The biggest synonym-related issue I keep bumping up against lately in my writing (as opposed to all of the other synonym-related issues) has been coming up with new ways to describe blurred lines. Hazy boundaries? Fuzzy fringes? Petering perimeters?
The thing that makes this rhetorical quandary interesting is that it’s not due to any one particular trend happening in one particular industry. I cover a number of topics, and in the last few months I’ve written about the blurring lines between brand publishing and advertising, engineering and medicine, women and tech leadership, art and economic development, media companies and technology firms, and, most recently, between urban and suburban places (coming soon!).
Everywhere, the boundaries between previously mutually exclusive industries, concepts, people and trends are fading away. It’s happening in areas I don’t typically cover as well, like the lines defining who can marry whom, dividing social media and political activism or how many women can anchor the same news show. And it is so. Ex. Citing.
Anyone who thinks we’re living in anything but the most amazing time in history is, well, probably male, straight and white. For generations, lines of all kinds have acted as sort of a protector of the people, ideas and technologies that have long been in place and in power. Now, we’re finding that those lines simply don’t benefit society. People are more innovative when they collaborate across industries. Board rooms are more successful when they have diverse membership. The limits on everything have burst wide open. More people can do whatever they want to do, chase any dream or solve any puzzle with any tool.
This is awesome, and it only promises more awesomeness to come. That’s not to say it won’t be a challenge. Like any cultural change, there will be pushback and growing pains (I’m looking at you, Arizona). Some lines will be the last to blur, and the new realities some of the create will take some getting used to. But when it comes down to it, the impact of blurring lines means the same thing no matter where it happens: more people together, on the same plane, working toward shared goals. The world is so much better for it already, and it’s only going to keep improving.