It’s a simple thought that has profound consequences.
If you wish to be the best, you must study the best.
If you want to be amazing at golf, study the great golfers.
If you want to be an amazing comedian, watch the great comedians.
If you want to be a world renown hypnotist, you’d be wise to study the greatest hypnotists in the world.
Never before has it been easier to study the masters of our craft. Whatever you do, whatever you’re into, you can find someone in the world who’s amazing at it and better yet you can subscribe to their YouTube channel.
Start following people you’d consider a mentor in your line of work.
For the past 5 years I’ve been listening to some of the greatest storytellers of our time. They study their craft, they try different things and they keep their audience coming back for more every week.
I regularly listen to Ira Glass from the This American Life podcast. Ira is one of the best storytellers I’ve ever listened to. If Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule is true, I’d be willing to bet that Ira Glass has told stories for well over 10,000 hours. He’s simply brilliant to listen to.
Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner from the Freakonomics series of books (Freakonomics, Super Freakonomics, Think Like a Freak), movie and now a podcast. I think Freakonomics should be one of the books you have to read in highschool, much like Shakespeare, but a new and improved fascinatingly remarkable Shakespeare.
Another long time favourite of mine, RadioLab. You have to listen to it to believe it. But Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich entertain week in week out. The production on RadioLab is probably the best out of any podcast I’ve every listened to. The saying “you never get more out of something than what you put in to it” couldn’t be more true for RadioLab. They tell some of the most fascinating stories.
In the marketing world, I like listening to the Six Pixels of Separation podcast. The host Mitch Joel is Canadian, he run an agency out of Toronto and Montreal. He always ends up asking the most interesting questions, he’s one of the smartest marketing minds in our world, you’ll see a lot more of Mitch Joel in the future. (oh yeah, and he’s CANADIAN! That’s awesome)
The BeanCast is another of my all time favs. Bob Knorpp invites 3-4 guests who’re are notable marketing minds from all over the world, you get a diverse opinion on many topics from Social Media to traditional advertising. Some of my favourite episodes are the ones with Peter Shankman, Edward Bouches, Scott Monty, and of course Saul Colt.
One last honourable mention goes to WNYC’s Planet Money Podcast. Always a new and interesting topic that the hosts seem to spin into the coolest story you’ve heard all week. You have to listen to Planet Money at least once, you’re guaranteed to learn a lot!
I want to be an amazing storyteller one day, I know that will take a lot of practice, but that’s the hard part you can’t fake past. But it’s never been easier to find our mentors, to follow our hero’s, and to watch the very people we look up to.
What amazing (blank) are you studying to be?
Surprise surprise. Another social media platform is gaining steam. But can you really call Snapchat a platform? I suppose you can but, for those looking to grow their own platform, can it really be of any use? In a recent Six Pixels of Separation podcast (which I highly recommend you check out), Mitch Joel discusses the permanent internet vs. the impermanent internet. Snapchat falls under the category of impermanence.
Here’s a quick rundown for those unfamiliar with Snapchat:
1. A user takes a picture (or short video) using the app (the user can’t use pictures that already exist in your camera roll as you can with Instagram).
2. They can then add rough animated sketches or text to the pictures.
3. A time limit/expiry time is set for the picture – making it only available to be seen for that length of time while the viewer holds a finger on the screen.
4. If a viewer decides to take a screenshot of the picture, they can do so successfully but the viewer will be notified.
5. The picture is then deleted forever.
In a world where many of us work hard to create content that will help us find our voice online and give us permanent credibility, Snapchat seems to be much too fleeting to be instrumental. This skepticism is met with even more pessimism from those who scoff at the app, calling it “sleazy”, “controversial”, and “obviously only for racy photos”.
Let’s consider the good, the bad, and some possible uses.
The Good: Snapchat has continued to bring enjoyment (on somewhat of a surface level) to its users who enjoy giving people a glimpse into their daily lives without worrying as much about how they look or how the Toaster filter affects their like count. And of course, fuelling our dopamine-driven social media world, is the busy nature of a person’s Snapchat inbox due to the ability to mass send pictures. The fact that Snapchat connects people can’t be disputed. It can brighten a boring workday, enhance an event, and give you a laugh you otherwise wouldn’t have had (and who can put a value on that?). My initial concerns were that Snapchat would become everyone’s default photo app – limiting Instagram use and hindering the spread of video apps like Vine. I’m starting to become more optimistic about its effect on apps like Instagram which, in my opinion, are bombarded with those low-quality-look-at-me-now pictures. Now these pictures can be shot out into the Snapchat world and expire like they should – increasing the overall quality of pictures posted to the ‘Gram.
The Bad: As you’d expect, and as the naysayers will attest to, Snapchat does get used for pictures that would otherwise not be taken or sent. It’s almost like “don’t worry, i’ll just snapchat it” will begin justifying things that shouldn’t be justified. Also, the “humour” sometimes goes a bit too far and “fun” is had at the expense of a person being photographed by adding cartoon drawings of things I’m sure you’ve seen or could imagine before the picture’s sent. Here’s a controversy resulting from inappropriate use of the app: Teens’ Nude Photos From Snapchat Lead to Investigation Also in the category of “bad” falls the fact that Snapchat’s impermanence makes it more easily classified as a time-wasting app – increasing doubt as to whether a business could use it in a positive, meaningful way.
Possible Usefulness: On that note, here’s where I’ll make a quick argument regarding its usefulness for a business. I ran into the organizer for the Regina Folk Festival the other day. She was carrying a roll of posters of the 2013 summer festival’s lineup on them. The lineup was to be announced the following day and the group of us sitting near her did all we could to convince her to give us even a one second glimpse. And now I’m sure you can see where this is going. How easy is it for a major festival to encourage people to add them on Snapchat with the incentive of advanced lineup “glimpsing”? I’ve spent minutes looking at full lineups for festivals and failed to notice a band that later sparks conversation with a friend. The amount of conversation resulting from a multitude of people each getting a one second glance at a small picture of the lineup would be an interesting thing to attempt to measure. Even if someone manages to take a screenshot, the idea of a “leaked” schedule can create even more conversation. It’s these kinds of things, that actually add some value for viewers who give companies the permission to speak to them, that will endure as we become more selective about who we follow, like, and listen to.
Conclusion: Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think. Would love to hear your thoughts!
Though Saskatchewan and Regina may not be the blogging mecca we all predicted it would be, there are still many talented writers here (and many more in the making). As an organization or individual, if you wish to grow your brand online whatsoever, Creating content is inevitable, you may as well start sooner than later.
If you take writing seriously you’re always looking for ways to get better. The more you read, the better understanding you have of what makes a great blog and what doesn’t. Below are some of the best posts on writing and blogging I’ve stumbled upon. If YOU have some great articles on writing you’ve come across, don’t be afraid to leave a link in the comment below.
1. Copyblogger is like the Wayne Gretzky of blogging, here’s a great 5 step formula: The Simple 5-Step Formula for Effective Online Content
2. Another from Copyblogger, this one is a lot of little ideas that may help you. 73 Ways to Become a Better Writer
3. From Mitch Joel, a piece of what a blog actually should be. He’s from Canada, he’s smart, read it. What Is A Blog? The Question That Won’t Go Away
4. For any writer trying to improve his or her writing needs to read this. You’d be silly not to. The Two Most Import Words in Blogging
5. Ira Glass On Creativity (or, The Gap Between Our Taste And Our Work…) – Ira Glass hosts one of my favorite Podcasts, This American Life, he’s a brilliant story teller. One of the best of our time. Ira Glass On Creativity (or, The Gap Between Our Taste And Our Work…) Read more