Marketers are Bad, Bad People (loooong post)

From Paul Carr’s TechCrunch piece on integrated advertising, especially on Twitter (the piece is wonderfully entitled NSFW: Give Me Ad-Free Conversation or Give Me Death (Please RT):

A tweet isn’t a “piece of content”. It isn’t editorial. No matter whether we’re talking about what we’re having for lunch or suggesting a new movie or sharing a piece of news, what we’re really doing is having a good old-fashioned conversation. Following people on Twitter is like organising the world’s largest cocktail party – we’ve decided who’s opinions we trust, and we’ve invited them to come into our homes and talk to us about things they are genuinely interested in. The moment people start screwing around with that principle, the whole system collapses.

Couldn’t define the current and/or idealized nature of Twitter any better. As marketers (Carr: “What I do is Good and Pure; what they do is Bad and Dirty.” So true) we are faced with a world where any traditional notion of advertising is easily avoided by all smart people and most not-so-smart. So we leverage ourselves into content and “conversations” because people like those. At which point, like an airborne contaminant, we risk ruining that content/conversation experience by rendering it no longer genuine (the word “authentic” is currently in my “social media cuss jar” via which folks in our meetings are fined for egregious buzzword use*).

One answer to this is to leave the conversations alone in order to maintain their authentic real and genuine nature, thus retaining what is currently a quite effective marketing tool.

Over/under on that happening? Thought so.

* Social media cuss jar is combined with Internet jargon cuss jar and includes such words and phrases as “100,000 foot level”, “drill down”, and the execrable “best practices”. You get the picture.

art by Myaku-nya

Same as it ever was.

It’s remarkable to me that the conversations around digital music remain pretty much identical to the conversations we had in 2000, when Napster was supposedly taking over the world.

I showed this Atlantic monthly article by the very smart Charles Mann, which I loved, to someone very close to me who wasn’t around in the Napster days. He said, “Wait…when was this written? It could have been written today.” And he was right.

Talked about this same subject last night (Halloween night) over dinner with ex-Napster colleague Don Dodge and he agreed…when is this conversation going to change?

Is it licensing? It’s not technology.

Maybe it’s simply imagination.

Why Online's Unbeatable; or, why the Grateful Dead legacy has more life than newspapers

Bring Out Your Dead
It’s accepted wisdom by now that newsprint as it has existed for centuries is headed towards extinction. The Web is more immediate; TV seems more personal. But stepping away from the newsroom towards the cultural beat, here’s a lifestyle example of why printed matter cannot compete with the Internet. .
This article, about the vast world of Dead recordings and the band’s living legacy,
is a great story and we enjoyed reading it in our Sunday NYT. A few days later, our friend Channon brought up the article to us. A great story, yes, he said – but the best part? The best part to him was the hundreds of reader photos of Dead shows over the years that had since been submitted to the Times online.
This user-generated photo collection, which amounts to a very personal history of the Dead
, gives context, community, and excitement to the original story. The Times has also made available online audio excerpts and a link to a Dead roundtable moderated by the NYT.
Really, this says it all. The online piece is interactive and multimedia. It is alive, evolves and grows via user interaction. The print piece can only live in its moment, and quickly becomes irrelevant.