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I love the smell of failure in the morning

with 5 comments

Fail faster!

Reading student critiques of their social media experience is a highlight for me.

Everyone fails.

It’s impossible not to.

No one achieves the thing they set out to do, mostly because what they set out to do was so vaguely defined as to be well, impossible.

Which is perfect.

The class succeeds exactly because everyone fails. Not failing grades (mind you), but failure at achieving some vague world-altering purpose. It’s safe, convenient and inexpensive to fail in this class.

And worth every penny.

Because the lessons learned from trying something and hearing a target audience respond (or not, silence teaches many lessons as well) are entirely applicable to most any job these students will look for post-graduation. By trying and failing, they’ve learned lessons about specificity in word choice, the need to set a realistic purpose for engaging an audience, that social technologies can be fun and frustrating and that those tools require guidance and vigilance. They’ve learned a bit about what it takes to get heard in a crowded room and they’ve each had the joy of getting a response from out of the blue. Which, of course, makes a writer’s heart sing.

We’re coming away from failure quite optimistic, because we’ve counted the cost (to quote the biggest failure who succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams) of influence and we know the tools and all of us have a sense of exactly how we’ll pick up those tools next time. We’re also coming away optimistic because we’ve exercised our passion in putting words around ideas that make us hum. And that is thrilling stuff.

To recap: fail faster so you can begin setting realistic steps to tackle your world-changing proclivities.



5 Responses

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  1. Failure does indeed teach us a great deal. Plus, it makes success even sweeter.


    March 7, 2014 at 8:52 am

    • Thanks for the comment. I didn’t mean the post to sound overly pessimistic. It’s just that social media has a terrific capacity to help anyone learn in real time. Thanks for reading and for participating.


      March 7, 2014 at 8:59 am

      • Oh no, what you wrote did not seem pessimistic. In fact, I find learning from mistakes full of hope. It helps us to move forward with greater wisdom no matter what.


        March 7, 2014 at 9:02 am

      • Agreed. Well said.


        March 7, 2014 at 6:09 pm

  2. Chris

    March 7, 2014 at 5:17 pm

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