Chasing String in The Digital Era - Jaffer Ali - MediaBizBlogger

By Jaffer Ali Archives
Cover image for  article: Chasing String in The Digital Era - Jaffer Ali - MediaBizBlogger

"As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is."
-Proverbs 23:7

Have you ever watched cats chase string? It's amazing how much time and energy they'll invest chasing a string that is offered and then withdrawn. Even if they never catch it, they still love to chase it. But cats aren't the only ones who chase string.

I participate in several online discussion groups and do a fair amount of writing. Add this to my responsibilities as the CEO of Vidsense and my duties as a husband and father (three boys ages 20, 18 and 16), and you might ask: Where do I find the time?

The answer is: I make time because I stopped chasing the other guy's string and ceased trying to entice others to chase mine long ago. You would be surprised at how much time is saved by living more deliberately. Living deliberately…how delightfully Waldenesque!

But living deliberately is not as easy as it sounds at first. Living deliberately means that we must master our tools instead of allowing them to enslave us. Living deliberately in a digital age requires us to DISCONNECT in a digital sense, in order for us to CONNECT in a literal sense.

Try this simple exercise: Keep a running tab on the next ten phone calls you make at random (without an actual appointment). See how many of the ten actually result in a connection with your intended party. Want to bet it will be less than seven out of ten?

We're using our tools to DISCONNECT. Voice message systems, email, Twitter, Facebook, Linked In and just about all other digital intermediaries have not streamlined our lives, they've created more stings for us to chase. Separating the wheat from the chaff has become a virtually impossible task; a chore instead of a meaningful endeavor.

Here is a second exercise: Keep a running total today of the people you speak to or communicate with that comment on how "busy" they are. Being busy is our national pastime, yet so few of us actually get anything done! I've been writing for Jack Myers for a few months now. Ever notice how few readers take the time to comment on any of the articles posted there? Why is that?

Comments are so Web 2.0. People are simply too busy to leave them. And most of those who write for Jack are too busy to answer them anyway, so why bother? We're all too busy chasing string. But it sure seems important when we're chasing it! We actually fool ourselves into confusing mindless activity with purposeful, deliberate action.

It takes concentration and/or a good nap to determine the difference. We have a running theory here at Vidsense. Eighty percent of everything we do is a waste of time. Every six months we hunt for time wasters. While the rest of the world is "busy" saving money, we do something much more important: we save time by making and taking time for ourselves. If this last line sounds overly profound, I suggest you take a nice nap to discover what it means!

I had a discussion along these lines with one of my sons recently. I told him that if he wanted to be taken seriously, he had to think serious thoughts. If we are the sum total of our thoughts and deeds, we must become more deliberate with our time, the only personal asset we can control. We must connect with those who also cherish thought, time and connection. In that spirit, if you'd like to discuss online video or how to become more deliberate, give me a call. My direct line is 708-478-4500 ext. 105.

About Jaffer Ali Jaffer Ali is CEO of Vidsense, the Web's largest video advertising network. With more than 80,000 advertiser-friendly video clips licensed from major film and TV studios, the Vidsense network of more than 20,000 safe-for-work partner websites delivers millions of qualified visitors directly to advertiser websites on a pure Pay-Per-Click (PPC) basis. Vidsense is to Adsense what video is to print -- a far more engaging and compelling environment for consumers and advertisers alike.

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