I am one of those people who likes routines. I am okay about creating new ones, but I do like to have routines. It helps me keep things in my head straight. It helps me feel productive.
I was thinking about my emerging Social Media routine the other day. I had just tweeted good night to my various buddies and friends on Twitter. I checked my Facebook account one more time. Patted my blog on the head. I realized that I felt like a farmer, making sure all of the animals are safe and sound before hitting the hay. In the morning, I wake everybody up, feed them a little with posts, maybe deal with a little manure (but not very often), and then the cycle starts again.
I thought, “What a great blog post this would be! I could take it to the point of planting seeds for the future, I could talk about how relationships are plants beginning to grow.” There’s just one problem. That post, virtually exactly what I wanted to write, had already been written. About 3 years ago. I had never seen it. I didn’t know it existed till I mentioned my idea and was brought up to speed.
We’re in the business of ideas
So, the time slot for last night’s blogging became a little bit more complex, needless to say. I could try to put my own spin on it, but would that really be meaningful? The nugget of the idea is what I had been excited about.
This happens a LOT in the marketing world. It happens a lot in the world of Social Media. It’s not all that surprising. Without realizing it most of the time, we are all exposing ourselves to the same information, the same pools of resources, the same societal signals, right? And while it’s fun to think that great truths and great information are infinite, there’s going to be a lot of overlap. Sometimes, your innovative idea will get published as an ad, and you’ll find a competitor’s ad in the same issue with an almost identical concept. Your innovation just turned into a misery. Sometimes you get an idea for a speech or a presentation only to find that someone delivered virtually the same concept 17 years ago. Sometimes it just happens.
This should not discourage you
When I was a Girl Scout, back in the day, we took a field trip to a science center in Columbus called COSI. One of the activities we got to do was “panning for gold.” There was a little mock river, real tiny flakes of gold, and we all got little sifter pans to work with. Boy was it frustrating. It was frustrating and that was just a play thing. It was frustrating and we knew that there was good stuff to be found. Imagine being out there in the real world sifting for ideas, not knowing if your pure gold concept is going to stick in your pan or not.
Truthfully, though, there is *always* gold in your little pan, and that is what Social Media reminds me of every day. You see, ideas are pure gold if they come from you. Because you are unique. There is not a single person in the world who is exactly like you. There is not anyone else on the planet who can say something exactly the way you would, even if the idea is the same. Was Martin Luther King discouraged because Gandhi had already thought of nonviolent protest? Nope. He added his own beautiful voice to the scrolling tale of that story. Are musicians discouraged because there are only so many chords to play? Nope. They just keep finding new ways to weave them together.
In day-to-day life, we should not be discouraged if someone answers a question first, solves a problem first, or comes up with an idea, an ad, a blog post, a chat name, or anything else before we do. Because we can still add our own spin to things that come along. By default, because it comes from us, it is unique. As long as you breathe yourself into an idea, it is all you.
Are you breathing yourself into the ideas you send out? Are you speaking with your voice? Are you acting from your heart and soul? Nobody’s done that before. Not exactly. And no one will do it after you, either. What could be more unique than that?