Echo chambers are dangerous, but seductive.
Look at how many people were surprised by different election results. Their echo chambers of media choice and social media led them to believe their own world view.
Trust me, I’m guilty of this one too.
I loved this piece by Shane O’Leary, which is partly about marketing strategy and partly about widening your reading. The insight on marketing strategy comes from a book about investing. The push to read more is not new, but a great nudge.
Where do you go for random inspiration?
I guess the answer can be “anywhere”.
If it’s for reading, then I love one of my local secondhand bookshops, as it’s a small investment to pick up a random book. Close your eyes and point, or just pick a cover or title that grabs your attention.
Maybe that’s too much playing into your own preferences. Perhaps go for that one, then actually buy the one that’s three titles to the left, or right, or on the shelf above.
Using Google Trends
I guess the nature of trends is that there’s lots of people going after the same thing. The trick here might be to only click on the thing that you know nothing about. Or pick the trends from somewhere other than the UK. So, on the day I looked at this, I had no idea who Chris D’Elia was, or the shows he’s been in. You’re down a wormhole.
In Canada, it took me to Aunt Jemima, which I do know about, could probably guess why it was trending, but could be interesting to see how that story is playing out.
And if I picked Denmark, then the top trend was Norwegian. Fascinating, as that brought up a whole load of things like “Norwegian salmon was not source of virus at Beijing food market” and “Norwegian Air jumps after boosting summer capacity”.
Using Pinterest Trends
Anyone still using Pinterest for business?
It seems many are, and it’s a good hunting ground for randomness. You might use the “Today” feature, which gave me “Amplify Black voices”, “Pride Month: songs to stream” and “Colourful Homes”.
Hold on, I hear you say.
What am I supposed to do with a random collection of stuff?
Well, not immediately. Just absorb it all in, and let it sit there.
As Shane’s piece talks about, you’re waiting for consilience. The principle of evidence from independent, unrelated sources converging together at some point to make a strong conclusion.
If you want a piece of reading, it’s from the book of the same name by Professor Edward O Wilson.
I like to think of it as Benedict Cumberbatch’s version of Sherlock Holmes, scrolling through his mind palace. All the seemingly random small stuff comes together, and POW!
I don’t know what you’ll do with it
But I keep all the randomness for:
Blog post ideas
Spicing up presentations
Stopping my brain going to mush with the groundhog day routine of lockdown
Creative ideas for clients
Provoking conversations to take a different look at ideas and concepts, in order to get to some different end points
Occasionally dropping something into awkward silences that wasn’t expected
Doesn’t matter what you do, or when. It’s all a rich reserve that will know when its time has come.
So, what’s on your random list?
Here’s a few of mine, some books, some websites, some magazines. The format isn’t the important thing.
Rouleur magazine – I don’t own a bike, live at the top of a steep hill surrounded by more hills. Not my norm.
Mrs D’s Blog on Living Sober – I was following a theme on bringing about change.
The Good Men Project – it’s a different perspective to my own I guess.
The Useless Web – you truly will never guess where you’ll end up with this
The Critic Magazine – because this would be well outside of my echo chamber. Which is good. Though not necessarily for my blood pressure.
Can you help me out? Add to my random list? Something might not be random to you, either on my list or yours. But that’s okay, we’re all different. And getting into someone else’s different helps to broaden our world view.
That’s not a random ambition at all.
And as it’s Independent Bookshop Week, and many have reopened, then please do them, and yourself a favour, and go buy something random!