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87 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Are you a content consumer or creator?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    As a Digital Media major whose about to graduate in the spring, it’s my opinion that learning to become a good creator takes a bit of guidance from someone who is knowledgable in the art of craftfully creating a social presence.
    Just as you were taught to first play an instrument, such as guitar or piano, it opened up the creative world of music to you and for those of you who were given a paintbrush and a little direction, are you not now able to create works from scratch and express your thoughts? Teaching people how to have a creative social presence works the same way in that you explain to them which tools to use, where the materials are, and then see what they come up with.
    Personally, I would advocate introducing media creation in primary schools where self expression and learning go hand-in-hand.

    • Katie Haag says:

      I’ll piggyback on this comment from GarrettWhitten- I also am graduating in the field of Digital Media and have a passion for sharing and collaborative knowledge. That being said, when you’re entering the space and trying to find where you stand, there’s hesitation to put your own opinions out there for fear of irrelevance. If your thoughts don’t align with what’s being said by the social media “experts,” will you lose credibility? Does the Web serve as the perfect platform to highlight the age old 80/20 rule (the Paleto Principle)? Or does the Paleto Principle help determine influence?

      This is my first comment on a blog, but felt compelled to share my thoughts. Thanks for inspiring us to continue innovating!

    • That’s a great point, Katie. Most folks are still in the mindset that media is only to be consumed (radio, television, print, i.e. analog media) and that their opinions/criticisms are irrelevant in the “big picture”, but as Brian points out in this article consumers now own the power to change what is being said, where’s it’s being said, and who’s saying it.

      Once the idea sinks in that consumers now have the dual role of producer as well as consumer, then you’ll see a drop in the digial-creative guard of people all across the social web. Who we consider to be social media “experts” right now are just folks who are ahead of the curve and have a great natural ability to translate their ideas and thoughts to a wide reach of people online or not, they’ve just figured out how to do it successfully online first. And just so nobody hounds you about it in the future, Katie, it’s the Pareto Principle.

  2. PamMktgNut says:

    Brian- wow another great post. My belief is we have officially entered the Inspiration Age. Content that is shared to wide audiences in social media is often done so because it struck an inspiration chord. It made someone laugh, feel empowered, or simply connected with their state of mind.

    You bring up an interesting conversation regarding creation of content versus simply curation. I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of only curating. We can’t lose sight of the value of creating.

    We kicked off a course today with a local county biz dev council. With a room full of leaders new to social media and in reality online mktg in general it made me think of what would happen if we quit creating?

    I for one have been working on an editorial calendar that inspires and connects even more than I have done in the past. This article has inspired me to finish such!

  3. Rob le Pair says:

    For me, this is a too black and white view; consuming and reflecting about it can be a very creative and productive activity.

    • briansolis says:

      Rob, it’s not a black and white discussion. It’s an inflection point…are we really creating (adding to the signal) or are we mostly talking (contributing to the noise). There’s a balance of course, but I think many believe they are creating when they are in fact, not….it’s ok, it’s wonderful even. But as this is the most significant era of self-expression in history, could it not be more? It starts with each one of us.

  4. Thought provoking as always, Brian. I am heartened to see Digital Media students weighing in here. They will be the thinkers and doers of the future in the information age. I work in a university environment where digital media is being embraced, but not fast enough. Your challenge to create at least equal to what we consume really resonates. What if all of our students today took up the challenge and embraced digital storytelling as a current assignment…and as a way of leaving a legacy of their thinking. The information age is sadly temporal and fleeting – I worry about that many of the best ideas will vanish unless they are recorded (read this created) for others to consume.

  5. robingandhi says:

    Great post, Brian. Really thought provoking, and I could not agree more about how “lazy” the web is becoming. The amount of broadcasting that I see on micro-channels is often higher than anything in longer format social channels. We could all say that this is the equivalent of sharing and maybe even teaching, but if we’re just passing around content, then what is the real value to the overall web community?

    But then again from an enterprise perspective, I would say that broadcasting and “Likes” really help to push brand messaging. These may be some of the “lazier” forms of content curation, and yet they are driving many organizational initiatives today. So what happens over the course of time? Do we all get tired of the noise in the “statusphere”, and these forms of effortless content just start getting ignored by individuals, friends and companies alike? I think this may be starting to happen, and I wonder what it will mean to organizations who are leveraging this form of content sharing to drive messaging. Will it be effective? For how long?

  6. Will the curation process ultimately surface the highest quality creations and separate the signal from the noise? We can only hope. The engine is creation, no doubt, and as some of the others have shared, learning (versus consumption just for consumption’s sake) certainly can stimulate creative thinking. There will always be those of us who choose to lead. Leaders will do the hard work and fight the good fight. They won’t cut corners or take the easy way out. I have to believe that the “true” and dedicated content creation leaders will continue to emerge and rise to the top.

  7. Gareth Rees says:

    Long before the digital age, the great Henry Miller wrote something that I believe applies to social media: ‘We don’t talk, we bludgeon one another with facts & theories gleaned from cursory readings of newspapers, magazines and digests’.

    I used to write newsletters and direct mail that were printed on paper and sent through the post, yes the post! Can you believe it? Today I still do the majority of my writing and marketing through long copy email newsletters. It may be old fashioned but it works. Open rates are high and readers respond.

    The rules of engagement have been the same ever since I started in the publishing business….write with a strong individual voice, express your own opinion, cover ideas that are missed by the mainstream media, solve your reader’s problems and help them fulfil desires.

  8. Learning and teaching are players in the same game. If either one stops, everything becomes heavy and ceases to be fun.
    Learning is the reward for respecting life and teaching is the fruit of experiencing life.

  9. Keri Andino says:

    Brain, Thank you for allowing me to rethink how I am “doing” Social Media in regard to not stepping up to creation of my own writing as a form of content creation after I have chewed on and learned such great content– truth be told, many newbie’s that have come onto the social scene are guided to “follow the influencers”, engage in convos with those you feel you can glean knowledge from and many times it becomes overwhelming to then curate and create killer content when much of your day is spent reading the likes of Brian Solis, Chris Brogan, Pam Moore, Mari Smith, Seth Godin, Brian Clark and more! Finding the balance and filtering through the noise, (for garbage in.. creates garbage out) for me has become about being able to discern what is actually going to allow me to consume, learn, share and create for the good and be able to become more of a contributor instead of another noisemaker~ Thanks for awesome take aways from this post- You are setting the bar higher and it’s much appreciated~ KnDino

  10. Inspiring post as always. I would probably say my consumption/creation ratio is around 70/30. There are times when I literally spend hours reading websites like Mashable or TechCrunch, and for what? Most of what I read I don’t remember or even write about.

    This just means that I need to ramp up my content production. I already blog every weekday, but I’ve been increasingly looking towards producing my own videos and podcasts.

    I guess now is the time to stop reading so many tech blogs and start adding my own thoughts to the conversation.

    Thanks for the post!

  11. Dalgers says:

    in order to consume/learn/teach there has to be something created by someone…a writer, an artist, an inventor, and so forth. as those who regurgitate content become more prevalent, those who create content will become more essential. one hopes.

  12. But you want this post to be curated over and over again, the more the better, and the more you’ll filter out from the noise. Do you think we’re moving towards a growing percentage of consumers than creators relative to today’s number?

  13. But you want this post to be curated over and over again, the more the better, and the more you’ll filter out from the noise. Do you think we’re moving towards a growing percentage of consumers than creators relative to today’s number?

  14. CJ Roberts says:

    I have heard a few times the lament over the death of true investigative journalism, with a corollary being a lack of sustainable sourcing. The more we consume the more we want to consume and the smaller we want those portions to become. Instead of reading a book we read 100 blog posts. It seems that through systems like Tumblr, Favstar and other niche chic communities many people are contributing to the philosophy epitomized by this post. Original thought and content, sharing ideas and unique media, self regulating and without the need of marketing momentum.

  15. Mary Abrams says:

    Brian, you nailed it. It is much easier to get lost in consumption without creating. I am guilty of it and am trying to get out of the rut. Your post was inspiring and thought provoking as usual. I think I will print it out and keep it as a reminder. I lust for an IPAD but after reading your post I think I will learn to love my PC and IPhone! Thanks so much.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I don’t really like the word consume or consumer in this connotation, I understand where you are coming from, but… the context is not good. Many people don’t like to create. Also, you need to balance listening with creating. If you talk more than half the time, then you aren’t Engaging. You’re Dictating. 🙂

  17. Philip says:

    I believe most people are simply followers while the rest are leaders. We leaders are the ones that actually create and consume content. The followers are strictly consumers of content. Some of us leaders are a lot better at creating content that is more successfully consumed.

    With the new information economy, some followers have realized that they too may profit by re-syndicating content. They do this to achieve economic benefits of a leader without the dedication of being a true leader.

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