Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Proximity to Greatness = Effective!

I was fortunate enough to attend a Social Media Breakfast at which the wonderful Julia Rosien spoke about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and general social media presence for businesses. Even though I'm
not a start-up, or a business, or even a small business, there was one point in her talk where a light bulb went off in my head. It was not so much a "Eureka!" as it was an "Ah ha!" (there's a difference).  It was the moment where I finally realized exactly what problem I was trying to solve.

Part of my recent foray into the social media world is to network,  be more involved, and better enjoy and appreciate my community and the people within it.  In addition to that, I've been trying to establish (for lack of a better phrase) a fan base. A readership, if you will.

You see, there are stories I want to tell, and as much as I say I would get all the satisfaction I require out of simply writing them down, I know that's not true. I want people to read them, and the best way I can come up with for getting someone to read something you've written is write something that they actually want to read.

My "Ah ha!" moment came during Julia's talk when she said the easiest thing to do for a small business with a website was to add a search bar and keep track of what people were searching for.

That statement, along with the feedback from my last post, convinced me that I would continue to blog about anything and everything I wanted to, but I would hereinafter do it with my senses more aware of what was going on around me.  Further to that, it brought be back to a conversation I had with a good friend of mine about a screenplay I was writing.

He asked me why I wasn't writing it as a book and I didn't have a good answer. It's just always been a movie to me. Every story I have ever told has been a movie (in my mind at least). Any story I would ever want to tell would be a movie.  Only it's not a movie. That's not what the search box in my brain is telling me. It's a book. And now that I know that much, so much more is becoming clear. Ideas and character development and plot points are pouring out of me like some literary keg with a broken tap.

So what does this have to do with proximity to greatness? Well, I know I am writing quite the love story about Twitter lately, but it was once again the jumping off point for me (and now I'm starting to recognize a trend).

Twitter allows me to completely immerse myself with wonderfully interesting and amazing people who are willing to share their thoughts and ideas and feedback candidly and honestly.  Twitter can be remarkably useful, if you choose to use it to accomplish something useful.

In order for me to do this I have uncovered some very important rules:

  1. Pay attention
  2. Go outside your comfort zone
  3. Allow yourself to be wrong
  4. Allow others to be right
  5. Allow yourself to be heard
  6. Allow others to be heard first

When I got to sit in a room with a hundred people from Twitter you could just sense that there were more ideas than people sitting there with you. It was as if just being around awesome people allowed all kinds of ideas to form. Ideas aren't just born out of the ether though, not even the ones accompanied by a "Eureka!"

I would argue that there are very few ideas that live within a single mind that ever make it out into the world. Certainly the ones that do are memorable - the heliocentric model of the solar system and E=MC² are two that immediately come to mind - but even both of those needed a little help from others before making their impact. They needed to be challenged and shared with a larger community before they would realize their full potential.

The seeds for a good many ideas - the good ones at least - are often planted deep within the mind, and then cultivated as their host explores and interacts with the world and people around them. It can hardly be considered a surprise when really great ideas come from people who not only are great or aspire to be great, but who also surround themselves with greatness.

Twitter isn't just mindless chatter. Facebook isn't just birthday reminders and noticing how you've aged way better than many of your high school friends. Active listening on social media might just be the most important skill you can acquire. Your phones aren't smart - you are. So plant your idea and let it take root. Give it food and nurturing to help it evolve. Keep a close eye on it, pay attention, and stay engaged.

If all else fails hunt it down ruthlessly and don't give up. Greatness will be yours.

7 comments:

  1. Sounds like you've got a direction and lots of energy. Go, go! The trust30 thing will help you with this, too, yes?

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  2. I think Trust30 will be a big help. If for no other reason that it will mean words on page every day for a month. It only takes 21 days to form a new habit...

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  3. Hi Andrew,

    I saw this last night and completely forgot to visit - thankfully your cheery smile popped up in my timeline and I remembered!

    I feel like it's me who should be thanking you because you too make me feel awesome when you tweet. Making new friends and seeing the world from another person's perspective is the only way we grow. And you do that for me - so thank you!

    Keep writing and exploring - can't wait to see where you go next!

    Julia

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  4. I can't wait to see where I go next either!

    Here is one destination that has me quite focused: http://goo.gl/zFXf7

    (tell your friends)

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  5. I really like this post. You're right, active listening is so important - both in real life and in social media - good reminder for us all :)

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  6. What I hear you saying is that you'd like me to write more stuff like this :)

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  7. Involvement, yes: even Einstein & Copernicus sat and discussed their new ideas with others.

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