Curiosity is not Enough

Curiosity alone is not enough to get my attention. If you’re spreading the word about something, marketing anything or just telling your friends—curiosity is not enough.

Now I’ll concede that some level of curiosity is always necessary. But if you’re completely relying on curiosity, it’s going to fail.

Examples:

  • E-mails with vague, generic subject lines like “check this out” or “newsflash.” The sender is hoping curiosity will prompt people to open them. No, it won’t.
  • Twitter posts that link to articles and give vague explanations, like “This is so cool,” “I can’t believe this,” or “Interesting”. Tell me what’s so cool, interesting or unbelievable.
  • Direct mail that comes in plain, unmarked envelopes. They’re trying to trick you into opening it, appealing to curiosity. But instead I open it to make sure it’s not a bill and then recycle it. Immediately.

What’s most frightening about relying on curiosity is that it begins to border on deception. If your message itself isn’t enough to get my attention and you have to rely on curiosity, I can’t help but wonder if you’re trying to trick me.

It reminds me of Guy Kawasaki’s comment in defending his Alltop auto-tweets that each one is intentionally different so they’re harder to spot as auto-tweets. That’s deception, Guy. Lame.

If you’ve really got something worth sharing, don’t rely on curiosity to intrigue me. And don’t even think about deception. Just let the idea stand on its own. Otherwise it’s not worth sharing. Be specific, be up front and let the content speak for itself.

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