think wrong: how ten minute rants can help change the world

’m about 78 pages into a brand new book, “Think Wrong”. And again… I find myself opening Microsoft Word on a Sunday night, putting my book down, inspired to see where my mind takes me if I choose to continue feeding my own ideas instead of continuing to read those that have already been put on paper. So I let myself write. Inspired by the book, I wanted to see if I could come up with at least ONE time in the past few weeks where I said to myself, “I wish that…” or “what if”. I knew there had to be some thing that could lead to any idea that I instinctively buried.

What came out of my efforts to identify that one thing, was 7 simple principals that can help identify opportunities to make a bigger difference and drive change at both the individual, business and then WORLD level.

1.    You can be successful by simply adapting to the cultural norms. But you can create change by questioning them.

2.    To do so you have to retrain your mind from trying to adapt and survive to questioning, complaining and allowing yourself to get fed up! (Really! You can complain if you are willing to take action toward improving it!)

3.    Thoughts that begin with “what if” and “I really wish” denote those things, no matter how minor, that can be improved or changed by not accepting that things just “are how they are”.

4.    Ranters are the game changers.

5.    Acknowledging problems should follow with problem solving which should center around idea creation.

6.    Re-act to your environment instead of simply just living in it.

7.    Acknowledging problems and taking action to solve them can bring driving purpose and passion back to our work.

Here’s how I got there…..

The first 78 pages or so of “Think Wrong” hardly begin to touch on the “meat” in the book. What it does do is paint a very scary picture about where we, as a society would be if we continued to develop business and culture in a way that squashed a human’s ability to think for herself. Because, after all, it was those that dared to defy norms like Einstein and Steve Jobs that had some of the biggest disruptions to the world as we knew it and the complete advancement of our society.

Those disruptions came from people basically being fed up with the status quo or the way things are. Or the current state of things. Then those who stopped at nothing to change them. Edison didn’t get up one morning and say, I’m going to invent electricity! Maybe the flickering of candles gave him a headache when he was trying to read at night or something. (Really, that’s how ideas get started.)

I go about my day-to-day life relatively unbothered by the outside world and I’ve always thought that was one of the things that helped me live a peaceful life for myself. I’ve accepted that the world is what the world is and I focus on fitting into what already exists, not changing it. Sure, I have my moments where I can tie my job or the work I’m doing to some kind of “good” for another person or company, but sometimes I yearn for whatever that next layer of purpose is behind what I’m doing with my waking hours. And truthfully, I have yet to really establish that piece of my life’s work.

I’ve developed myself to be this person who is constantly adapting to outside changes, who is flexible and quick and nimble and that is exactly what I’ve been able to succeed on. My ability to adapt. Because…. that’s what our culture rewards. Our culture rewards those who fit in, not those who cause disruptions and challenge.

So, I tried to counter-think myself into some mildy crazy ideas – because it would have made finishing the book “Think Wrong” a lot more fun. I thought, “Come on Stephanie. There HAS to be some time in your life where you said to yourself ‘this is a problem’ before you thought the answer was to adapt to it.”  

I immediately thought of an article I read in a Facebook group the other day. The post stated that Facebook is basically eliminating organic reach. And I remember reading the headline and thinking “Awesome. I’m glad I know. I’ll just be sure to make sure to set realistic expectations with my clients about what kind of marketing they will be able to generate through Facebook and add to my to-do list to start proactively exploring other avenues of social digital marketing.”

The statement should have made me angry and I should have let my mind actually GO there. I should have ranted and raved about it.

I work in marketing because I BELIEVE IN MARKETING. I believe in DISCOVERY. I believe that there are product and services and information out there that could change people’s lives if they have access to it. I LOVED social media for BEING that access portal for people to share that information. I often think about how different my life would be if social media didn’t exist. I always ask myself if I’d still be overweight if it wasn’t for all of the products, information and services I was able to discovery solely through social media platforms. I have this powerful powerful belief in social media and the ability to share in helping to made a greater impact on individual’s lives.

And here we are, about 10-15 years from Facebook’s infancy, so over-commercialized to the point where Facebook is removing businesses and organizations from individuals’ newsfeed. Where Facebook even has the power to take that kind of story sharing away.

I got a little angry at Facebook. I also got a lot angry at bad marketing, myself included because I’ve been a bad marketer with limited resources, just trying to do what a client hired me to do. To all my “Bad marketers”, we had a hand in this major change. We killed social. I’m thinking about all the amazing content I love having in my feed, all the products and purchases I’ve made of products I discovered through social and LOVED, ruined because of that content we ALL hate having in our feed trying to sell us something we don’t want. Those companies who built an entire social presence to promote, not to build community around an idea or a concept that a product helps solve. Those “higher ups” demanding ROI in dollars and cents who needed immediate gratification out of social media efforts. Oh, I got mad at so much when I let my brain go there.

I then branched into influencer marketing. I work in influencer marketing because I believe in it. Conceptually – how cool is it that social media provides this platform where people who know what they are TALKING about, these developed “experts”, can share their knowledge in way that teaches and educates us on purchasing decisions? Influencer marketing has taken 2 hugely successful sales tactics to the online realm. First, it replicates word of mouth marketing at a quicker rate. This isn’t a store, which has 100% stake in whether or not you buy, asking you to buy a product. This is a person, recommending the product because they had a good experience with it and know others will too. Second, it replicates personal consulting shopping. Not every female walks into a makeup store and is able to pick out the foundation they need out of over 100 different options. We rely on the consultants so that we can say things like, “I like a more natural look but I have oily skin so it gets shiny.” Or “I need a mascara that makes lashes look full, but won’t dry an irritate my contact lenses.”It took this amazing concept that someone could learn, review, and help you make more educated purchase decisions and bring it online where it spreads 1million times quicker than it would offline.

Yeteven influencer marketing has become over-commercialized. My biggest hurdle on strategies lately has been, “how do we create truly authentic experiences” that people won’t turn a blind eye to? How do we as a company, KEEP influencer marketing’s amazing hallmark concepts alive, amidst rampant monetization? You don’t always win a battle pitching a client something they didn’t ask you for.

And this was only sparked off of an article I read on Thursday. I kept wondering aloud if, by preventing myself from actually having a reaction to what was going on in my surrounding environment, I was actually prohibiting my brain from thinking creatively and developing ideas that would ACTUALLY make a difference.

From that small rant on the things I really started hating about social media, I was identifying changes I could make all on my own.

  • I could be upfront with clients about what my social media services provide and be picky with those I work with. After all, I don’t want to me the marketer contributing to over-commercialism, I want to feed the GOOD parts of social media marketing.
  • I could make sure that my content strategies feed the true purpose of social media too. Because after all – the pressure from clients and colleagues and higher ups can cause us all to really forget about why social media caught on to begin with, right? We can fight while we play the game.
  • Maybe I can develop an entire new way for people like me, who rely on social discovery and become the next founder of the newest social app.
  • I can re-focus my influencer strategies back to true basics, creatively re-combining the concept of expertise and word-of-mouth back into a client’s approach to influencer relations

What if in order to start solving problems, you had to first acknowledge they were there and then figure out those tiny steps you could do to change them? What if, it was acknowledging those problems that actually brought PURPOSE back to our work?

How is something so simple, so easy to forget?

If you’re like me and you think that, there is some big thing out there for you that you haven’t yet discovered, or you need to re-connect to your purpose – let yourself react. Let yourself rant. Make sure your not instinctively adapting and don’t be shy to identify problems and patterns – they are usually the infancy of new BIG ideas.