Jesse Stay, futurist? Or presentist? (With a little help from the Firesign Theatre)
Perhaps it’s just me, but whenever I hear someone utter the word “paradigm,” my first inclination is to duck for cover. There have been too many instances of people that start blabbering about paradigm shifts and then end up peddling the same old snake oil that scammers have been using for decades. “The social paradigm shift means that you can make a seven-figure income selling toilet paper via Twitter!”
But then there are people whom I respect, and when they use the word “paradigm,” I know that they know what they’re talking about. One such person is Jesse Stay, who said the following while discussing his future plans:
I have secured a wonderful agent with Waterside Literary Agents to represent what I hope will be a best-selling book on the paradigm change caused by social media and the things I’ve learned leading social media for major organizations as well as understanding the software behind them. Stay tuned for that (and any interested publishers please contact me!)
This is not Stay’s first book – I reviewed one of his previous books here. But it appears that this book will allow Stay to share more of his personal experiences. As he details in his post, Stay has spent the last several years working for two large organizations – the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Deseret Digital Media. Now while I have theological differences with this church, I recognize the worldwide presence of the LDS, and the efforts of the Church and other organizations (such as Deseret Digital Media, a for-profit entity owned by the Church) to conduct outreach via social media. And as I can attest from working for some large (secular) organizations, it’s hard for an organization that has been around for decades to suddenly embrace new technologies.
Which gets us back to the p-word. In Stay’s case, he speaks of “the paradigm change caused by social media.” Now there have certainly been technological changes that have affected religious and other organizations in the past – television, radio, the telephone, the printing press – but social media introduces some new wrinkles to the equation. Unlike television and radio, it is (potentially) a bidirectional form of communication, and unlike all prior technologies, it is easy to use across long distances. This becomes key when, for example, you work for a French company that is implementing a system in India, or if you work for a church in Utah that is sending people to southeast Asia.
Now I have no idea what Stay is going to write – at this stage, even he may not know the details of what he is going to write – but I’m curious to see if Stay tries to extrapolate into the future. When some people talking about shifting some paradigms around (after taking them out of the box first), they state that the shift has already happened, and we have to deal with it now. But in some cases, the initial shift that we perceive may result in additional shifts in the future. (Radio begat television which begat cable/satellite which begat streaming.)
Well, let’s stay tuned for the book, and I guess we’ll all find out.