What I Learned By Not Writing About Ellen’s Record Oscar Tweet

I didn’t watch the Oscars. That was my first mistake.

My second mistake was neglecting to check Twitter and news feeds for highlights of the Oscars in real time or immediately afterward.

My third mistake was waiting to write something on this blog.

I woke up the morning after the 86th Annual Academy Awards to NPR reporting “12 Years A Slave” won best picture. I was glad for the director, actors, and whole team. It’s a great film about a harrowing story, so much so that I wrote about it here after viewing it in the theater.

The awards were handed out, as one would expect, but something else captured the nation’s attention:

The celebrity-packed tweet took the #1 record spot for retweets of a single post by garnering over 3 million retweets in less than a day. And apparently it broke Twitter temporarily.

Finding Titles

When brainstorming ideas for what to post on the blog today, I came up with a potential title. Being a curious writer like I am, I wondered if anyone else conjured any blog posts covering the ideas I was thinking up.

I typed “What Ellen’s Popular Oscars Tweet Teaches Us About Social Media” and I found this immediately:

What Ellen DeGeneres’s Tweet can Teach Us About Social Media
by Ryan Watkins (Monday, March 3, 2014)

That was practically the exact blog post I was about to write.

So did I write it? Nope.

Why not?

A content strategist and blogger named Ryan Watkins beat me to the punch. But all the best to him. He’s done a great job jumping on a popular subject with a current event and sharing meaningful insights simply.

I didn’t write an article about Ellen DeGeneres’s virally popular tweet teaching us about social media because Ryan already did, and wrote it better than I would have.

But I did write this post (the one you’re reading) about Ryan’s post.

Why?

(I know this is meta, but stick with me.)

What I Learned By Not Writing About Ellen’s Record Oscar Tweet

When it comes to the Internet…

1. Staying informed is vital.

Yes, I knew the Oscars were on, but I neglected to watch or catch up with the event when I had ample opportunity to.

If content is king, as they say, I need to be aware of what’s happening and what’s being talked about. Otherwise, my presence on the Internet is irrelevant. Me being online doesn’t do anything for anybody, which is against the whole point of the web — to connect people and ideas.

2. Joining the conversation beats watching it passively.

I sat on the sidelines, merely reading a few tweets friends posted about the Oscars, but didn’t contribute ideas or commentary or jokes when everyone else’s attention was on the same subject.

Don’t post insignificant, disconnected things; share meaningful ideas and contribute instead of consuming.

3. Being first matters.

On the Internet, timeliness rules the conversation. There’s so much content out there, people want the latest and the most interesting (to them) info. If you’re sitting back writing and reworking and perfecting an idea before you share it, you’ll be far behind the actual idea because momentum is already lost.

For anyone who wants to participate well online, we’ll need to do the opposite of what I did with the article I never wrote. When more people join the conversation about timely ideas, the Internet will be better for it.

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What have you learned about the Internet?

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Read my review of Academy Award-winning Best Picture, “12 Years A Slave”

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