Yesterday, word spread fast that Scott Fortney had a heart attack. Scott is known to us all as a helpful voice actor who often posts Adobe Audition tutorials on YouTube, and started the Adobe Audition FaceBook group. His wife had just emerged from an illness, and now this. Prayers needed.
On the same day, a wonderful video was circulated about Audio Engineers, which was a take on the Dodge Ram commercial with the Paul Harvey soliloquy on farmers. It’s called 9th Day, and it was composed by my vo friend Zak Miller. Nice work, Zak!
I could go on. There are anywhere from 10-20 influential VO blogs…probably 50-100 VO forums on all the Social Media platforms. There are newsletters, Twitter lists, and Google +communities. I admit I contribute to the info overload. I’m a news junkie at heart, and I relish the free exchange of info.
But many have raised the question of whether all this shared stream-of-consciousness has a measurable return on investment of time. Just yesterday, my Social Media maniac VO friend Terry Daniel lamented that there was yet another VO FaceBook group being launched. Long and vociferous are the debates on these very groups about the over-proliferation of such forums. Such are the challenges of an open, democratic society.
Not that there’s any easy answer, but here’s my analysis of the pros and cons:
- Professions that come of age experience this knowledge explosion. It’s a good sign that we’ve arrived.
- There is no such thing as “too much” knowledge.
- The sharing of information benefits everyone.
- You wouldn’t want the opposite of a free exchange of info. Think North Korea.
- Your contribution matters, and is rewarding to you.
- Some of those information nuggets directly benefit your business and its implementation.
- Information distribution streams are chaotic and unreliable.
- There is almost no way to measure your return on investment for time spent on data/info mining.
- Being an info bon vivant can be addictive.
- Your marketing or information contribution easily gets lost in the noise.
- A lot of repitition and reduncancy appears.
- Not all information can be or has been verified/vetted.
- Find the handful of reliable sources you know and trust through experience over time, and stay loyal to those.
- Don’t extend beyond those sources unless you see a direct benefit to your business (but keep an open mind — but if you add a source, maybe drop another?)
- Set a time limit per day to be online. I could be a half hour 3 times a day, or once in the evening for an hour, etc. Stick to your “time promise”!
- Contribute when you have unique content you find valuable, and don’t see it anywhere else.
- Pay it forward on forums, groups, and communities (share links, info, or tidbits with no expectation of reward).
- Share info on other sites, keeping in mind that the more you do, the closer you get to the threshold of spamming.
In the foreseeable future, the laws of a free market culture will determine who survives this info onslaught (MySpace?). Until then, the part you play helps to determine those who will succeed in this competitive milieu. Choose wisely!