I just heard about an interesting experiment. Gene Weingarten, a Washington Post journalist, and Joshua Bell, a young man decided to test people in the Washington D.C. subway. Read the entire story in the article in the Washington Post
No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made. His performance was arranged by The Washington Post as an experiment in context, perception and priorities — as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?
After reading the article, one sentence stood out for me:
IF A GREAT MUSICIAN PLAYS GREAT MUSIC BUT NO ONE HEARS . . . WAS HE REALLY ANY GOOD?
After an amazing conversation yesterday with Claudia Ceraso from FCE Blog in Buenos Aires, I am tempted to ask the following:
What if a great writer blogs, but no one knows that he/she is a great (famous) writer? Would they still think that he/she is writing good “stuff”? What about an unknown writer, who is writing amazing “stuff”, but no one will stop long enough to read/listen?
And what about the blogs, that come from the “top” gurus, the ones that everyone reads, quotes, comments on…? What about these bloggers? What would happen, if they would go incognito (not on and with their already branded and recognized blogger name/site)? Would a post, not on their customary website (vs. the concert hall for the violinist) ignite the same kind of response not directly attached to their recognized name and blog site (in a subway atmosphere) where no one would expect them? Would anyone listen to their great writing, idea, concept or observation? Would anyone take the time to read, think, reflect and comment on their ramblings?
Do we read and comment top bloggers because we truly enjoy and are inspired by their ideas, work and concepts?…Or do we read and comment, simply because they are already in the limelight and we want to be on the inside? Are we willing to put the time, effort, money to read and see “famous” ones, only because they come in the right package? What if we were to see a David Warlick, a Will Richardson, a Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, a Vicki Davis, a Wes Fryer in a “subway”, standing by themselves giving a presentation? Would you stop by an empty, off the main track, conference room where a presenter is pouring his/her heart out and feel the same way about the CONTENT than if you would have sat in the keynote presentation with the SAME CONTENT presented by the SAME person?
Are people listening or reading because of a name/blog/presenter attached or because of the content, concept or idea they truly represent?
Take the time to watch the video below and ask yourself:
Would you have taken the time to stop and listen to this world famous violinist in the subway, without knowing who he was….or would you have paid hundreds of Dollars for a ticket to see him in a concert hall?