When I was much younger, my parents took me to Las Vegas on “vacation” (my dad was there for a business conference). We took a trip over to Lake Mead, which is southeast of Las Vegas, and is known for the carp and other fish that congregate next to the dock. Though I was very young, I remember vividly how I could barely see the water in between the thousands of fish squirming by each other, battling to get closer to the dock.
Tourists would visit, and buy bread to feed the fish. When they’re not eating, the fish just swam around aimlessly, knowing that although there wasn’t anything there, if they stick around long enough, they’ll get some food. When you dropped a full piece of bread into the water is when the real magic happened.
Within seconds, the entire crowd of fish would swarm, climbing onto each other to get to the bread (just like in the picture). Within seconds the bread would be gone, and the fish would go back to swimming around aimlessly.
Looking back at this experience today, I see a lot of parallels in how we consume content and seek out value today.
We gather on social networks, and “shoot the shit” with our communities, until a new piece of interesting content comes out, and we frantically rush to be the first to read, write and discuss. Then, as soon as the new content isn’t so new anymore, we go back to aimlessly chatting, until the next big piece of content comes out.
I don’t think this is a good thing.
The smartest fish would break away from the group that has become so used to being fed by tourists, and go searching for its own food in a lake full of delicious little plants and animals. I would think the most successful business owners/bloggers aren’t the ones that wait around for the next big thing, but go searching for value.
Are you just waiting to jump on the next big thing, or are you taking the initiative to break away from the “dock” and seek out what’s valuable?
Further question from Lauren Fernandez’ comment: Is rushing and fighting to get to the topic first really in the spirit of building a community? Or are we only looking to better ourselves?