Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dream it - live it - thank you long tail!

I 100% believe the long tail in our society is thriving, kicking (wagging), and growing by leaps and bounds. Here's an example. I've always been interested in marketing, psychology, and technology topics. Just as recent as 1 or 2! years ago, I remember researching the bejeebers out of google, trying to find the latest books, articles, and speakers on these passion areas of mine. When I found books that crossed over between any of these disciplines, or had awesome ideas in their own right, this usually resulted in a little firecracker of crazy excitement - and ended with me furiously looking through the article or book for quick gratification, and then immediately printing out the goodness (or searching for it on Amazon.com/calling Barnes and Noble down the street).

When I first started using Twitter about 10 months ago, this may have been the coolest factor I immediately noticed. I could search on keywords I was passionate about and find more articles in 90 seconds than I could previously find in 90 minutes. And more often than not, I didn't even have to do a Twitter search because the people I followed had the same kind of interests as I did, and thoughtfully pooled their creativity into a constant stream for my pluckings. Gone were the days of Google as my sole resource. I now had passion-sharers to rely on!

And with the Twitter pluckings, the 1st degree of people that is, came the 2nd degree. These are the people I discovered from the first layer. Next came the 3rd and the 4th and with this wasn't limited to just Twitter profiles but links to personal blogs and in turn further extensions of shared-passion-goodness. As my pool for fishing grew infinitely bigger, and more and more people started revealing their true interest areas, I started noticing a manic level of similarities I have with people I most likely never have crossed paths with.  All this shared inspiration and possibility for input and discussion would have otherwise gone to waste (and of course I am aware I am still just scratching the surface here).

"Know thyself."

What is coolest to me about these niches along the long tail is that the people who do know themselves, and are acting on it and going for it and living it - are finding it radically easier to connect with other like-minded people, and therefore can actually succeed at doing what is truly them. Take the blog OhSheGlows as an example. Angela from Ontario set out to live her dreams and open a vegan bakery after several stifling years in academia. She blogs each day and receives floods of comments on each of her posts. People reach out to her to tell her how her leap of faith into what she truly likes to do inspires them in their own quest to find their own path. As a result, her bakery is growing, and she is happy doing it.  Before blogging and distribution channels like Twitter became a part of our routine, garnering a following from all over the world would have been considerably more difficult.  She has the passion.  Others have like-minded passion.  The newly opened internet of publishing makes it easier to connect and make her dream a reality.

Same principle with any start-up.  Rent the Runway just opened its doors this past Monday.  It's like a "netflix for haute couture" - with the goal of making it possible to rent runway quality dresses for a few days at 10% of the cost of the actual dress.  Sisterhood of the travelling dresses anyone?  Without social media channels and niche groups popping up and informing each other of these innovations, small businesses and individuals consulting on their own or starting their own deal would have a much harder time spreading the word. 

The long tail is growing.  And it's giving people the opportunity to take what is truly exhilarating to them and run with it and find it in others, and help them go in the direction of their dreams. 

"Dreams come true. Without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them." --John Updike

Photo attributed to futureancient

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