Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nothing You Can Do That Can't Be Done.....

There's nothing you can do that can't be done
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy
There's nothing you can make that can't be made
No one you can save that can't be saved
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time
It's easy - Beatles, The Blue Album

The Short of It
  • Man, I had hit on it this time.
  • Members only sections needed to come down.
  • Free and Fast Company (among others) are showing the way.
  • After my post, I got a shout out from a fellow blogger.
  • Who had posted the exact same thing and maybe even said it better, shorter.
  • Left me wondering about the collective unconcious.
  • And how do I establish my own voice without so closely echoing others.
The Long of It

This has been bugging me.

My last post was, like most things I do, painstakingly thought out and wordsmithed.  I've spent the last few years railing about members only sections and how exclusionary they are.  How barriers are no longer necessary and are in fact detrimental in our new economy.  I was getting energy and inspiration from sources I love like Fast Company and had recently been annoyed by a members only section I was trying to gain access to which was ticking me off.

And I said what I had to say.

And then I was tagged by a commenter, very nice gentleman by the way by the name of Chris Bonney, who linked me to his post which said the exact same things.  I don't know if he got the MIT example from the Edupunk article I did, or if he simply knew about it through another venue but regardless, it was spot on.  In some ways, his post was better because he was a whole lot less wordy than I am.

And now, I've been thrown into a moment of self-doubt.  What in world do I have to say that is really unique?  What am I going to add to the conversation that is new?  Or was John Lennon right, there's really nothing that can be done that can't be someone else.

Do I spend my life time searching for blogs that say the same things, then say something different?  Do I just plug along and say what I have to and assume somewhere else the exact same thing is being said and don't worry about it?  Is there really a collective unconscious and have I tapped into it?  Or is the digital medium simply allowing me for the first time to find people out there who are eerily similar to myself?

I don't know, but I'm struggling today.  My latest post that I have been working on is on a controversial topic that is very close to my heart.  But I can't seem to finish it because I am wondering how many other blogs I should read before I post it just in case I say something too close to what someone else has said.

Is the association management conversation simply a bunch of echoes?

All you need is la la la la.....


  1. Shelly-
    Thanks for the mention. There may be moments of a collective echo (I think the MIT thing was a fluke, by the way) but that is the point, right?

    If we can together weave a fabric, construct a platform of like ideas, yet in our own voices, then offer them to the world to read and learn from, then we've succeeded. If you continue to write from the heart and with the intention of helping, overlap is moot. Better yet, it's desirable. It's validating.

    You're not alone in moments of self-doubt, but put aside the good and bad of your writing and keep up the excellent work. Let's echo together.

  2. Shelly -- Some wise someone said thousands of years ago that "there is nothing new under the sun". Keeping that thought in mind, I can hear the same thing over and over from one person and all I hear is la la la. But let another voice, a different voice, a more resonant tone to my ear say the same thing and it's like I've heard it for the first time -- EVER.

    Never doubt your voice and how it harmonizes in perfect pitch with every other voice. Even if you discover someone else has just said the same thing, your voice is unique and people will listen to it when they may not hear that other voice over there going ... la la la.


  3. Hi, Shelly- I think a lot of bloggers struggle with this issue. But the thing is, everyone has a slightly different perspective. I think the beauty of blogging is that it allows people to share their points of view - on common subjects, yes, but still in their own voices. I've loved reading your blog since you began writing. There will always be similar viewpoints and blog posts out there, but none of them are YOURS!

  4. I've meant to comment for weeks now, ever since Maddie Grant recommended you. I LOVE your blog!! You rock, rock, rock! The thing is--aren't we all talking about many of the same things here in association world? There's only so much to be said, after all. The thing about you, though, is that you say it eloquently and creatively and from a totally different perspective than the sea of other voices out there. Your personality shines through in what you write and that's what's important. I read a million blogs, most of which just as a means to an end: obtaining info I need. But there are only a handful I read because of the author's distinctive voice, becausae they are fun to read, because I don't care about what they're writing about--and yours is definitely one of those.

    The association management conversation is totally a bunch of echoes...but your voice is unique enough that the WAY you write something is more important than WHAT you're writing. Don't sweat it, just keep writing. ;)

  5. To All Commenters -

    Thank you so much for the support and kind comments. I have come to believe I am suffering from a common malady of the newbie blogger (and that is ironic isn't it?). LOL.

    Maybe this association blogosphere is like a crystal glass. Just maybe if we join together with voices, viewpoints and validation and keep running our fingers across the top we can build the noise and vibration until it shatters and we can create something new.

    More posts to come after this commercial break....

    Stay tuned.....


  6. Shel...

    It all comes back to Fashion Week.

    No, stop laughing, I am serious here.

    Every 6 months we see fashion designers all over the world trot out their collections of what they think we should be wearing for the upcoming season. There is no collaboration, sharing of vision or communication between the design fact, it is the opposite.

    Yet, I open up Vogue and see the collections distilled down into tidy pages which capture the trends. I see a whole page of purple sweaters and another with pics of cropped pants and yet another with military inspired looks.

    No collusion, no collaboration but this is what emerged as trends.

    I see what you are doing as no different. But, you provide the service of your unique perspective, your ability to view old ideas through new lenses and your humor.

    Are sweaters new? Is the color purple some amazing invention? No.

    Be like a Vogue editor: survey the landscape, view the thousands of pieces and start finding the patterns to talk about. Bring back a focus to old favorites that may have fallen out of trend and discover some new stuff along the way (high tech fabrics anyone?).

    As Tim Gunn would say "Carry On" and "Make it Work"!

  7. Shelly - I really like your blog. I think the Net allows us to more easily find like-minded people than F2F communication. For me, that's allowed me to stop being the crazy lazy ranting about Gen X to one of a tribe of Gen Xers writing about our experiences and finding there are so many of us sharing the same opinions.

    I also want to recommend a book to you: Nine Shift. By boss wrote it. I really think you'd like it.

  8. One more thing... You don't meet a lot of Xers who like the Beatles (I'm an Elvis girl, myself). Seeing you quote them fasinated me!


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