Witness v. outreach

I’ve been thinking lately about the words “witness” and “outreach” and what they imply.

Witness means you’re testifying to the truth of something; to its essential nature. We do this when we wear great a great pair of jeans, or Warby Parker glasses, or sum up something complex in a simple way. Witness is like a magnet.

Outreach, meanwhile, means you’re working to engage others; working to engage the dis-engaged. You’re trying to bring people to where you are by reaching out. Think networking sessions, a good-will campaign, or information efforts.

You’re “reaching out” when you witness, in a sense, but there’s less strain and effort there. Outreach can fail because of poor execution. Witness works based on the strength of the thing you’re testifying to. If witness fails, it’s probably because what’s being testified to is weak.

So I don’t want to do outreach. I want to witness. I want to share and testify to something by living it, rather than going around and raising awareness for a principe. Witness is like its own attractive secret, or a vision of something convincing.

One requires a plan for convincing and implicitly a sort of argument. The other requires simply that whatever you’re pushing be true.