Kim and Cowboy

When The Expert Guru Types Find the Greener Grass

Kim Krause Berg  

Have you noticed the changing of the guard in the land of search engine marketing?  The new buzz is over “user intent” and the folks you once followed every day are now buying motor homes, picking up yoga and going off the Web Grid.

Some of the pioneers in search engine marketing returned after their hiatus, a bit older and now a dim voice in an  industry teaming with hopefuls who grew up using web stuff many of you invented, tested, and sold off.  I lost track of the relationships, partnerships, friendships and company-ships.  It all feels like we’re swimming in jello.

The phone call came in from a friend.  “I need the horses today. Will you be at the farm?”

“No,” I responded.  I had torn up my website for the zillionith time and didn’t dare leave it in that limbo state when there’s even the slightest chance in hell that one person might show up to visit it.  I clicked off the Android and three seconds later got a text message from the stable owner telling me that one of my favorite horses is lame again and could I come by to help him.

So I called back my friend to say yes. I’d meet her at the farm right away.

Somewhere in my 20 year professional life as one of the few white, American women over the age of 50 who codes and reads case studies for fun, I studied Reiki and energy healing.  Not to work on people.  My calling is with horses.  Ex-racehorses mostly.  Not only did I start riding again, but I create soothing jars of massage goop packed with essential oils in a base of coconut oil that I work into their legs, spine, mane and tail.

And here’s the thing.  I had trouble explaining why I was there, wearing my barn boots, stained Levi’s and my “I’m a Marine Mom” sweatshirt.  I felt guilty for leaving my office.

One of the teenage riders, bent over her ride with a hoof pick in hand, asked me why I was there on a weekday and could I do that more often?  I stuttered and tried to explain that I was there because the Universe called me, but hopefully all she heard was that I didn’t have any clients who needed me that day.

Now that “users” and “intent” are the fad of the hour my work is important again, but I know this won’t last. I see how this works.  I’m watching great people going off the Web Grid, for whatever reasons and by golly, I’m thinking, there must be some weird thing happening with the stars and planets, or, as I told my husband the other night, “Have you noticed that Time has speeded up?”

So, some of my peers left the kingdom of gurus and experts and I feel a sense of wonder at this.  They are writing books, taking walks, traveling in the RV, having the babies they put off having, or disappearing into a plane of existence that doesn’t include the 24/7 hub bub of instant have-to-have fads, technology, code, fame and speaking gigs.   The truth is, for a lot of us, this life of tech creates a disconnection from life.  So while many of you have moved on, I’m preparing to join your commune when nobody cares about user experience and ads have taken over the world.

There’s no plot yet, but I told 3 people about my new book idea and none of them laughed at me.  My husband and I cleaned out the RV, which is parked at the horse stable and hasn’t gone anywhere in 5 or 6 years.  For excitement, we crank it up and like kids, pretend play we have time off or make enough money to go somewhere other than the driveway.  We’re thinking the RV will be where I write the book. It has nothing to do with websites or the Internet.

It’s about starting over.