The importance of having something to say

It’s not how we say it, but what we say…

This is a blog about something to say, about truth, and about how it feels when you ‘discover’ something sooo cool, only to realise too late that everybody has been there and done that.

Quite a few times in fact…

I was sitting in the New Zealand 2014 Content Marketing Conference #2014CMC and decided to take a photograph of one of the slides that had tons of information on it. I have an app on my phone called WB Pro (Whiteboard Capture Pro), which lets you photograph whiteboards and then renders the words and pictures in the captured image into high definition – you can print it out on A4 size too.

When I took the photograph, I noticed something nice. The people, and the water jug on the table, were rendered like a charcoal sketch!

I thought: “Wow! – this is fantastic, now I can actually post images and stuff on social media that are a bit interesting’. I won’t be boring anymore!”

So I did. I reached out to Twitter with my new innovation…

Even reached out to my daughters later that night, and proudly showed them my brand new discovery.

And then my oldest said: “Ah yeah, dad. It’s called an effect – there’s apps that do it.”

Know that deflated feeling?

Yup… gets even worse when I realised I had put my now thoroughly unoriginal and rather dull photo creation out there on social media. I didn’t have anything to say when I did it. I just like the effect…

To make matters worse, there are actually heaps of special effects apps like PhotoSketch and Sketch+.

Thankfully nobody said anything about my tweet.

Although, I’m not actually sure which is worse – ridicule or deafening silence? Silent ridicule maybe? Is that like hate or indifference? I think I prefer indifference…

What this means, however, is that gone is my dream to carve a niche on social media with funky, cool charcoal-like images. I cannot take boring photographs and turn them into something inspired and engaging because, well actually, everybody can do it.

And something that everybody can do, is simply not good enough to justify an audience’s time and attention. Right?

I did learn something from it, though. I know now what my mistake was…

Dale Carnegie once said: “Always have something to say. The man who has something to say and who is known never to speak unless he has to, is sure to be listened to.”

Read ‘woman’ into that too if you want to – although in my experience women always have something to say…

Well, my mistake wasn’t the photograph or the special effects (although my comment about women may qualify).

My mistake was that I had nothing to say.

I once did a tweet that got me more than I expected – not a lot, but more than I expected.

It was a random complaint about dental prices in New Zealand. It wasn’t an interesting photograph or a fun video or even vaguely engaging, it was just a silly moan… but it touched on a sore point for people. They responded.

Cool technology, funky effects… all of them are meaningless unless you have something to say.

I think that no matter what medium you use – from oil paintings to YouTube or Twitter or special effects photographs – it all counts for nothing, unless you have something to say; some truth to share, some feeling or frustration to express that resonates with other people

I think too often we get seduced by the technology, or the graphic design, and we end up saying nothing too loudly.

Have something to say. Take a position, even if you say it softly.

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