Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
July 14, 2010 7:19 PM

How To Make Money Using Social Media

How many times do you see a title like that? How many times does that make your eyes roll?

There are both strategic and tactical ways you can grow any business using Digital Marketing and the many other Marketing, Communications, Advertising and Public Relations channels. But, there are two things that have to be a part of the main ingredients that will take you there long before the strategy and tactics get put into place: talent and creativity.

If you don't have talent and creativity nothing is going to happen.

Whether you are looking at someone's innocuous 140 character tweets, following a specific Blog or reading an in-depth profile in The New Yorker, it's best to stop and reflect on why you are consuming that content, and what draws you to it. Last night, I watched a documentary film on the progressive rock trio, Rush, called, Beyond The Lighted Stage (I highly recommend it - even if you don't like the band). As a former musician and fan of rock music, I (like many others who have walked this earth) went through a "Rush phase" in High School. It probably should have been a longer phase - considering the genres of music I prefer - but it was mostly a non-event. As of late, I am finding more and more inspiration from those that are both talented and highly creative - even if I can't completely relate to their final creative output. Regardless of what you think about Rush (slappa-da-bass), you can't argue that the band was not highly talented and highly creative. What they did so well is (and this really shines through in the documentary) not settle for anything less than celebrating and letting the world in on that creative force - even if it was detrimental to their professional careers.

Creativity is dying a slow death.

You may not think it is by looking around the online channels and seeing how many people are publishing interesting pieces of text, audio, video and images, but Newsweek recently ran a cover story written by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman titled, The Creativity Crisis, that shows signs of a dwindling future for creativity and nurturing talent.

"The necessity of human ingenuity is undisputed. A recent IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as the No. 1 'leadership competency' of the future. Yet it's not just about sustaining our nation's economic growth. All around us are matters of national and international importance that are crying out for creative solutions, from saving the Gulf of Mexico to bringing peace to Afghanistan to delivering health care. Such solutions emerge from a healthy marketplace of ideas, sustained by a populace constantly contributing original ideas and receptive to the ideas of others... It's too early to determine conclusively why U.S. creativity scores are declining. One likely culprit is the number of hours kids now spend in front of the TV and playing videogames rather than engaging in creative activities. Another is the lack of creativity development in our schools. In effect, it's left to the luck of the draw who becomes creative: there's no concerted effort to nurture the creativity of all children."

We can all just go back to being factory workers.

We need to start getting serious about what the future holds for us (and our children). The days of training and schooling children so that they will eventually all sit in a nice row (or cubicle) and follow orders like drones are quickly coming to an end. The future (and the success of it) will be reliant on the most creative and talented people. Not everybody is going to be able to play a bass guitar like Geddy Lee, but let's agree that creativity can happen in the legal profession and in the medical world as much as it can in the arts.

You can make a difference.

Get creative. Accept that you are an artist (in whatever it is that you're doing). If you're grappling with what that means, read Seth Godin's latest best-selling business book, Linchpin. But before you do anything else, please watch this TED Talk from Sir Ken Robinson on creativity, innovation and education:

Start thinking about your own talent and creativity today (right now). Nurture it and push those you are connected to do the same.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Marc Ostrick
    Mitch Joel

    Great post. I agree 100% with your assessment and we are trying to do something about it. The value of content and what people will pay for it may be changing, but the value of creativity will always be priceless.

    Here's a little sample of something that I think you may really dig: The B Side Live -

    http://eguiders.com/studio/the-b-side-live-promo/

    Working with the major labels now to get this show of the ground. Would love to get thoughts from your community. More episodes are on the site.

    Thanks for the words of wisdom, Mitch!

  • Posted by Rob
    Rob

    quoted: One likely culprit is the number of hours kids now spend in front of the TV and playing videogames rather than engaging in creative activities.

    First. It's Video Games. Second. The worlds has just GOT to stop blaming everything on video games. You do not suffer some magical drain of creativity because you play video games. If anything, it entices you to BE creative and want to mimic what you are playing. With the launch of Play. Create. Share. from Sony, games such as LittleBigPlanet and Mod Nation Racers encourage creativity and more than 2 million budding creative types have birthed something and shared it with the world.

    So please, go ahead and tell me the world is not creative, but STOP blaming it on video games. Doing so calls the whole argument into question. There will always be some more creative than others, don't expect a world full of creative types and anything else is diminished and failure. It's simply not true.

    • I am totally with you on this. I recently came across the book, Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter by Tom Bissell and I can't wait to read it. Anyone who dives a little deeper into learning about games like World of Warcraft will quickly learn how much value this can actually add to a young person's life. From creativity and coordination to thought process development and leadership. It's amazing.

  • Posted by Mike Klein
    Mitch Joel

    Loved the post Mitch. Creativity is dying; luckily it's something we are born with. It's just figuring out how to reprogram ourselves while ensuring that we don't program our kids into believing they aren't creative.

    • Posted by Erik Posthuma
      Mitch Joel

      Great points. I agree Mike, everyone is born with some form of creativity. Unfortunately we're programmed to think that this is only expressed in painting, music, etc. To counter act this we'll see a boom of creativity consultants that will be hired by companies to unroot their employees.

      Good post Mitch.

  • Mitch Joel

    That is one of my favorite TED Talks, absolutely hilarious and inspiring. To keep this short, I think you're completely right, and this will hopefully begin to inspiring parents to take this point into account when raising their children. I know I will. Social media has taken the middle-man out of the equation in many cases, so that whole "Don't do music, you won't be a musician!" idea will hopefully begin to fall away.

    I recommend Jane McGonigal's TED Talk on gaming to save the world & education, here: http://bit.ly/bzYgO5

  • Posted by Eric Pratum
    Mitch Joel

    I have to wonder if creativity is dying or if lack of creativity is simply becoming more accepted under the guise of creativity. By that, I mean I would imagine that because it is so easy nowadays to be a copycat marketer, copycat writer, etc kids (and adults) who actually do creative thinking and work get drowned out in all of the additional noise of "content." If US creativity scores are dwindling as the Newsweek article states (and I'm not arguing that they aren't), could it possibly be because there is some group of people that are always creative and there is another group of people that can now call themselves "creative" when all they do copy others in their efforts.

    I'm not trying to argue one way or the other...just an initial reaction to this idea.

  • Posted by Robin Pepper
    Mitch Joel

    Don't blame it on TV nor Video Games...blame it on the schools. Huge generalization but some truth to it. I teach Marketing Communications at St. Lawrence College in Kingston Ontario. Each year we struggle to turn creativity starved neophytes into semi-creative ad grads. Seems students of the "me generation" have not been challenged at the secondary school level to be creative. Hey... seems they are not challenged to even meet deadlines. DYKT (Did ya know that) an Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum guideline dictates that students may submit any work any time during the semester even the last day. Try getting new students to college to understand what a deadline is. "You mean I got a zero just because I didn't submit it on time?" "So what do I need to do to get a mark then?" ARGH!

    I've introduced a whole section on "Pumping up your Creativity" in my lessons to my first years. I use Michael Michalko "Thinker Toys" and "Cracking Creativity". Good exercises on how to increase creative thinking. I know it's a bit out-dated but if anyone has newer stuff I'd appreciate it. rpepper@sl.on.ca I'll check out the Ted Talks on Creativity too.

    Thanks Mitch for bringing this topic to our attention. You're right. What makes someone read a blog or newspaper ad, watch TV ads (anyone still doing that?) or pay any attention to tweets or facebook posts is the creativity of the content.

  • Posted by Mars Dorian
    Mitch Joel

    Everyone's creative, it's part of our human being. Coming up with cool ideas isn't hard, we do it every single day. Putting them into reality is the real hard part here - fighting your fear and doing it anyways.

    I don't think creativity is dying - the definition of it is.

  • Posted by Joy Davis
    Joy Davis

    Humble apologies, but ridiculous! Foster creativity? How about fostering "Get a Job" instead? This generation is spoiled, lazy and with a few exceptions, entirely unexceptional. Teach your kids the value of hard work. And to learn about someone other than themselves. Force them to participate, educate, and to plug into the world and the people around them. Stop rewarding your kids just because they woke up this morning - it teaches them nothing and for the rest of their lives they wait for good things to magically appear at the foot of their beds.

    WE are responsible this lack of creativity because we have raised kids who lack motivation, direction, self-discipline and hard work. Ask an enormous amount of the young and if you're lucky - if we're all lucky - we'll get balanced people in return.

    • I don't buy it Joy (sorry). Every generation claims the same thing of the next generation. In this instance, business is changing and it's silly that we're still using the old architecture to train young people for jobs that are either dead and/or dying. Everyone needs meaning and a desire, but training people to be factory workers or mid-level managers is not the solution.

      • Posted by Joy Davis
        Joy Davis

        We completely agree, Mitch. The problem is not a lack of creativity, it is a lack of basic vision, a serious reluctance to change and (apologies for this in advance), older folks hanging around too long in decision-making posts. The top news stations here in Montreal still lead with stories on whether bus drivers should say hello in English or in French. There is a disconnect between what people care about and what is being delivered to them. The old guard puts out what it knows -- and what it knows is old. So even if you did inject creative thought into their days, they would only be creative with the same old thoughts.

        • We have to hope that exposing people to new ways of thinking will inspire creativity and foster talent. This is why people who achieve greatness are so few... it's only the few who are willing to think differently and harness their creativity. We look for a fair distribution of wealth, access to health, education, etc... why not demand an equal distribution of access to information and tools that will make us creative?

          • Posted by Joy Davis
            Joy Davis

            re: why not demand an equal distribution of access to information and tools that will make us creative?

            Mitch, you and I could have a five-hour M Burger lunch discussing that question, and we still likely couldn't find the answer. The reason is because the solution involves a change in the law (unions, for example), a disregard for political correctness (out with the old thinkers, in with the new), and a whole lot of knucking of heads to convince industries to give their respective clients what they need now and tomorrow -- and not what they needed five or 50 years ago.

  • Posted by Manish
    Mitch Joel

    Hi

    I am evaluating a franchise from WSI for Digital Marketing. Is it the way to go or should I take a course and go ahead by my self. I do have some knowledge of websites and sales

    you can also reply to my email

    I will appreciate any input on this

    thank you

    Manish

  • Posted by Elisabeth Bucci
    Mitch Joel

    Rob is right (and thanks, Mitch for the book recommendation, got to run out and add that to the pile), we must stop. blaming. video. games.

    And we must stop blaming the new generation for everything or we are going to sound like our parents.

    My nephew was 4 years old when we made his first scripted video. I was stunned by his talent and creativity. My daughter and her friends have already made about 10 scripted videos (story-line, edited and posted to YouTube) that showcase their creativity. This same group are also part of their high school musical every year (long before Disney made it fashionable.) My daughter and my niece, during our vacation, made several scripted videos "just for fun". My friend's son, only 6, showed me his stunning Lego masterpiece that I could only wish to put together.

    As I sit in my cubicle where I am deprived of YouTube and Facebook by our corporate policy (apparently I am to be treated like a child instead of a dedicated professional who has invested serious hours in her professional growth), I can tell you who is responsible for the so-called "creativity crisis."

    The very CEOs who are now crying about it.

    • I always half-jokingly say that I would be a million times smarter if I had this level of video gaming, audio, video and text production available to me when I was growing up. Sadly, I spent the bulk of my free time sitting too close to the television watching re-runs of Batman and Spiderman.

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