Wishing my readers a most Happy Thanksgiving; I’ll be spending mine in Providence, RI with my friends there.
Picked a photo below based on people who follow my Social Media for the Arts page and are posting pictures about Thanksgiving that showed up on Buzzfeed a few days ago.
There’s a lot to be thankful for this year, including health and happiness and included a fair amount of teaching, speaking and getting WebMetricsGuru INC fully launched including work with strategic partners like Dharmabuilt, MavenMagnet, Infinigraph, makebuzz to name a few on a list that I want to grow).
I wanted to share that this year has brought a lot of great people into my life, some new, some older friends that I’ve lately interacted with more, but I’ve really enjoyed the opportunities that have come to me and I’m working on making the most of the cards life has dealt me, to the extent I can.
And I’ll be doing my yearly predictions in a few weeks – but I want to talk about something else today.
JAB, JAB, JAB, RIGHT HOOK by Gary Vaynerchuk – I’m really enjoying @garyvaynerchuk ‘s book
About two months ago I ran into Gary Vaynerchuk at Social Data Week in New York, where he spoke right after @robertscoble. After his talk we discussed having him speak to my Baruch Web Intelligence class (which we’re working on making happen next semester) about his new book on How To Tell Your Story In A Noisy Social World and decided to use his book as one of my textbooks for all my courses over the next year or two, at least.
Decided that regardless of Gary contributing to Baruch Web Intelligence and Rutgers Social Media for The Arts in some way, I liked the book enough that I was going to make a commitment to it, one that I can make because I authored both courses (as well as the Undergraduate version of the Web Intelligence course that is also being offered this Spring).
My Initial Impressions of JJJRH
I’m not done reading the book but here’s my impression over the first couple of days.
As soon as I picked up the book I responded to the book design, the feel, layout, typeface of the pages (not cluttered), larger size and quality, along with book cover; the analogy to boxing is telling and effective for me.
Having a background in Art, and being a museum goer (my first love is painting) I imagine Gary Vaynerchuk occupies a similar place and role Arthur Danto of Social Media Marketing, perhaps Clement Greenberg in that Vaynerchuk is coming up with, what amounts to a “manifesto” on style and substance for various social media platforms that defines their proper and effective use.
It’s something I can very much relate to – if you’re a painter you choose a certain weave of canvas, a certain consistency of oil, colors and some compositions that can work better in certain dimensions than others. The same can be said for photographers who might favor certain motifs, certain lighting, certain views for one thing but not another.
The whole things is terribly exciting to me – defining native aesthetics and form for Instagram vs Twitter vs Facebook vs Google+ is something no one has actually had a significant conversation about from a functional perspective and that’s particularly relevant to my Rutgers students who are mainly Artists, themselves, and not only trying to amplify their voice, but figure out how to “say it” and “where to say it”.
It may even be relevant to the new Creating Viral Media course we’re about to launch at Rutgers (no landing page yet, one coming soon) based on the work we’re doing with Unruly, charting the basis for sharing.
In addition, Gary Vaynerchuk’s focus on Storytelling is very much in line with the current textbook I have chosen for the Rutgers class on Transmedia Storytelling; Transmedia struck me as the right model for my students to integrate their creative leanings with Social Media. Gary’s focus on “Story” augments and amplifies my own belief that storytelling is the fundamental basis of Art.
Without and effective Story, you have nothing, no matter what you think you have.
Getting back to Style -
Such a “style guide” isn’t without precedent – but taking it one step further, any “platform” is going to be designed to encourage very specific behaviors and actions by it’s very structure (as well as spawn several un planned for actions and behaviors, such as what happened with Twitter). It seems reasonable to fully understand the “texture” of a platform, it’s weave, its syntax and lexicon, when you tell your story.
It all comes down to McLuhan’s famous saying “The Medium is The Message“.
Marshall McLuhan is especially relevant because “emerging media” requires some “container” or structure to make it effective – but of course, it can’t be just “any structure” – it has to be specific for the platform and context.
In fact, Gary Vaynerchuk makes correlates effective marketing and storytelling in social media with understanding the best way, the best container, the best approach for that platform.
Of course, that approach is exactly what my students need – it’s what we all need (in order to be more effective).
I’ll have more to say about JJJRH once I have finished it – but as I’m enjoying the book, and learning to think about the platforms themselves through a different “lens”, I don’t think it will take me too long to read through it (though it’s also meant to be a resource guide – something to have on your bookshelf).
Perhaps, I’ll try to encourage Gary to come up with some specific exercises around the chapters – not that such a supplement is actually required (and I can certainly come up with my own), but I imagine, if you have gone as far as to write the book that defines the style of expression needed to succeed with your messages on the dominant social platforms, you might as well close the look and write the assignment and exercise guide to go with it.
I’ll finish off this “Thanksgiving Post” on something that crossed my mind today (actually yesterday, technically).
For a while (perhaps as long as I can remember) I’ve never been comfortable with terms like “target customer”, or even terms like “doing business”, though I use those terms fairly often. What I really would rather think of and use is a “fair exchange of value”. Instead of “target audience” I’d rather think of it a “attuned community” – still preserving the idea of doing business while making it more than business (which it usually is, anyway, if you care about what your doing).
When we can define what we’re doing, what function or role, is valuable, then being rewarded for it such that the exchange satisfies both or all parties is much easier to work with – at least I find it so.
It’s also possible that “value” is subjective and can’t fully be defined, but most people know what “good value” is for them.
Enough for tonight – its Thanksgiving.