I started writing today’s article in July. (I have roughly two hundred drafts on the virtual cutting room floor.)
I was catching up with a friend and that one sentence really caught my attention. It’s something that I’ve always known to be true, but it has been pushed far into the back of my mind.
“We unfortunately (well fortunately) live in a bubble.”
I believe the discussion was about my efforts to warn people about MLM scams. This particular group of friends is highly educated and they hold very-high paying jobs. They are lawyers, doctors, software management, and economists. As a blogger, I’m an outlier, but if you consider me a former software engineer who is now a business owner, it makes sense.
If you think about what bubble looks like for a minute, it is a fortunate one.
However, there was the original focus of that sentence. It’s unfortunate that bubbles exist.
Not all bubbles are fortunate ones. That’s why I’ve been covering news stories about how many Americans can’t afford $400 in an emergency. It’s why I tell people to get Use Digit to save for the holidays now!
There are a lot of people who can fall for MLM scams that have the ‘trappings’ of legitimacy in John Oliver’s words. The MLMs often focus on people who are in more unfortunate bubbles, economically speaking. It’s difficult to get a lawyer to join an MLM scam, unless they do in a professional capacity… not a recruiting salespeople one.
Around the same time my friend said this, Mischa Barton received a lot of public backlash for the following posting on social media:
I think there’s probably a place in Barton’s bubble where that makes sense. Unfortunately, most people don’t live in her bubble. It’s pretty easy to criticize her and say, “If you’ve got all this spare time to drink your wine on your yacht, maybe you should be the one ‘making change’.”
That’s an extreme example… and Barton’s apologized. I don’t want to make the post about Barton, but to emphasize what we already know, there are a variety of bubbles around.
My audience for this blog is almost entirely based in the United States. Many of the people living here are in a bubble themselves. There’s freedom of speech (except for me it seems). We have water instantly (outside of Flint), as opposed to Millions Of Women Take A Long Walk With A 40-Pound Water Can.
I can read about that bubble, but in a couple of hours I’ll probably have moved on. It is too far from my bubble. The bubble will become a distant memory in a couple of months. (Indeed, as I’m reviewing this article 4 months later it is a distant memory.)
Much of America lives in a different bubble than me
I have driven across the country and in my travels got to meet some people who are different bubbles. However, it’s been a few years now. If I’m ever going to have help people with MLM scams, I need to do a better job of understanding the people in that bubble and bubbles in general.
Today, we self-select our news. We used to get one or two local newspapers. If you lived in New York City, you wouldn’t get the same news as a farm in Indiana. Maybe, we should read some other news.
Our social media friends reflect our bubble. Our Next Life wrote about this echo chamber yesterday. It’s a great article and you should read it.
I’m not sure if there are too absolutes when comes to bubbles. One thing I’d suggest though, is try to work with another bubble and see what you can learn. You might be surprised that people are very willing to explain their view to you if you stop and listen.
I want to leave you with one final thought. This article is about different perceptions of MLM scams. It is related to anything that may be happening in the world of politics. If you suggest otherwise, you are going to get “Seattle’d”:
— Chad Amaral (@chad_amaral) November 9, 2016