There’s nothing inherently useful about being an early adopter.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been ahead of the curve. This is not ego, it just a simple statement of fact. I tend to be into things several years before they catch on with the general population. This is applicable personally as well as professionally. I’ve been using the internet to connect with people since I started posting on my Prodigy account and joining Delphi chatrooms in the early 90s (and via BBSs prior to that). If you’re reading this, chance are that you have either had this experience as well, or have a particular person in your life that has.
I bring this up because I think that there’s a sense in the community at large that being an early adopter, a trend setter, someone who is on the cutting edge somehow makes you cool or rich or important. What I’ve found is kind of the opposite. I think that waiting for the world to catch up to what we know inherently to be true or important is one of the loneliest feelings that someone can have.
It’s hard having to go into conversations knowing you’re going to have to ‘dumb it down’ or explain why you’re so into some silly website or raw fish or some band they’ve never heard of. Even the most well-intentioned and interested of people can be a source of frustration and deep sighing. We want to explain and share our passion and get other people excited, we really do. It’s just that when it’s variations of the same conversation with many new people, it tends to set up a sense of self that’s isolating.
That’s why, for all the bitching people do about the ‘social media echo chamber’ or the ‘indie rock scene’ or whatever label happens to be associated with your own personal area of ‘ahead-of-the-curve’ness, it’s still so important to spend some time with members of your tribe.
I implore you to put yourself in a situation where you can have conversations about your passions that are more exhilarating than exhausting. Spend time in a place where you can be as close to the full capacity of ‘you’ as possible.
Those places are all around. Online chatting is not enough. Dedicate yourself to recharging your creative batteries before spending time with those who are not yet part of the tribe. Your passion needs refreshing in order to truly bring the world up to speed. That is where the usefulness, opportunity and obligation of being an early adopter comes in, and the only way to ensure the passion continues to be a calling rather than a burden.