A Different Kind Of Vibe Shift

So apparently there’s a vibe shift coming. Per Allison P. Davis at The Cut, referencing in turn Sean Monahan from 8Ball, we’re moving away from the Blood Orange era and normcore, and toward… I’m not sure.

To be fair, I don’t think I’m the audience for the vibe shift Monahan is talking about. I have no idea what normcore is. But my world carries its own vibe shifts. They may be less focused on fashion, but they bring a similar feeling of tectonic transition: Something momentous is happening. The stories we tell ourselves are changing. The things we find important are changing.

The changes I see are the inevitable pendulum responses to trajectories that have reached their extreme limits. Facebook, for example, may have reached its extreme limit; I wrote about this in my last column.



Of course, there is a very good chance that I’m wrong. I’ve been writing about a vibe shift away from Facebook for a long time. Maybe not as long as Cory Doctorow -- who lamented in The Guardian this week that he’s been waiting 15 years for the social network to die -- but a long time nonetheless.

Perhaps it’s pointless to predict and prognosticate. Perhaps what is useful, instead, is to articulate what’s not working and what would be better. So here you go: what I want less of and what I want more of. My own private in/out, wired/tired, hot/not.

I want less simplicity and superficiality and more nuance and depth. Help me understand why I can’t reduce this thing, or that thing, or anything down to right and wrong, good guys and bad guys. Help me understand why the story is more complex than that.

But I also want more simplicity: not of narrative, but of life. I want to clear away the sound and fury that signify nothing, and focus my attention and energy on that which is truly important: those stories, relationships, and moments that speak to our hearts and remind us of whom we truly want to be. I want less agreement with and validation of my existing world view, and more invitations to understand yours. Expand my perspective; show me where my blind spots are; remind me of what I have neglected to consider.

Give me less validation-seeking and more grounded confidence. I want our collective self-worth to be independent of clicks and likes and shares.

Give me more ignorance. Our problem is not that we are ignorant but that we pretend we aren’t. We forget that the only way to learn anything is to accept that we don’t yet know it. Show me the Twitter accounts that say, “I don’t know enough to have an opinion on this.”

I want more remembering that communication isn’t only about transmitting information to others. More commitment to listening with the same passion with which I want to be heard, as Brene Brown says.  Give me less easy clicktivism and more of the hard work of the real conversation; less self-congratulatory virtue signaling, and more genuine introspection.

And give me less of the wolf packs that are so prevalent on social media. Every person on the receiving end of one is… a person. And when we are ridiculed, or shamed, or made to be an outcast, we break. Give me less breaking of one another.

But give me more of that which enriches us. More invitations to be our better selves. More connection. More justice. More love.

That’s my kind of vibe shift. You with me?

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