Content consumption V content creation

I’ve been seriously slacking on the blog front of late. The most perplexing thing about my inactivity is that it hasn’t been due to a lack of inspiration; quite the opposite actually.

Living in a city so alive with stimulation, coupled with the frighteningly smart and curious minds I’m surrounded by, makes it almost impossible to go a day without hearing, reading or seeing something that sparks a thought, question or idea.

Since I have a memory comparable to that of a goldfish- three seconds apparently- I normally attempt to commit these thoughts to barely legible scribbles on Post-its when they occur, rendering my apartment a blur of neon ticker tape. Despite my love of technology, these Post-its serve as a constant environmentally unfriendly reminder that some parts of my life are still gloriously antiquated and entrenched in analogue.

Anyway, I digress. For reasons unknown to me, I haven’t felt compelled to share any of these musings of late. This got me thinking about my role in the digital ecosystem as both a creator and consumer of content.

During my blogging lull, I have still consumed content with my normal insatiable fervor. My consumption habit starts with a glut of blog posts on Google Reader for breakfast, real-time doses of news from The Guardian, and an afternoon perforated with nourishing sustenance from links complete strangers and friends alike have posted on Twitter.

So here’s the rub. There is no requisite or onus on me to be both a creator and consumer of content. There is hardly a shortage of content creation. Far from it. There is so much content being created that aggregating, filtering and finding the time to consume what is of value to you is itself a real challenge.

…And yet I would contend that the tacit etiquette that comes with being part of an online community where you are regularly receiving and consuming free content, is that you give back and share. I think that nearly all the best ideas I have ever had are sparked by things others have written or said. To not share the thoughts that do occur to me, strikes me as…well… a little selfish I suppose. It’s not that people will necessarily be any richer, wiser or happier for having read my ideas or random musings. But to harbor and covet my thoughts seems directly opposed to the age-old adage of ‘give and take’ that governs a successful relationship and anathema to the ideal of collective intelligence.

So, with my lull over, and a renewed commitment to share more, I thought it appropriate to end with one of my favorite Paul Arden quotes:

Do not covet your ideas. Give away everything you know and more will come back to you.

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