We spend a lot of time echoing what other people are saying instead of finding signals in the cacophony, extracting data we want, and saying that with meaning and context. Creating original thought is hard work but it has a greater payoff.
Here’s an experiment: The next time the President speaks, monitor what White House reporters are tweeting. Many do it real-time. Some fact check first and tweet after. Others are quiet. Look for the tweet that is written a little differently than what others say. Maybe it has a statistic. Maybe it has a link. Maybe it’s a simple concept that people can latch onto and recreate. If the tweet is not part of the echo chamber of repetition, it’s a signal.
For instance, when I write about big topics such as the coronavirus and justice, I try to meld current events with my own thought. I’m not merely repeating what other people are saying but I’m providing my own voice.
The next time you share something, think about purpose and not action.
- How necessary is that update or message to anyone but yourself?
- Does your audience need to know your feelings about something that will be passe a minute later?
- Why are you compelled to share a link if nobody thanked you for your last shared link?
- Would the world end if you waited an hour or a day, or didn’t send that message?
If you don’t have a reason for producing noise, maybe the world would be more productive if you created a signal instead.
In other words, be unique and don’t echo.
P.S. This is a revision of an earlier blog post from 2011.