A reader named Ari Herzog, whom I do not personally know, but have corresponded via social media for over a year (I like him, and respect his efforts in life. He is a media strategist, consultant and an elected official on the city council of Newburyport, Massachusetts - pretty impressive guy), left a comment on my post titled "Strike While The Iron Is Hot", which was inspired by Chris Brogan's blog post the same day titled "While The Iron Is Hot".
"...but by different irons, Thom, never the same. It's great you credit someone for an idea, but the credit only works if it's your idea, not his idea that you're trying to use for yourself.
Ideas come and go but they only become successful if they are unique."
This begs the question of Does Everything You Blog About Need To Be A Unique Idea?
First, I have always believed that what makes blogs successful is not solely the brilliance of the blogger to have totally original and unique ideas in each post.... but instead their ability to take nuggets of information, concepts and theories to extend the discussion. Adding perspective, spin or highlighting minor points that might have otherwise been over looked in the piece that was the inspiration. They key here is to give credit to who or what was the catalyst for the writer.
Too often people take concepts and run with them, disguising them as original thought. This is bad. I see lots of bloggers who work hard to make themselves look really smart.... all the while they are ripping off others. But is being inspired by someone and adding your two cents a bad thing?
Second, if you look at my post, I mention (with links) that I had written about this same topic on my blog (twice) and on Twitter in recent weeks. It was already a topic that I found important to discuss, and thus I was NOT ripping off Chris Brogan's idea, but instead extending the discussion by crediting his post and writing more. I agree that Chris Brogan is a much bigger deal in the blogging / social media world than am I, but that does not diminish my ability to write about similar subjects .... or to be inspired to write because of him.
I am not picking on Ari.... as he is a smart guy with his own track record of successes. But his comment did get me thinking about how quick people are to jump to conclusions about the motivations of others. Heck, I did when I read his comment (as I felt he was calling me a fraud). Can one only be authentic if they were the first one to have an original thought? If another blogger (especially someone famous) writes about a topic, is that topic off limits to the rest of us (or we look like a copycat?)
And is it true that, as Ari said, that "Ideas come and go but they only become successful if they are unique". Hmmmmm... I see lots of ideas (and people) that are wickedly successful which are not necessarily unique.... but instead made successful through hard work and tenacity.
What do others think?
Have A Great Day.