Thursday, 21 January 2010

Calling All Slacktivists

Am i an environmentalist because I toss my plastic cup into a blue bin?

Do i care about the homeless issue because I give a loonie to someone begging in downtown Toronto?

And if i click on a join button to support a cause does this actual mean anything?

Apparently, if i think it does, than i just might be a slacktivist. What's that you ask? According to our friends at Wikipedia:

"Slacktivism (sometimes slactivism) is a portmanteau formed out of the words slacker and activism. The word is considered a pejorative term that describes "feel-good" measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it feel satisfaction. The acts also tend to require little personal effort from the slacktivist."

My first experience of using technology for social campaigning, was my friend Jay's efforts with Greenpeace to 'fax the feds'. And one of the reason I've always loved the Web is its accelerated ability to ignite social causes.

This slacktivism thing has gotten me worried. I'm wondering if rather than having the effect of furthering social change, it's actually doing the opposite. It's allowing people to feel like they are doing something when really, they aren't at all. I'm glad everyone is feeling good, but I'm less glad that they aren't thinking more about doing good.

So that's my thought today, think more about DOING good.

Calling all slacktivists to join me....

ps. should i start a Facebook group???

photo credit:

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Story Ecosystems (A Thought In Progress)

Been struggling with the entire story telling metaphor. Partially it's because I've always seen the dynamics of online spaces mirror closer to ecosystems (being networks and all) than linear models.

Maybe there are some ways to merge the two. The truth is as marketers we do create the nucleus of stories (whether that be the creation of a brand, expanded brand, actual communications or even capitalizing on a story that exists and extending that to our brand). The key is to allow for emergence and focus not on managing that story but understanding that we are actually alongside everyone else, we are part of it.

Anyhoodle, don't know where it's going but any thoughts anyone else has would love to hear 'em. :)

Sunday, 3 January 2010

The Right Way Or The Same Way?

My Uncle Benny was an incredibly wise old Rabbi who had a store in the Junction neighborhood of Toronto for a gazillion years. One of his favorite sayings was,

"A cart that pulls in two directions, goes no where. But a cart that pulls in the same direction, goes further faster."

When I think of most large organizations and their marketing efforts, more so than understanding the latest buzz or Social Media phenom, the biggest issue is getting everyone moving in the same direction. Companies are usually organized by verticals often with competing goals from each other.

But customer experience is becoming the marketing proposition and that experience goes across verticals and doesn't much care about your internal issues. Our expectations as customers are that you are going to not only NOT compete with each other, but actually talk to each other and create a seamless experience for us. While it may not be perfect or the 'right' way, at least it will be moving in a consistent and collaborative direction - or as Uncle Benny would say, a cart pulling in the same direction.

And that is my advice for Marketers in 2010 (digital or otherwise). Forget about the bandwagon and think more about the cart and pulling it as a team in the same direction.

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