We all live in bubbles relative to who we are. Nationality, gender, age, socio-economic status, industry and our individual realms of knowledge. And as we move beyond our pre internet knowledge orientation that focused on institutions, timelines, periods, prominence, geography - it’s a wild west world filled with digital platforms and algorithmic discovery powered by our past behavior that pushes us content based historically who we have been, rather than who could become. With on demand information available at the tip of our touch screen or possibly a laptop scroll, we may not even realize we’ve been swimming around in tepid waters that offers multiple reiterations around our currently fetid cesspools of thinking or socializing for that matter.
It is what it is, but what we might want to try to do is be a bit more expansive, to shop around for new knowledge or perspectives. To stop being stale just because it’s easy to slip into auto-pilot.
Sometimes it’s good for your career, creating a diversified dating pool or other times for a laugh - just this month I went to a Hacker X event at Nike’s Shanghai headquarters thinking it was going to be a tech related talk, my weakest area of knowledge I’m trying to beef up in, it turned out to be a recruiting event for developers. I almost died laughing in my neon green windbreaker, faux Issey Miyake plisse pants from Korea and clown boots from JNBY that are likely inspired by Guidi a brand that had been popular among those more directional fashion types in say early 2010s?, only to be the odd one out surrounded by Mark Zuckerberg types as my friend hilariously pointed out.
Whoopsies I definitely dressed for the wrong occasion.
Well at least I learned something new. I don’t know why I assumed it was more of an educational talk. I slipped out as soon it was time to do speed networking, but was happy I was getting out of the fashion silo even if I happened to be dressed in my own hodgepodge of trend vomit when doing so.
Wondering about that mis-attribution my own behavior had caused I postulated they must have gotten my email from either:
Le Wagon, a coding boot camp that held a free talk about marketing that I went to or from General Assembly, which offers some free webinar classes - I had recently taken online. I really enjoyed the user experience design one which made me realize that content strategy, writing and information design is all part of UX. Check this read out: The UX Careers Handbook which made the Mixed Methods podcasts a researcher had recommended make a lot more sense.
So yeah how did small things end up helping me find these talks and or classes that ultimately had me laughing at myself for being such an idiot?
Decide on a purpose. For now I’m trying to beef up my knowledge in certain topics, but this process is something I’ve also used to increase my likelihood of meeting someone IRL for dating when I was single. Back then it was all about diversifying my social pool to improve my prospects. While this is totally irrelevant approaching discovering in a gamified way makes the whole process more fun. After all life is a lot like a video game, only we take it much too seriously.
Look for free or affordable events in your new area of interest. Check your local city publication for events. I also scroll WeChat group chats, accounts and people’s Moments updates for events to attend. On LinkedIn and Instagram as well I follow accounts in newer areas of interest whether it’s a company or a hashtag. If you’re feeling ambitious you can check who they follow on Insta or similar companies on LinkedIn to add more accounts. That way your new behavior will help push new events or content to your feed. I sometimes also comb Meetup and Eventbrite for suggestions. Click on them, like the content. You’ll get fed more.
Ask people you know who either work in a field or are interested in a topic for suggestions about events, publications and people. Shy? Just check what they post on social. Do a good old Google search. Click around. I’ve been finding more articles, companies and events in industries I am interested in learning more about after trying to re-jig things whether its on my LinkedIn or Instagram feed or suggested articles from Pocket.