How do we make the things we put out there (communications, experiences) the start of the process, and not the end of it? How do develop those sparks that lead to further participation, activity and sharing? If you've been reading Faris' recents posts, it's very much about "creating stuff the internet likes" and encouraging the remixing and recombining that leads to sharing. (This could be a record for the number of links to Faris in one post?)
While marketers get very hung up on the fear of "losing control", I am really fascinated with how other media and in particular newspapers are tackling this. Substitute "news" and "content" for "brand" and the parallels are clear. Here is an interesting take on how this thinking is evolving in some circles.
“Networked journalism” means opening up the production process from start to finish - and beyond. It already has the tools: email, mobile-phones, digital cameras, online editing, web-cams, texting, and remote controls. This is channelled through new communication processes like crowd-sourcing, Twitter, YouTube, and wikis as well as blogs and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV).
Networked journalism is a process not a product. The journalist still reports, edits, packages the news. But the process is continually shared. The networked journalist changes from being a gatekeeper who delivers to a facilitator who connects.
It is obviously a huge shift from being authorities and the authors of news PRODUCTS to being nodes in the stream of PROCESS that involves readers and a wider ecosystem. But this is already what has happened with Wikipedia as it has evolved to a living, real time collaborative news source. I guess the point is that these connected ecosystems that facilitate the shaping and reshaping of news/brands/content will emerge whether we like it or not. The question is whether marketers will step up to be the facilitator who connects or not?