There’s a kind of web media theologians’ debate that goes on at the moment over whether brands should ditch their websites and move their web presence to Facebook wholesale.
So far, I have mostly been an advocate of the teeth-sucking “Ooh, you don’t want to do that…” side of the argument. Reasons being control, wider network presence, not wasting attention, lock-in to Facebook as a platform and the openness/future of the web…
Now, I’m not throwing those arguments away, I stand by them in fact. But…
…as well as advising brands on their digital strategy, I am also an author. A time-poor author without his own marketing team, who wants the best for his published book and future books.
I’m busy. Designing a website is a big deal. I can’t create one by myself so this means I’d have to find a company to do it or impose on my friends. A template or canned package would never make me happy, so I’d end up spending mucho time interacting with whoever is building website for me.
For my new book, I am considering going down the same route. I created a website, centred around a blog, for Me and My Web Shadow, but keeping a blog going is hard enough work without creating a second.
A better strategy for me will be to use Facebook for the web presence and continue to focus on posts and pages on my main domain antonymayfield.com.
The Kindle app on the iPad is really working well for me.A feature it took me longer than it should have to become useful though is the preview. Instead of building a pile of business books on my desk which I will only read some of, or stacking them up in Amazon Wishlist, now I order the previews. It sends you the first 25 pages or so of whatever book you like. In workflow terms it kind of works like an Instapaper for browsing books… wonderful. (iBooks does the same thing, but the range of books there is quite limited at the moment – though doubtless it will get better.)
This morning I’ve stashed previews of Charlene Li’s book on leadership and the below book “Superconnect” (about networks of all things)…
Literally and virtually. I’ve had some time going with the flow with my family, for a while doing nothing but that. Wonderful.
Then, as Christmas passed, I switched on read-only mode. I read some literature in single sittings, a rare treat that only comes in holidays (The Road and On Chesil Beach – both wonderful and in their own way good at throwing even this grim present into cheerful relief, and making one do a Pollyanna blessings audit).
One other book – a personal favourite and major influence on my thinking – The Origin of Wealth pulled me back to its pages too. There was a chapter toward the end about the political and social consequences of the rise of Complexity Economics that made me shiver. It felt so absolutely aligned with the Us Now, Here Comes Everyone
Then, ever so gently, I eased myself back into the rushing river of RSS…
Now the lights are flickering back on. The only thing stopping me from writing is that there’s so much I want to write. So we’ll start with this, mainly because it is there and it’s making me smile – from a post called The Business Leader 2009: Chief Meaning Officer, by Tim Leberecht on design mind:
Consumption-driven wealth and status are being replaced by identity, belonging, and a strong desire to contribute and do something “meaningful” rather than just acquire things. Trust and reputation are no longer enablers for the exchange of goods, services, and information, they are replacing them. Values are the new value. Meaning is succeeding experience and customer satisfaction. “The job of leadership today is not just to make money. It’s to make meaning,” writes management consultant John Hagel. Out: Bottom-line-pragmatists and financial wizards. In: philosophers and ethicists.
It goes on to talk about “brands to transform themselves into arbiters of meaning” and
essence instead of luxury, free sharing instead of monetized scarcity, radical transparency instead of brand control, authenticity instead of image, empathy instead of focus groups, conversations instead of messaging, collaboration instead of dissemination.
Wonderful, although I admit I felt uncomfortable as I read the “arbiter” bit. Was this going too far? Were we drifting the wrong side of the Hicks-line that so torments many a marketing apparatchik’s conscience?
Well not really – everyone in the network’s an arbiter of meaning, to the extent that they choose to be. As long as we’re not getting lost and saying that brands are *the* arbiters of meaning, I think we’re OK.
A brand is like that thing we all started reminding ourselves of about “viral marketing”: an outcome, not a strategy. We’d be better off thinking about earning reputation than designing brands.
Anyway, now more than ever, revolution is in the air. Not the moneyed, dew-eyed hippy, let’s-all-get-along kind of revolution that 2004 – 2007 felt like. This is the real, tear-down-the-temples, raise-the-barricades, all-or-nothing stuff.
Umair Haque‘s ongoing commentary and provocations around the financial crisis continue to fuel a sense that now is the time to advance not to retreat. I feel almost a sense of duty, a moral imperative not to play safe, not to retreat and wait for the good old times to return.
They won’t and they shouldn’t.
We’ll continue to live with the severe consequences of the lies and venal mass delusions of this last boom through this year – but then comes reconstruction. And the planning and the genesis of that reconstruction start now, have started already.
It’s a time for boldness not for retreat.
I’m really looking forward to this year, even if it hurts. Good fortune to us all…
: : While looking for some images to break up the text of this ramble (think of it as a warm-up at the start of a cold year), I see that The Road is coming out as a movie this year.
The book, the text is so potent I left it lying on the kitchen table for a while like a smoking gun and just stared at it. It was so powerful it left me dazed…
The film’s starring Vigo Mortensen and is directed by John Hillcoat, so at least it’s got good pedigree and a chance of being as good as it can be. Make sure you read the book before you even see a trailer….