Pixels and Electrons? When Your Work Seems Like Nonsense

Blog / Produced by The High Calling

I work in a world of pixels and electrons.

I lead a team of six people who do online media for our company – the corporate web site, the corporate blog, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, video, a global web project, Flickr.

It’s some of the most labor- (and mind-) intensive work I’ve ever done – which is always a challenge to explain to people who think online communications looks so easy that it just can’t be real work. A lot of executive-types think that way.

Our team does good stuff. We work hard. We get things done.

Mini-Case Study

Not too long ago, the company released our quarterly financial earnings and a research update. We created a page on the web site, drafted a post for the blog, and figured out how we were going to tweet all this stuff. The release day came, and it all was set into motion. My first tweet was up at 7:20 a.m.. The next wave of tweets started at 8:30 for the research report.

And then, for the rest of the morning, I was lost in tweets, retweets, blog posts, Google searches and analytics, Twitter searches and Facebook posts, checking seven videos posted to YouTube, verifying links, watching to see who was commenting and retweeting, checking online trade media.

I looked at the time: 12:30 p.m. I had to eat lunch and get a short summary together for a meeting in an hour. After lunch and the meeting, I was back online, checking and doing follow-up searches.

The next day, when we put together a two-page report, a considerable number of extraordinary hours were distilled into a few charts and graphs. And those pixels and electrons, of course.

It All Seems Like Nonsense

There are days and times when it seems unreal, like the world Alice found after falling down the rabbit hole. Some days, it all seems like nonsense.

In “The Magnificent Defeat,” Frederick Buechner wrote this 20 years before anyone thought of desktops and laptops, mobile computing and the internet:

“All the absurd little meetings, decisions, inner skirmishes that go to make up our days. It all adds up to very little, and yet it adds up to very much. Our days are full of nonsense, and yet not, because it is precisely into the nonsense of our days that God speaks to us words of great significance – not words that are written in the stars but words that are written into the raw stuff and nonsense of our days, which are not nonsense just because God speaks into the midst of them. And the words that he says, to each of us differently, are be brave…be merciful…feed my lambs…press on toward the goal.”

My pixels and electrons are nonsense, and yet they’re not, simply because God speaks into them: Hold on to what’s good…be on your guard…stand firm…be courageous…be strong…do everything in love…be of one mind…live in peace…do good to all people…pray.

Post by Glynn Young.