I Fell into a Digital Rabbit Hole this Week


I admit, I fell into a digital rabbit hole that consumed my life for what is going on to 18 hours. I am officially on #giraffewatch. Before going to bed last night, I had my second screen streaming the live giraffe cam and I would check on the expecting mother every hour or so. Then, I happened…the stream went down on YouTube at 7:30 a.m. I was now in my thirteenth hour of #giraffewatch and I felt that the day would be worthless. Great news is that is came back and has a permanent bookmark on my second screen.


While my plight to see the live birth of the 150-pound, six-foot tall calf seems slightly insane, this tale details the future of the Internet. As David Weinberger asks (2011) is the Internet making us smarter or stupider, I have to reflect on my personal adventure of the past 18 hours. I have tried to will the giraffe to having a contraction (I swear, I have seen her belly move); I have Googled facts on giraffe births (questioning); I have commented on the Facebook Live stream (sharing); I have watched other YouTube recommended videos and watched the entire circle of life take place in Africa (filtering); I have been amused by the trolls discussing that giraffes birth striped eggs (screening); and I have donated money to the animal sanctuary where the mother resides (interacting).  These 18 hours demonstrate the insane amount of information that is available at our fingertips and how access to this information can motivate us. I had an entire adventure and learned more about giraffe births my only using by screens. This encapsulates the beginning of the second industrial revolution!

The thirteen hours of my #giraffewatch were driven by artificial intelligence from the recommended videos and searches on Google to the constant notifications of Facebook friends who were also watching the video. As I reviewed the videos from Corning, I realized that my giraffe obsession could only be maximized if I had interactive and adaptive glass all around me. I was ready to sign up for my glass house immediately.

While this is a comical example of the digital impact on our daily lives, it also has merit on the world in which we live, learn, work and play. Leaders must embrace not only today’s technologies, but plan for the emerging ones. As a marketer and a leader, it is important for me to understand the technologies that target audiences are using as well as those which can help motivate and support team collaboration. I can only accomplish this by realizing (as suggested by Kelly, 2016) that my own intelligence is only performing on limited planes. Technology allows me to connect and interact with others that can fill my own symphony.

Yes, I fell into a digital rabbit hole last night and seemingly let my dreamerresponsibilities appear misguided, but I think we have to do that sometimes to help foster collaboration and open our eyes up to something new. Even with the explosion of artificial intelligence which helps organize and search engines that filter news feeds, we still need thinkers and dreamers to imagine how to continue to use and evolve the technology in the future. An effective leader must be balanced in both.



11 thoughts on “I Fell into a Digital Rabbit Hole this Week

  1. Krista – you are such an entertaining writer. My mom and I happened to time it just right some years back visiting the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake and happened upon the Giraffe area while a giraffe was giving birth. I admire your marathon and imagine it was well worth the wait. And it made me wonder if you appreciated your finale more than I did being that you were watching and waiting intentionally whereas I stumbled upon it. Wonder how that impacts our reward center? In my after doctorate spare time I’ll look that up 

    On another track, I am curious as to what specific ways you find falling into the rabbit hole to engender collaboration and dreaming. When you reference your intellect as operating on limited planes only – do you feel you are capable of entering some of these missing planes only if you connect? Do you think there might be planes which are actually hindered by contact? I ask because I find that I need to disconnect from everyone and everything more and more in order to focus and really think. So much distraction has me prone to irritation and confusion. An article by Jeffrey Stibbel in HBR suggests I am not alone and that individual brains begin to break down when part of a group. The article states “The value of a contributor decreases disproportionately with each additional person contributing to a single project, idea, or innovation.” Stibbel does acknowledge the benefits in certain collaboration but also points out that we may be over-enamored with the belief that great numbers of minds will always yield superior result. Alternate thought.

    Thanks again for the fun post ~ Tricia

    Liked by 1 person

      • Tricia:

        Thank you for your responses and questions on my post. Clearly I should have further explained my logic flow. The rational side of me got caught up in the time “wasted” watching for the imminent birth; however, after further research, I learned that #giraffewatch started last week. For the record, I am in hour 38! As I pondered this “waste of time”, I realized that the additional research and double screening I was doing was exposing me to new information. Even as idiotic as the trolls posting comments about giraffes laying eggs and the bull eating his young, I realized that I was getting a real-time look at social behaviors and those craving attention. My point is that as leaders we should allow ourselves and our followers the time to slip down a rabbit hole or two because we can increase our knowledge in doing so.

        As I watched the Corning videos I was both excited and disturbed by the field trip when the children were watching dinosaurs walk through the woods thanks to augmented reality. I was excited because the technology is amazing, but I was disturbed because I also wanted the children to explore the woods and create their own worlds with fairies and trolls and other creative creatures. I found a great article on how technology can enhance creativity https://www.forbes.com/sites/gregsatell/2014/01/27/how-technology-enhances-creativity/#12b517a53f50

        Many of the concepts of Kelly can be found here, such as the remixing of thoughts, ideas and mediums for continuous creative collaboration.



  2. Nice post…and nice comment from Tricia. I have to admit that twice in the last two days, my cursor/finger hovered over the giraffe stream … but somehow I managed to move on! Yet, your example did play out many of the “verbs” Kelly raised. An insightful observation!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Krista,

    Loved your post! I subscribe to “theSkimm” (http://www.theskimm.com/), a daily news feed with a dose of humor. At the top of this mornings feed:

    “Nudity and sexual content” – The reason some people were offended by a viral live stream of a giraffe about to give birth. It was briefly pulled from the Internet so the giraffe could change out of its birthday suit.

    The news feed linked to a related article so I could quickly learn that April the Giraffe is doing well, and check the Giraffe cam (http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/NY-Zoo-Livestreams-Pregnant-Giraffe-Ahead-of-Birth-of-Baby-Calf-414586083.html).

    As you illustrated so vibrantly in your post, an abundance of information is at our fingertips, ready to satisfy our insatiable thirst for knowledge. I am amazed at the connections that are enabled by the net. Animal Adventure Park staff estimates that 20 to 30 million people around the world have been checking on April (one more, with me). Millions of people suddenly connected with the click of a mouse. That is powerful.

    Surprisingly, your post brought back a happy day I spent with my family. I met April the Giraffe a few months ago when I took my niece, Gracie, to the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville. Thank you for a great post, and a happy connection!


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Krista,

    I agree-you post was an enjoyable read, and also informative and successful in highlighting some salient dynamics of this conversation regarding leadership. Very nicely done!

    I also was compelled (in my own post) to draw on Kelly’s (2016) imagery of the “symphony” as it relates to knowledge, connection, and collaboration. The notions of teamwork, partnership, collective, etc. all resonate with me…which really provides the context for my intrigue resulting from Krista’s comment/question above and the Stibel (2011) article that was linked.

    I think one model that article suggests at several points-comparing the efficiency or performance of one great mind to that of a group of mediocre minds-is rather short-sighted. Most of the leaders I work with understand that their teams are comprised of a mix of stronger and weaker performers…but none of us are content with leaving the team in a pursuit of mediocrity. We strive to bring out their very best…and for me as a leader I am particularly interested to leverage as many great minds as are available towards the process of investing in and developing all the others. Perhaps the collaboration experience itself can be viewed as an important part of that process. In reflecting on this, I recalled some work I did years ago with an old coach, and he used to talk about “polarity management” as one’s effort to balance competing goods. Or in ethics, we have the notion of prima facie principles. It seems in either case, there is a precedent to sacrifice one good when compelled by some other (competing) good. In my leadership, I try to employ more than just bottom-line performance as the yard-stick for success.

    But as high as the potential is of one great mind (compared to a group of mediocre minds), how high is that of many great minds…that have figured out how to work well together? I am sensitive to Stibel’s assertion that, “great individuals are not only more valuable than legions of mediocrity, they are often more valuable than groups that include great individuals.” I don’t want to blindly resist this thought, particularly if there is evidence to support it, but it runs counter to so much of what I value at the core of my being. The question has definitely provoked a desire to explore this further (thank you for that!).

    While not directly responding to the same question, Daniel Goleman and Richard E. Boyatzis’ 2008 HBR article ( https://hbr.org/2008/09/social-intelligence-and-the-biology-of-leadership) added another layer that I have been reflecting on. They wrote:

    “The salient discovery is that certain things leaders do-specifically, exhibit empathy and become attuned to others’ moods-literally affect both their own brain chemistry and that of their followers. Indeed, researchers have found that the leader-follower dynamic is not a case of two (or more) independent brains reacting consciously or unconsciously to each other. Rather, the individual minds become, in a sense, fused into a single system. We believe that great leaders are those whose behavior powerfully leverages the system of brain interconnectedness.”

    This leads me to give added emphasis to the leader’s ability to foster the right environment for collaboration, and to facilitate this type of interconnectedness, which I think, can be more rewarding than draining. Now to be sure, I am also an advocate of creating margin and enough blue sky to provide order and focus…but I also don’t view these two approaches as mutually exclusive. And as an aside, it will be very interesting to see where emerging (immersive) technologies might take this conversation…



  5. Hi there – Tricia again. There wasn’t a reply directly beneath your response to me so … I appreciated the article. I think the most outstanding benefit discussed is how technology can enable greater creativity by allowing us to fail inexpensively and with little to lose. I’d not thought of that before and am definitely going to pursue that line of thought … “how many ways can technology help us to fail?” Thanks again for prompting that discovery.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Krista,

    Eighteen hours?! Only giving you a hard time. I have watched eagles before so I cannot judge. It is fascinating that we are able to be a part of nature.

    One question that I have for you is, as a marketer, how do you stay on top of the various technologies? Do you have specific resources you rely upon? Are you a member of the American Marketing Association? One thing on the website that stood out to me was the marketing toolkit which seems to include various worthwhile resources, but I am not an expert in marketing. I look forward to your response.

    Thank you,


    • Keshia:
      Thanks for your questions, especially since they forced be to think of your question in two ways. First, I do find some benefit in being a part of professional organizations to assist in staying on top of trends in marketing, however, even these offerings can become stagnant rather quickly. I am not a member of the AMA, but I am a member of PRSA (Public Relations Society of America). I find that typically these associations have great training for those just entering the industry. Many of these professional organizations have a hard time providing relevant programming for the more experienced professional.

      The second lens that I examined your question through was in terms to my recent career move to an association–the Ohio State Medical Association. While I have three months under my belt, I can see that we struggle with engaging and staying relevant with young physicians, both in terms of our value proposition and technology. Recently I suggested that instead of spending the money on a “medical student/resident Web site”, why not invest into an app? In addition, it is clear that we are not (yet) using social media in its most effective way and as such we have a HUGE drop-off in physicians aged 35-50. Associations are hard pressed to stay on top of technology, especially when budgets are tight. I think that one way to accomplish this is to start attracting talent from other industries. I have a feeling my 20+ years of marketing experience helped me to secure my current role.



  7. Krista, thank you for your post! It and your interaction with Tricia got me thinking about what we risk losing with our attempts to make things better. On a trip through South Africa, a zookeeper there shared facts about giraffe births, specifically that the baby must fall to the ground as part of the process. I remember him mentioning that humans had started intervening at a point to save the baby from the pain of hitting the ground, with the unintended consequence of killing the babies by trying to help them. We did not understand the fall was necessary. Your comment to Tricia about wanting children to walk in the real woods versus the glass option got me thinking further about this. Landing on your post’s closing comment, what strategies do you think leaders need to employ to balance the benefits of technology against what is lost?



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