Commanding Chaos for Coworking, Open Source and Creative Communities

Will Your Subscribers Miss You?

Sat, 02/23/2008 - 13:44 -- rprice

Punk Marketing: Get Off Your Ass and Join the Revolution is a super-fantastic book by Richard Laermer and Mark Simmons. I saw it while strolling through the business section at a Books-A-Million and immediately fell in love with the artwork and the aesthetic of the whole book. I'm not exactly the target audience for this book, but considering that most of the media I consume is not about marketing explicitly, it was nice to see so much new millenium marketing material in the same place.

I also downloaded the audio appendix from Audible - Punk Marketing Manifesto: The Arguments (Unabridged) (the Amazon link for this isn't working right now, but I'm including it so I don't have to go back later). Both the book and this audio conversation about the book do a great job of setting up the idea that there is a different kind of marketer in the world: the one who understands that people are smart, who uses his day-to-day experiences to construct messages, who is constantly revising his mission. They even left Article #15 of their manifesto as a fill-in-the-blank for the readers of the book. That makes me feel like I belong to a community because I'm in the punk set now.

Today as I was looking over their recent blogs, I noticed this article about an ad campaign where they told customers the whopper was no longer on the menu, or gave them Big Macs or Wendy's burgers instead, and it got me thinking

New Coke + 22 years = Whopper Freakout
I love the fact they used what happened to Coke in 1985 to create a whopper of an idea, demonstrating in the most entertaining way possible how BK customers really feel about their Whoppers (if you see what I mean).

Even though I haven't had one in months, if went to Burger King and you told me the Whoppers were gone, I'd be moved to start a riot with the people in the dining room. They can't get rid of the Whopper! It's an American institution!

Right?

Then I started thinking about when this happens with media. This is the principle that LOST is built upon - right when you get so attached to the story that there's no possible way you can get to tomorrow without knowing what happens next, they end the episode (and sometimes go on a 5-week hiatus for Christmas, but they fixed that for Season 4). The worst example of this is Joss Whedon's Firely, which we learned to love on DVD, only to find out we could never have any more. It's like ordering an endangered species on the menu of a restaurant.

What about the independent media? Have there been times in my life when I was heartbroken about a podcast's cancellation, or a blogger's retirement?

When Amanda left Rocketboom, it was only a matter of time before my curiosity about "How well can they do this show without her?" was satisfied and I stopped subscribing. When my friend Emily moved to another city, the experience I was so in love with, that of creating media, was taken away from me.

I'm certainly in love with the creation process, but are my readers and listeners and viewers in love with me? Have I given them the ability to properly let me know they are? What would happen if I removed all of the permalinks? Would our lives be different if the moment of serendipity, when you find someone else operating on you wavelength, was stifled?

I'm really wondering what I'm going to do with Blogging Fringe this year. Last May, I was completely ready to dump my pocket change into it and get more entrenched in the Fringe community, try to figure out how to afford touring, make it an international experience. Then my dream swelled a little and I started thinking about schemes that would bring a much broader group into an I-love-this situation not just with a 2-week slice of the year, but with every day in a new city. Since then, Orlando Scene TV has proven the possibility of fanning the flames of someone who already possesses the spark of inspiration.

This is what I learned today - maybe for the second or third time - my content (at least in my estimation) is for those who are looking, not those I am looking for. My goals are often stated like I can show this product to anyone and be so confident in the message or the subject matter that they will have no choice but to fall in love. That's not the kind of media I produce. Maybe that's not the kind any of us are producing.

I'm broke, I've got a job I am in love with that doesn't pay me, I live where I love and I have people I love all around me. But I think I need to deprive myself of a few of these local comforts in order to learn something about myself, or just to find a way to make money.

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