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In addition to this, our main Udacity blog, we also have a Medium publication. It’s been a wonderful second platform for us, and it has afforded us the opportunity to share so many more stories with so many more readers—something we’re very grateful for.
Writing on Medium provides an author with many ways to gauge the efficacy and resonance of their prose. There are of course traditional analytics such as views, minutes read, and visitor counts. But while these numbers are certainly valuable, it is often more instructive—and more powerful—to look to comparatively unconventional “metrics” such as highlighted quotes for insight. The words people elect to highlight can tell you an awful lot about where and how you’re striking a chord with your readers. We took a look back at some recent Udacity posts on Medium to find out what readers were highlighting; here are some of the items we discovered:
This line was highlighted from an article about the relationships between success & self-confidence:
“This is how skills can start the wheel of success and self-confidence turning.”
From the same article, another reader highlighted this line:
“Learning skills comes first. After that, success and self-confidence naturally follow.”
In an article about becoming a “super-innovator,” the following was the most highlighted quote:
“The next generation of super-innovators are not going to pioneer a single technology. Instead, they’re going to find ways to mash up the already mind-expanding potential of one technology, to further extend what another technology can achieve.”
Not all highlighted quotes originate with us, of course. One of the great privileges of writing on Medium is the opportunity to share insights from great thinkers across so many fields. It’s especially gratifying to see those insights resonating with Udacity readers. For example, in a recent article about UX Design (and why sociologists make great designers!), the following was singled out and highlighted (the quote is by Whitney Hess):
“Left unchecked, technology turns people into proxies. That’s why it’s so crucial that we integrate empathy and compassion into the design process.”
One of our most popular recent Medium posts is entitled What Is A Full Stack Web Developer, And Why Should I Become One?, and it also happens to be one of our most highlighted articles. Two quotes in particular proved especially resonant:
“Ultimately, what distinguishes a successful Full Stack Web Developer is not a superhuman ability to do everything, but rather, to understand everything.”
“A full-stack developer has all the keys to the house — there is no door that you cannot open.”
The second of these comes from a fantastic article written by Eric An on the CareerFoundry blog.
On Motivation, Inspiration, and Aspiration
What can we take away from reviewing the quotes that people choose to highlight? In simplest form, I think it’s that we’re all looking for—and are moved when we find—those words that take us beyond motivation, beyond inspiration, to the realm of aspiration.
These three concepts are quite different, though obviously related. Motivation gives one a reason to do something—do this, and you’ll get that. Inspiration helps you to believe you CAN do it—this person did it, you can do it too. Aspiration is something a little different. Aspiration speaks to the IDEA of achievement. Aspiration is the WHY of achievement. I think ultimately it is this quality of aspiration that renders certain phrases and quotes so resonant, because somehow, these words help us to understand WHY we should do something, and what it means to achieve that goal. Yes, we still need to be motivated, and yes, inspiration can help us stick with it when faced with challenges, but it’s when we connect to aspiration that we come face to face with our deepest reasons for pursuing our goals.
The Best Highlight of Them All!
So all that said, while It’s incredibly heartening and wonderful to see quotes being highlighted by interested and inspired readers, I have to confess that probably my favorite highlight to see is still this one:
(that link was highlighted in an article about 50,000 new Udacity scholarships that Google is funding!)
Thank you for reading! And, if you haven’t done so yet, please check us out on Medium!