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Credit Where Credit is Due

I was sitting here, thinking of what to blog about today, and a song from Ron Hynes came on my iPod. It reminded me of a post I wanted to write, based on an experience I had a couple of weeks back. If you don’t know Ron, you can get a sense of him here – he’s one of Canada’s most iconic songwriters, and in my opinion, a national treasure.

I was so fortunate to see Ron Hynes live at the Yellow Canoe Cafe a couple of weekends ago. It’s a tiny little place, and about 40 of us were treated to a delicious home-cooked meal, and a magnificent performance from this living legend. It was an amazing night.

Ron Hynes has been writing music for many, many years. They call him The Man of 1000 Songs. He has a repertoire that is vast and deep. The songs that Ron writes are of such a high calibre that they are often also sung by other, more well known performers, like Emmylou Harris and Prairie Oyster – and many people don’t even know they are Ron’s tunes. Ron also co-writes a lot of his songs, with lots of different legendary performers, like Murray McLauchlin. His songs are beautiful and simple and reflective of love and life in his home, Newfoundland. On this special night, in that tiny cafe, Ron, of course, performed brilliantly. But he also did something so simple, and really remarkable.

After every song he performed, he told us who he wrote the song with. It was totally his show, and they were totally his songs, from his albums. But he made a point of giving credit where credit was due.

For any of you who have ever written a song (or done anything at a high creative level, for that matter), you know that it’s really hard work. It takes a lot of effort, and if you’re co-writing, it can be even more work. The creators of that work deserve every bit of the credit they are given, and guys like Ron Hynes know it. When he gives that credit at the end of each song, he’s acknowledging the efforts and contribution of the other person, and he’s being grateful for his being able to participate in the creation of something wonderful. This is blatantly clear, every time he strums the last chord of a song, and gives that credit. In that moment, we know that he fully appreciates the opportunity he has had to create something amazing with another songwriter. That makes him a great performer, but moreover, it makes him a great person.

The online world is moving at lightning speed. Information whizzes by us so fast, that we barely have time to react, let alone fully absorb it. And often, we forget about the people who are behind this information. Sure, we retweet things, attributing the post back to the originator. We post the name of the author when we link to their blog post. We give that credit, but are we really paying attention to WHO we are giving credit to, or are we simply tuning that part out, in an effort to spread information as quickly as possible?

As you go through your day today, stop and think for a moment before you blindly hit that retweet button. I challenge you to stop for a minute and, before you comment on a blog post, to go and read the author’s about page. Even if you’ve read it before, go read it again. Then, while you’re reading and sharing, consider the person behind the information. Be grateful for the circumstances that have connected you to them in this space, at this moment.

You might just find that your whole online experience will start to change.

[photo by doug88888]

One Comment

  1. I like your idea regarding reading/re-reading the author’s ‘about’ page in order to keep it personal and real.

    As for retweets with or without comments….

    I have seen too many retweets where the added comment is more about the retweeter than the initial content. Sometimes more is actually less. If in your limited space, where you have way less than 140 characters, and you really don’t have much to add, saying nothing can be a good thing.

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