By the end of this post, it’ll be clear why I’m mentioning these three people together:
Fred Wilson wrote a post about Eventful’s Demand It! feature which allows fans to demand events, concerts, etc. come to their area. If there’s enough demand, the act plays the area. Pretty neat way to cure market inefficiencies (why play a half empty venue in Kansas City if you can play 3 sold out nights at a comparable venue in Hartford?).
Killer line at the end of the post (emphasis mine):
With the Facebook IPO on everyone’s mind, the topic du jour seems to be valuations, revenues, and profits. But the most impactful thing about social media is not the dollar value of these platforms, it is the people power of them.
That’s it. That’s what this whole thing is about. The power of networks is in the people.
My friend, Rishi, is an entrepreneur and founder of utellit. Rishi hates how impersonal the web has become. He hates how bland Facebook wishes for a happy birthday dominate the day. Rishi has a fantastic voice that he uses well. He’s hilarious. He thinks we should hear each other’s voices more, so he created utellit – which allows people to record audio messages for friends and share them via social networks. It’s a fantastic product.
Darin is a great guy. He had a wonderful idea earlier this year of videotaping all of his wife’s friends/family singing Happy Birthday and then splicing the clips together into a fun video for her birthday. It turned out amazingly well and was a great gift – something more permanent in a digital age. And something that can be done because (luckily) most of us had access to cameras on our smartphones.
My wife’s birthday was this past Monday and I stole from both Darin and Rishi in order to make myself look good – this theft allowed me to see the power of Fred’s statement firsthand.
I decided to set up a tumblr site where friends/family could submit whatever they wanted to wish Niki a happy birthday. It was a neat experiment. Tumblr is very easy to use, it supports a variety of different media easily, and I was interested to see how people would respond. Some people are very familiar with creating content for the web, for others it is something new.
I gave people very little direction but was really amazed at what came back – homemade rap videos, animated GIFs, interview-style posts, lip-sync screencasts, songs, recordings, pictures, craft projects shared digitally. It was really amazing.
Most of all I wanted to make something that was different and personal. So much of our communication is impersonal nowadays, even for big events. It seems like we’ve traded intimacy for reach (we get more messages from more people, but they probably mean less).
I showed the site to Niki on her birthday and then read Fred Wilson’s comment yesterday and it really resonated with me. The fact is that all of this technology is only as worthwhile as the people using it. Social isn’t a technology – it’s a behavior. And it’s one deep-seeded in all of us. But with all the noise around the latest gadgets and toys, we can lose track of how powerful and fun these tools can be.
I’m glad I was able to see that first hand recently.
- A lot of people have started to do this. Aziz Ansari said he’d play a show in whichever city had the most Facebook fans. I think Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations chose to film in a particular location because they realized that they had a significant amount of Facebook fans there. This would be a great system for Live Nation to work with artists’ managers to schedule dates.↵