Killing the Quotations

The C word is a funny thing. Say it here and I’ll be sleeping on the couch for a good month. But say it the UK and it means absolutely nothing. Over time and through excessive use, the word has lost its meaning to our friends over the pond.

It’s hard to look at blogging and not notice a similar phenomena. In the world of social media, terms like expert and ROI that have entirely lost their meaning. In the productivity space the very word productivity has become a joke, so much so that we often ends up placing it in the dreaded pair of sarcastic quotation marks.

The easier it becomes to publish, the less we seem to give words credence. The more we act as if any thought adds value, the more we end up subtracting from substance. Those of us who truly care about one space or the other seem to become flippant and jaded over time, the things that first caught our interest inevitably become the things we have to dismiss. We love certain ideas so much that it can be frustrating, if not painful, to see them lose their meaning. Eventually we just find it easier to write them off and focus on other things.

There will always come a time to move on to the next thing, but before you, do take a moment to think about the ideals that caused you to start writing in the first place. Think about the eager students of social media or the unproductive amongst us who still need these ideas, those who are just starting to head down the path and need to understand the fundamentals.

You might be ready to move on to bigger ideas, but think about the condition that you are leaving a space you love (or once loved) for the next wave of admirers. This can be a challenge, especially when you feel that others are bastardizing something you believe(d) in, but for every schmuck trying to leverage a buzzword, there is a beginner who really cares.

Put cynicism aside for a second, rip off the quotations and focus on enhancing the things you care about rather than lamenting their premature demise. It might be fruitless in the end, but wouldn’t it be better to spend some of our efforts making sure that the word and ideas that got us to this point maintain their meaning? Or else we may lose them all together…

To bring this full circle, occasionally sleeping on the couch when you say something offensive may not be any fun, but it’s certainly better than living with someone who doesn’t even care enough to put you there when you deserve it… Or so I’ve heard.

4 Responses to Killing the Quotations

  1. Oh great, I just changed my bio to include awesomeness, guru, social media maven, SEO master and now you are saying I’ve missed the boat? 

    It is very easy to fall into the social media lingo trap; one thing that might help me is we have the same concerns throwing insurance lingo around to customers. We just have to make sure we keep it ‘real’ talk as much as possible. 

    The other ‘issue’ I see with this, we have a tendency to only exist within our bubble of like-minded friends. How do you get to the point you can expand your voice, if that is what you are trying to achieve? 

    Just makes you go hmmmmm at times………..

    • No, just saying you’ve got to bring the meaning back :)

      It’s not falling into the lingo trap that bugs me, it is taking the meaning out of important words that drives me to drink (well, I actually just like to drink…).

      As for the bubble, it’s really true and too easy to fall into a rut. That’s why I try to always mix it up and even make time to read things I know I’ll disagree with (but possibly learn from). As for your question, my only answer is to spend time with your thoughts, try to write and share them and step outside the old comfort zone every now and again and again and again…

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