How to start a movement

I was always grateful to the first few subscribers to my blog, but I have new appreciation for them after watching this 3-minute video on “How to Start a Movement” by Derek Sivers.

In less than three minutes, Sivers describes how a movement develops, from the lone person that starts it all, to the growth of the crowd of followers. He points out that, when a social movement develops, the person that starts it all gets all the credit. But he says the real credit goes to that first follower who stands up with the shirtless dancing guy. Without that first follower, shirtless dancing guy will be a lone nut and stay a lone nut. But with a follower, the shirtless dancing guy leaves behind nuttiness and becomes a leader—the one who started it all.

When I started this blog I felt a little like the shirtless dancing guy. A lone nut. I had something I really wanted to do and something I believed in enough to stand up by myself (metaphorically) and say it. Like the crowd watching the lone nut at the beginning of the three minutes, people around me looked on with raised eyebrows. “What is she on about?” people said.

But then I had my first followers. Friends started to tell me, “I get up on Tuesday morning and I think, ‘Oh good, it’s Tuesday. There’ll be something from Arlene.'” I felt the joy and relief that shirtless dancing guy must have felt when his first follower came up to join him. Less like a lone nut.

I wouldn’t say we’ve reached the tipping point yet, but more and more dancers are coming to join us. We’re discovering together the good faith, the facts and the fun. That’s a movement that I’d like to see grow and grow and grow until all the people who are just looking on realize that they don’t want to just look on anymore. They want to get up and dance and be part of the fun.


About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on March 11, 2011, in good faith, Inspiration and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I am one of your followers that gets up on Tuesday and Friday looking forward to reading what you have posted. Keep it up Arlene, you words are so encouraging and uplifting. I always have a good feeling after reading your blog.

    • I appreciate it. It make it worthwhile when I know that I have regular readers. It’s the incentive to keep on dancing around like a lone nut.

  2. I think you are an amazing writer and enjoy reading your entries. But I do miss you everytime I read them, hmm a catch 22

  3. Howdy:

    I loved that video. It makes me wonder, am I leader or a follower or one of the crowd. Then I realize, essentially, it doesn’t matter as long as you get to dance. Ha! Take care, my friend.

    • We’re probably all a little bit of both leader and follower, depending on the circumstance. But you’re right, as long as we dance when the dancing looks good to us.

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