A Voice for Everyone
It has been a couple weeks since I attended Circles Conference and to be honest, it has taken me that long to fully process the whole event. After absorbing all the information and creative inspiration, there is one talk that continues to intrigue and encourage me. At the end of day one, Doug Bowman, former Creative Director at Twitter, took the stage.
Following his introduction, Doug casually walked out onto the stage, waited for the crowd to calm, and profoundly stated, “If eyes are the window to the soul, I’m going to posit that voice is the gateway to the heart.” He continued on, “A single voice can unite us together despite our differences. It can give us hope or it can drive us to tears. A voice can change someone’s day or alter the course of their entire life. Sure we can see emotions through the eyes, but a voice can tell you why those emotions are even there in the first place and often uncover what is buried deep within the heart.”
In our modern age, we have seen many advances in technology that have given even more power to the individual voice, Twitter being one of them. Doug called Twitter “a triumph of humanity, not of technology.” In his explanation for why this is so, he said, “A typical network connects you with people you know, but Twitter connects you with people you want to know.”
As his talk went on, Doug shared a number of powerful stories where Twitter played a supporting role in empowering the voices of those around the globe. But there was one story in particular that proved how a simple platform like Twitter can make a big difference in someone’s life.
Roger Ebert, one of the most popular Hollywood film critics of my childhood, was made famous by his voice and the words he would share about movies. I remember as a kid, waiting anxiously for his show to come on so I could see sneak peaks of the latest movies and hear what he thought would be the next big box office hit.
In 2006, Roger lost his ability to speak due to a number of cancer-related surgeries. However, because of his books, a blog and Twitter, Roger’s voice carried on.
“Twitter is something like a casual conversation among friends over dinner: Jokes, gossip, idle chatter, despair, philosophy, snark, outrage, news bulletins, mourning the dead, passing the time, remembering favorite lines, revealing yourself.” – Roger Ebert
While our voices have power, which is amplified with the use of social networks like Twitter, Doug makes the valuable connection that “a voice only has power when it is heard.” For that reason, I would argue the need to become better listeners, especially when on social networks.