Why You Think in the Mediums Of Your Message

Not to be confused with The Medium is the Massage, but when you see something interesting happen — maybe something funny, maybe a beautiful sight, or something completely unexpected — what is your immediate reaction to do with that newfound knowledge?

Based on the mediums you spend your time with, you’ll likely have a completely different answer. For myself, I’ve spent entirely too much of the last few years on Twitter (but you can still follow @[email protected] on Mastodon!). Because of this, I’ve recognized myself occasionally thinking in 140 characters. How limiting is that? It got me wondering what I did to start thinking in that limited box?

light bulb

I tried thinking back to other times in my life when I’d thought in specific mediums and a few stood out:

  • When working on a Code School course on D3.js, I started thinking in graphs more.
  • After time spent estimating every detail at work, I started estimating anything that I encountered.
  • When creating photo blog posts, I started seeing better angles for shots in the real world.
  • After coding many sites from scratch, I started seeing any problem as solvable with a website.
  • After many user interviews, I’ve come to start asking “why” more when I have an idea.

Some of these are useful, some of them – not so much. The last, for example, is a problem that many engineers run into — they are more interested in creating something than validating it’s a good idea.

Even last week I mentioned the idea of a website, with the idea of creating something for it. I chatted with some people and threw the idea on some forums — but it was almost unanimously disliked. Being able to think in a medium, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

Social Media

If your first thought was to share it online, you might be spending a lot of time online.

  • Instagram — Take a Picture
  • Twitter — Write a brief comment
  • Facebook — Picture/Comment tag a friend.

Share The Experience

What if your first reaction was to share the experience with someone in person? Tell your husband or wife about it. Show the sight to a child. This might mean you’re spending a lot of time

Write About It

As a result of trying to write more, I’m realizing that observations are being translated into long-form content. This post came to my mind when I was looking over my newly planted front-yard garden and wondered what I could write about doing the minimal amount of work needed for a lawn.

If I was spending a lot of time on social media, I would’ve likely taken a picture and shared it and stopped there. Instead, I ended up asking a question to myself that somehow ended up going meta and asking what I asked it — resulting in this post.

Draw It

I’m completely in awe of people who can draw. It’s a skill that takes a tremendous amount of practice and dedication. One of my July goals is to write a post that includes a drawing.

Even drawing has numerous outcomes in mind. Drawing for practice, drawing to communicate an idea, to express a thought or many others.

Trying New Mediums

I’m looking forward to trying to think in new and different mediums and mindfully look for chances to try new mediums of expression — however uncomfortable they may be to start.

Avatar for Adam Fortuna

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I'm , a full-stack product developer in Salt Lake City, UT. I love enlivening experiences, visualizing data, and making playful websites.

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