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The Business of White Noise

Business… trade or profession; commercial activity.

White Noise… random talk without meaningful content.

By Jorge Stolfi (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Look… I can see you do superficial really well. Your frenetic Twitter timeline shows the broad shallowness of your sharing. The lack of meaningful dialogue and your constant affirmation that all things are cool, great, fab, groovy…. LOL…  just confirms this superficiality.

I know… It’s your prerogative to tweet how you like, no matter how pointlessly. Indeed, maybe that is the purpose of Twitter – to allow us to express our prerogative. It’s right to be sociable & friendly. I just can’t fathom how being shallow works well for you as a business model…

How does that work out for you? Is that the kind of work you do? What do you lose, what do you betray? When do you get the opportunity to live without that saccharine sweet falseness you’ve created for yourself? Do you get the chance to be the real you?

Maybe you do. I hope so.

Maybe your shotgun-tweeting saccharine-shallowness is actually part of your business strategy. I hope not.

But hey, horses for courses and all that. Actually, I probably wouldn’t mention anything if it wasn’t for the fact that I can’t get away from the White Noise you are creating. I’ve unfollowed you… I’ve filtered you out of my timeline… I’ve even tried to imagine that you don’t exist… it’s still not working.

You see the problem isn’t just you. The problem is now all the people we know in common. They are the ones broadcasting & sharing your superficiality into my timeline… cool, great, fab, groovy…. not-LOL. This business of White Noise seems to be a bit infectious…

I’m a really tolerant kind of person so perhaps it’s me that’s the problem? Perhaps I just need to become more zen… Accept your superficiality… Try a bit of saccharine… Care less… Maybe even put a bit White Noise into my own business…

Yeah and maybe hell needs to freeze over. I like to work with meaning not saccharine-shallowness.

So can I beg a favour?

How about losing some of that White Noise? How about putting a bit more meaning into those social interactions?

It might take an investment of authenticity but what have you got to lose?


8 thoughts on “The Business of White Noise

  1. I don’t know if you have your tongue in your cheek with this David?

    I like twitter because of the variety, the unpredictability, the silliness, the depth, the randomness, the surprises, the sudden openness that connects people, and the lovely relationships at the core of my twitter. There aren’t any rules. We can’t control it.

    We all make our own meaning – your pointless may be someone else’s lifeline.

    Maybe you have something you want to say to someone?


    Posted by Meg Peppin | October 21, 2013, 7:36 AM
    • Hi Meg – no tongue in cheek really & I think it’s important to highlight that I’m talking about a business context. This isn’t addressed to anyone in particular but it’s interesting how the form of address (“you”) has sparked reactions in some people!

      Fundamentally, the question being asked is do you want to work or associate with businesses that are superficial?


      Posted by David Goddin | October 21, 2013, 9:15 AM
      • I get that depth is important to you; I remember that you reduced your twitter following to give you a filter that created more meaning for you.


        Posted by Meg Peppin | October 21, 2013, 9:44 AM
        • Posted this unfinished for some reason, meant to go on to say………so your blog makes sense to me in terms of noticing what you value in your interactions and relationships.


          Posted by Meg Peppin | October 21, 2013, 11:52 AM
  2. While small talk is important, it is a sign of respect and leads to trust and interdependence, continuous small talk that does not lead to some form of big talk, in which I include larking about and unabashed playfulness can be merely irritating.

    Unchallenged it will continue.

    Well done David.



    Posted by Anthony Allinson | October 21, 2013, 8:37 AM
    • Hi Anthony – spot on. I think banter, small talk, chit-chat can all have meaning and purpose. That they can develop deeper connection or dialogue is what matters I think, certainly in a business context.


      Posted by David Goddin | October 21, 2013, 9:19 AM
  3. My first reaction to this was – wow – this piece is stacked with judgement. But as ever, Mr Goddin, I love the challenge it throws down.

    You tapped into something here for me. You got me worried. My timeline is full of “hello lovelies” and “love this” and chatter. If you came into my office, it would be the same – it’s how I work and who I am. It may put some people off. It’s a risk I run, for now. I am who I am, but not without awareness. Does it sting that my way might be perceived as white noise? That chatting and building relationships can be perceived to be not business, not strategic? not Proper? of course it does. But I want to live in a world where my social, emotional self is as relevant and recognised as my structured, business brain. Why shouldn’t I ask for that?

    I’m slightly tickled by the notion you are fighting off the saccharine superficiality, but it keeps following you – I suspect there is a rich vein of inquiry there, should you want to unpick that sometime.

    Me? I like a friendly, approachable timeline- While I’m not wholly sure I get the balance right, I believe (and maybe I need to be disabused of this fact) that I can work with the informal and I can get down to business when required. I don’t believe being a bit daft means I’m shallow. I don’t believe pontificating profoundly means I’m deep. I don’t believe there is one way of doing anything.

    Sometimes, I have a similar reaction to yours about people broadcasting business solutions out on their timeline – 10 ways to ensure this, come to our course on that…it all seems neat and tidy and I’m curious about the organisations it serves and if those consultants/ businesses ever inquire into the complexity and needs of their clients.

    I don’t know. Not everything can be meaningful or profound. If everything was, nothing would be. You need the contrast I guess.

    Love the blog



    Posted by Julie @fuchsiablue | October 22, 2013, 5:20 AM
    • Hi Julie – thanks for sharing your thoughts/reactions!

      My focus was challenge not judgement and an invitation to reflect on what White Noise are we guilty of and what would happen if we put more meaning into our interactions. Also I wrote solely in a business context.

      There’s a distinction though (that I sense is getting lost in initial reactions) between the White Noise I describe and the value of social interaction in business. No matter what your choice of language (“hello lovelies”) that it has meaning and intention is important. Being sociable and friendly is part of that. So chatting and bringing our social & emotional self into our interactions is indeed relevant. It isn’t random talk without meaningful content. That’s not the White Noise that I’m pointing at.

      My focus is on what may might appear similar but it is actually superficial and it’s apparent sweetness is artificially created. It’s the falseness that I’m challenging – what role does that have in business? It’s the repetition of that falseness that I’m challenging – what impact is created by repeating falseness?

      I’m not asking anyone to constantly behave in a serious or profound manner. I’m asking readers to think about the meaning & intention of our interactions be it formal or informal. To invest in authenticity not the falseness that comes with White Noise.

      When we look at the meeting of social & business, there isn’t one way of getting it right but I think we can highlight some great ways of getting it wrong!


      Posted by David Goddin | October 24, 2013, 7:16 PM


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