I remember it like it was yesterday.
Confucius, Aristotle, Albert Einstein, Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou and Steve Jobs sitting in their light-wood-design co-working space, plugging away on their Macbook Airs, trying to decide which of their soon-to-be-famous quotes worked best with which studio photos they’d just taken of each other.
“This pic of me looking quite solemn is really good!” Aristotle said, excitedly.
“Not as good as this one with my tongue out, dude. Winning!” exclaimed Einstein.
“Shush, you fools,” said Madiba, barely over a whisper, “I’m trying to decide on which social media platform to share these, and at which time of day is best to post these profound statements I said in a few public speeches that, if I don’t post them online, no-one will ever remember!” Madiba ended with his voice raised and a fist in the air. It was a beautiful moment. His assistant, Betty, scribbled down his rant on a Post-It note, just in case he wanted to use this as quotable content later. Betty was a pro.
Gandhi, Oprah, Henry Ford, Mark Twain and Helen Keller all rolled their eyes in unison. Classic Tata move right there. They all quickly turned their attention back to their own laptops in search of the perfect Instagram profile photo.
And how smart they were, this group of global thought-leaders and pioneers, to help the rest of the world understand their genius by quoting their own quotes online, to showcase their many great quips and epigrams that, had they not shared themselves, would’ve been lost on the masses.
At one point in your life, perhaps even quite recently, these folks have been stars in a meeting or presentation or just a casual chat with people around you.
Because they said some pretty awesome things. And when they said the awesome things, people shared it. Again, they didn’t share the things themselves. Others did. Why? Because what they said was valuable. What they said made a difference. What they said was so awesome, that people wanted to share it with more people.
Recently, there’s been a stream of people online feeling the need to quote themselves, just in case the world didn’t read/hear it the first time. Taking a fancy picture of themselves on stage or in a studio, and vomiting out a statement that you’ve heard time and again, but just in different words (hopefully), making a little picture, and sharing it on any social media platform that’ll have them.
As a test, I did a few myself this week, too, and shared them on Facebook, just to see the interaction.
If these weren’t odd enough, I decided to get even more silly, just to see if this actually worked.
My #selfquotes were a bombardment on my friends’ timelines, and certainly not talking about being the change you want to see in the world, or how the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. What’s more, the utter absurdity of them generated conversation and interaction beyond my expectation. But, the interaction diminished as each #selfquote was shared, because no one likes to be assaulted with shameless self-promotion.
Why am I telling you this? And why does it bug me?
Because if what you say is SO amazing, and SO relevant, and SO awesome, then people will pick it up and share it for you. It really is that simple.
The solution: Say great things. Think differently. Help others think differently. If your thoughts and words and experiences are that incredible, people will share your awesomeness. And, for the love of peanut butter, please don’t #selfquote. It’s not cool.
Originally posted on LinkedIn.