The most interesting statement, which is repeated again and again, is that the Internet and the Web have recreated the ancient marketplace of the street, where buyers and sellers came together in one place to trade. While this is virtual, the authors argue that the ambiance is in many ways the same: a lively, chaotic, fundamentally human place that is essentially fueled by real, authentic voices engaging in conversation.
Aside from the business implications, I am intrigued in this idea of real, authentic voice. And the interaction of voices to create conversation that dispenses with BS and corporate/scholarly/professional persona-speak.
I'm attracted to this idea because I feel like the distortion of language is a real malady of our society, and one that goes far beyond offending the delicately honed sensibilities of English majors like myself.
As the amazing playwrightTom Stoppard wrote in a recent essay:
Communism’s “normality” relied on the distortion of language and my new hero, George Orwell, had long since diagnosed the disease in his own society, so I took this kind of thing very much to heart.
When you lose your voice because you're trained to speak in a certain way, because you're trained to believe that it is essential to be not-you as you engage in your professional and public life, you lose yourself, bit by bit.
I've seen students and co-workers and friends who, if they ever knew how, have totally forgotten how to sound like a soul, how to speak like a unique, spirited individual.
Does this describe you? Do you, probably subconsciously by now, leave your thoughts and emotions and opinions behind, sharing them only (and maybe not even then!) with your spouse or your best friend?
Ask yourself today if you have a voice. Ask yourself if you sound different in some discernible, meaningful way from all the other people you know.
If you don't, it's time for some voice lessons.