Archive for July, 2009

When everything is free

Posted: July 28, 2009 in social media
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When free is commonplace, it’s not special anymore.  It’s not sought after anymore.  It’s expected.

The web gives us a ton of information for free everyday.  Companies are doing free webinars to bait potential customers.  Right now, that information has value, because it’s still new.  So long as it’s still new, it’s not commonplace, and if we get it for free, it’s still special.  I see more and more folks thinking the ‘free information’ way.  I think we’re a ways off from the day where this is common practice, but I do believe we’ll get there one day.  We will find that place where free is expected.  People will have had it so long, and be so used to it, we won’t be able to take that away.  Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

It’s yet another piece of the power shift from the company to the consumer.  Would any of the companies today be giving away any of their information if they could continue to make money without it?  Maybe – If they’re model isn’t driven by their bottom line.  So what motivates company to thrive and grow?  Many argue it will always be the bottom line.  I’ve seen a different belief system that says money is just a tool to accomplish a greater goal.  Acquiring money and wealth is a result of the true business driver – whether that be to create wellness, share knowledge, etc.  Is it even important?

It’s all in how we frame it.  Free may continue to be valuable to those who remember times when free was not the standard.  Revenue may be seen by some as the true indicator of success, to others it is a tool that helps them get where they want to go.  Giving something away can be seen as ludicrous sometimes, but what if the end goal is empowering others?  What will happen in a place where we expect everything to be free?  What kind of mindset will we fall into?  Will we expect free?  Will we appreciate the lack of expectation from the other end providing what is free?  For truly, if something is free, there aren’t any strings attached.  Or will free become something that makes us a little more jaded, a little more weary of what’s on the other end and what they hope to gain?

I’d like to think that we’ll be in a place to appreciate what is free.  The warm, sharing type attitude that still exists in most areas of social media, the connecting, sharing, empowering type energy that’s out there will thrive and we can all reach the goals we want to reach.  We can all win and be successful.  I’m afraid that with more people inundating the web every day, the little light of good we’ve been helping to spread will be harder to see again.  Everything that was free, will soon have strings attached.  Is the transparency of the web and social networks enough to keep that balance going?  Or will fear of saying or tweeting the wrong thing and some company on a power trip bring it all crashing down?

Are my idealistic dreams too idealistic?  Or do you think we can really keep this going?

Thinking outside the box.  Looking at something not for what it was intended, but for where it could go.  Seeing a completed painting on a blank canvas.  This is how I move forward…

Dancing where there is no dancefloor.  Having chocolate cake for breakfast because it’s a dessert food.  Drinking wine out of a water glass, not a wine glass.

Every day, we all use something in a way it was not intended.  We use a coffee cup as a measuring cup, staples or duck tape to hem in a pinch, guitar cases to hold coins instead of guitars while we are playing them.

Innovation comes in many different forms.  Each of us has found some way to ‘make do‘ be creative in a tight spot.  For me it’s about letting go of preconceptions and allowing something to unfold before me.  Without definition or limitation.  Finding multiple uses, being ‘resourceful’.  Creative.  Seeking different angles, doing something out of the ordinary to find my way to the extraordinary.

What intrigues me about the world wide web is its ability to morph into any number of things.  It’s a medium without definition, limits or purpose.  It’s changed everything.  And everything is changing it every day.  It’s phenomenal.  It’s interesting.  It’s entertaining.  It’s challenging.  It’s anything I want it to be.  It’s an endless place of opportunity and creation and exploration.  It doesn’t have a ceiling until I give it one.  Exponential, endless growth for those willing to seek it out and those who believe strongly enough in where they can take it.

Like anything else, it’s a frame of mind.  It’s reading between the lines, lifting the lid to the box, seeing what’s really there.  And getting to that place where none of it is impossible.

I’m tired.  I’m tired of the same information about what I should and shouldn’t do to help grow my business using social media tools.  I’m tired of other people telling me what coding languages I should be learning if I want to grow my web design company.  I’m tired of people scoffing at each other for calling themselves or others experts, gurus, whatever.  I’m tired of the judgment calls, the negative ‘#fails’ that seem to come out at every turn these days and just complaining in general.

Yes, the internet gives us a voice.  Yes, it gives businesses good insight into what customers are saying about their brand and/or products.  Yes, it allows for more connections and relationship building.  Yes, there is tremendous potential.  Yes, it’s a ton of work to get up and running.  Yes, it is possible to screw things up pretty easily and yes that screw up can easily spread if you’re a larger brand.  But really, where is the use in pointing out yet another#fail unless it’s accompanied with a lesson?  It’s so easy to point out flaws and grumble out our distaste at others actions.  But to what benefit?  How does that get any of us anywhere?

This may very well just be my mindset today.  But it seems that all of this chatter is continuing to be a whole lot of chatter.  Where’s the action?  The follow through?  The results?

I’ve listened and listened.  Now I’m tired.  I want to do, not talk about doing.  The beautiful thing about the internet?  I can DO just that.  I can choose seek out other doers, turn off the complainers (I do realize I am being one of them right now…) and make things happen.  Today, I choose to DO and to create…

What are you tired of?  What do you choose to do about it?