by: Idris Mootee
got quite a few emails responding to my yesterday's post and so I
decided to share the first part of the full presentation here. I hope
you'll enjoy it. Many of the ideas were as a result of my conversations
with thought leaders both academics and industry leaders over the last
six months and they definitely get it. But most big ad agencies folks
I've talked to were so behind the curve that you won't believe it.
Bruce Nussbaum from Business Week wrote a piece in July headlined "Are Big Ad Agencies So Clueless That Corporations Should Avoid Them?", and that is a really good question to ask if you were a client.
Nussbaum wrote: "I've been spending much time with ad agencies
and focus groups lately and can only conclude that--with some
exceptions--they are mostly clueless. Three years ago they had a
traditional knowledge about consumers but didn't know much about social
networking and web 2.0 technology. Today, most of them don't know about
consumers and don't know much about social networking and web 2.0
technology either. Mainstream ad agencies have one refrain--one message
to their corporate clients--do social networking, do social networking,
do social networking."
Earlier this year I was at the MIT Media in Transition
conference, Dr. Thomas Pettitt (University of Southern Denmark) spoke
about Web.20 and the participatory cultures and how they signal the
closing of what he calls "the Gutenberg parenthesis". (Johannes
Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg was a German goldsmith and printer,
who is credited with inventing movable type printing in Europe and mechanical printing globally).
Pettitt's idea is that we are just emerging out of a period dominated
by print in general and the printed monograph (book and magazines).
This process, lasting five hundred years, disrupted the idea of what a work
is and who owns it. In fact, knowledge creation now recalls cultural
norms that prevailed before the advent of printed texts pre-Gutenberg
1440. In oral and folk culture of the Middle ages, practices such as adaptation, appropriation and recombining -
what our modern hip-hop culture calls "sampling" - were not only
accepted but encouraged. The printing press introduced a new order in
knowledge-creation in which individual printed works were held to be
unique, and an author's ownership sacred. How does that compare to the
Media 2.0 movement?
Pettitt said "...[the Gutenberg parenthesis] is a divide which
occurs when cultures change from a primarily oral or hand-copied
tradition to one of reliable, consistent mechanical reproduction. Once
this happened, a privileged reified place was given to the concept of
the complete original text "as the author intended" - rather than
seeing it as an interpreted work. Prior to this transition, works
evolved and changed over time, and the performative aspect was more
important than the accuracy."