As ArtPrize opens in Grand Rapids, an actual controversy has finally broken out.
It’s not the usual controversy (ie art snobs being upset that “commoners” are allowed to express opinions on what constitutes “good art). It’s actually controversy over work considered to be obscene. Read more…
As today is Valentine’s Day, I thought it fitting to finally get around to writing about how I romanced my wife into marrying me using social media.
In grad school, I met a bright and vivacious colleague who was always the first person to start up conversations with the room before class started. Fortunately her extroversion overcame the introversion that plagued me throughout my time in school and we became friends. In addition to being funny and kind, she was smart and hard-working which made her an ideal partner for group projects. She also shared my fondness for snark and would sit in the back row with me, actively contributing to the running dialogue about the class (nowadays the kids call this “tweeting”).
After grad school, we kept in touch and remained friends. She always had great insight when I was facing challenges at work, and I was more than happy to come speak to her colleagues about social media and lend a hand in the charitable efforts she was always investing herself in.
Everything always remained friendly and platonic because we were both in long term relationships. At some point both of our relationships ended and created the opportunity for a romantic spark.
The Proposal – Ver. 1.0
I can never do anything the easy way. Like most people who muster up the courage to make a marriage proposal, I wanted it to be as special as the person I was proposing to. I quickly realized this would be impossible, so I tried to think of something 1/10th as special as my future wife. Read more…
Web storage and bandwidth are cheap. The tools for creating a dynamic online presence are easier than ever to use. Updating a Facebook profile or website takes seconds and can be done from virtually anywhere using a smartphone. Everything is disposable – so it’s no big deal to create a web presence specifically for a purpose that has a short shelf life and then move on.
That means you can leap on opportunities to expand your business (whatever it is) as quickly as they arise.
That occurred to me as I ran across a site for custom pedestals crafted by specifically for Artprize by Doug Vandergalien. I don’t know Doug, and I don’t know how long the site has been in operation, but it’s likely something that popped up very quickly and in response to the demand created by Grand Rapids “Artprize” competition.
It’s the same principle behind food vendors with carts; where a restaurant is bound to its geographic location to find demand (and must be proactive in how it selects that spot) – mobile vendors can go directly to the demand (reacting to where the demand congregates).
Can your organization, whatever it may be, be built in a way that can nimbly respond to new opportunities as quickly as they present themselves? If you manufacture boats, can you retool to manufacture wind turbines?
If so – you can get your message out there more readily than ever. In the ruthless meritocracy that the Internet-driven economy has become, a good product and simple message are all you need to reach your audience – and at very little expense.
Another Artprize anecdote: I’ve befriended a couple of really talented Grand Rapidians – Derek Maxfield and Randy Finch of Ice Sculptures, Ltd. One can’t help but love their work and their ethos – so my better half and I offered to help them promote their Artprize entry – a sculpture titled “Frozen in Motion.” A meeting over dinner, a few emails, and I was able to build a site for them (www.frozenartprize.com) in a few hours (and for less than $50):
Mentions in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are nice, but the way you can really tell that Artprize has arrived is that there’s now a site devoted to lampooning the “worst” entries in the “open” art competition.
The blog “Artprize Worst” (and accompanying Twitter account @artprizeworst) appear to have gone up a week ago, and have begun publishing critiques of some of the entries in the 2010 Artprize competition ala Regretsy (parodying the craft ecommerce site Etsy).
I personally think that tributes like this are more important in the era of social media than mass media endorsements. Here’s why: if someone is taking the time to catalog your foibles, it means you’re doing something well enough to not only be noticed. More importantly though, it means your effort reaches a level of quality worth having an opinion on.
That’s the intangible quality that communication professionals thirst for. It’s the reason so many actors long to be parodied on the Simpsons.
Hopefully the site won’t get shut down by legal action; giving a forum to this sort of opinion (which exists whether or not anyone files a cease and desist order) is valuable and can ultimately make the whole experience of an event like Artprize richer. It also gives exposure to works that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.
If I had an entry listed by Artprize Worst – I’d proudly wear that as a badge of honor signifying I was worthy of comment.
We should all be so lucky to have critics.
Last week during a press conference announcing his plan to put a giant waterslide down Lyon St., Rob Bliss was heckled by radio personality (and local ass clown) “Producer Joe” from a ratings-starved local terrestrial radio show. Today I got an invite to join a Facebook group “G.R.A.B.” (Grand Rapids Anti-Bliss). The Grand Rapids Press even stopped to muse about the phenomenon (“Heckling Rob Bliss: Radio station takes it to an art form; online commenters never cease“).
Haters will hate, I guess.
I don’t think I understood why some people succumb to the temptation to hate Rob Bliss until I considered what goes into his events. For example:
- Do you have any idea what kind of red tape nightmare it is to set up a water slide on a public street in a major city?
- Or to raise the money necessary to purchase the world’s largest custom, inflatable water slide?
- Or coordinate thousands of people into a zombified flash mob?
- Or navigate the endless layers of bureaucracy necessary to close down streets, secure an orchestra, and get permission to dump tens of thousands of paper airplanes from city rooftops?
- OR to take on the challenge of any of the above as a 20-something college student?
The thought alone would make most of us recoil in horror.
Not Rob. That’s what separates him from all of the naysayers who deride his events for being simplistic, infantile or unoriginal: they lack the minerals to see their ideas through to fruition. Rob doesn’t. Rather than using him as a screen on which to project all of one’s own shortcomings, he should be an inspiring example to hold oneself to.
Here’s the thing though: Rob doesn’t claim to have been the first (or only) person to have come up with these ideas. If anything, that’s a bit of slothful induction on the part of the media. All Rob has ever asserted is that he likes social experiments and bringing people together. What’s so wrong with that?
So traffic is tied up for a half hour. Big deal. The guy even picks up after himself – coordinating a cleaning crew to pick up the paper planes from his ArtPrize entry (not that they needed to given that overjoyed children picked up most of them trying to collect all of the colors). That’s more than most of the drunken St. Patrick’s day or Pulaski Days revelers can say for themselves. Best of all, Rob frequently incorporates accepting charitable contributions as part of his events.
If you hate Rob and his events – keep it to yourself. Don’t infect the rest of us with the wretched disappointment you have in your own life.
[Corrected] For what it’s worth – here’s a compilation of my livetweeting from Interchange West Michigan‘s February program “ArtPrize: Attracting Worldwide Attention” featuring Ginny Seyferth of Seyferth and Associates (it’s the next best thing to me chewing your food for you!):
- RT @Interchangewmi: Interchange 11:30am-1pm Wed. Feb. 10 – Ginny Seyferth of Seyferth & Associates to talk about promoting ArtPrize: htt …
- Interchange WMI program; the PR behind ArtPrize w/ Ginny Seyferth (@ GVSU University Club) http://4sq.com/6iayEQabout 22 hours ago from foursquare
- At #interchangewmi to watch my former boss Ginny Seyferth talk about the PR behind #ArtPrizeabout 22 hours ago from UberTwitter
- [CORRECTION: Rick DeVos and Bill Holzinger couldn't be @ #interchangewmi b/c [the're ATTENDING TED, not presenting - though they SHOULD be presenting] Go #westmichigan!about 21 hours ago from UberTwitter
- Nearly everyone in the room “#artprized” when asked for show of hands at #interchangewmi (not surprising)about 21 hours ago from UberTwitter
- Social media got a lot of credit for #ArtPrize promotion, but it was launched w/ traditional #PR – the SM followed #interchangewmiabout 21 hours ago from UberTwitter
- #ArtPrize conceptualization process started w/ mining west MI networks of designers, innovators, futurists #interchangewmiabout 21 hours ago from UberTwitter
- #ArtPrize organizers discovered that local art networks quickly stretched globally – rec’d calls from around world w/in hrs#interchangewmiabout 21 hours ago from UberTwitter
- #ArtPrize stats: featured 159 venues and 1,262 artists#interchangewmiabout 21 hours ago from UberTwitter
- #ArtPrize was released in “beta” – audience was active in dialogue from day 1 that structured the entire project #interchangewmiabout 21 hours ago from UberTwitter
- Ginny Seyferth: the #ArtPrize website was the “air traffic controller” for convos b/t artists and venues #interchangewmiabout 21 hours ago from UberTwitter
- Ginny Seyferth: the registration sites for #ArtPrize were treated as focus groups for the experiment as it evolved #interchangewmiabout 21 hours ago from UberTwitter
- #ArtPrize iPhone app was the fastest approved in history: 72 hours (previous fastest was 3 wks) #interchangewmiabout 21 hours ago from UberTwitter
- #ArtPrize embraced critics of populist voting on art and brought them to #GR to have dialogue on experiment#interchangewmi#pr2.0about 21 hours ago from UberTwitter
- #ArtPrize mobile voting prompted convos b/t organizers and wireless providers b/c of increase in new txt users for voting#interchangewmiabout 21 hours ago from UberTwitter
- “#ArtPrize” is now a verb – someone alert Urban Dictionary ;-)#interchangewmiabout 21 hours ago from UberTwitter
- Ginny Seyferth: #ArtPrize started w/ traditional media (local, then regional, then national, then global) #interchangewmiabout 21 hours ago from UberTwitter
- Ginny Seyferth: #ArtPrize #PR incl. updating loc. media round world where competing arists hailed from 2 let them “artprize”#interchangewmiabout 21 hours ago from UberTwitter
- Ginny Seyferth: #PR was voice of consistency in message, sought out voices, preserved brand, forged partnerships, media rel.#interchangewmiabout 21 hours ago from UberTwitter
- Originally #ArtPrize was to create collection of winners, but IRS paperwork held that up – will likely be est. in future #interchangewmiabout 21 hours ago from UberTwitter
- More on my opinion that #ArtPrize was kicked off by #PR (then fueled with social media) – my blog from 9/22/09: http://wp.me/pAjU4-2B about 20 hours ago from Echofon
- http://twitpic.com/12gcck – V. Seyferth #ArtPrize @ #interchangewmiabout 18 hours ago from TwitPic
"...and you shall have no pie."As my parents tell it, when I was an infant my first word wasn't a word - it was an entire sentence. Very little has changed.
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