It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.
Recently, someone linked me to a podcast featuring Seth Godin on Krista Tippet’s podcast series, “On Being.” Godin is a marketing specialist/analyst and author with a divergent view on the world, art, advertisement, and making a different in one’s community. The podcast begins with the captivating claim that we are in a post-Industrial connection economy and that we are all called to create to inspire and make an impact to the people around us.
In the last two years of my high school English experience, the door to the blogging world has been opened, or, in the theme of my joint blog CDTR, I have been led down into the rabbit hole of blogging. Through this medium, I have found several of my strengths both in blogs and in class. For starters, I am pretty quick to synthesize an argument, a stance, or a counterargument and make references other works backing the argument based on the facts given in the text being analyzed and a load of personal background. Just to name a few: “The point of things?“, “Simply tedious or simply necessary?“, “The irony of the human race“, and “A computer screen“. All of my ranting posts are products of about a minute of analyzing society’s ills and stitching together stories and content that can be spun around and weaved into a supported argument. One of my favorite in-class discussions this year was about the morality and ethical code of Hester and Dimmsdale versus the townswomen in The Scarlet Letter, a novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I debated that the townswomen are, as John Green would write, paper. The town is comprised of mostly immoral, hypocritical women who are compelled to wear masks, concealing their true selves and sins. And instead of acknowledging and repenting their own faults, they jump at any chance they have to criticize another.
At the same time, in-class debates, essay writing, and blogging as been a clear indicator of my faults as well. Perhaps the most crucial thing I wish to learn “say more with less.” Dig far beyond the surface. Create, as Godin would say, art– add a unique spin to any analysis that goes reveals incredible depth to the audience; impact them.
Godin advocates for the spread and sharing of information and ideas. He insists that everyone in the 21st century creates art and easily distribute his or her work through almost any social platform of their choosing. This ability, the ease of connection and the “personal printing presses” available to everyone is what sets us apart from all the other millennia. Since last year, I have been maintaining and expressing myself and my thoughts through this blog.
In his works, which stretches the gamut from books to blogs, he argues and supports his stance that all people are creators, or artists. We, no matter how good we think we are, are artists. I am an artist. You are an artist. And every person you have ever interacted with is an artist. Now, being a creator or an artist doesn’t just mean drawing or inventing something. No, it’s all about creating something that is unique. When an individual sets out to make a difference in the world, their focus should never be on getting high ratings, getting the most views, or having the most sales. It is when a creator gets hung up on appealing to others that they lose their sense of purpose; their true art form and style. Instead, they fall prey to the, as I call it, “washing machine method.” “Rinse, wash, and repeat.” The process of mimicking the content and the originality of someone else for the sole reason of selling should not be one someone would be proud of. To top things off, the only thing they will sell out is themselves. Something with the power or the intent to influence a person, to make them see something new is the key to longevity because at the end of the day, that’s what people want– something new, but meaningful. Ultimately, for those who have not listened to the podcast, Godin concludes that the key is to make something your audience will not hesitate to share your work with a close group of friends because its content resonated.
This photo is by Flickr user Nic Taylor. I edited in the words.
This brings me to the next topic: Wadsworth’s constant.
“The only people who are good at the beginning are lucky.”
-Seth Godin (38 minutes 20 seconds in the podcast I listened to)
Godin’s quote serves to implicitly back this concept– that the first thirty percent of a YouTube video is skippable. This “constant” sometimes falls down other media gradients and may be interpreted as the first thirty percent of all a person’s creations are completely and utterly skippable. My blogging partner who only succeeded at posting her introduction blog here (on uniqueinfinities) and John Green both vlogged about it:
And although I agree with Godin on most of his points, I do not completely buy his claim that everything, from sales calls to charity work to creating apps. Yes, many of these medias in daily life can be considered art. How things are carried out constitutes its own level of uniqueness. However, I do not consider all things to be art. There is no art in imitation. As much as individuals in society may say they are divergent from the rest of the population, it has been proven repeatedly that society conforms. There is a baseline at which individuals no matter how much they resist are tainted by a mainstream mindset. For example, it has been shown through the decades that gendered marketing, or the segregation of “male” and “female” products will sell more. Basically, people are willing to may more and buy more for packaging stating that the product is specifically made for their gender. There is and always will be part of society that is catered to mainstream. That side of society is not art. It is the false glass veil of substance– imitation.
This video beautifully demonstrates this concept and even gives examples of its effects.
Wrapping up this post, I completely agree with Seth Godin when he states, if you make something unique, never fear of putting stuff out in society because it shouldn’t be anything you would be ashamed of. Don’t cater to society. Don’t be it’s lapdog. Art is a medium to express you. It gives you an idea and outlet of finding who you are. It gives people a unique way to connect. Achieve the goals of artists: be genuine. Live for you, no one else because you’re the only you that will ever exist. Make the best out of it. Carpe diem.
A/N: By the way, to whoever will or ever reads my 2 cents in the world. My blog has surpassed 2050 views and has been read in 65 different countries!! (Yes… I counted….)