Technology, humanity, and finding my own WHY

Seven years into my career as a marketer, I've started to dive deeper into my own WHY. I've spent countless hours walking others through the process of finding their brand's why, but recently realized that I've neglected to apply this thinking to my own professional journey. Over the past few months I've been sitting with various “why” questions. Why am I still fascinated by sociology nine years after studying it in undergrad? Why did I want to pursue work in digital marketing? Why am I constantly drawn to the tech industry and why do I want to further my career in this space?


My marketing career began early in 2011 when I volunteered to take on social media management at the company I was working for. I had been at the company for over a year working in a sales role. While I enjoyed sales, I was interested in marketing and ready to learn more about how to use Twitter and Facebook to build a brand. In the following two years, I went from managing just social to running point on all digital marketing, overseeing the development of the company's online presence and e-commerce strategy. I became a self-taught digital marketer with a passion to continue to learn. I spent my twenties working as closely as I could with tech startups, helping clients utilize marketing technology, and paying attention to the trends around the ever-evolving digital landscape.

I'm now in my early thirties and am excited to continue to dive deeper into my field but have become more curious about the source of my professional motivation. I want to understand what my work means to me beyond a paycheck, which has started me on this path of figuring out my why. As I sat with these questions, I discovered a surprising answer. My fascination with both marketing and tech is driven by a larger fascination with people — specifically the structures and functions of human society. The longer I sat with the question of why I love working in the digital space, the more I realized that my core fascination is with the way that humanity and technology intersect and interact.


I love having conversations about whether technology has a positive or negative impact on people, whether we should be optimistic about our future or hunker down and wait for our world to turn into an episode of Black Mirror. But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter if we are optimistic or pessimistic about how technology will continue to impact society. Technology will shape the future of the human race, whether we like it or not — so of course I want to be a part of it. As a natural optimist, I believe in the potential of technology to improve our world and serve humanity in a profoundly positive way. I want to be a part of making that the reality, helping to create a world in which tech's impact on people is good and beneficial.

We are in a fascinating time when it comes to this conversation. Tech giants are arguing about whose business model does a better job of caring about people. Lots of us are trying to quit social media (and younger generations might actually be doing a better job of this). We're suspicious of how technology acquires and uses our data, affects our mental health, and impacts elections. And yet very few of us are willing to go totally off the grid — not usually because we're optimistic about the future of the technology, but because it's nearly impossible to do so.

I honestly can't imagine a more exciting time to be in tech. There is so much to be curious about and so much to explore. My own questions about whether technology is good or bad for society inspire me to go even deeper into the field. I can't imagine a more meaningful way to spend my time and mental energy than to immerse myself in an industry that will continue to have such a powerful impact on the future of humanity.