I do not watch viral internet videos of cats falling or little kids singing on Ellen unless my wife says to me before bed, “Have you seen this?”
TV commercials are an absolute annoyance until my brother-in-law speaks up during a break from the Bears game and says, ”Have you seen this?”
CNN is really just background noise in an airport terminal until I hear a wife say to her husband, “Have you seen this?” Then I’m interested.
This phrase, “Have you seen this?” is the essence of word of mouth marketing in 2015. Every hilarious tweet, meme, and viral video grows in visibility and popularity because it ignites in us the desire to share. It calls us to ask someone, “Have you seen this?”
When creating art that we desire to have the farthest reach amongst our tribe, we need to create with the desire of sparking this question, “Have you seen this?” Now, I’m not recommending that we sacrifice our message or our morals in order to create more share power. Plenty of people are already doing this, which means that eventually, the space will become overcrowded and boring. This is not an endorsement for creating clickbait.
We create art to make connection. Part of that connection is between the artist and her audience. The other part, and perhaps the much more common part, is the connection between audience member and audience member when art is shared. That question of “Have you seen this?” brings people together. It gives them a common experience that they can bond over for a brief moment in time.
Art connects people, and connection is made through sharing.
As you create your art, ask yourself, “Does this ignite a desire to share in my audience?”
Does it cause people to reach out and ask, “Have you seen this?”
I don’t know about you, but my email inbox is a mess. It’s full of unwanted emails from old blogs or newsletters that I subscribe to on a whim. What’s worse are the constant advertisements and “deals” I get from companies that I bought something from one time! It seems like whenever I type my email into a website, I am doomed to be spammed for the rest of my life.
This is an easy problem to fix, of course. It wouldn’t even take a whole afternoon for me to sit down and unsubscribe from all of these unwanted emails. For some reason though, I just never take the time. So it continues to pile up, and I continue to select “Delete All”.
Now, none of us are foolish enough to believe that this only happens over email. No, no, no. It’s true with our Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook feeds as well. We could easily unfollow or unfriend, but that would take time, and may hurt some feelings, so instead we just scroll.
Nowhere is this behavior more prevalent though, than in our very own minds and hearts. The human spirit is an incredible machine, always adding new observations, information, and behaviors. Instead of going back and deleting old, unhelpful information when a new batch comes in though, we often just allow everything to pile on top of each other. We rarely “unfollow” old habits that aren’t helpful to us anymore. As a result, our brains just end up crowded and conflicted.
Not to be that Christian, but a verse comes to mind when I think of unfollowing old habits and behaviors.
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off the old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24
In this section, Paul is calling us to “unfollow” or “unsubscribe” to old patterns and behaviors now that a new way has been shown to us. This discipline is not something we do just once, but it is a daily practice that if taken seriously, will help us to renew our minds, rather than cluttering them up. Maybe it’s time to do some unsubscribing.
The other night, I was catching up with an old friend at a family dinner. In giving me the run down of his life of late, he mentioned that he had just finished creating a board game, and had sold it to a toy company. The game will receive distribution somewhere in the range of tens of thousands of copies next year.
Obviously, I was very excited for him, and my entrepreneurial/artistic mind was swimming. So I asked him about the process of creating the game. How did he bring it from inspiration to implementation to a real, live product?
“Honestly, I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t a game out there like this,” he said, “So really, I just created the game that I wanted to play.”
This is the perfect example of what’s popularly known as, “scratching your own itch”, or solving your own problem.
Many of us want to start something. If it’s not a board game, then it’s a blog, or a business, or an independent film. So often though, we tell ourselves that we just don’t have any ideas. We don’t know where to start.
Scratch your own itch.
Create the game that you would want to play.
Write the blog that you would want to read.
Make the movie that you would want to watch.
Start the business that you would be a customer of.
This past weekend marked the fourth anniversary of this blog.
To use a completely made up statistic, 95% of blogs never make it past five posts. The number has to at least be close to that I would think. Needless to say, with four years and over 600 posts under my belt, I’m pretty proud of what this little blog has accomplished.
In light of this momentous occasion. I thought I would take a moment and provide a little perspective for potential bloggers out there. I do not at all consider myself an expert in the blog arts, but I think that four years has provided me with at least a little wisdom. So here is my list of what four years of blogging gets you…
So there you have it, 4 lessons from 4 years. Here’s to another four. Dare I say it?
FOUR MORE YEARS! FOUR MORE YEARS!
Things that are common in our society…
-Flicking someone off in traffic
-Gossiping about your neighbors
-Judging parents for how they raise their children
-Binging on food, drugs, pornography, or alcohol
-Gun violence (353 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2015)
Things that are rare in our society
-Smiling at strangers
-Buying someone’s groceries
-Saying “I love you” (and meaning it)
-Gay people in church
-Women in leadership
-Reaching across the political, racial, religious or boundaries
-Prayer (real, committed, consistent, unapologetic, and audacious)
Can we switch these lists? Please?
I've started a new segment on The Anima Series in last few weeks called, "A Day in the Word". Each week, I take a new chapter of the bible and break it down, pull out insights, and ask questions. Right now, we're going through Galatians, and today, we've reached chapter 4. I wanted to share it with you all today. If you enjoy it, please go back and watch the first three episodes.
I write a lot about excuses on this blog. Looking back, I feel as though I may have given excuses a bad name.
Excuses in an of themselves are not a bad thing. It is only when we use them to justify wrongful actions, or complete inaction, that excuses shine such a negative light on our character.
But why not make an excuse to do something good?
It’s the first of the month. What a great excuse to get back in shape!
It’s the start of a new week. Seems like a good excuse to turn over a new leaf in that relationship.
I’m going on a trip to Europe. Sounds like the perfect excuse to start that blog you’ve been talking about.
It’s Tuesday. How much more of an excuse do you need to make a connection, encourage someone, or do work that provides value to people?
So go ahead, make excuses. Make an excuse to become your best self.
This blog is about learning how to notice, make, and share your art