I wish I could sew. Or build a shelf. Or fix a shoe.
Okay, I probably could if I looked up the instructions and tried.
But the point is … skills like these seem like they might be increasingly valuable or at least more personally gratifying these days.
At least when you make something, it’s yours. You can hang it up, put it on a mantle, and say YOU MADE THAT.
But in a world where we are all connected and constantly sharing, THINKING of something original is really not so valuable. I mean … no one can really know if you thought of something on your own anymore … and does it even matter? People steal ideas and words from each other all the time. Isn’t that the whole point of the Internet?
But now more than ever, we’ve all been seduced into creating and sharing so many of our thoughts (because of course not doing so somehow means we aren’t doing a good job of “personal branding”) that we can’t even keep track of what we’ve told people … or what we thought of ourselves! We can steal a stranger’s witty one-liner from Twitter and use it as our own. You might be interviewing someone for a job and think said person is brilliant because (wow!) they are answering the question just as you yourself would … only to realize, oh wait – that’s because they found your exact thoughts on the subject by digging up your supposedly anonymous blog.
But does this matter?
As traditional media business models (particularly in publishing/journalism) break down and new ones crop up, there is likely to be a more direct link between thinkers (writers) and revenue than ever before. Example: True/Slant attempts to solve the problem of smart/former journalists failing at making enough revenue on their own by giving these “knowledge experts” a share in the ad revenue they bring in as a result of their writing/popularity.
So in a way, I think it does matter. There will be more opportunities for hungry, good-at-personal-branding individuals to make money. That is not a bad thing. But there might also be more reasons for smart (not as good or interested in personal branding) people to think twice before telling others what they think.
But who knows. What motivates “thought leaders” to think and tell people all of their good ideas in the first place? Maybe they are just doing it for the general good and they don’t care about getting credit? Maybe imitation really is flattery? Maybe they don’t mind if the rewards (both material and non) go to those who are better at re-packaging/self-promoting?
Or maybe they will take up knitting.