Seth Godin defines emotional labour as "the act of connecting to another human being and making a change even if it’s not easy for you to do in that moment". Through the use of social media sites, connecting with people all over the world is easier than ever; so why don't more people do it? I think, or rather I used to think, that it was annoying or irritating because making these connections seemed to be one more thing to add to my ever growing 'To Do List'. I would make excuses like, "Do other people really want to hear what I have to say? I only know so much, I don't have a lot to offer."
The fact of the matter is Yes, if you are interested in something chances are there is someone else out there who is interested too; it really is a small world when you think about it. Once you start a relationship with that person, they may mention you to a friend, who might pass your information to a friend, who tells their mother, who passes it to her barber, who tells... well I think you get it. Soon enough you've made this giant web of people all interested in the same thing, information gets thread though-out and the thing you started so as to teach/inform others has now become a source of learning for yourself.
The best part about this is IT'S FREE! You loose nothing more than a small portion of your day and you gain attention form a business stand point, knowledge for personal growth, and relationships with people you may have never met any other way.Technology was created to make life easier, not to become a chore.
As I learn this way of thinking and perspective I know that I need to make a conscious effort to branch-out and find people with similar interests as me. Previously the only reason I used the internet was to check-up and family and friends on Facebook, Google Image search for reference material, hotmail for emails, etc. But the internet is so much more than that; it's a world to be discovered. I grew up with the internet and still I've only crossed the threshold of its vast realm of opportunity.
One site that I have become accustomed to using is morguefile.com. This is a site that offers FREE stock photo images. The people who contribute to this site clearly don't do so for the fame or fortune, but rather because they love taking remarkable photos. Perhaps more than that, they love that other people appreciate their talent and want to use their photos. Seth Godin would describe this as being part of a "gift culture". The give and take of photos has made this site my go-to whenever I need quality reference material or stock-photos. It's because of this relationship that I pass fellow designers along to this site for their stock photo needs. Here is an example of that 'web of interest' being created again.
Another site I find I go to a lot is thinkexist.com. I love putting meaning into my art, occasionally I keep it to myself, but I usually let it be know. An easy way to get inspired is through the words of the great minds of the past. This sight has an enormous database of quotes from thousands of people throughout history and they cover a vast range of topics. Once again this sight is free! I sometimes think that 'I'm too tired to be creative, or to draw', but I don't think I'd ever have the energy or interest to search through decades upon centuries of quotes from people and put them in an online database, and certainly not for free. But someone did! Someone pulled there resources and their energies together, and did the intense labour that I didn't want to do but benefit from so much.
Still another site I go to for inspiration or simply personal interest, is AZ Lyrics. Music plays a huge role in my life, and in the lives of many people. I rarely am without my favourite iTunes playlists playing in the background of whatever I'm doing. Whether it's drawing, writing, cooking, whatever -- there's music. As a result meanings or themes of the music I listen too, perhaps the feelings generated by a song, often creep into my art and to focus these things I take a look at the lyrics using this fantastic, free database site.
To the creators and contributors of these sites, I thank you and applaud you!
What I'm trying to say, in this long winded post, is that you should do the work you love -- even if you don't feel like doing it today. Share it! Someone, somewhere will appreciate that you did, and I truly believe that what goes around comes around. This small attempt at making a change because of something you love will result in good 99.9% of the time.