September 30, 2009

Have Xers Sold Out?

A lot of association bloggers have been sharing their own thoughts on this question, one posed by Maddie Grant of Social Fish. If the question gets your interest, you can read some of the responses by checking them out at The Association Blogoclump.

I don't feel I have much new thinking to add to others' great insights, but I did want to share my comment to Maddie's original post as it is a bit different than what I've seen on the other blogs. Here it is:

The “selling out” charge has a caustic sting to it as it implies we aren’t meeting some universally agreed-upon standard. But for anyone to level that accusation implies we had an agreement, a contract to act and choose a certain way and that I am now violating those terms. I don’t recall ever entering into such an agreement.

So cliche comments get lobbed our way: “You’re not the person you once were.” You’re right. I’m not and neither are you (that’s a universal you, not a Maddie grant you). I’m not the person I was a year ago, nor am I the person I will become a year from now. Our choices, like our identities, are fluid and in a state of fairly regular flux. Different strokes, different sensibilities.

Are we less edgy? Have we sold out? Who the hell knows? Edgy by whose standards? Mine? Yours? And if someone sees me as edgy, it says as much about how they see themselves and their work as it does about how I see myself and my work.

I think people spend too much energy worrying about being edgy, cool, and cutting edge. Do good work that you believe in and that represents as much of your authenticity as you are in touch with at any given moment. How the world talks about it really doesn’t matter all that much.

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