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Feeling Small

2 June 2008

(In which Herbert has the most awesome summer job ever.)

Today was my first day as the political affairs intern at New Media Strategies. The easiest way to describe it is “overwhelming.” It’s a fast paced place, full of intelligent, enthusiastic people. Today was spent going over benefits, the company, the people I work with, firefox extensions I should use, and blogs I should read. I was also treated to lunch by my mentor and a co-worker, and attended a digital press conference (link forthcoming) by Virginia’s 8th district congressman Jim Moran. Very nifty.

Basically, I am getting paid to spend my days on the blogosphere. And make charts. I am just hoping that spending so much time on the computer doesn’t make my eyes worse than they already are.

As per my title, it makes sense that anything overwhelming would make me feel small, but NMS, especially. Not in the sense of being a tiny cog of a worker. No, NMS emphasizes the importance of every employee, including interns. But in the sense of being conscious of just how small a voice I am in the world, and how big that world has become, sprawled out in a tangle of websites, blogs, and social media, so many voices screaming to be heard.

But it also makes me feel important. Jim Moran, when asked his views on how to deal with with the growing fiscal crisis and debt, he bluntly said that the next generation is getting stuck with that mess. That’s us. That’s me.

I have ears to listen to what everyone else is saying, and eyes to watch the world with. But I also have a voice. It’s a small voice, and not very articulate, but it’s my voice. And I want to use it to change the world.

At NMS they are giving me causes to work with that I feel are good causes. That I can honestly want to add my voice to. And by adding my voice, I am making our chorus a little louder. A little more likely to be heard.

The internet, and it’s capacity for communication is a double-edged sword. It can motivate people, open their eyes, rally them to a cause, to action. But it can also cause fear, paralysis, a sense of overwhelming or futility. By using social media not just to inform, but to engage, you can break that deer-in-the-headlamps paralysis by sparking people think which leads to discussion (or sometimes visca-versa), and more importantly, to . This is a powerful tool. I am incredibly excited to be a part of it.

If you can’t tell, I’m feeling a touch inspired right now.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Nick the Freshman permalink
    2 June 2008 9:19 PM


    So, I’ve dealt with the eyestrain thing quite a bit, since most of what I do is on the computer. Some people swear by something called the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. I myself like to take long, 10min+ breaks where I simply enjoy the scenery, though this is harder during work hours. Also, try not to hold the screen to close, and see about different color schemes that will help you relax your eyes.

    The problem is that none of this is really tested. It’s all just a hope that some of it will work.

  2. Herbert permalink*
    2 June 2008 9:21 PM

    What I do at the moment is use my computer at the lowest possible brightness. However, I find this does not work on laptops, where I have a small screen. Fortunately my computer at work is CRT, not LCD, which I find easier on my eyes.


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