questioned why they couldn’t have just as easily walked over and told me, face to face, what was on their mind.  Maybe they thought it was more convenient to tell me by e-mail.

I admit, I send e-mails to people who I could just as easily call on the telephone.  Some people spend hours typing e-mails when picking up the phone would get it done in 30 seconds. Besides, not all writers of e-mail make their messages clear, concise and to the point.

It makes me wonder whether this impersonal style of communications through e-mail is making us less able to converse in person—turning us into communication weaklings, lightweights, cowards, or wimps, unable to speak our minds, disagree, be the bearer of bad news, or just talk openly and directly.

Stress expert Professor Carey Cooper at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, said: “E-Mail is now the biggest way in which staff working in the same company communicate. They think that sending a message means they have got rid of the problem and the responsibility is with someone else”.

Because of e-mail’s anonymity, it’s easy to duck confrontation and deny the other person an immediate reaction. Today, e-mail makes it a whole lot easier to tell people something that is unpleasant. Like, “Don’t come into the office tomorrow. You are terminated.”

There’s an even greater risk of people losing critical personal skills. E-Mail doesn’t allow you the ability to read a person’s body language, or to look them in the eye and tell them “no,”.  Nor does it allow you to state a point or argue in a direct, real-time, give-and-take debate.

Look around you. People aren’t talking, they’re texting on their mobile devices. We are now in a slapdash culture of e-mail, texting, tweeting and other social networking methods. Is this really “communicating”?

E-Mail certainly can be beneficial. But it shouldn’t always replace personal interaction. If it does, there’s a good chance that many of us will fail to be able to communicate on a person to person level.

Imagine the thought.

Mike Fromowitz



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