Happy Fourth Of July.
I have a soft spot for any day that celebrates independence. This blog is about independence. Brands (can) have independence now. It's powerful. It's big. It's not going to change. It's going to be a lot more of this for years going forward. We take it for granted. We think that content is just content and that because anyone can publish, it means that there's an abundance of it and that the majority of it is simply not important.
It's not true.
As far as places to publish content, I love this blog (and the podcast) more than anything and it can be summed up in one word: independence. I spent more years than I care to mention chasing down publishers and editors in an attempt to convince them that my story ideas had merit. Getting rejected is never fun, but it's only worse when you know that there must be an audience for the stories that you want to tell. That's what a real blog will provide. You don't need permission (or, as Seth Godin calls them: gatekeepers) to validate you or your stories. Brands don't need to only communicate their messages through advertising in the format that the publishers have pre-determined. It's a white canvas and that canvas is full of independence.
Who cares about my podcast?
I've said it before, but it bears repeating: my podcast is the most selfish act I undertake each and every week. I see it as an opportunity to corner someone in the business, media and marketing world and pick their brains with anything and everything that I want to know about them and how they think. Yes, I share that content with anybody who wants it, but it's the independence of new media that brings it to life. It's not a radio show and it has no set format. The true spirit of the Six Pixels of Separation podcast is to experiment with audio and to experiment with business content. After three hundred-plus episodes, I don't feel an inkling of slowing down. The same goes for this blog. Each and every day, tons of news items, tweets, emails and random thoughts about media come across my personal wire... and with that, I pick one idea and run with it. Sometimes, it gets me thinking in new and magical ways and other days, it's like pulling teeth. In the end, it's not about whether each and every blog post was able to make a dent in the universe (as Steve Jobs would say). It's much more about that feeling of independence... that the ability for me to publish ideas, share them with you, get your input (positive, negative or neutral) and come back for more the next day that makes it magical for me.
My one take-away from my time in the music industry is that every major artist was independent at one time or another. It's beautiful to think about art (it can also be an author or even the work that you do) with such a prism. Does a great producer, co-writers and a major record deal change that? It can. But, you'll note that any musician with true longevity and respect maintains a certain level of independence when it comes to the creative process and output. Whenever I sit down to blog or record a podcast, I take a moment as I lift the lid on my MacBook Air to honor the power of independence that these people have and that my tools provide me with.
Embrace your independence.
It's a magical time to be alive. It's amazing to watch the constant innovation and shifts that businesses and brands are going through. The potential to create and do amazing things has never been more readily available. The ability for you - yes, you! - to make that dent in the universe has never been closer to your grasp. You see, independence isn't about whether or not your boss lets you do something. Independence is not about whether or not you have what would be considered the proper formal education to make a run at something. Independence means that you can make some very powerful choices. And yes, social media, now plays a massive role in this. Don't believe it? Stop reading this now and look at some of the projects on Kickstarter that are currently seeking funding.
Independence is not just one day in the year to celebrate.
Have a project on your mind? Got something to say, but haven't blogged in a while? Been thinking about changing the direction of your Facebook page to actually connect to people about something more relevant to the world? What are you waiting for? Independence Day is the perfect day to wake up and realize that every day of your life can now have one component of independence: your own, special space to be who you are and share what you're thinking with everyone.
Happy Independence Day... every day.