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Are You a Content Consumer, Creator or Collaborator?

collaboration ideas
Written by Paul Steinbrueck

collaboration ideasI read a blog post by Scott Ginsberg yesterday titled Are you a Consumer or a Creator?  In the post he writes,

Lately, I’ve grown bored with consumption… Now, I’d rather write a book than read one. Now, I’d rather publish a podcast than listen to public radio.

In Where Good Ideas Come From, Steve Johnson says, “When ideas form in this hunch state, they need to collide with other hunches.” In other words, great ideas don’t take place in isolation.

My best ideas happen when I learn about other people’s ideas and those ideas combine with my ideas and help to refine and reshape them.

This blog post is a good example of that. How did it come about? Scott wrote the post mentioned above, then Ken Hagler (aka @jedipastorken) “consumed” that post and linked to it in a post he created, @techreligious read and tweeted Ken’s post, and @NewMediaAtUnion retweeted that tweet. I saw @NewMediaAtUnion’s tweet read both Ken and Scott’s posts which led me to write this one. Did you follow all that?

You will never reach your full potential if you are solely a consumer of content. You will also never reach your full potential if you attempt to be solely a creator of content.

Your greatest opportunities lie in being a collaborator.

Read, listen and watch those who share their ideas freely. Freely share your ideas in blog posts, podcasts and videos. Collaborate in chats, discussions and group projects.

This is how ideas that change the world are developed, embraced and advanced.

Agree? Disagree? What are you doing to collaborate these days?

Here’s your opportunity to be a collaborator. Share your thoughts on this post in a comment. Tweet it and/or share it on Facebook or G+. Or maybe you want to take it one step further and blog about consumption, creation and collaboration yourself.

About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.


  • Sorry Paul, I jumped the Gun saying I was solely a creator. Better to have said I'm a Storyteller, but I also join blog areas and I link with other Creatives to share ideas and to try and solve the minor problems in life. The big issues sit squarely in the laps of the Big Guys out there who are also getting the big bucks – not that they are all doing such a smash job of coming up with answers that work for everyone. Cheers, Don

  • Agree! IMO, what makes social media so powerful is the opportunity for real or near-real time collaboration. Posting useful content can be, uh, useful but it doesn't build community or, by extension, the Kingdom of God.

    • Meredith, I'd call the #ChSocM chats real-time collaboration. We don't chat with a specific project or outcome in mind, but it's a great place for hunches and "half ideas" (as Steve Johnson calls them) to collide and sometimes some great ideas come out the other side. Plus relationships are formed that sometimes do lead to more specific, intentional project collaboration down the road.

  • I think all three are important. You have to study — consume information — to get the raw materials for the creative process. And to a certain extent, big parts of the creative process need to be done alone. But we do need to get around others and bounce ideas off them to get the most out of them. I'm a novelist, and I would hate to write my novel by committee. But I'm also an editor, so I know at some point you have to hand the work off to someone else for feedback. For example, I recently heard back from a beta reader who had some good ideas about how I can make one of the more implausible elements of the story more believable. But I created the first draft sitting alone in my little room, and much of what's in it is based on information I've consumed over the years.

    • Kristen, that's an excellent perspective. It's important to understand in a creative project when we need input from others and in what kind and then also when need to work on our own.

  • Paul, your blog was a new thought, but when you presented the question, I realized I was doing what you said. I am with Kristen, I wrote a novel, handed it to someone else to read it. She brought it back, said it was anointed, and I needed to finish it, and now. That propelled me to finish it, a editor came along and said she could make it better, I've met with her for the past 6 months, (couldn't hurry the project, even though I wanted to.) Then a market coach came along and is putting it out in the market. I read about a self-publishered author who said how he made his work a best seller, then my Bible Study group gathered around the book to tell me what they liked about it, and asked questions, now I'm calling on the editor of the newspaper I write a column for, he is endorsing it along two other big names in Christian and literary circles, I had a friend tweak my book cover, next I'm telling all my readers in my weekly column in the newspaper about the book.

    I'm saying all this, because in the past, I've flown solo, and I didn't have the support when I finished the product. This project is different, I haven't had to beg, steal or borrow. People see the worth of this work and have come along side to help. I truly believe the Holy Spirit is on this work, and the body of Christ is functioning as it should.

    I couldn't have done it without all the people who have come along side, So I guess I could say I am a collaborator.
    Just a tip. If you are collaborating, you have to have a teachable spirit, you have to trust those who know more than you do. I've had some big alpha dogs working on this book, I've learned when to let them rip it to shreds and when to stand. It is working like the Body of Christ is supposed to work.

    I'm hitting the button on today, and it is going to press. It will be printed within the next ten days and will be out there as a work I am most proud of, and I can't take the credit. Look for it, Spirit of the Red Candle, journal of Mary Magdalene, by Betty Slade.
    Keep up the good work Paul. I'm one of your followers

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