Followers

Joe McElderry not No 1: how to stop a juggernaut


In a fitting end to Simon Cowell’s four year dominance of the Xmas number ones, this year’s festive pop pick is an expletive-filled polemic against the American military-industrial complex “Killing in the Name”. A man who has always stood with admirable consistency on the law of pop – that sales mean what the public want, and the public knows better than the critics –  was last night skewered on his own petard, significantly outsold by a campaign which in a few weeks gathered almost a million followers.

And what do we learn from this?

Two things.

One: Social media can do extraordinary things. To get a number one hit after appearing on national television every Saturday for three months is really not hard. Yet that old media juggernaut careering down on us was stopped a Facebook campaign started by a couple from Essex and a single live performance on Radio 5.

Two: Ultimately we British are best motivated against things, rather than forthings. The best way to increase democratic participation in the UK would be to ask people to vote against candidates, rather than for them. Can you imagine it? There would be queues around the block, come polling day. (Of course there’s the small problem that the political landscape would be poisoned forever, but you would have participation.)

This, of course, provides tricky lesson for those of us interested in the enviroment – and those of us here at the RSA who prefer an optimistic, positive  approach.

But it does go some way explain why it is so hard to motivate people to action when it comes to issues like climate. Which particular machine are we supposed to be raging against? Try as we might to divide society into the environmentally good and bad, there is no covenient Cowell figure to blame everything on. As Paul Kingsnorth suggests in a comment on a blog post earlier, there is no clear enemy other than ourselves. Though we can rage against our leaders for failing at Copenhagen – and the scale of the failure was immense – few leaders wanted to stick their neck out without a clear mandate from their people – and let’s face it – that clear mandate just isn’t there yet.

Point one though provides at least one clue to how to change that. Social media is not the answer to everything. Maybe the gains it can make in terms of the environmental agenda are only small ones, but if social media campaigns are witty, smart and well-directed they can still do remarkable things.

Thanks to Anne Helmond for the RATM photo.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

#dusa, #tcgcon, #emos and other modern conference paradigms

I think the most stand out thing at the arts service conferences is the buzz around twitter. I allowed for an hour of twitter twitter in my class back in March and I find it all pretty funny. As the target of most contemporary advertising and inventive marketing, and typically an early adopter, I find the fervor more entertaining than anything else. It’s like when I tried to explain the answering machine to my grandmother. 

The feeling I’ve been getting is that the twittachment is somewhat caused by a messianic appeal of a way to reach youth. Somewhere though, the phrase “content is king” got left out. It’s all about the medium and nothing about the message, so that when the medium is the message all you’re saying by using twitter is that you know about twitter. Whether you say something in 140 characters sent out into the ether for all of your casual followers, or you send them a postcard, it doesn’t mean anything unless it means something. 

That is to say, I’m missing the discussion about modeling and alternative revenue streams. It all just sounds like new ways to market the same old thing… like gillette adding a blade to its vibrating razor. The revolutionary thought would be, and I think even going backwards to my idea of “ancient technology” is revolutionary at times, would be to sell an old school straight razor. Between the retro and hardcore cachés and durability in light of disposable disdain, it would be meaningful if not successful. And, when it seems the arts are about losing money for culture, at least as long as we’re attached to our 501(c)3 stati, that might be successful. 

So Theater, Dance, non-profit arts presenters, I ask you: what is your message? Is it that you know how to use a computer and have internet access that you can stick interns on to try and build youthful cache? Or, is it something worth twittering about?

Brief update

This is the first time since back in November/December that we have not posted anything for a couple weeks! I think both Amy and I are taking a spring time break . . . .

Wanted to submit a quick post to let our blog followers know that we have updated our projects page on the ecoartspace website! We realize that the more active we are with the blog, that our website becomes less relevant. So, it is now up to speed. This is an ongoing issue and why we really enjoyed having the blog (as we rely on someone else to update the website).

O’yes NEWSFLASH: our ecoartspace Facebook group reached 1,000 today!!! And, we have added a fan page as well and are posting links daily, like a Twitter feed. Plus, we are also on Twitter. So, if you want quick byte size morsels of information/links, sign up to follow ecoartspace through our fan page on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

Amy will be posting soon on a recent panel she participated on in upstate New York with Jason Middlebrook and I plan to write up a summary of the Rising Tides conference I attend last week here in the Bay Area next.

See our new projects page on the ecoartspace website at http://www.ecoartspace.org/projectsinline.html

There really is an overwhelming amount of activity right now in the world of art and ecology. It has been an exciting Earth Day week.

Go to EcoArtSpace

ecoLOGIC closes Saturday 2/28/2009

Cypress College Gallery Director and artist Paul Paiement states, “the show has been well attended with repeat visitors who actually spend time looking at and asking questions about the installations.” Don’t we love that! In the twenty days the show has been open to the public (those are gallery days open), they estimate that 1,500 visitors have come to see the show (and this is a 2,500 square foot gallery located 30 miles south of downtown LA). We are very please with responses by faculty and administrators who are impressed that the work is not all object based, that there is an architect and landscape designer included, and that the artists are seeking to convey messages and get people to think about the world beyond the art itself.

Many hours have been spent updating the blog for ecoLOGIC during the show with information on related lectures/panels/exhibitions/links and we would like to direct our ecoartspace blog followers to check it out at http://ecologicla.blogspot.com.

If your in Los Angeles this weekend, this is your last chance to see the show.
Go to EcoArtSpace