Globally recognized trendspotter Marian Salzman recently returned to the BlogHer stage to share her highly anticipated predictions for 2022. As part of our supporting editorial, we asked thought leaders from the BlogHer Community to share their perspectives on what’s in store for us in the coming year.
Tania Yuki is Founder and CEO of Shareablee. Shareablee was founded in February 2013 when Tania saw a new frontier emerging across social media. She was convinced that social data would fundamentally change how companies communicate and do business and dedicated herself to understanding what makes social content succeed. Since then, Shareablee has become the world’s largest system of brand performance data across social platforms.
Marian Salzman joined us live on December 14th for an insightful conversation about the 22 for 2022. Watch the replay live above.
I. Love. Chaos. I love chaos. I adore the muck of it, the frenetic, vibrating energy, the pulse, the freedom, the unruliness. I love how chaos eats process and established rules for breakfast. As Mike Tyson once said: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”, and when that time arrives, you want – no, you need – the people who find the inevitable chaos fun, who are energized by challenges beyond their control. As an adult, though I have learned the trappings of showing up zen in my professional life, I’m still in my heart and by instinct, a chaos machine.
Chaos is not for everyone. In her recent report 22 For 22, Global Trendspotter Marian Salzman explains that the complexity of the future will require most to adopt some “mental jujitsu” that reframes chaos into something that feels controllable, however illusory that control may be. For me, the way that I control chaos is by embracing it. So the unclear state of the world and the future, the uncertainty of pretty much everything that has been catalyzed by the pandemic, by lockdown, working from home, and more… hasn’t much bothered me. I’ve been pretty comfortable being uncomfortable. Until now.
So what changed?
The chaos has kept rising, but there’s been nowhere to put it. It’s seeping in through the cracks everywhere and even the most diehard chaos mongers are struggling to stay afloat. On social media so far in 2021, there have been over two hundred million engagements with content mentioning “chaos” in the United States alone – up twenty-six percent versus 2020, the year of chaos, and up more than one hundred percent from 2019.
Chaos has become so overwhelming that it has started conflicting with the basic tenets of being human, and that is creating a new breaking point – a new complexity if you will, that can’t be solved simply by running faster.
Being human right now means having to slow down and sit still. Like it or not, there is literally nowhere to go, sometimes for days, weeks on end. Stillness has been thrust on all of us, willingly or not. Hyperlocalism has transcended our proximate physical space, and a part of “staying local”, is being forced to look inward, too. The only place left to go is to the stuff that’s closest to home, that perhaps one has most wanted to avoid by staying in motion. And no matter how much one tries to drown it out with endless TV shows, social media, and entertainment, it’s always there, waiting.
The more I moved away from being “in” the world, surfing that unpredictable wave, the more I realized how much of all that motion, that chaotic adrenalin, that stress and suffering, was just theater. And not interesting theater, at that. Unproductive, debilitating, improvisational theater. The racing to make planes go nowhere important, to rush to meetings that could have been handled remotely or skipped entirely, the critical seven am breakfast meetings that no one ever wanted to go to in the history of business – could all simply be deleted. Yes, even the “two hours each way commute from Connecticut”, is not mandatory to be successful, because it turns out you can type and talk just fine from home.
I don’t think we can un-ring this bell as a society, and I sincerely hope we don’t try. But it does beg the question – if the past eighteen months have stripped away so much of what kept me in motion, what am I left with? And how do I fill the gaps? Candidly, I’m not sure yet.
I only know a few things. I am not just my skills. I am not just my ability to thrive in chaos. And right now, despite what I might feel or what my calendar might tell me, I have nowhere to be. I have no crisis to solve, no plane to catch. I am not letting anyone down just by pausing. Nothing will break, stop or cease to be. So there is no reason why I can’t simply be in this moment.
And that, perhaps, is enough to keep the chaos at bay for now.