A couple of weeks ago, I posted “Not all Cows Moo“. Fundamentally it was about being cognisant of our own personality traits, beliefs and ethics. I listed 20 attributes that currently define me. Authenticity (or WYSIWYG – what you see is what you get) is one of my core beliefs. This time around I’m flipping the focus 180 degrees to talk about the authenticity (or lack thereof) of others.
WYSIWYG is one of my favourite acronyms. I first came across it many years ago when it was used to describe software that showed instantly how your coding was impacting the GUI (graphic user interface). In a technology sense, this is very powerful, as it can provide early insights into how an application will display stuff. From a human perspective, it is also significant, as we live in an age where accessing clear and meaningful information is becoming even more crucial.
Where I’m going with this today is down the road of misinformation and misdemeanours. What we have today is a landscape where people hide behind the multitude of communication channels in order to mislead and misdirect each other. A very prominent example of this is the way politicians present information – in “sound bites” that have been scripted to within an inch of their lives. We even have the situation in Australian politics, currently, where we are informed that (electoral) promises are not really promises unless they are core promises…. what’s a promise if it is not a promise? I’ll tell you what it is – it’s a lie. A big fat LIE.
This same situation goes on constantly in the professional (sic) world, where we are fed information that is deemed acceptable or politically-correct. Aaron Sorkin has a lot to answer for with his excellent depiction of the West Wing, but years before he also delivered his famous line from A Few Good Men – “The truth, you can’t handle the truth”.
Who says we can’t handle the truth? Who says we have to live in a “white bread world”, where embedded journos only report the news the politicians want us to hear? Who says we have to live in a nanny-state? Why can’t we all be authentic? Why can’t we all say it like it is? If only Peter Capaldi’s character (Malcolm Tucker) had been a figment of someone’s imagination instead of the all-too-realistic incarnation of a spin-doctor. In my opinion, a spin-doctor is just a (far too) well paid liar who is employed to out-lie the opposition’s well paid liar. What is really sad about this situation is that majority of the population don’t even realise they are being lied to!
During my professional career I’ve wasted far too much time breaking down misinformation and translating misleading (so-called) politically-correct messages. Many a Project Office is a hotbed for cleansed status reports and massaged progress indicators. Then there’s the problem of defining requirements while failing to provide any context. There’s coding software and failing to augment it with meaningful comments that describe WHY, not just WHAT the code is setting out to achieve. There’s also the issue of debugging software and failing to identify the root cause.
When we work for a business we assume that we are being kept in the loop (back to Malcolm Tucker), with respect to the goals and targets of the future of the business. If a business has shareholders we expect them to be kept appraised of how things are and how they are expected to be in the future. Accountability and visibility are terms (mis)used all too frequently today.
There are macro and micro implications to these disingenuous behaviours that affect our everyday lives. Paul Weller once annunciated it impressively when he wrote – the public wants what the public gets. More than 30 years later this is truer than ever!
What I’d really like to see in 2015 is a movement towards a true WYSIWYG culture and the consignment of misinformation and deception to the toilet, where it can join the rest of the bull****.
Ooh, Wow, Stop the Presses! The Prime Minister of Australia has pulled off the impossible today and made himself look even more stupid than we all thought he was already. In what parallel universe does someone anoint the husband of his boss with a knighthood? I just love it when an idea explodes into life.
Dateline: Monday January 26 2015, Bagshot, England