It’s becoming increasing more and more difficult to reflect and share any idea that is truly original. This is one of those reasons educators in particular feel uncomfortable with sharing. They figure someone’s already said it, thought it or shared it so why should I? The reality is this true. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll come up with a uniquely original idea or insight or even a resource. But if you’re seeking to be original you may be missing the point.
A number of years back Will Richardson wrote about his flickr conundrum where he wondered why would he take a photo of some landmark when there were perhaps thousands of better photos of the same image freely available on flickr?
So the question is, why take pictures of places that you visit that probably aren’t going to be as good as the photos that others have already taken that are already available for you to use in your own albums, slide shows, whatever? I mean, unless you want to organize the wife and kids in front of the spot just to prove you’ve been there, what’s the point?
Interesting question but the answer to me is simple: I didn’t take those other pictures. In addition, my picture is filled with a story and context that those other pictures don’t have. And that’s why we share and reflect because although on the surface our stories, insights and ideas may not be new, they come with our personal context and perspectives and it’s those aspects of sharing that to me are most interesting and meaningful. It’s the reason that your “research” matters.
Yes, I do get tired of seeing the same link posted over and over. In my mind I say “seen it” but what I never get tired of seeing is people’s individual responses and thoughts on those same things. Perhaps not just via twitter where the constraints don’t make for very meaningful reflections but in spaces where you can add your perspective and share your ideas and context. That’s the real value. I never pretend to come up with an idea that no one has considered. That’s why I do my best to credit others by linking or sourcing.
Maybe originality is overrated. But your thinking isn’t.