Thursday, July 30, 2009
The Last Three Feet
“The really crucial link in the international communication chain is the last three feet, which is bridged by personal contact, one person talking to another.”
Edward R. Murrow
Why did those Harvard kids create Facebook? The website talks about giving people the power to share and making the world more connected. Rubbish. Having just completed 6 weeks on a campus right down the road from Harvard, I know the real reason. Mark Zuckerberg had lots of homework. He was trying to avoid his homework - and presto – Facebook.
For the rest of us, procrastination does not lead to such obvious riches. My own case is instructive. Right now, I am sitting on a farm in North Carolina. I am way behind on my thesis. I haven’t written anything for No Crowds in over a month. I have 173 unread emails.
I blame everyone. Is it my fault that my southern family is super time consuming or that my son brought his girlfriend for a visit, that French friends touring the American South parked their RV in the yard? Can I help it that lightening struck the house and fried the broadband? Who can write with so much company and no broadband?
On the other hand, I have spent time with my parents (in their 80s) and my sister and family (from Australia) and helped take care of my sick aunt (getting better). I’ve met my son’s girlfriend (brilliant and fun), watched the Frenchies charm the pants off everyone (no more talk of “cheese eating surrender monkeys” in this town) Maybe I haven’t been procrastinating. Maybe I have been following Edward R Murrow’s advice to focus on the crucial “last three feet”. Maybe this unplugged summer has created something more valuable than Facebook after all.
Photo of Edward R Murrow and Harry S. Truman from Wikipedia