Stop Worrying and Love the Future
February 25, 2011
The final episode in the BMW Doc is now available for your delectation.
You can comment and see the additional content clips, including more of the interview with Chris Anderson, over on the BMWActivate the Future site.
I screened it at NY Viral Meetup last night and people seemed to like it.
I gave my first talk without slides.
It was a whole year ago, watching Clay Shirky at SXSW, that I decided I wanted to be able to give presentations with visual aides.
Don't get me wrong - I love beautiful Keynote slides.
But there is a power to being able to talk for a while without them.
I spoke about 4 things:
1. Viral is a Metaphor
the fact that viral is a metaphor and we should be careful how we use it [you know this]
2. What We Mean by an Audience
Audience is also a metaphor.
In advertising, the metaphor leads us to think of them people out there as anxiously waiting to watch our performance.
But they are not.
Like Victorian children, they are seen and not heard.
But now they have voices.
[You know this.]
The magic of viral was to invert the audience flow - the audience finds and shares the content, instead of us taking it to them.
The implication being that they are out still there somewhere, waiting.
3. Lady Gaga And the Little Monsters
I went to see Lady Gaga night before. She was very impressive.
[She reminds me of Mr Brainwash. In a good way.
They both help themselves, joyously, to handfuls of culture, from within their own mileu and outside it.
Lady Gaga couldn't be more like Madonna and Michael Jackson, in the 80s complete with cone bras, religious iconography, and a thriller like ghoul set. Works brilliantly - in some ways perhaps because she reaches across generations that way.]
She spoke directly to the audience a lot. She calls them Little Monsters.
She offered encouragement and solace to the disaffected and disposesed. She embraced the outsider in everyone - told stories of being bullied at school.
And told every person there they could be her, could be a stage, would be a superstar.
And they LOVE her for it.
Across an incredible spectrum of demographics, ages, genders and sexual orientations, people were dressed up, GAGA'd up, in what would mostly pass as 80s costumes, singing their hearts out to every single word.
And this made me think.
I don't think this audience [not a metaphor] was just there to be found.
I think that Gaga, and the content she creates, and the way she performs her life, created it.
I think perhaps that's what happens.
Great content, great idea, don't find an audience.
They create them.
In the dynamic interplay between content and person, something changes.
And, like fans of a band, or a film, or any fan who incorporates liking something into their idea of who they are, they are made different, and identify with others who feel similarly.
4. BMW Documentaries
I'm obviously not going to compare the cultural impact of Gaga to the BMW Documentaries.
But, especially in this last film, I hope that the kind of audience, community, mindset, we hoped to help germinate into existence, comes through.