When my grandfather first saw the picture of Philadelphia at night on my blog he told me that it was an exceedingly nice picture. He offered to make a few prints for me. At first I turned him down. I had a conversation with a photographer earlier about the field being saturated with amateurs. But my grandfather explained to me that it was all about marketing. The image wasn’t to be sold, it was to be given. So I let him make the prints.
They were better than I thought they could be. The resolution isn’t bad for a cell phone picture. I was quite happy with the end product. He then helped me to produce a business card and here’s where things get interesting.
“Alright. Now what you have to do is take these and give them out to everyone you pass on the street. I don’t mind making these up, just make something of yourself.”
So, reluctantly, I hit the street.
I started by putting my cards in every little coffee shop that I could find. I didn’t gain the confidence to talk to the passers-by until I stopped in an Indian cuisine restaurant. I asked the woman if I could leave my cards there, but she had a lot to say about my situation. She was very cross that I had left college and explained to me her struggle.
“It took me a long time, but I put myself through undergrad and masters all while taking care of a child.”
“I’m very impressed. You should be proud.”
“I just don’t understand why you’re telling people to DropOut if it’s such a bad thing.”
“Well. My blog isn’t about dropping out, it’s about self-development and education. And dropping out is not a bad thing.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I think you should read my blog.”
Unfortunately she never did comment on my blog, but talking with her gave me the opportunity to express my views openly instead of remaining speechless. After speaking with her I had a better time stopping people and asking them for their input.
It’s mostly nerve wracking. I walk up to people, hand them a card, and tell them that I have a blog. I have no reason to be talking to these people. They don’t know who I am. But they take the cards. They smile and walk away.
There’s a good chance that 99% of people who I talk to will not look at the blog. But my goal with the cards is learning to extend my reach. The goal with the cards is learning how to talk to strangers about myself.
It’s pretty difficult to put myself out there. I run the risk of belittlement or worse: embarrassment. My grandfather says that all of this is marketing, but I’m ready to start feelinging empowered by this concept rather than pitied. It seems as though this is the last step to immersing myself. I am committed to this now.