There are few things more intimidating than a blank page. Artists, writers, and musicians alike have all experienced that sinking feeling of self-doubt when they look upon an empty page but the heart and mind fall silent. The bright, white page stares into your soul, seeming to laugh at your feeble attempt to create. It taunts you.
There is only one way to defeat such an opponent. Strike first, strike fast, and do so with reckless abandon!
Let the words spill forth onto the page without regret or reminiscence. Do not let up until the only white space remaining is the part that you spared between your letters, notes, or brush strokes. The battlefield will be strewn with dangling modifiers, sentence fragments, and a thousand displaced commas. Gruesome, but the battle is won. The blank void that had been standing between you and your goal of creating your next masterpiece is now filled with your thoughts. Your creativity-crushing foe is vanquished.
This is how I feel starting my journey as a student of Social Media and Digital Business. The biggest challenge ahead in this course will not be in finishing tasks, it will be in how to get started. All of the deliverables in this course demand originality, creativity and thorough thought throughout. You can’t just open the book and follow a formula. At the end of the day it will be up to us, individually and as a whole, to create the course experience.
Is it intimidating? Sure. But how cool is that?!
In this course, we will have to take a stand on difficult issues and project these opinions out into the real world, beyond the insulating walls of academia. Perhaps the youngest of us are used to sharing their opinions with the online world but for many of us, the thought of doing so is incredibly uncomfortable. With so much incredible content out there, why should anyone care what we have to say? Who are we to presume with self-import that our opinions deserve mass exposure? The whole concept of blogging, tweeting, and even Facebook-ing (is that even a term?) seems so egotistical.
If it wasn’t made abundantly clear, I am admittedly the type who has long seen social media as a tool for the vain to flatter themselves. Sure, I have kept up with the status quo of having a Facebook and LinkedIn but that’s about where the engagement ends. Even updating my LinkedIn profile feels self-indulgent at times. Yet I realize I must get over this feeling and open my eyes to the powerful tool social media has become in both a business and social context. I hope that this class will help me progress in this endeavor. I am not afraid; I will myself forward into the unknown.
In fact, I am now more than ever excited to break out of my social media shell and see what all the kids are talking about with Twitter. As for blogging, I am genuinely looking forward to putting my writing skills to the test and creating a usable portfolio. If you haven’t looked into any marketing job posts recently, take my word for it when I say that writing samples are “in”.
Yet coming up with OC that is meaningful, poignant, and cuts through the noise-making-machine that is the internet is going to be challenging. Most of all, it will be tricky to avoid being derivative. Digital business and social media are heavily discussed topics and I desperately want to avoid my being the Vanilla Ice of the tech-blogging scene. Even though he claimed to be “back with a brand new invention,” he wasn’t kidding anyone. Yes, I just quoted Vanilla Ice. Off to a bad start.
That’s why I am looking forward to this course turning me into a hunter for the most current of events. The old adage “the quick and the dead” describes well enough the difference between the tech-informed and the tech-naive in the business world. Digital innovations impact modern day business as much as any revolution in finance, politics or economics. I would be willing to bet that a shortlist of innovations that have changed how we do business on a fundamental level would reveal at least one digital innovation in the top three.
We should all be tuned into what is going on in this space, particularly in the areas that match our own interests and competencies. Thus, this course forces me to pay closer attention to subjects I tend to brush aside as hobbies or personal interests. I am looking forward to the artistic license to research and discuss topics like blockchain’s potential to revolutionize the music industry and how people died playing Pokemon GO.
More than anything from this class I am looking forward to learning from my classmates. The internet has enabled the free sharing of information and mass-collaboration on an unprecedented scale. Unfortunately, in some classes, I feel I have learned more from complete strangers across the world than I have from classmates occupying the same room. I know that this will not be the case here. It is evident to me from blogs and tweets by classmates in the very first week that I am surrounded by sharp, passionate individuals with expertise in a wide array of disciplines. I hope I can give back as much I know I will get out of learning from these people over the course of the semester.
So when it comes to overcoming the fear of the blank page and creating value in a crowded space, I look to my classmates and know I will be fine. There is a wellspring of inspiration all around us to draw from. To anyone reading my initial thoughts on this course, bon voyage and best of luck in your blogging future.
See you on the message boards!