last night I went and had a good dig into the blog led by Dr. Michael Wesch
I was intrigued initially by his amazing films first sparked by The machine is Us/ing us
This topic is widely discussed on his blog posting. Wesch writes
In face-to-face communication events we carefully assess the context of the interaction in order to decide how we will act, what we will say, and how we might try to construct and present ourselves. As Erving Goffman has demonstrated, we continuously and often unconsciously take note of the physical surroundings, the people present, and the overall tone and temper of the scene among many other things (1959). As social beings, we have become remarkably adept at sizing up such situations, often performing herculean social calculations almost unconsciously in the micro-second gaps of conversation or even occasionally in a more conscious and deliberate manner even as the conversation continues to buzz along. When engaged in social interaction, a person is not only evaluating the situation, but also his own self and how it fits into the situation. Such evaluation is necessary for the person to engage in the conversation effectively.
Wesch then moves onto our increasing relationship with the webcam
Through it we can reach out to a next door neighbor or across the world ? to people we love, people we want to love, or people we don?t even know ? to share something deep or something trivial, something serious or something funny, to strive for fame or to simply connect. That seemingly innocuous and insignificant glass dot is the eyes of the world and the future.
and narrowing in on his theme of context collapse,
The problem is not lack of context. It is context collapse: an infinite number of contexts collapsing upon one another into that single moment of recording. The images, actions, and words captured by the lens at any moment can be transported to anywhere on the planet and preserved (the performer must assume) for all time. The little glass lens becomes the gateway to a blackhole sucking all of time and space ? virtually all possible contexts ? in upon itself.
As we have often written here, without context there can be no meaning and without meaning there can be no meaningful communication.
Howard Rheingold writes
The vast repository of information available online has changed forever our certainty about authority.
As such, the locus of responsibility for determining the accuracy of texts has shifted from the publisher to the reader.
So, the ability to be critical, and to ask the right questions is a key skill in terms of media literacy
And this is exactly what Wesch and his students are doing. In fact, reflecting on this as I sit in a Cambridge coffee shop – the depth of the discussion, and the comprehension of the needs of identity in relation to context and meaning is profound and necessary.
And what has that got to do with marketing and comunication? Well – it has everything to do with it.
Because this is the world of No Straight Lines – this world that Wesch describes so beautifully and and engagingly is not linear, process driven or structured in any form that we can recognise. Its – grassroots and immediate, with time and place playing no role at all.
I also mused on the use of language that Wesch describes in his Library of Congress presentation. Of course we have the those that fear our culture and language is being torn asunder.
Yet – on the other hand its a great leveller. Language and accent are deeply intertwined with otherness and class and therefore belonging.
This evolving democratisation of languages are signifyers of sameness – Crossing points if you will towards mutual understanding.
The rush into trying to make sense of social media within the framework of commercial marketing activity requires a deep understanding of the subject from a multiple perspectives viewpoint. The lens is Kaleidoscopic. Hence my interest in Wesch and his students and they way they are being taught.
Using the tools that have become ubiquitous to Generation C suggests much in the way we could be working and making stuff.
The discussion on the comments to Context Collapse is rich in terms of the ideas it explores. And I would suggest that marketers that want to understand how to really use the concepts of Engagement Marketing get a handle on such topics.
I still see a very real disconnect on what inventory is generated as commercial communication in this world of Flows.
Dave Cushman wrote a very engaging piece The great disruption of social networks reaches its tipping point which accompanies this very well.
Say the word advertising and people will imagine
and so on. I think these are but the furniture of advertising.
Robin Good has made a great post on the Brand Ambassador
The brand ambassador is an advertising model that leverages the authority and credibility of online personalities to create a powerful direct marketing strategy. A respected followed authority, a blogger or small publisher targeting a specific audience niche can be a much more effective vehicle for marketing communication that the most expensive advertising campaign.
Robin also believes
We have been using traditional mass communication marketing approaches for so long, it is very hard to start thinking and acting in new ways. Most companies simply innovate their marketing approach by superimposing the facade of new direct marketing approaches to their traditional communication strategy. They open a blog, a web site, but they smell as fake or more than they did before.
A great deal of Robins theory is based upon flows of trust and connectivity. Just look at the mountain of negative equity US Airways gets All started when I wrote a simple open letter to US Airways CEO Doug Parker.
Further we looked at Reputation: the growing importance of trust in our digital world and in What does the company of the future look like?
We mentioned John Hagel
The job of leadership today is not just to make money. Its to make meaning
Some interesting thoughts from The imperatives of the link economy
1. All content must be transparent: open on the web with permanent links so it can receive links. It?s not content until it?s linked.
2. The recipient of links is the party responsible for monetizing the audience they bring. In the old content-economy model of syndication, the creator sells content to another and the one who syndicates has to come up with the ad or circulation revenue sufficient to pay for it. Now in the link economy, it?s reversed: When you get traffic, you need to figure out how to benefit from it. As Doc Searls said at the event: this is a shift from ?making money with? to ?making money because.?
3. Links are a key to efficiency. In other words: Do what you do best and link to the rest.
4. There are opportunities to add value atop the link layer. This is where one can find business opportunities: by managing abundance rather than the old model of managing scarcity. The market needs help finding the good stuff; that curation is a business opportunity. There is also an opportunity to add context (here are lots of links about Darfur but here is a page that will explain what they mean). There is also a need to add reporting and new content and information atop a link ecology. There is a need to create infrastructure for linking (full disclosure: I am involved with two companies trying to do this ? Daylife and Publish2). There is a crying need for advertising infrastructure and networks to help the recipients of links monetize them
Throughout the modern age we have subordinated the interests of people to those of technology, an approach that has led to the unthinkable destruction of traditional cultures and the undermining of forms of life that we judges once, to be backward… we believed that the assembly line and standardization would make the world a better place, yet along with efficiency came a dehumanization of work.
The loss to ordinary people of so many recreations and festivities is simply incalcuable
She argues that festival is not made for the people but by the people, and that in fact we poured ourselves with great passion and energy into the planning of festivities – festivity she argues is a social good worth fighting for.
But what on earth has festivity got to do with Social Networking? or the world of We Media – simple if we pause to think about it.
The laws of the growth of digital communities and social networks are about self-organisation, grass roots and participation – where we derive personal and collective joy – in a variety of ways.
Yesterday I was at MoMo in New York to hear a panelist pronounce that Facebook had captured the “social networking space” with one or two others – As in job done. Christ, no wonder people are struggling to find models to monetise in this space.
This is what really gets me – such a frenzy around social networks yet few really seem to have taken the trouble to really understand what underpins all this activity?
People are social animals with an innate need to connect and collaborate – the mass media, and the mass society does not accommodate these principal needs. The logic and philosophy is different. Shoehorning a mass media approach into such a different ecology just wont work.
And yet again social networks will be monetised via advertising $$$ – well no.
Its a hybrid model – where successful markets are created out of knowledge and information exchange, commerce and entertainment and so it has always been thus.
The repression of festivity, or the notion of collective joy is a byproduct of a calvinistic approach to capitalism, we defer gratification for discipline. Which means – people are using the digital environment to get back to some of that good shit – doing stuff that makes them happy, makes them feel they are in control and and contributing to a process.
Thackara argues that understanding why things change – and reflecting on how they should change are not separate issues.
The city fire department is on the cutting edge of Web 2.0, the new wave of innovation that has moved the internet away from the static screen and helped turn it into a dynamic, world-wide community. Exhibit A for the LAFD – the Twitter feed. Every time fire trucks roll or rescue helicopters fly in the city, details of the emergency go out on Twitter.
The message of this ?4 screens? ad is compelling, but is it accurate? Are mobile devices permitting us as a society to connect in more personal ways that foster a greater sense of community and togetherness?
I think the answer to this question is a qualified yes, because our new senses of community are different from the historical version. While historical communities were geographically defined as well as limited, the extended learning community of which I am a part is ideologically defined (defined by ideas) and geographically untethered.
Writes Wesley Fryer
And this is also a powerful talk from Chris Abani
Curiously, Clay Shirky gave this speech on my Birthday.
There is a great deal of overlap in what we have to say and Clay’s message