Rise or set?

It was the season of Light,

It was the season of Darkness,

It was the spring of hope,

It was the winter of despair,

We had everything before us,

We had nothing before us,

We were all going direct to heaven,

We were all going direct the other way

–Charles Dickens

Today’s connected world is looking a lot like A Tale of Two Cities on steroids.

The most wonderful and edifying things in the world are out there. And so are the most ugly and degrading.

What you lookin’ at?

You can find valuable information that you never knew existed. Some of it true and empowering. Some of it as trustworthy as a used car salesman.

You can see beautiful things that bring joy and laughter and insight. And you can be assaulted by viciousness and vitriol and unspeakably bad manners.

You can share your ideas and problems with people from all over the world. Or you can hide in anonymity. You can even steal someone else’s identity and trash their reputation.

An ancient principle we can learn from

Way back when television was born, a wise man said,

All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level.

–Bill Bernbach

Now might be a good time to push the refresh button on that advice and commit ourselves to a new professional oath for a new age.

A content manifesto

  • You are responsible for the things you put into the world.
  • Those things should be useful, entertaining or beautiful.
  • Preferably all three.
  • They should make people feel better, not worse, about themselves and living in the world.
  • They should make the world a better place.
  • But most of all, they should serve others.

But that’s just my opinion. What’s your take?