Why #BeOriginal?

Over the weekend, a Twitter friend challenged me to be more original in my tweets.  Another excellent article talked about the importance of authenticity across social media and had me thinking about my own authentic voice. The result was my Sunday night blog post, To Quote or Not to Quote- That is the question. 

Image Copyright CorePurpose, Inc. 2003.  All Rights Reserved.

Little did I imagine that my social media musings would garner so much attention. It turns out that for some, the quoting of philosophers, motivational speakers, Presidents and other luminaries is a hot topic across the twitterverse.  That post has become the most widely read and re-tweeted post I have ever written thanks to my friends who passed it on to their friends, and so on and so on.  It even got picked up on WordPress Quote  of the Day and other sites that people go to to find quotable quotes.    Who knew?

To be clear.  

I love a good quote. I use quotes in my speaking, in my writing, and in my day to day conversation. 

Meaningful quotes are part of my personal style of communication.   But as I used social media more and more, it was much easier to quote others than it was to develop and share my own original thoughts.   Even more, I was beginning to question whether what I was putting down in 140c was my own idea or someone else’s and would have to Google a quote first to see if it was original or need attribution.  (And, rumor has it, I am not alone.)

So – I challenged myself to really try to mix it up a bit and share original ideas throughout the day in between sharing interesting articles, blog posts, and other Twitter tidbits.  And like most challenges, I found that it was not that easy. 

“There are no original ideas. There are only original people.”

Barbara Grizzuti Harrison  (14 September 1934 – 24 April 2002) (other quotes)

So on Monday night, I decided to try something new.  I would tag my original quotes with #BeOriginal and invite some friends to do it too. I have some very smart and witty friends that I follow on Twitter and who follow me back across my various Twitter profiles.  I reached out to see who was on line and sent a few messages that went like this: 

JKWinnovation: Quote break – Followers – Do you have a personal quote to share at #BeOriginal. I need to practice.

 JKWinnovation: @______- Want to come out and play at #BeOriginal

JKWleadership: @______ I’m learning to #BeOriginal – Gotta quote to share?

  As I  invited friends to join in, a few notes came back privately asking questions.  Why should I do this?  How can I do this?  You are asking me????  I  even had a few deeper Twitter conversations

Then slowly but surely, a few joined in and we got some great original, quotable ideas.  Soon others were re-tweeting those too.  When they did, I sent them a note inviting them to share their original ideas.  This experiment is very new and there is not much there yet, but hopefully the concept of “What are you thinking? will become as popular as “What are you doing ?” 

You can do a Twitter Search using #BeOriginal to see how this experiment is evolving.

So, why #BeOriginal? 

Perhaps, a better question to ask is “Why not?”  Let’s try tagging our original ideas be they serious, humorous, or simply every day thoughts.  Claim them with your name – just as you would a well known quote and don’t forget to add the #BeOriginal so it will end up on the running search list.    If we do, soon we can look at that list and see a world of new, original ideas – make connections – and maybe even put some of these great ideas into action.

Are  you ready for the challenge?  Send out an original idea of your own including your name and #BeOriginal.  It will be interesting to see what develops over time.

Thanks for stopping by…Stay tuned.

– Joan Koerber-Walker

To quote or not to quote – That is the question.

First and foremost – I am not a social media expert.  Not even close! I’m just a business person trying to learn how to communicate across an evolving medium.   Lucky for me, I am surrounded by people who know a lot more about it than I do.  I won’t call them experts.  They’d shoot me if I did.  You see, social media is changing too fast .  No one is really an expert.  Some just know more than others and have been at it longer.

I got some good pointers from Twitter friends this weekend. 

The first was from Tyler Hurst. 

A Bit of Books from my personal collection


I obviously over did it Saturday night.

The second was from an article posted by Brian Solis about authenticity and authority in social media.  A Soliloquy: The Language of Social Media by Brian Solis (@BrianSolis)

I loved Brian’s article and sent it out as a RT.  The feedback I’ve been getting back all day is that  authenticity should be the goal every time.

Now, I tweet quite a bit, and across multiple profiles as you can see on this page.  My personal profile description is ‘an eclectic mix of ideas’ while the other four are focused on innovation, leadership, growth, and business success.

So perhaps I should take another look  at those quotes I tweeted…

image joankw “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” ~  Dr. Seuss

Hmmm.  Perhaps I need to think a bit more about what I am doing?


JKWgrowth “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” ~ Dr. Seuss

So taking a page from Dr. Seuss – I looked around my twitterverse to see what I could see.  Since the twitterverse is huge, I took a note from the Beatles and got a little help from my friends… by looking at what they do.


@MarkIsMusing is one of the tweeters I have followed from day one.  Yes, he tweets everyday stuff, but when he starts musing he’ll treat the 26,000+ people who follow him to a string of quotes he is ‘musing’ about.  He also has a great newsletter and a blog I now subscribe to. Plus he splits his time between Calgary and Maui AND remodels his own bathroom.  What’s not to like?


 @StartupPro is a friend and favorite.  No quotes from Marty Zwilling.  An entrepreneur and investor, he’s a blogger who posts every day!  Not only does his blog have a great following but he has almost twice Mark’s Twitter following with nary a quotation in sight.  Great content, predictability (count on a new blog post EVERY morning), and sharing business insights is his secret to success.

image@WBAustin is a running news stream of ideas and articles.  It works for him and his close to 100,000 followers.  Bill’s wife @KatheeSue handles the local beat with @EVLIving while chatting with friends as KatheeSue.

image@Hardaway (Francine Hardaway) Co-founder, Stealthmode Partners, helping entrepreneurs succeed.  I won’t be showing her ‘recycled quotes’ she rarely if ever does that. Her tweets are as authentic as they get as she reports on her life, ideas, and activities throughout the day.  As my friend and mentor, she always tries to keep me out of trouble.  Sometimes I even listen. 

image @Amilya (Amilya Antonetti) an award winning entrepreneur,Green Pioneer Bestselling Author, Media Personality, Advocate and Mom is a conversationalist on Twitter.  She loves to twitter chat with @TomVMorris who is one of the best.  I’ve never had the pleasure of tweeting with Dr. Morris on Twitter, but I love to read his occasional quotes from the great philosophers as well as his own insightful quips.  Who knows, maybe some day.  ;o) 

The funny thing is, Twitter asks “What are YOU doing?”  When I was pulling those quotes – I WAS reading  Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss.  It’s the tall skinny volume in my bookshelf between Norton’s Anthology of Poetry and The Holy Bible.    I love books and read a lot more than I tweet.  The picture above is of the bookshelf my playroom that stands next to the pool cues.  My library/office is filled with business books, and in my bedroom closet, hundreds of novels.  (I may have more novels than Amilya has shoes!)

imageJKWleadership My Favorite Leadership Books – Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss~ Read it to your kids… Read it for yourself.

I had pulled that book out after a long day of struggling through business plans, financial models, and other stuff that the Twitterati would probably find a bit boring – not to mention, the stuff is all under NDA and I can’t talk about it anyway.  And why, you might ask, did I make such a switch in reading material just then.  Simple. I saw the quote on Twitter from Robert Baines that read:

imagescreamingeagle1 “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.” ~ Dr. Seuss. 

It reminded me of just what I needed to clear my brain.

image “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!” ~ Dr. Seuss

So, as my friend Amilya says, “it’s time to ‘noodle.” 

Here’s my lesson learned this weekend.  If authenticity is important,  then you just have to be who you are.  I am just what my personal profile says… an eclectic mix.  Not to say that I can’t learn to be better.  I’ll follow Tyler’s advice and perhaps use some more of my own quotes more frequently rather than quoting someone else.  Francine and Marty have encouraged me to write/blog more.  (Francine even told me that my writing has improved.  But that’s for you to decide.)  I’ll keep reading and sharing the articles, news stories, and bits that I think have value because that is what I authentically do.  Share things of value with others is what I do everyday. I’ll chat more, broadcast less,  AND – I’ll try to mix it up a bit more so as not to be annoying.  Oh, and I am suspending my auto link for @joankw from Seesmic to Facebook.  According to my husband, my in-laws have hidden me because I send out too much stuff!

So, is this the right strategy?  Well, we’ll see. There was a great quote this weekend by Victoria Holt – my favorite author during my teen years.  (No laughing – love, adventure, suspense AND a happy ending.  What’s not to like.  I still own every single one of her books in paperback.)

image“Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.” Victoria Holt (1906-1993) British writer (via @successsecret) AKA: Mike Hanes (@MikeHanes)


Thanks for stopping by – and reading to the end.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

Credits:  Photo – Joan Koerber-Walker – If you don’t believe me, you can come check in my play room.  Tweets – as of this writing at 5:48 PM (pacific) on June 14,2009 – everything shown here was visible via the public feeds on Twitter.