TommyBlogImage Now is the winter of my disconnect. Please be gentle. As you will no doubt discover, I’m no Frank Chimero. I’m not as talented a designer nor as willing a writer. I have no aspirations of becoming the latter. I was, only minutes ago, a blog virgin. I do not Tweet and I’m not on Facebook. My Dribbble account is a dark, empty place, devoid of activity. You’re more likely to find tumbleweeds moseying by than a tasty dropdown concept. I don’t LOL and I’ve certainly never ROTFLMFAO. This is the first time I’ve typed the word “noob.” I was reluctant to have any sort of online presence, despite the reality that my job relies on the web. I’d rather Google not turn up any results when you search for me. Paranoid much? Yeah. Shit.

This is my good friend, er, sorry, what’s your name again?

We’ve reached the point where it’s normal to refer to people we’ve never met as “friends.” We share our designs on a constantly growing number of sites without providing insight into what problems the designs solved. It’s posting pretty pictures to look at. No more, no less. Visual masturbation. We’ve become “more social,” yet are more isolated than ever.

Being unconnected in an otherwise connected world certainly has its drawbacks. Not plugging in to all the mighty Internet has to offer may put me at a disadvantage when it comes to growing professionally. I may be missing out on making connections that could one day be the very foundation of my future employment. I’m not putting myself out there and as a result, I’m not getting feedback from designers I respect but will never get to know on a personal level, let alone meet.

I’m not out there, Jerry, and I’m lovin’ every minute of it.

So is there hope for people like me? Will our kind survive without ultimately having to throw ourselves to the wolves? Hopefully. Do I ask my own questions and answer them? Apparently. I remain relatively influence-free of designers whose hands I’ve never shook, the ones I’ll never meet, the ones that would only let me down by turning out to be giant assholes. Creative reviews, stand-up meetings and a little one on one time with a Creative Director are more than sufficient. I’ve learned to rely only on those I trust; the people I’ve met along the way that provide solutions in addition to their criticisms. These are the people I hold onto in an industry where jumping from one studio to another is so commonplace.

This is the last paragraph of my blog.

There’s a reason we aren’t all working remotely or on a freelance basis, and it certainly isn’t a website that provides a sense of community while simultaneously allowing people to hide behind an alternate identity. It’s our desire be a part of a real one. Ultimately, it’s the people we choose to surround ourselves with that make us better, help us to grow and challenge us to look at things in a different light.