Friday, June 29, 2012

A Tribute To Nora Ephron

In a little tribute to the endlessly talented Nora Ephron, who passed away this week at the young age of 71, I wanted to write up a post about words. Words and images. Words and images that make us feel things. Things like love, hate, want, anger, jealousy, anxiety and embarrassment. But mostly love.

Nora understood the power of words as she used hers to propel a successful career as a woman, writer, director, author, blogger and more in a world that was not ever quite ready enough for her kind. She climbed into a reporter position at the New York Post in the 60's and rubbed elbows with the likes of John F. Kennedy, Bob Dylan and Gloria Steinem along the way. She took control of her destiny as she ignited the scene of storytelling, news-breaking and magazine writing. She is famous for a few political flare-ups and more than a few box office hits , but I'll let you look those up on your own time. Trust me, her story is one worth reading.

The ironic thing is that Nora was a great writer in a world where writing does not count. It's odd like that, but the great writers of our time have had to do so much more than write in order to really make writing count. We call it a trade, because it certainly is. The trade is that your life is writing and writing becomes your life. A good writer is one that becomes the subject matter they write about. What other profession has you learning new professions every day just so you can paint an image for other people, in hopes that at the end of the day your readers will have an emotional connection with your words? It's a helluva conundrum, but for writer's like Nora, it's worth it.
The cool thing about Nora was that not only was she a great people's writer, but she had insight and vision into what it would take to capture our collective interests now and in the future. While she may have started as a soldier dedicated to the plight of prose, her career eventually catapulted thanks to her understanding of the power of the pose. The image, that is, is where people will make the deepest connection. Nora knew that and she labored her whole life to grow and nurture a satisfying story in order to really connect with her audience; be it in words or as a filmmaker, she always over delivered. Now may she rest in peace.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Love it. Want it. Have it. Hate it. Sold it. Want it Back.

Have you loved anything today?
It's funny how often we "love" things, thanks in part, to social media. The other reason we do it is because we can. And why wouldn't we?  I often talk about love when it comes to social media; how it killed a Facebook plant, how it determined our superbowl marketing dollars and how bad fake love is for real love.  But it's the idea that there is increasing more pressure to show love, or like, or want or whatever, to the rest of the world that interests me. Why? Because at the end of the day, we all want to be loved and all we want is to be loved. It's quite a social conundrum.

And this idea of instant love-want-desire is not a new thing. Who among us does not remember clipping, circling and dog-earing pages of catalogs, back in the day when glossies made their way to our mailbox around October or so, just in time for holiday shopping. Now, we have catalogs, all right, just in a different type of glossy.

Take a look at the Quadrus Widget in the screenshot; it's from a product wiki article that was originally composed in 2006. We were already bastardizing the idea of love for the sake of social media back in the dark ages of 2006. "Love it. Want it. Tag it." was something of a hot topic then and still continues to be a strategic topic when it comes to building engagement around communities. And I don't think that's a bad thing. I just think there is a ton of opportunity to build something better, something more human.

Quite recently I ran into someone I haven't connected with in a long time and we both struggled to get to that place of familiar kinship as we awkwardly exchanged pleasantries. When he recognized a particular product I happened to own, he lunged forward and grabbed my arm, shouting, "I love that! I want one, too!" and we instantly fell into an intimate conversation that dealt less with the product and more with our emotions attached to desire, love, affinity and friendship. It was like no time at all had passed since the last time wa saw each other. It was nice and I look forward to the next time.

And now, here I am, telling all the world about it.