I was asked recently on a survey for an ultra-hip conference that I’ll be attending, “What is your superpower?” It’s a common ultra-hip question.
My answer? “I can subvert the dominant paradigm with my eyes.”
Cleverness is my go-to response to hipster coinage, but in the few days since I tossed that answer out, I’ve gotten really comfortable with it. It turns out it’s true… you can subvert the dominant paradigm with your eyes, and a little help from your imagination.
Recently I’ve been struggling with the tension between authenticity and pretense brought about by social media. You must communicate with your audience as you operate as a sole proprietor in the economic sphere. Creative and productive people do it every day with the help of social media and technology. The thing is, you see communication on social media used daily for various semi-nefarious marketing purposes that go against everything you stand for if you seek to step out of the mainstream.
So here’s my question…can you use technology in your best little business to reach your audience and serve a purpose while staying authentic and actively working to have a positive impact? And if so, how?
A little trip to Texas this week has effectively answered that question for me in a rather glorious way.
After spending a few days with the folks at Tiny Texas Houses, I can tell you that the answer is yes.
Tiny Texas, which creates pieces of art that you can live in using 99% pure salvage materials, has on online presence which includes website, Youtube channel, and an active Facebook page. The thing I noticed during my first day with them was this magnetic quality…they attract people, people (from all over the country and internationally as well) are drawn to them. So aside from the enormous quantity of salvaged building materials that owner, Brad Kittel has ammassed, is this eclectic collection of people. And not only is their audience reached as they go about this business of changing how business is done, but it is drawn to them and often just shows up at the door.
Tiny Texas houses is building not only these inhabitable pieces of art, but they are building a philosophy as well. And that philosophy offers up a way for the individual to re-purpose their role in the producer/consumer dynamic that drives our economy at present. On 44 acres in central Texas, they are creating new roles for work, production, and consumption all at once.
It’s pretty exciting.
What I love about the philosophy that they are manifesting is that it proves that a sustainable business that brings positive value to its community can thrive. And they are successfully using technology to tell a story about stepping outside of or even subverting the structures that our consumer oriented society has created.
This little trip to Texas has left me inspired. It’s inspiring to see how, as a business owner, you can use social media without jumping on board with the structures that a consumption consciousness has created. It doesn’t have to be about sales traps and attention grabbing headlines. You can use social media to imagine and create completely new structures, to bring positive value to the community in which you’ve chosen to operate, and to tell a story that disrupts the status quo a little bit, all at the same time.
Never underestimate your vision. What you see when you dream up and plan your best little business? It has power. The story that business tells about value and work in your community, and the way you communicate that story through social media, have the power to turn the dominant paradigm on it’s ear.
So get busy. You have work to do. Wear a cape if you like.