Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
January 24, 2010 9:20 PM

Hunting For Success

What is it that drives people to create a compelling Blog, to be active (and genius) on Twitter of Facebook? What makes some businesses so successful at Social Media?

Sometimes the answers to the most modern questions come from the most traditional of places. On tonight's edition of 60 Minutes, they did a feature on Don Hewitt (via Wikipedia: "Donald Shepard Hewitt [December 14, 1922 - August 19, 2009] was an American television news producer and executive, best known for creating 60 Minutes, the CBS television news magazine in 1968, which at the time of his death, was the longest-running prime-time broadcast on American television. Under Hewitt's leadership, 60 Minutes was the only news program ever rated the nation's top-ranked television program, an achievement it accomplished five times."), and if there was one aspect of Hewitt's character that came ringing through, it would be his tenacity in hunting down a great story to tell.

In essence, 60 Minutes' success is because of Hewitt (and his team) and his passion to hunt.

If you think about it, the best Blogs, the people who are the most interesting on Twitter, the profiles you're most attracted to on Facebook are usually created and nurtured by people who are constantly (and consistently) hunting down the best stories, anecdotes and information to share. The ones that get little to no traction usually lack that hunger to hunt. And, like all good things, it's easy enough to identify this "hunting" characteristic, but it's nearly impossible to replicate if it's not authentic.

What are you hungry about? What are you hunting after?

It's so true, but so few people are able to verbalize this as "the thing" that truly drives them (whether it be professional, personal or in their community efforts). When I think about the Blogs that really move me, it's clear that the Bloggers who are pulling them together do what they do at their day jobs, act as great community people when they can, and have strong family ties/bonds as well, but they're constantly hunting. They're hunting for new things to inspire them (and others), they're hunting for new ways of doing business more effectively, and they're hunting for a new perspective and story to tell (in a different way). They're not hunting on occasion, or when they have time, or after they get through whatever it is they're working on... they're constantly hunting... always, because it is who they are.

You know who the hunters are. You know how hungry they are. You know how that hunger is never really satisfied, and you know that these types of people just keep on hunting.

How's your hunting going?

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by tamera kremer
    Mitch Joel

    Love the description in the last paragraph. That really nails it for me in terms of who I let in to my streams and who I pay attention to when they speak... in whatever capacity; they truly are interesting people. And that's what resonates.

    Thanks for articulating that!

    Cheers,
    T

    Reply
  • Mitch, you sound a little bit like Sylar from Heroes, but in a good way. The hunger and desire to hunt for more. To understand how things work. I think that's a good quality to have. Just something I've been thinking about myself.

    Reply
  • Posted by Trevor Thomas
    Mitch Joel

    Terrific post, thanks!

    That was a great episode of 60 Minutes, and you're right that the hunting that made them great is the same principle at play in blogging or other social media ventures.

    You mention authenticity in relation to hunting and I think this is a very important term, not only for the hunting but also for the delivery. I would have argued that authenticity was the #1 quality you need to be successful in social media, but I suppose if you're passionate enough to hunt as you suggest, authenticity is a given.

    In any case, here's my take on authenticity in social media in relation to the Beatles: http://thinkyes.wordpress.com/2010/01/10/social-media-take-1/

    Reply
  • Posted by Kneale Mann
    Mitch Joel

    Luck, brains and talent will only take you so far. Without hunger you won't be prepared to fight when things don't come your way so easily - and it happens to everyone. If you don't know the feel of the hunt, you will never be able to replicated it and you may as well continue to believe in tooth fairies and viral campaigns.

    Reply
  • Posted by Tim Sanchez
    Mitch Joel

    I caught the 60 minutes piece this evening; never knew the storied history of Don Hewitt. They did a really good job with it.

    I am very much a hunter (although admittedly unfocused at times), and find it hard to understand those that aren't.

    Recently, I've been on a hunt for something I have always been passionate about: customer experience. I've learned a lot in just one month, and plan to launch a site devoted to it in March. Let the hunting (and gathering and sharing) continue!

    Reply
  • Posted by Gordana Stok
    Mitch Joel

    I saw that 60 Minutes episode last night. It was inspiring, indeed. What stood out for me was what Mr. Hewitt attributed 60 Minutes' success to. His mantra was "Tell me a story". And he said something to the effect of, "We don't cover current events. We tell stories about people whose lives are embroiled in current events". That's the key. Telling stories about people, from the human angle. That's one of the key reasons blogging has become so popular. So there's some best practices there that can be applied to blogging.

    Reply
  • Very good Mitch, I think is valuable to notice that there is a lot of "deers" to hunt nowadays but we have to be careful to filter well what we read and what we share.

    I'm starting with my marketing hunting and it's quite challenging but is very worth it... because, like you said some while ago, it's a place where you can be creative and you practice your writing and creating skills a lot!

    I'm in the 'starting to get engaged' mode :)

    Reply
  • Posted by Deni Kasrel
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch,

    This sounds a lot like what's known in the journalism biz as having a "nose for news" -- same idea -- the nose sniffs out interesting stories, uncovering them wherever they may be. I think in some instances, just like hunter dogs, the tendency is instinctual and other times it can be learned/trained, but in the end, to be a real success at it you need not only the hunting skill, but as you note, the passion. This clearly has been and is still the case for the 60 Minutes team. Without passion, tenacity eventually wanes.

    As for moi: I was a professional journalist for may years, and getting a "scoop" as we called it -- being the first with a story, or being the first to ID a new trend -- was one of the goals. Something to be prized. Now, as a blogger, I'm still working on the scoop part, but I am able to present fresh perspectives. And then with Twitter, I like to keep on top of communications news/ideas and share these finds on a regular basis. There is definitely a hunger for this kind of thing, and the sharing is generous and common in the Twitopshere.

    Reply
  • Posted by Peter Pallotta
    Mitch Joel

    I think the thing to take away from this would be 'team effort', without it your stories would only go so far in the hunt. It also boils down to focus on what you do best and do what you love, a re-occurring theme in our times no doubt!

    Mitch, why do I feel another book is on the way? :)

    cheers,

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    "They're not hunting on occasion, or when they have time, or after they get through whatever it is they're working on... they're constantly hunting... always, because it is who they are.

    You know who the hunters are. You know how hungry they are. You know how that hunger is never really satisfied, and you know that these types of people just keep on hunting."

    Thanks for the post Mitch.

    I totally relate. I hunt, and I hunt, and I dig, and I dig, and I reveal layer after layer of the big onlion that is the web and I reveal interesting and unusual things a hundred times a day. Sometimes I peel back so many layers and look under so many rocks and in so many deep, dark alleys that my eyes go blurry and I just can't hunt anymore, then boom! I reveal a real gem of a story or article of interest that makes the digging all worthwhile and I get so excited. It is like hunting for a buried treasure and finding a golden nugget. It is great to find, but you know there is more out there and there you are hunting again, hungry for more.

    I appreciate what you do because it puts to words things that I have done by instinct for years and never had a label for them. Liberating somewhat.

    Reply
  • Posted by Kiel Hume
    Mitch Joel

    You’ve really nailed the issue on the head here. With so much content being produced, distributed, and exchanged today, it takes a lot of drive to sort out the original and moving stuff from everything else. Like so many things, the hunt is an instinct. It is a desire to always produce and move the world. Fortunately, bloggers like yourself, Seth Godin, and Brian Solis make finding interesting content that much easier.

    Reply
  • Posted by Katy James
    Mitch Joel

    I appreciate this post for making me think about the ways I hunt and what it is I'm hunting for. It's like you said Mitch, so few people are able to verbalize what they're looking for. In the evolution of searching, naming what you're looking for must arrive towards the end, enlightenment.

    Particularly today with the onslaught of online information, a new age of hunters develops. You use examples of fluid social media to describe your idea of an avid hunter. A pursuer with a consistent and layered online presence arriving via Facebook or Twitter. What of the Hewitts? Is the traditional pursuit of knowledge truly fading into a blue hyperlink somewhere in the depths of Wikipedia?
    Or, is the hunt evolving as all great arts do?

    I have decided that as a student, I'm still safe searching for my search. I know that after reading your post and the comments that follow, my status as Still Looking is better than not looking at all. Further, that Mr. Hewitt's hunt was for honest news, a limitless prey, I know that my boundries of pursuit extend as well.

    One opposite of the word hunt, is to starve. And, for those true hunters, it doesn't just feel like we're starving ourselves, it's as though we're starving others deserving of our find.

    Reply
  • Posted by Helena Rachelle
    Helena Rachelle

    Mitch,

    Great post!

    I resonate with the points you made about the passion, consistency, and authenticity that are key to becoming a successful and attractive hunter. These are indeed the qualities that kept 60 Minutes at the top for so many years. Further, these are also the qualities that attract us to particular blogs, Facebook users, or tweeters. I am certainly realizing the importance of developing a strong online presence in today's social media saturated world. It keeps us competitive and current, inspired, and motivated to continually share information. This idea of sharing information that you speak of helps clarify what I have been learning in my social media class about the value and move towards self-directed learning and the move away from linear forms of authority-directed learning.

    Refer to this link for more information on the value of network learning:

    http://humberpr.ning.com/profiles/blogs/network-learning

    Reply
  • Posted by Carmen Chau
    Carmen Chau

    I agree with you that a successful blog is defined by the blogger's passion to hunt for new stories and perspectives. At the same time, I think it is equally important for bloggers to connect with others and participate in network learning. After all, a blog is a platform where people exchange ideas. It does not matter if someone uncovers an original story if the blog lacks an audience, because it would end up looking more like a diary.

    I think the search for "the thing" that fuels a blogger to write is especially difficult for new bloggers. As a blog rookie, I have yet to find out what it is that I love or what it is that would drive me to blog. I have many interests. But I have to admit that I am not very knowledgeable in any of them. The problem is that I feel I cannot blog about something unless I am an expert. I think this is due in part of the fear of having a voice on the Internet, where everything is subject to criticisms.

    Reply
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