Thursday 19 January 2017

I write: therefore I think

I flatter myself I’m good at Scrabble. So you’ll appreciate why I paused this video of Seth Godin chatting to Tom Peters: those two marketing communications gurus.

Seth used the word ‘metacognition.’

If you know what it means congratulations! But that biggie really threw me.

After a quick visit to wikigoogle land I found out what this logjam of a word means; it’s all to do with thinking about thinking.

Godin and Peters were chatting about the benefits of blogging. ‘Metacognition’ was a benefit in Godin’s eyes because, in writing, not only do we have to think about what we are going to say, but we also structure that thinking further by writing.

Godin illustrates this process by asking the questions that writing might ask of our brain: “How do you force yourself to describe in 3 paragraphs why you did something? How do you respond out loud?”

Wikipedia agrees with him noting, ‘the physical act of writing plays a large part in the development of metacognitive skills (as cited in Gammil, 2006, p. 754).’

The bottom-line – the upside – is that we get better in thinking about our thinking when we write.

A self-serving conclusion would be that bloggers and writers are better thinkers. Can’t see them disagreeing. However, for me the insight of Godin and Peters’ chat is that writing helps structure our thinking better and that we get better at both with practice.

And that’s not a bad asset for a PR to develop. But .. we didn’t need a big word to know that. It’s worth thinking about nonetheless.

P.S. René Descartes famously philosophised ‘cognito ergo sum’ (I think: therefore I am).” We still benefit from his thinking because he took up his quill and wrote this three-worded summary in 1637.

P.P.S. Without quill, 374 years later, Trevor Young has placed on his brilliant new bloghub website resource for bloggers, the video link to the Godin/Peters chat if you’d like to view it.