On freedom and liberty

Political liberty gives us a lot of freedom

We are “free” to do some pretty stupid things in our careers and businesses.

We are at “liberty” to really mess up, and I have, from time-to-time.

If you really want freedom and liberty, be careful what you ask for. Better yet, have an idea what you plan to get out of the deal.

Now, this is not a patriotic post. It is not a political post.

It is not even an abstract, philosophical post. (Or at least it’s not intended to be.)

My intention is to make it very practical for your work and your career. I am open to your assessments of how I did if you want to share them.

I’ve been thinking about how our sense of time affects our notions of freedom and liberty.

In this moment, I have the freedom to choose what I will do. I have many liberties that I can exploit.

I also have the obligation not to do something stupid if I also want to preserve my freedoms in the future.

Of course, I stopped and looked up freedom and liberty in the dictionary before writing this. Here is a short summary of the distinctions:

  • Liberty – freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction […]; power or right of doing […] according to choice
  • Freedom – an absence of undue restrictions and an opportunity to exercise one’s rights and powers

So, both terms have to do with the absence of restrictions, obligations, limitations or what we might otherwise consider to be a constraint. Adding the notion of “undue” we could think of simply “the absence of unwanted constraints“.

But freedom to live a good life requires accepting obligations

If living a good life, having a good career and being valuable to the world and the marketplace is important, then being able to choose how to use my freedom in the moment to optimize my freedom over time must also be important.

Toby Hecht of The Aji Network has said that he doesn’t have the freedom to play the piano, because he never accepted the obligation to practice.

To make that personal for many of my readers… you need to learn to use social media tools… you need to engage the Internet community…

Not feeling any obligation to do so won’t help you avoid the consequences of being lost in the marketplace when you’d like to have opportunities, just like not accepting the obligation to fill your car with gas won’t help you avoid the consequence of running out at the worst possible time.

Here is a safe place to start. Feel FREE to post a comment… I don’t require that you log in… and then you will have it out of your system.

The world was flattened by a Panda

Who wouldn't see this coming?

This is a story about the day the web changed… probably forever.

No, no, not THAT day… the other one.

I first noticed about six weeks ago… and that is a key part of the story.

There I was, minding my business… doing what I love, inventing for people, developing strategies and working with great teams to create awesome and interactive content and capabilities using the Internet.

There is always so much more that we could do, and we all work within our own spaces, right?

I was in a social business setting and in the course of conversation someone mentioned they had googled my name, pressed “I feel lucky” and found a doctor with my name instead.

Now, I am Kenneth A. Faw and he is Kenneth D. Faw… and while we haven’t met, I am sure he must know about me since we have shared the first Google search page for many years.

A GREAT name and a nice smile, too!

He looks like a pretty nice guy, and it seems that he has an established medical practice, the Evergreen Sinus Center in Kirkland, WA. I haven’t been to Kirkland, WA, but I have been to a sinus doctor or two. There is nothing worse than a sinus infection for taking me out of the game.

Since 1993, if you did a Google search on “Ken Faw”, you would have found me at the top. In fact, I used to have the top 3, and then the following 5 after two of his.

I never had to do anything to get it there… after all, I work on the Internet all day, I had a blog for a short stint in 2006, I have spoken in almost 100 conference sessions in the last ten years and I have an uncommon name (I suppose I should say “WE” have an uncommon name).

So that is the key… I never had to do anything to get it there. I never explicitly felt entitled to the “top spot”, but I never took responsibility for being there. I never actually did anything.

I had read about the “Panda” updates to Google search algorithms, but hadn’t thought about them with respect to me before. Then I read this post by Chris Brogan that has a ten-minute video of the implications of the update, and I immediately thought of my namesake, Ken.

This Panda can flatten anything... and it probably should be so.

Then I thought of you… if I didn’t notice how the change happened, seemingly overnight to my personal brand (though it is talked about everywhere), and if I didn’t think about its deeper meanings, then maybe you haven’t either.

Now, you don’t have to be at the top of Google search. Neither do I. But to take anything for granted and then to learn it is no longer the case compels you to decide whether it matters to you.

For me, what’s important is the greater lesson of working in a social, global marketplace and being irresponsible for my identity… not specifically the Google search issue, but where else am I passively ignoring messaging about me on the medium that I use every day?

What are you doing to manage your message? People will find you on the web, especially if you work on it extensively. What do they find? Do you know? Do you care?

Share your thinking with others by posting a comment.