Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why shutting up may save the world


The world is plagued with problems. Talking may be the worst.

I've been reminded of this lately, like when my renters promised to pay for the carpet they damaged and then boot scootin boogied out without a dime. Or when a certain President in a certain country delivered a State of the Union speech with promises everyone has certainly heard before.

Yes we have. 

Talk is cheap, they say. And they say it a lot. We seem to think talk is the answer to all that ails us. Take kidnapped girls in Nigeria, for example. Last year a hashtage was the only way to save them. Celebrities, politicians, everyone galloped into Twitter to save the day. This year, we don't talk about them much. It might be because, last we heard, they were sold into sex slavery to Islamic terrorists. 

Maybe talk isn't cheap at all. In many cases, it's unimaginably costly.

In business, especially advertising, talk is constant. And repetitive. There's often greater commitment to the number of times a thing is said more than the relevance of the thing said. I see this often. Whenever a client or individual approaches me for content marketing advice, the first two questions I can count on hearing is:

- What sites should I be on?
- How often should I be posting?

The "what" of that post comes later, if at all. And, to me, that's the only question that really matters. But, heck. What do I know? Analytic charts just don't excite me as, apparently, they should. I don't care if 10,000 people heard nothing. I care that one heard something.

In all this talk, the poetry of action is getting lost. It's hard to accept how far we've committed to "meetings" and "committees" and "discussion" and "brainstorming" as our value base until our toilet gets clogged. When plumbers start talking at our pipes instead of clearing them, I'll be going up to the spirit in the sky.

We need less talk. More doing. Less blabber. More brawn. Less discussion. More motion. And on that note, I'll shut up.

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