I've read a flurry of great posts and articles in the last few days, and with too much going on in my life I've been too busy to note it all down here. So in true lazy-blogger fashion, here's a scattered round-up or some recent things that I've been meaning to get to:
- A new weblog I came across, Culturemaking makes some interesting observations on comedians and cultural relevance. Brands can learn a lot from them, something I've always believed in (and I think that DJs share some things in common here: they're both amateur demographers figuring out ways to be interesting and relevant).
in that their whole profession/act is based on cultural relevance and constant reinvention. Their attention to news/media issues, societal tensions and cultural norms is second to none – putting most marketers, planners and cultural researchers to shame. And as one critic pointed out, their ability to talk about high brow subjects in a low brow manner, and vice versa, is often a core part of their stand up strategy - an effective way of 'doing interesting"
- It looks like there's a little bit of rift opening up in the design community, instigated by some comments made by Bruce Nussbaum; to me it sounds quite a lot like the "is blogging killing planning debate".
"Thinking" (making it up?) versus "Craft Skills"; sound familiar?
Whatever side you're on, it's clear that this divide will continue to grow, for planners, designers and any others in areas that are radically changing.
Still with Mr. Nussbaum, here are some comments he made on the craft trend worth noting:
We may be on the verge of one of the most creative periods in history. In a way, it is a return to craft. When tools and clothes and houses were all designed and made singly and individually, they were uniquely special. Mass production and the industrial age ended much of that.
Now, thanks to web 2.0 and other technologies such as fab labs, we may be returning to an era of craft as we begin to do our own designing and manufacturing again. Companies who provide us with the tools to create and participate WITH us in making them are going to make a lot of dough in the future.
Somewhat related to this is the blurring of the lines between amateur and professionals, or the "cult of the amateur" as this new book puts it. Sounds interesting, I'll have to pick it up. But how awfully alarmist. The book description from Amazon:
In today’s self-broadcasting culture, where amateurism is celebrated and anyone with an opinion, however ill-informed, can publish a blog, post a video on YouTube, or change an entry on Wikipedia, the distinction between trained expert and uninformed amateur becomes dangerously blurred. When anonymous bloggers and videographers, unconstrained by professional standards or editorial filters, can alter the public debate and manipulate public opinion, truth becomes a commodity to be bought, sold, packaged, and reinvented.
- I sure Web 2.0 zealots will be quick to dismiss Mr. Keen (and sometimes I'm one of those zealots). It's easy to defend the democratization of creativity, but until I read the book, I'll reserve judgement. From the perspective of the world I come from (music), I often think that important parts of culture are being eroded with the avalanche of user-generated content and disposable creativity. This is still something I struggle with, so I won't get into here, but I look forward to reading the book for a fresh take on things.
- I was thinking of "knowledge communities" when I was talking to a colleague about Transmedia Planning and Henry Jenkins, and came across some good examples: Faris points to a PS3 launch campaign that has some fine Transmedia elements. Good stuff, and while on the subject of gaming consoles, have a look at this Flickr based fan-group (tagged "Mii Madness") collecting images of user-generated Wii avatars. A new creative cottage industry, spawned by the genius of Nintendo's Wii, and definitely a kind of knowledge community made possible by digital technology and amateur creativity. Maybe Andrew Keen should think about this before being so snappy about the end of the world. (See, told you it was easy to dis the man).
Plenty more, but the grandparents will kill me if I don't get the kids there soon. More later. (Oh oh, Twitter is infecting my posts).