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Understanding Passion: Guest post on DigitalSport.com.au

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 I’ve just returned home from another classic Aussie road trip, full of blaring rock anthems sung at full blast, whilst doubling our body weight with nutritious morsels plucked from the roadhouse bain marie.

Needless to say, when you are away with friends for any length of time, stories are shared and embellished until the truth can barely be remembered. But on an interstate road trip, somewhere between hours 3 and 5, the dashboard becomes a confessional and out come the ripping yarns only reserved for those lucky enough to be housed within the same steel carcass.

Great stories + Shareability = Social Media.

All this discussion around the steering wheel campfire got me thinking about how much we humans love story telling. And how lucky I count myself to be in the business of telling great stories. Because at it’s heart, social media is exactly that, a democratised platform, designed by humans to rapidly share the best stories.

Throughout history, people have spent their lives discussing everything from the finer points of French history to Buddy Franklin’s freaky deaky kicking style. But to me, it’s the stories between the major events that really matter. Whether it’s the story of a self made billionaire starting his computer empire from a garage in California or personal anecdotes detailing a recent (and rather traumatic) addition to your collection of tribal tattoos, the stories we tell define us by highlighting the parts of life we are most passionate about.

Growing up in an outer suburban household, my life revolved around three things; skateboarding, music and girls. Moving from NSW to Victoria made it easy for me to blame my crappy kicking on a state that didn’t know better as I slipped into my angry teens. Besides three gloriously bone-crushing State Of Origin matches, music was my language, helping me tell stories bigger and more fantastic than anything I believed came from a session of after-school basketball.

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The dogs are barking.

The big change came when I moved from the suburbs to the city. In Year 11, my best friend and I made a pact in which I promised to expand his live music experience from hip hop to Nirvana and he swore to help me see the point of AFL. And see it I did, through the eyes of his die-hard Western Bulldog fanatic family, complete with home made sandwiches and diet coke in hand. My brain went into overdrive, as the crowd roared “Deliberate!” and I mistakenly joined in with a defiant “On Purpose!”.

The passion. The strangled yelps of disgust as the umpires made yet another decision that seemed to confuse lifelong fans as much as a newcomer like myself. The exquisite skill and the mind-numbing mistakes. I was immediately swallowed up by the collective atmosphere and I was hooked for life.

Now all I needed was a career that allowed this kind of excitement all the time.

®evolution.

The question I am most often asked as a digital marketer is “What just happened?”

The answer is, people happened. Except most companies were so caught up enjoying the fruits of old school broadcast media interrupting our favourite shows that they failed to remember what it’s like to BE A HUMAN. Because humans like telling, sharing and amplifying stories. Because real humans don’t care if your stock price plummets, they only care if you are making them happy and giving them something worth talking about. That’s all we have ever wanted, but now we’ve got a way of spreading these stories with lighting speed so if you’re still boring you better get out of the way.

These days, I make my living by helping people connect with brands. This is invariably done by spending time with an organization, asking some them tough questions about who, what and why they exist. More importantly, by asking them why the hell anyone would care about what they have to say, especially in the highly democratised environments of Facebook, Twitter and whatever comes next.

So if you are in the business of gaining more eyeballs or ear drums (this means absolutely everyone, even if you don’t know what you’re selling quite yet), do us all a favour and go to a Grand Final. Hopefully, when you wake up the next day, the following equation will be abundantly clear.

Humans + Sport x Stories = : ) 
If you want to say something worth listening to, get passionate about ANYTHING.
If you want to understand passion… Buy a scarf and a ticket.

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Originally posted on the brilliant digitalsport.com.au