Am I A Renaissance Man?

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I have read several articles in the recent past comparing social media to a modern day Renaissance. And the analogy is so striking, and so true, that I feel compelled to tell the world that yes, I am the new Renaissance Man.

For those not familiar with the Renaissance period, allow me to digress just a bit into history. I think it makes sense to explain the characteristics of the Renaissance that relate to today’s time, so that you will see what a genius I am in my analogy.

The Renaissance was a period generally regarded as spanning the 14th-17th centuries. Some say it was the bridge between the ‘dark ages’ and the ‘modern era’, but there is no doubt that it was a time in world history that saw some of the greatest changes ever recorded in society, government, arts, and religion. Above all else it was a cultural movement which encompassed a revival of learning, interaction and engagement with others. It was a new period of creation, creativity, and learning new things that saw the likes of Da Vinci and Michelangelo shake the very foundations of existing expectations and societal norms.

It is also generally regarded that the Renaissance pulled the world out of the ‘dark ages’. I believe (as do many others) that social media truly is a modern day Renaissance that seeks to shake the very foundation of what we have known or believed about the internet, marketing, PR, interactions with customers, and on and on.  It’s disruptive, it’s new, it’s fresh, it’s confusing, it’s misunderstood, it’s feared, it’s loved, and overall it is changing the very fabric of how we live.  I believe that hundreds of years from now this moment in history will be seen as a true Renaissance, if not a silent revolution.  And I really do believe that it has pulled us out of the modern day ‘dark ages’.  Can anybody say ‘dial-up’?  It that’s not ‘dark ages’, I don’t know what is!

So what is a Renaissance Man, and am I one of them?  Well, a Renaissance Man is ‘a man with extraordinarily broad and comprehensive knowledge of a multitude of topics of the day’.  If you are going to live in this world of social media and you want to be effective, then it forces you to be knowledgeable and influential about a broad breadth of topics.  If you don’t keep up, with this fast pace of change that happens every day, then you get left behind. To make it more personal, if you want your business to take advantage of what this time in history has to offer, then you must be a Renaissance Man (or woman).

So am I one?  I like to think so, or at least I try.  I mean, I don’t have long curly hair or wear a puffy shirt, but I am often confusing, disruptive, creative, misunderstood, feared, and loved.  So that counts, right??


Steve Holt February 3, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Hey Tom, I totally agree. These are exciting times indeed! I shudder to think about things to come.

Tom Eldridge February 3, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Hi Steve,

Firstly apologies for not replying sooner after you kindly linked to my original article.

The renaissance brought about a great change in how we think about the world we live in. The main difference today with social media, which you touched upon, is that this change in thinking has now accelerated to years as oppose to centuries.

Opportunities exist for those who can bring coherence and relevancy to this liminal space.

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