The Difference Between Real Players and So-Called “Hustlers”

Difference Between Real Players and So-Called Hustlers

I’m going to be harsh to accentuate a point. There’s a sad trend going around the entrepreneurial and young professional spheres. In fact, I’m so disappointed in the talented people caught up in this cultural movement that this isn’t my first time writing about it.

Entrepreneurs and young professionals are obsessed with the concept of “hustle.” They just wake up early, feed themselves a massive diet of motivational prose, and say they worked their tails off. That’s not how any of this works!

All trends start somewhere, right? This one came from the Gary Vee’s and the Grant Cardone’s of the world. The concept of “hustle” came from people who actually lived it for decades.

They discuss all the things they had to do, to provide value and guidance for the up-and-coming stars who will one day take their place. They’ve taken their entire life’s work – all the successes and countless more failed attempts – and condensed it all into one beautiful word.

You do not get to use that word! It’s one thing for a 45 y.o. who worked 80-hour weeks for years and years and years to say “Yeah, I hustled for a long time, and eventually it paid off. That’s what you’ve got to do.” It’s another thing entirely for the 25 y.o. still spending weeknights at the bar to try and pull it off.

I write about how much I work, only when I have no idea what else to write about. Otherwise, I spend my time doing instead of talking. You’ll notice that’s a common theme among successful people in any realm.

When a Gary Vee figure talks about what they’ve done and continue to do, it’s to motivate others to keep going, to not give up. When an unproven individual talks about it, it’s meaningless. You need to let your followers know what you’re up to, simply so they can keep up with you. But when telling others what you’re up to becomes the focus, you’ve missed the mark.

The difference between real players and the so-called “hustlers” of the world is this. Real players discuss what they’ve done, because someone asked them how they did it. Wannabes talk about how much they “hustle,” because they have no other value to offer.

Social Media Takes a “Brick by Brick” Mentality

Social Media Takes Brick by Brick Mentality

It’s 2016. You should know this. But most don’t. Myself and my company, we’re on the cusp of digital trends. We keep two fingers on the pulse of mobility at all times. We have to! And if there’s one thing I’ve realized in the digital world, it’s that most people still don’t get it.

Social media is the state of all things digital right now. Particularly for Millennials, to paraphrase Tom Riddle, social media is our past, present, and future.

Millennials only know a digital age. iPhones came out before most of us were in college, and you probably already knew your way around a computer well before then. With Napster, then Myspace, then Facebook, then every other website on the internet, Millennials have only known a digital world that is social. But most still haven’t figured out how to really use it for growth, to get ahead.

Most people I come across in my line of work can regurgitate the latest article they read on LinkedIn, but they have no idea what it means to navigate the internet like an architect using the right tools to craft a masterpiece.

The “brick by brick” mentality, once commonplace, is rare to find. Before social media, everyone understood that to get ahead took a lot of work, with millions of tiny moving parts. You had to put these parts together brick by brick to achieve anything.

Everything’s easier now than ever, especially things related to social media. These digital giants make it so easy to engage and share and interact that everyone thinks they’re doing a great job, even though they’re falling behind.

Social media (i.e. the internet) is today’s 24-hour networking event. Because it’s so easy for everyone to meet and get in front of new people, you have to do so much more to stand out and gain recognition.

Social media is your tool set. You’re trying to build the nicest house on the block. Brick by brick you have to build. Tweet by response by recommendation by post by video you build. But because it’s so easy to build, everyone builds a fairly nice house. Which means you have to do more, add more, use higher quality materials, and do it all faster than everyone else so you can finally stand out above the rest and gain recognition as a great [whatever you do].

The current state of the internet, and all its intricacies, is the most powerful tool anyone of us has to grow. Most of us, though, don’t realize how much extra it takes because of how powerful and easy it is. Publishing a blog post every now and then is easy, but it doesn’t help you stand out. Sparking a Twitter conversation with a national brand is really cool, but it takes dozens to get you somewhere.

There’s always the off chance that you’ll hit a home run and create some viral sensation. Even that only lasts for your fifteen minutes of fame. Then you have to walk up to the plate again. And again. And again.

What I continually come across is that most people don’t understand the work that goes into social media to utilize it well. People think they can buy a cookie cutter house for success, but they don’t realize they have to build their own home brick by brick, and do it faster and better than their competitors. This goes for individuals and for businesses.

It takes time – a lot of it – just like if you were networking door to door. Whether you’re a business or an individual, to grow through social media, you have to treat it with a brick by brick mentality. You have to keep doing a ton of the little things, all the time, to build your house of success. Just because it’s easy to get started, it doesn’t mean you’re doing it well.

Why It’s So Frightening to Work hard

Why It's So Frightening to Work hard

A few days ago, I was the only one left in our office. My 4 o’clock coffee had just kicked in. It was the perfect situation for creating something fantastic. Thankfully, that’s exactly what happened!

Everything was connecting just so. I ended up with a finished product that I’ve got high hopes for! I made something I felt was very solid, and crafted a plan to make it spread like wildfire. I was really excited about this piece! Then I started thinking.

To set this up right, to put all the pieces in place for this fire to spread, there’s a lot of steps that need to go well. There’s a lot preparation that needs to go into this. It’s not that I can’t do it. But what if it’s all a waste? What if this whole thing simply fizzles out before it has a chance to light up the sky?

Working hard can be really frightening! The more effort you put into something, the more you have to lose. The higher you try to climb, the farther you could fall. The harder you work, the bigger your failure could be. But everyone knows this. The scary part is what happens if everything goes well, and you actually succeed!

If you don’t do any single thing amazingly, then any growth you have will only be gradual. But if you’re continually working your tail off, putting in the extra effort to make something big happen, eventually something big is going to happen!

This sounds great, right? A real motivational piece. It is great! But there’s a caveat. Instant success like what’s depicted here, should any of us be so lucky to experience it, comes with instant pressure. If you do nothing monumental, no one looks at you. The moment you do something big, you’re a public figure living up to (or failing) the expectations of your followers!

I was thinking about all this on my way home from the office that evening. What if I actually do something right? Sure, it would be huge for us, and for me by association. But then I have a standard to live up to! What if I can’t live up to that standard I set for myself?

The idea causes me to hesitate, to think about doing less just to avoid the potential fiasco. Fear is often irrational. There’s no reason whatsoever to not work hard, in everything you do. But this situation and this thought process is not unique to me. Countless people go through this very same thought process! Many buckle under the perceived pressure. (Let’s hope I don’t.)

I know many of you can relate to this, and so I believe the response I’m giving myself could be helpful for you as well. It’s simple, but I find it encouraging.

You’ve got to keep doing the right thing, despite what fears and apprehensions you might have. If you know you need to “get over it” for the betterment of your team and yourself, then by all means get over it!

Keep working as hard as you can. Keep making all the right moves. Keep putting in extra. Keep crafting the best work you can. If you’re afraid of failing, or even succeeding, that’s okay! The worst that can happen is you let a few people down while genuinely trying your best. That’s admirable! The best case is that you forever change your life and the lives of those around you by stepping up precisely when you need to.

How Can You Become Addicted to Success?

How Can You Become Addicted to Success?

I spend a fair amount of time on Quora. Others are asking the same questions I want answered. I enjoy answering questions for others when I can. All of my content from Kennetic Expression, Productive & Successful, and Text Request are on Quora. It’s a good place for hungry professionals to spend some time.

While scrolling, I came across a question from a 22 y.o. “How can I become addicted to success?” It’s a very interesting question, because our brains actually can become (more or less) addicted to anything, including success and achievement. It’s all about whatever act creates an increase in dopamine in your brain, which can be anything from cocaine to buying classical CDs. Here’s my answer.


“How can I become addicted to success?”

I think your intentions are good, but your mindset is off, just by a hair. When you look around and peg others as being addicted to success, so to speak, what you’re really seeing is people who are addicted to growth.

They’re not perfectionists, per se. They don’t freak out if they make a tiny mistake. But they’re always trying to learn, and to grow, and to get better, and to improve themselves as well as everything around them (world, environment, living situation, etc.).

I’d suggest rephrasing your desire for success into a desire for growth. Luckily, there’s an abundance of resources to help with this. My personal favorite resource is books – it’s limitless! There will always be another book on success, on productivity, on being better, on specific ways to do XYZ. Plus, these are curated by the best in the industry – even the best authors have great editors to help them out.

If you’re not a big reader, I’d still suggest picking up a few books to help you out. Maybe avoid anything dense, but something to give you a taste of it all. I think anything by Malcolm Gladwell would be good. Tim Ferris as well. Seth Godin. Maybe even just hop into a Barnes & Noble and see what’s on the shelves that interests you.

Success begets success. Accomplishing one thing, however small, encourages and motivates you to accomplish the next thing. If you want to become addicted to success and to growth, then you need to start with accomplishing something.

This could be simply going to the gym, or going three times in one week. It could be taking the first steps towards starting that blog, or looking for people you’d like to emulate who you can spend time with. It could be jumping all over Quora looking for questions you can answer to build confidence and a sense of reward. You can start anywhere, but the important thing is that you start.

You’ve got to keep working at the little things, because the big things are simply the sum of a bunch of little things. There’s a saying that every overnight success is twenty years in the making. It’s true! No one just wakes up one day, thinks “hmm I’m going to be successful,” and achieves it that day. It takes time. It often takes thousands of hours worth of effort. But the important thing is that you start, and that you keep trying to grow just a little bit more each day.

How the 80/20 Rule Applies to Your Creative Slump

80/20 Rule Applies Creative Slump

You know what’s frustrating? Being in the mood to create. Being in the right environment to create. Yet having no idea what to create or even where to begin. That’s frustrating.

Like most creative types, I make an intentional effort to create everyday. For me that means writing before and editing after work everyday. For others it could mean making a video everyday, or working on an art piece, or creating ten pages towards your next book, for example.

The key, though, is being intentional. Most creative types are very intentional about creating as much as they can around other responsibilities. Each of them also struggles with their own version of writer’s block at some point (or often). If this lasts for more than a few minutes, as you might expect it to, it can become incredibly frustrating!

One of the worst feelings is being capable of doing something, knowing you need to do it, and being unable to follow through in the moment. It feels like you’re letting yourself down. But you’re not letting yourself down. You’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing. What’s happening to you is exactly what’s supposed to be happening.

No person can be at the top of their game all the time. Your output, especially as a creative or entrepreneur type, is going to look very similar to the 80/20 rule. If you’re not familiar with the 80/20 rule, it basically goes like this.

80% of your results (revenue, customers, best work, web traffic, etc.) will come from 20% of your effort (target customers, finished products, articles, etc.). Take blogging as an example. The 80/20 rule would say that 80% of your site’s traffic would come from 20% of the content on your site. The inverse of the 80/20 rule is that only 20% of your web traffic come from the other 80% of content on your site.

Really, there’s two things to take away from this. One is that you can maximize your results by focusing on the 20% of effort that brings in 80% of your results. What would happen if you put all of your effort into that channel, instead of just 20%?

Second, which is more important to this particular piece, is that everyone is going to put the majority of their effort into things, areas, moments, etc. that only bring in the minority of results. It’s okay to be stuck in a momentary slump. It’s okay to be frustrated by it. We’ve all been there. We’ll all be there again sooner than we’d like. But know this.

You have to go through the bad and the frustration and the slumps in order to get to the creative highs and masterpieces and viral sensations. The majority of time spent by anyone trying to do anything is spent in frustration looking for that golden 20%. It’s like a creative Easter egg hunt. You’re going to have to comb a lot of yard before you find any candy.

What Does It Mean to Be an Entrepreneur?

What Does it Mean to be an Entrepreneur

For whatever reason, this is always a popular question among people independently chasing their dreams and goals. I think that this question is always asked, at least in part, because those it applies to feel such a connection to the word.

“Entrepreneur” can be interpreted in myriad ways, and every person that embraces the title in some way or another upholds it like a badge of honor. What do you do? “I’m an entrepreneur,” you’ll hear with a smile. It’s strange, really, how much pride is placed in a single word that not twenty years ago was always accompanied by a tone of disapproval.

Historically, an entrepreneur has been known as someone unable to settle into something stable, who’s always trying out some new scheme. I think this, in some regard, is what gives those who claim the label such a strong identity. They never settle.

What does it actually mean to be an entrepreneur? Well, it’s a very flexible term, which, not ironically, is also a large part of being an entrepreneur – flexible. Typically, an entrepreneur or group of them will start with an idea or a makeshift business, and head in one general direction. Despite the level of expertise, this person or group will inevitably have to shift their thinking, usually based on market research. They have to be flexible in their strategy.

“Flexible” is also what an entrepreneur would use to describe her daily schedule. Maybe they start working at 6am one day and 10am the next, schedule meetings whenever they can, work in a different location everyday, or sometimes work obscenely late. This isn’t a lack of structure. It’s a sense of elasticity to fit everything in, including much needed rest.

Some might say that to be an entrepreneur means to be passionate, or to be skilled and knowledgeable in many and varied areas. I think these are true. Though, they’re not what differentiates “entrepreneur” enough to define the term. Plenty of employees and even full-time students, who never become entrepreneurs, carry these characteristics.

I think that what it really means to be an entrepreneur is this. It means to create an idea of your own, and to see that idea through until it becomes something that can stand on its own. To be an entrepreneur means to be cognizant of a common need or desire, and to have the fortitude to fill that hole. Being an entrepreneur means following a dream or passion or goal to its completion, and being the leader who got it there.

A lot of pride is placed in the title “Entrepreneur,” and for good reason, too. It’s something very personal for those who use the label. An entrepreneur is someone who gladly accepts risk and ambiguity. Someone who doesn’t fit in the typical boxes, who’s always looking to grow. Someone who’s (usually) capable of taking a novel idea and turning it into a profitable venture.

As an entrepreneur myself, the word means that I have the flexibility to create. I’m not relegated by a time card, or by company rulebooks. I’m able to see needs in business, people, and the world, and I have the opportunity to resolve as many of those needs as I choose in the best ways I see fit.

The question “What does it mean to be an entrepreneur” is a popular one. I believe it’s such a popular question because everyone who claims the title has a different answer that is personal and unique to them. At the root, being an entrepreneur means recognizing an opportunity to improve the world. It means seizing the chance to be the most fulfilled a person can be. It’s something that allows you limitless possibilities. It’s something in which to take pride.

This is Why You Should Let People Know How Hard You Work

Why Let People Know How Hard You Work

A few days ago I came across an article that more or less said to shut up. To stop talking about and telling people how hard you’re working, or how much you’re hustling. Everyone’s hustling, so you don’t need to tell people you are. That was the gist. I think this is absurd for severals reasons, but I can understand where the writer’s coming from.

If you want to get ahead, particularly as a young adult, you have to put in the extra work to get you there. You’re not going to rise above average or surpass so many other capable people if you’re just working for the weekend. It’s called “extra” work because it’s more than normal. If you work a 40-hour week, and then give extra outside the office, so to speak, you’re standing out because not everyone chooses to do that.

The point brought up by all this is the illusion that everyone’s putting in 60-hour work weeks, and still thinking about progress during the other 108 hours in a week. That’s just not true. As an example, I’m a young twenty-something. The vast majority of those I went to school with and who I’ve worked with are not spending much additional time and effort to take them farther. The majority are working hard during their shifts, and that’s all. There’s nothing wrong with this. That’s just how it is.

I think the article about everyone hustling brings up a few good points, though. It is easier now than ever to get ahead. And because people aren’t constricted by mobility these days, the select few doing everything in their power to get ahead are able to find others trying to do the same and foster a community of extra effort. The thing is, these are the people we see everyday, everywhere. They’re a small percentage of the population, but they’re doing the majority of the work.

I’ve heard the situation put this way before. There’s “employees” and there’s “business owners.” Employees may work hard, but they’re always looking for comfort. This typically involves a steady job, inflationary pay raises, a strong work-life balance, and generally feeling comfortable both at work and home. These are all enjoyable things!

On the other hand, business owners are content but never satisfied. They typically neglect work-life balance in an effort to constantly be improving, and tend to live with a lot of risk. If you look around, you’ll see that most people are “employees.” But the leaders, the people you listen to, see at every community event, watch on TV, whose brands you recognize, etc. are all “business owners.” To take the illustration literally, the business owners are the ones creating jobs and opportunities for employees.

What really irked me about that article on why you shouldn’t be telling people you’re hustling to get ahead is that most people aren’t trying to do that. It’s mostly the “business owners,” who you see everywhere because they’re giving all the extra effort. It’s not that everyone’s doing it, it’s that you only ever hear from the people who are!

I’m a huge fan of going the extra mile, and for telling as many people about it as possible. Once you verbalize what you’re doing to someone else, you’ve established accountability to follow through with what you said. You need to make what you’re doing as public as possible if you want to grow, otherwise no one will know about you and the rich value you can bring them.

Why Hourly Wages Are the Worst Idea in Business

Hourly Wages Worst Idea in Business

I’m a firm believer that anyone who’s not a contracted worker should be on a salary of some sort, or at least a fixed income with regular potential bonuses.

I’ve been an hourly wage earner for about a year now (stepping back from a more fruitful position). And I’ve got to say, the most defeating realization at the beginning and end of every week is looking at how many hours I’ve “worked,” and then seeing what that equals in a paycheck.

Obviously, I and every other employee spend more time than just those hours in the office working on something, thinking about work, coming up with ideas, furthering the company’s mission, and generally trying to be better. None of which is represented on a time card.

Sure, there’s exceptions to everything. The part time intern or high school worker showing up for some petty cash usually won’t have the same invested in them as someone who works full time. But even in those situations, does it mean they shouldn’t be offered the potential to be fulfilled human beings?

Whether they care to admit it, and despite what they might or might not say, a person’s job is a part of their identity. It doesn’t matter what the position is, they carry that identity around with them 24 hours a day, everyday. And yet you only pay them for eight of those hours?

You’re actually demotivating people when you do that. Instead of employees being advocates of your business at anytime to anybody, you’re making them feel like it’s not worth their time.

When you see a family member, catch up with a friend, or really anytime you come into contact with someone you haven’t seen in a few days, you hear the same question. “What have you been up to?” As an employer, would you rather the answer to that question be “Just doin’ the same old dumb junk. I’ve been doing this hobby a lot on the side, though,” or would you rather the answer be “I’ve been helping XYZ company accomplish these goals, and it’s going pretty well”?

Great work isn’t always done between 9-5. A lot of very creative, capable, and intelligent people can’t shine because they’re not given the opportunity. They’re not encouraged. If there’s no reward from employers to motivate employees to add value outside the office, all of these potential leaders will either work on their own projects and forget about your company’s mission, or look for other employers instead of trying to further your company. Do you really want that? Does any of that sound good?

When someone has to show up and punch a time card, you’re telling that person they’re only at work to make it through their next billing cycle, or to save up enough to enjoy that one cool experience. You’re telling them they’re not at the office to add value. Why pay people at all if you’re going to tell them they’re not valuable? What kind of person does that?

If you’re paying someone by the hour, you’re probably not paying them what they’re worth. Sure, the market ultimately decides what you should pay for whatever services. But if you’ve got someone on your team who’s been with you for years on hourly wages, you know darn well they’re worth more to your company than the $10-$12 an hour you’re paying them. Do you know how much it costs to give someone else years of experience? You can stand to pay someone more than an hourly rate.

People should be on a salary structure of some sort so that their job, which they take with them wherever they go as part of their identity, can be something they find fulfillment in – that actually enables them to add value to your business. Whatever the added cost, you should give employees a steady amount each week (and give them the potential to earn more) to show your workers that you do care about them, the bills they have to pay, their abilities, their lives outside the office, and especially what they can do for you.

In fact, people who feel valued at work produce so much more that out of Fortune’s list of top 100 companies, those with a majority of employees who felt valued catapulted their companies’ stock prices to an 8% higher value than the market average. That’s huge! Not to mention there’s a 22% swing in daily productivity between employees who are happy to be at work and employees who aren’t happy to be there. 22%!

I don’t care if it “costs” your business more to pay people what they’re actually worth as capable and hard working human beings. I’d guarantee you’d earn it back and more by showing appreciation.

It’s one of the most self-depreciating thoughts to look at a time sheet and paycheck every week or two when you know you’re putting in more effort than what you’re getting back. Business owners, do yourself a favor and let employees know that you care about them and that they can add significant value to your business at any level by simply giving them the compliment of more than an hourly wage.

Want More Social Media Followers? Do This

How to Get More Followers on Social Media

People want to consume.

People want to be entertained so badly that they spend hours everyday searching through websites, apps, and Netflix for new ways of being entertained. As human beings, we love to consume! And we will naturally consume more and more until we either run out of time or feel that it’s taking away from our day-to-day lives.

And really, there’s nothing wrong with this. Even if you’re a creative or intellectual or productivity-oriented business person, you have to consume something in order to produce anything. You have to water the plant before it’ll bloom.

People are always looking for something to consume, and they’re not even looking for anything high quality! They’re looking for something mildly interesting, that can hold their attention, that they can generally relate to, and that they can come back to again and again for a similar experience. That’s why we’ve all binge-watched entire TV series and have our favorite blogs, YouTube channels, and other various sites.

If you want to build or grow a following, what are you giving people to consume and to keep them coming back? Do they even know where and how to find what you’re putting out there? This is what you need to do.

Do something mildly interesting. Do it often. And tell people you’re doing it.

It doesn’t matter if you’re not that great at everything, or anything. I know you’ve heard the saying that there’s always going to be someone better than you. That’s true! But there’s also always going to be someone not as good as you, and there’s always going to be others on your same level. These will be your followers.

They will relate to you, aspire to be you, grow as you grow, and they will let you be an influence in their lives. As you get better and better at what you do or create, that pool of potential followers (the number of people on or below your level) will grow as well.

Let’s say you’re a class clown of sorts. You’re funny, you’re witty, and you’re looking for some way of harnessing that to make money, keep you busy, make your parents happy, whatever. A good way for you to grow a following would be to create a humorous or satirical YouTube channel. Then you can share those videos on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, etc. With how much people are looking to consume, I guarantee that if you simply keep creating and sharing, week after week, people will catch on.

They’ll start to keep up with you, they’ll come back for more, they’ll refer their friends to check you out. And you’ll be getting better at what you do the whole time, meaning that all of this will grow exponentially.

Let’s say you’re a lively thinker. A blog is a great way to go about expressing our thoughts and expertise constructively. Then you can share your blog posts across Tumblr, Medium, Facebook, Blogger, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Not everyone’s going to read the first thing you write. Just keep blogging! Pick a time and day of the week, or several, that you’re going to blog and share what you write with people. They will catch on, and whether they click “subscribe” or not, they will keep up with you.

All you have to do is do something mildly interesting, do it often, and tell people about it.

I use YouTube and blogging as two examples because it’s very easy to look through YouTube channels and see who has how many subscribers. It’s also very easy to see what kind of quality those channels are releasing. More often than not, YouTube stars with huge followings aren’t doing anything that impressive, or difficult, or even that entertaining. But they’re doing something mildly interesting, they’re doing it often, and they’re finding as many people to tell about it as they can.

The same goes with blogging. It’s so easy to find blogs with large followings who, seemingly, have terrible writing and a poor user experience. You might even be thinking that about this blog! But these blogs with large followings aren’t necessarily doing anything special. They’re not necessarily run by the smartest or coolest or most apt people. Those blogs are run by people who talk about mildly interesting things, do it often, and tell everyone they can about it.

You could take this principle and extrapolate it to achieving success in any area. If you want to succeed in anything, start doing it, do it often, and tell people about it. As particularly relates to growing and captivating a following on social media, it’s so easy to take advantage of how much people are looking to consume. You might as well toss your name in the hat!

It’s rather valuable to build a following. Honestly! The more people who look to you for entertainment, and eventually for experience and insight, the more people whose lives you can positively influence.

But even if you don’t care about influencing people, if you simply want to build a following and learn how to captivate audiences, you’ve got to start doing something. I guarantee you that if you do something mildly interesting (blogging, videos, photography, art, anything), do it often (at least weekly), and tell people about it (every cup of coffee with someone, family gatherings, social media posts, etc.), you will gain that following you want. It just takes a little persistence and a bit of patience.

Do something mildly interesting, do it often, and tell people about it.

The Current State of Social Media and Why It Matters

Social Media Current State and Importance

There was a phrase I heard not long ago that really well encapsulated what I’ve known and learned about social media – everything from using it as an average person socializing to profitable social media marketing.

Social media is far more than just a collection of a few popular apps and websites. But when someone says “social media,” the first image that pops into the majority of people’s minds is their Facebook homescreen.

Maybe for some it’s Reddit, or Tumblr, or Instagram, or Twitter, or LinkedIn. But what about Snapchat? MySpace? YouTube? Pinterest? Medium? Quora? What about the blog you’re reading this on? The Washington Post? Your local news station? The CRM you use at work? All of them together?

“Social media is not a few websites. It’s the state of the internet right now.”

That’s the quote I heard that took everything I’d known and experienced about social platforms and brought it all into focus. All media today is social. It’s personal. It’s entwined and integrated into everything we do and everything on the internet. Rather than being a long term fad or some annoying trend, social media is the way we interact with the world around us and all the people that make up that world.

If you want to compare today’s way of interacting with the world to forms of yesteryear, I hope you can really appreciate how impressively amazing it is for us to be doing what we’re doing.

If you were 16 years old in 1975, and you weren’t apart of a sports team or some form of extracurricular activity, you weren’t going to be very socialized. Even if you were a part of a team or club, there was a strong chance you’d still only be socialized within your own gender.

If you were a 20something trying to jump start their career, or even just find a job, you had to make your way over to every single brick and mortar location possible to formally introduce yourself.

Both of these are still valuable, but think of what you can do now. A 16 year old today can leave school and interact with their friends for hours on end, learning to navigate complex social structures, better relationships, and how to improve at anything they have a passion in – and do this from anywhere!

If you’re a 20something looking for a job today, you can fill out a resume, create a portfolio website or a solid LinkedIn profile, and apply for dozens of positions simultaneously!

As a business, you can get feedback from anywhere – Facebook, Yelp, your own website, online surveys, etc. If you’re trying to grow a following (which is what you have to do these days to gain any independent success), you can share your knowledge with millions of people instantly. And you can interact with all of those potential supporters in a personal and direct way.

As a consumer, you can go to any website or read any article, leave your thoughts in a comment and actually be heard – you’ll probably even get a direct response!

Social media is the state of internet today. It’s what allows me to practice writing in front of a live, very critical audience to hone my skills. It’s what allows a wannabe success story like myself and thousands of others to be personal connections with Gary Vaynerchuck. It creates endless possibilities!

The whole “if you haven’t caught on to social media, you’re missing the boat” argument is nonsense. You can’t escape using social media, because it’s the only way to virtually interact with anybody or anything! Every time you like or share an article, every time you email a link, every time you post a picture you are using social media. This means that every single website on the internet is an extension of your personal identity!

I love that “social” is the current state of things, because it means a guy like me from small town Georgia has a chance at achieving whatever he wants. It means that everyone with an internet connection has the same opportunity to learn and fulfill their passions and earn a decent (or extravagant) living.

Social is the reason so many startups can exist, and why “entrepreneur” has gone from a very derogatory term to a happy buzzword in the last twenty years.

The fact that we can interact with the world around us in such a personal way at anytime from anywhere is what makes it all such a beautiful thing!


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