Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Jonathan's Card: charity for the middle class or nice gesture?

I pegged my editorial calendar to write about Jonathan's Card when I first heard about it. Then, when the effervescent idea got shut down I didn't delete the 'assignment,' I merely pushed it out.

It popped up again. I drifted over to the URL I had saved to tug me into a pithy paragraph or two and re-read the post on spydergrrl on the web: Social Media Lessons From Jonathan's Card: The 6 Things He Did Right.

I was struck by the idea that a Pay it Forward card at Starbucks is like charity for the middle class.

In order to know about it you had to have Internet access. In order to take advantage of it you needed a smartphone. Truly, the people in that category can afford their own coffee.

The guy who scammed the program and led to the shut-down was gaming the system. He was likely the middle-class wannabe, right? The almost yuppie who wants to show us all that it can be done 'if you're smart enough' and many of us weren't smart enough to grab that charity java juice in time. Or, we did and reveled in the moment of sipping a free coffee, until the tug on our better judgment coerced us into adding more than our fair share to the card in order to feel middle-class magnanimous.

What does all this prove? For some, that people are basically bad. For others, that one bad apple spoils the whole bunch. For me, that if you have an idea, do it before you decide it's not such a great idea afterall.

Do it before you talk yourself out of it.

Do it before you change your mind.

Do it just because you thought of it and thought it was a good idea at least once.

I've found if I get a thought and act, I feel better, I work better, I write better. If I have a great idea and am slow to take action I hear the nagging ping of guilt. "You should have done that" or "you should have done that sooner." It drips like rain off the gutter of guilt.

Before long it's too late, has no meaning, and feels like a missed opportunity.

It's like a car door you forgot to lock before your cell phone, radar detector and Kindle got stolen. Next thing you know, you're kicked out of middle class straight into middle-of-the-road memory loss.

It's like a thank you card you forgot to write. For a limited time frame it will make the other person feel good. Thereafter it becomes the after thought, or you become the thoughtless.

Seize your idea. Draft it. Do it.

Tell me what happens.

I'll buy the coffee.

Check out our other post:
Fav quotes of the week and maybe too much coffee