For all us history buffs and Ben Franklin afficianados, I’d like to share this wonderful post by Dawud Miracle.
What Ben Franklin Knew About Social Media
written on February 4, 2008 by Dawud Miracle
Benjamin Franklin was a blogger, without a doubt.
He may not have had a computer to share his thoughts, nor the internet to spread them, but he did have a printing press where he printed regular installments of Poor Richard’s Almanack.
Ben Franklin was known to have a sharp and witty mind and a love of things social. He loved to share his thoughts on any number of subjects. He loved to stir the pot and he loved debate.
Think of any bloggers like that?
So Ben Franklin was a blogger before there was blogging. But don’t just take my word for it. All the evidence can be found in his own words:
Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few;
friend to one; enemy to none.
Isn’t that how blogging works? You want to be an open door to all, have conversations with those who engage you in the comment box, and become familiar with people who are interested in building relationships. Further, you’ll find a small group who will become like friends. And for all, let none become your enemy. Sound advice for any blogger.
And while Ben Franklin was a bit hot-headed and stubborn in his time, he nonetheless offers great advice on dealing with the negativity we social media-types sometimes face:
Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain.
And most fools do.
He that blows the coals in quarrels that he has nothing to do with,
has no right to complain if the sparks fly in his face.
He that would live in peace and at ease, must not speak
all he knows nor judge all he sees.
He was a staunch proponent of finding what was interesting to himself and others and adding what was valuable to your readers lives:
If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten,
either write something worth reading or do things worth the writing.
And he knew so well that people couldn’t be convinced of anything unless they cared.
If you would persuade,
you must appeal to interest rather than intellect.
What’s more, he knew that people did not want to be lectured too. Rather, they need to be engaged and included in the conversation:
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember.
Involve me and I learn.
Ben Franklin clearly understood that writing a solid, interesting blog post took research:
An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.
and required time and effort:
He that can have patience can have what he will.
Energy and persistence conquer all things.
and that that hard work would eventually pay off:
Employ thy time well, if thou meanest to get leisure.
He even had advice for probloggers and those who wish to make money from their blogs; offering sound advice for remaining in balance between making money and keeping readers:
He that is of the opinion money will do everything
may well be suspected of doing everything for money.
Overall, what Ben Franklin reminds us is that if we have some perspective that’s uniquely ours to share with the world – do it! And don’t let your fears get in the way:
Hide not your talents, they for use were made.
What’s a sun-dial in the shade?
But perhaps the best advice of all is the advice that Mr. Franklin offered us for living our lives:
Dost thou love life?
Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.
Do any of Ben Franklins thoughts touch a chord in you about your blogging? How? And how could his advice change the way you look at social media?