Thursday, November 21, 2013

St. Louis photographer bypasses the platform because he can [Platform is where the heart is]

Corey Woodruff wants to buy a building.

Wait. Let me back up.

Corey Woodruff has been an active and genuine part of the St. Louis photography, music and general-good-goings-on-about-town scene for quite some time. He's one of those people who creates and collaborates by nature, and he saw a chance to create a space that both supported his business and his desire to support and be a part of the creative scene in St. Louis. The manifestation of that natural and genuine desire is to take advantage of an opportunity to "purchase, preserve and convert a historic building into an incredible studio space."

Sounds like the perfect setup for a Kickstarter or an Indiegogo campaign, right? Totally. Or, sounds like something someone with the means and/or the right connections just mentions at happy hour and then makes happen. But Corey's executing on the perfect middle ground.

Corey put together a simple page on his photography site, explaining his goal and his plans to fund it by pre-selling photography sessions for 2014 at a deep discount. After about a day, he's 15% of his way toward his goal of $20,000.

Clients ask me about crowdfunding all the time, but usually at two polar extremes: "magic pill" or "obviously useless." The "magic pill" version is the version where no matter the relevancy, context or quality of the project, crowdfunding is an automatic guarantee of full funding a tons of new exposure. The "totally useless" scenario is the version where despite the relevancy, context or quality of the project, they feel as though they can get just as much funding and new exposure on their own site as they could on a crowdfunding platform.

You'll notice the theme here: a skipping over of the relevancy, context and quality of the project.

Let's look at Corey's project. His project is the next step in his career. In his photography business, his musicianship, his support of general-good-goings-on-about-town. He has an existing network of friends, colleagues, bandmates, past and present clients, etc. who naturally want to see that happen. Because he's a nice, genuine and talented guy. His product (photography) is at the center of his fundraising effort. He's offering a quality product in exchange for money he'd get for that product anyway, but because he's got a time sensitive goal, he's concentrating the ask and offering a discount. He's not asking for a donation or a hand out. He's offering a tangible good.

He doesn't need a crowdfunding platform to frame his story and his effort. His business is one that relies heavily on referral as it stands, so the idea of people spreading the word of a) an opportunity to receive a quality product at a discount; b) support someone with whom they've had a good experience and/or c) just see something cool happen in St. Louis done by someone they trust is a natural.

Crowdfunding platforms are there to give a larger stage and set of tools to projects that might connect with someone on impact or need alone (regardless of relationship) and need to reach beyond their organization or individual's immediate circle to succeed. And setting that up for success has everything to do with the, wait for it... relevancy, context and quality of the project. That is the starting point.

Turns out that Corey's run two successful Kickstarter campaigns in the past (for much smaller amounts). Beyond the logistical differences (no platform fees and eliminating the all-or-nothing framework), he said that while in his Kickstarter campaigns most of his supporters were connected to him, so far in this effort the majority of the participants are people he doesn't know. He said he's gotten about 3-times more shares and reposts than his regular posts. I hypothesize that the referral is both easier to make and has a stronger impact here because the exchange is more "real." They are buying a service, not "donating" to someone's campaign. I know that I choose carefully what campaigns I recommend, but recommending a good service at a discount that also supports something I'm behind?  - no brainer.

To me this is a perfect illustration of the fact that crowdfunding is not a platform. It's a community act, centered around the relevancy, context and quality of a project to a said community - be that community geographical, idealogical or virtual.

Tools are just that: tools. You have to have a good sense of your project, your end goal, and your community in order to decide which tool is best. Because, really, you can make a platform out of two popsicle sticks and some glue if everything else is in place.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Humans of New York raises 7K in 15 minutes [Ok, now he's just showing off]

Those following along at home know that the New York-based photoblog and virtual community Humans of New York is a rockstar at crowd funding and my musings on why. But for those new to the discussion here's a primer:

Here's my summation of the core of why it happens:
"Real communities and real relationships have immeasurable value. They are built, not bought, and consistently delivering an honest, interesting and genuine product is a surefire way to build them. And if you've built them honestly, they will gladly and swiftly activate on issues in line with the health and survival of the community."
And now I would add "genuine whim" to the list of things on which to activate the community. Because yesterday, he approached the ridiculous (in the most beautiful way):

He met a kid in the park. He learned his story (he was obsessed with horses and selling cowboy-themed items to raise money toward buying a horse). He decided to help the kid's dream come true. He figured out a realistic way to achieve said dream. He threw up an Indiegogo campaign. He raised 7K in 15 minutes. 

Seven thousand dollars in fifteen minutes for a total stranger from total strangers who are also total strangers with the original total stranger. 

As of this writing, the campaign is just shy of 30K with 15 hours to go. The excess money is designated to go to a New York City-based organization dedicated to providing riding lessons for children with disabilities.

If anything can make it clear that at the core this is about community, relationships, consistency and transparency, this demonstration does it. Because, really. Really. 

PS: This demonstration also supports my opinion that if your core community and ask is right, the perks matter NOT. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

KDHX does a Kickstarter slam dunk [Now THAT'S how you do crowd funding]

On July 9th, the St. Louis-based independent radio station/media organization KDHX 88.1 FM launched a Kickstarter campaign for $50,000 to complete the performance space portion of their new building. With the exception of some gaming-related Kickstarter campaigns, this was the largest Kickstarter attempted in St. Louis to date.  This morning, they passed their goal.

Here are 5 things that I think made this campaign a shoo-in (which, if you want to see it, I called the day they announced it in a timestamped email - I'm not just jumping on the bandwagon here :))

  1. The have a well defined existing and active community. They are, by definition a community. KDHX content is created by volunteers. People passionate enough to donate their time for something they believe in. And their content is music, arts and entertainment, products which have fans, people passionately connected. 
  2. Their community is digitally savvy. They are a radio station as much a digital property. Their website and social channels are robust, well used/followed and well integrated. 
  3. They articulated their project clearly and tied it in succinctly with everything that they are. They are in the process of completing a move to a new building, huge undertaking, but they focused the project on the stage. The public part. The part that those supporting it would get to use. Their campaign video articulated why they are different, why they are valuable, what they add to the landscape of St. Louis and its music scene. 
  4. They treated it like a campaign. It had a strategy. It had commercials. It had a PR effort. It wasn't just a daily drone of "donate now!" it was a conversation, it was fun, it had an event, it had commercials - it gave its advocates something to engage with and tools to engage others in their behalf. 
  5. They partnered. For prizes, commercial appearances, events and shout outs, they called upon some of their community to be part of the DNA of the project. 
There's been a lot of whining and complaining about crowd funding as of late as celebrities turn to these platforms to fund their projects. In my opinion that whining and complaining misses the point, which is that these platforms aren't one-way entitlement machines, they facilitate a conversation and engage communities and individuals around the making of things. It's not enough to just throw your project up, expecting the platform to be some magic pill. 

Because, really, the platform is merely a tool. A tool to leverage and expand on something and someones who are already and primed to be connected to your project. And that is where KDHX hit a massive home run. Congrats!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

May the "Accidental Racist" be an accidental tipping point [We've got to go somewhere from here]

[cross posted on St. Louis Beacon]

Brad Paisley released a song featuring LL Cool J.

The song is called "Accidental Racist" (off of Paisley's new album, Wheelhouse).

The internet has exploded.

This USA Today article sums up the breadth of reactions: The blogosphere has declared the Brad Paisley/LL Cool J song a major misstep. But is it really? (summation: "worst song ever" to "people feel it's a really good song")

You can probably continue reading and get some of what I'm about to say without doing so, but if you plan to really absorb, do these things first:
  1. Listen to the song here
  2. Read this critique of it here.
  3. For extra and seemingly but not at all unrelated credit, check out this.
For the past month I've been thinking a good deal about how much horrible we have heaped on each other as humans. It all came to a head for me because I wanted take-off and landing reading for a trip and I grabbed the copy of Haunted Alton that had been collecting dust on my bedside table since I bought it on a whim out of the dollar bin when the Borders in Edwardsville went out of business what - 2 years ago? The book starts out with a history of the Riverbend region. A history of massacres and mob violence and indifference and compromise and physical hatred and the Underground Railroad and the birth of the industrial railroad and sunken printing presses and imprisoned soldiers and on and on all on the same soil. Eye to eye and hand to hand. And I thought to myself, "how could we possibly ever expect to heal from that? Ever? No wonder we all harbor so much 'ugh' toward so many others. That is too much. It is just too much."

At 30,000 feet (amazing how radical your thoughts can get so separate from the earth - does this happen to anyone else?) I started to think about a Reset Button. What if we could hit Reset and stop carrying the pain and the guilt of all of the blood that came before us? If it's healing that must come before truly moving forward and the healing is insurmountable this many generations later, can we toss a "get out of jail free" card in the name of an opportunity at shared progress? How differently would we approach problem solving? Would we prioritize different aspects of conflict? Would we see potential solutions that were previously clouded with "ugh?"

After this flash of insanity/brilliance, the immediate thought was how my sister was going to kill me. My sister studies, teaches and does this work actively in literal and figurative communities for a living. And she is ridiculously good at it (her and her). For, oh, the past 10 years, she and I have had an ongoing debate about institution versus individual. Which we've actually graduated to be about a discussion of "both and" as opposed to "either or." But it's still a debate. And I knew, to her, this thought strand would seem a cop out. Being a-historical. Letting everyone off the hook.

But today, hearing the "Accidental Racist" song and reading as many reactions as I had time to absorb, I was back to this idea of a Reset. Because, really, here's the thing:
  1. I agree with everything that Lesley Kinzel lays out in her piece. Which is awesome and very smartly put together and also hilarious(ly sad and depressing). 
  2. At the same time, I know that there are people with whom this song truly resonates and opens a door.
  3. In order to truly make any headway, we have to get as many people as possible into the conversation.
Simultaneous truths. Both and.

But the critiques and the reactions to the song do not leave room at the table for both and.

Lesley Kinzel says (emphasis mine):
"But it’s not just a dumb song. The fact that this can be recorded and put out there in 2013 speaks volumes about how far we have to go. On the upside, the disgust and indignation with which it has been met also says something about how far we’ve come. Nevertheless, a lot of road still stretches out before us. This is not helping. Yes, we need to have better conversations. But the first step in those conversations is listening to the voices that are least heard. This isn't you, Accidental Racist."
The fact that this can be recorded and put out there in 2013 speaks volumes about where we really are in 2013. The fact that this song can be decided upon by two major celebrities from two very different sections of the celebrity sphere, make it to the recording studio, then all the hands who touch a song from inception to pressing hear it, and then it actually goes out into the public - this, to me? Says the reality we are actually living and breathing in is very different from the one we think we are having any sort of impact on with our "discussions." And by "we" I mean activists, progressives, conversationalists with our panels and our roundtables and our session and our blogs and our marches and our workshops.

People are in a really different place than "we" are. Most people. So many that on day 2, "Accidental Racist" is the 22nd most downloaded country song (60 overall) on iTunes (at $1.29 a pop) and Wheelhouse is the 4th (and the Deluxe version is 6th - so really probably #1) most downloaded album. This is the world we live in. A world where this song is progress. Let that sink in. Strip away all of your opinions and learning and conversation skills and truths and let. that. sink. in. There are people who would articulate a goal of healing and diversity and "no hate" that would call this song progress. Do not deny them their reality, their opinion in the same way you would press upon them yours. Let that idea sink in. Is "our" definition of progress and healing and "no hate" so different that we are willing to kick all of those people to the curb? Not even invite them in for an iced latte and an opportunity for one of our highly reasoned conversations?

Dear people having The Conversation: perhaps we are talking to ourselves. There are a ton of people who have no idea what we are saying (think Charlie Brown's teacher). How else does "Accidental Racist" make it to release? It's the wake up call of "if, then" statements. How can a conversation about inclusion discount this many people? At some point, don't we have to meet them where they are?

And who are "we" to strip away the truth that Brad and LL laid down on their track? That is their truth. It's where they are. Giving them a bunch of academia and history and reasoning doesn't change where they, the people, are coming from. Both and.

When I talk about the Reset Button I am not being ignorant, wishing anyone to get off being ignorant or promoting feigned ignorance as a tool. I'm talking about it as an exercise. A framework. This is heavy stuff. It is layered. It is charged. It is polarizing even in its attempts to do the opposite. This is a culture of avoidance. Of dependency, obesity, overindulgence, denial, coping mechanisms. We don't, as a collective group, face reality, facts or hard truths. So on this issue, one we all agree is so broken and so core, why do we demand what we find unattainable in every other arena? And demand it to even start a conversation?

This conversation - the conversation about race, inclusion, our collective history - is broken. And if we can't see that in all the pieces that make up "Accidental Racist," if we haven't seen it in any of the many public disconnects we've had just in 2013, then I'm not sure where to start. Or I'm sure we need a new start. Because, really, we've got to go somewhere from here.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Digital Strategy is basically your gut on metrics [It really is that simple]

Last week we launched the first official music video for Brian Owens, a St. Louis-based American soul artists with whom I've been working on digital strategy since last fall. As I wrote back then, we started working together because he was running into the traditional music industry tendency to package and promote him as their turnkey definition of "urban" and/or "hip hop." Given that the song in the video is essentially about having sex all night, based on Song of Solomon, and the video uses his actual wife (5 months pregnant) and (3) kids, you can see how he fits no standard definition of anything.

And that, is repeatedly shown as his key engagement point.

Like your standard artist Facebook page, there are posts about performances, recording, touring, etc. But on Brian's page, there are also daily bible verses, comments and photos of his kids, and the occasional testimony about how much he loves his wife. These kinds of posts, repeatedly, outperform everything.

So our strategy? Lean in, as authentically as possible, to who Brian is. Look at who and how people are engaging with it. Find more of them. Do more. Stay authentic. Oh, and right, and keep delivering a quality product.

Brian on why he chose the song for his first video:
"I like this song because for me it approaches the subject in way that is consistent with my view of sex as an expression of something much greater and deeper between my wife than just the physical. It’s a spiritual picture. A beautiful mystery. It’s dope in a heavenly sense!" 
(Yes, he said "dope in a heavenly sense.")

In the first conversation with the director on what Brian wanted to video to be:
"I want to show what it is like to have an affair with my wife."
On why he used his real family in the video:
"...the story of [the song] cannot exclude such a vital part of what [it] is about. I could not imagine not having my family and especially my wife in a video that is depicts such an intimate part of who we are"
[More on Brian's thoughts on the video here, director's notes here, and thoughts from his wife on being in it here.]

And the result? A tribute to who Brian is and what he loves about his family, in the package of a high quality expertly performed music video. That, oh, by the way, his fans loved.

Our goal in the launch strategy was maximum shares and views. To use the engagement point as a tool for fans to introduce the music to new potential fans. We used the Facebook event platform to create an opt-in and direct connection environment (events send notifications to everyone "invited" unless they opt-out, as opposed to regular timeline posts which may or may not even show up passively in a fan's feed), as well as to put a focused time around the promotion. We invited fans and people in our personal networks specifically asking them to join us in launching the video by interacting and sharing the content. For three days we pushed out "pre-release" content to the event page - re-purposing photos from the video shoot day and attaching commentary from Brian, his wife and the director about the concept and approach to the video (to the tune of what I highlighted above) and posting two behind the scenes teaser videos (here and here).

In the end, the video launched with 1,549 views in the first week, outperforming every other thing he's ever put on his YouTube channel by thousands of percentage points. The posts with commentary from his wife or about his family outperformed the rest of the pre-launch content by far. We had two posts of the finished video on his Facebook page - one promoted and one not. The promoted one clearly reached more people but had 1% interaction, while the organic one had 7% interaction. And the paid post only brought us an additional 4 shares (25 total, more than anything he's ever put in his Facebook page by far).

Are these huge metrics in the general sense? Not the question. Did these efforts significantly move the needle from our previous digital baseline? In a huge way. And we were able to reinforce and put metrics around what we already knew - that it's not Brian the musician, the performer, the singer that leads, it's Brian the person. As multifaceted and non-conformist as he might seem. 

Because, really, what breaks a traditional marketing machine's brain is essentially digital media gold.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Community is community is community [In case you still think it's all about the internet]

As I wrote back in November when Humans of New York raised $72K in 12 hours,

"Real communities and real relationships have immeasurable value. They are built, not bought, and consistently delivering an honest, interesting and genuine product is a surefire way to build them. And if you've built them honestly, they will gladly and swiftly activate on issues in line with the health and survival of the community."

(And in case you thought that was a fluke, he did it again last month when he raised $100K+ in 72 hours.)

I wrote about how agencies and consultants add "phenomena" like these to their arsenals of "the power of social media" and how that totally misses the point. This is not about technology, this is about community.

What's happening in my hometown of Edwardsville, IL right now is a heartwarming and sterling example.

Last Friday afternoon, Happy Up, Inc., owner of two specialty toy stores in Edwardsville, IL and Clayton, MO respectively, posted to their Facebook page that the bank had called their loan. Within an hour, a Facebook group had been created by customers sad to see the store in jeopardy (as of now it has over 4,100 members). On Saturday, some Edwardsville residents and parents with media, marketing and legal skills who knew the owners approached them to find out the details and consider how a community campaign might be able to help. On Sunday, the owners posted a message to the community (this is a pdf) articulating more detail, that these are hard times for many and they were uncomfortable asking for financial help, but expressing their appreciation to the community for the outpouring of support now and over the past 26 years. On Monday evening, the group of concerned parents and community members launched a crowdfunding campaign with a goal of $76,875. By Tuesday night, the pledges topped $25,000.

Yesterday, the media blitz kicked in - organized and executed by community professionals. Small businesses in and connected to Edwardsville started offering a percentage of sales toward the effort. The campaign organizer gave directions on what to tweet and post so the message was consistent and leveraged the interworkings of social media. As of this morning the pledges are up to over $48,000 with a day to go.

So, looking at this from a community and digital crowdfunding standpoint, here's the thing that sticks out the most to me: The Humans of New York "population" is 595,320. The population of Edwardsville, IL is 24,293. Take the percentage of that population active on social networks and the comparison gets even more poignant (the Happy Up Facebook page has a mere 697 "likes"). The average HONY gift on their last effort was $33 and the current average on the Happy Up campaign is $84. My point? This comparison between two community-driven examples drives even further home the point that this is about real people and community, not about social media, technology or the internet.

This is a brick and mortar small business, where people have touched real product, had real conversations and held their children's birthday parties (I've known the current store owner since preschool). The bank that called the loan is made up of people who live in the same community with the people who started the campaign and everything has been done with consideration of that fact. The owners have been clear that this campaign won't "save" the store but give it a chance to save itself.  The organizers didn't use either of the go-to buzz sites for crowd-funding projects and causes (Kickstarter or Indiegogo), but simply a tool to get the job done (CrowdTilt, which is more geared toward shared purchasing and payments).

Real communities and networks drive action. The internet and social platforms offer the opportunity to leverage (and yes, sometimes even be a spark for) those communities and networks, to extend the reach of a message, to ease logistics, to support and leverage success into more action. But at the core of the most successful and high impact stories is community - whether physical, geographical, psychological, emotional. Real people.

Because, really, in the end, technology is merely a tool.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

When the n-word overshadows the rest of the discussion [He said what?]

So, yesterday, this happened.

Read the article before responding (even in your head) to anything I write below, but in short, some Sigma Alpha Epsilon hazing at Washington University in St. Louis went on that included singing a song regularly heard on the radio but it happened in a public space in the company of some people who could be offended by the language in said song. The "language" was the n-word.

I wrote the below in a Facebook thread about it, and my intent was to break down the different elements at play - not to side one way or another (that is a whole other blog post) or downplay the feelings of any of the individuals involved.

This incident has very quickly become black and white (no pun intended) and I think it's important to hold onto the ability to see all the pieces at play. These are the pieces I see:

1) It seems pretty clear these Freshmen were carrying out a hazing activity, not intended to be about anything but hazing and bonding of the students. I believe hazing is supposed to not be happening.

2) One of the many hazing activities included some mainstream songs that contain a bevvy of words and ideas that could be offensive to a number of groups of people in various ways. But that anyone who listens to popular music has heard repeatedly - in these tunes and many many more. Whether or not this is an issue, I would say, is akin to the blowback from the passive offensive nature of the Oscars, etc.

3) Some black students happened to be in the public space where the hazing went down. Would I personally sing a song in a public space that degraded someone different than me with whom I was sharing the space? No. (How many of us have experienced that very uncomfortable karaoke night moment?) I consider myself pretty aware. I know that many consider this common sense, but some people really do grow up and exist in a bubble where they have never had to consider these things (I'm generally willing to give one strike, at least - I know some consider me generous). This, to me, is a discussion about the degree of PCness we should or shouldn't have in our society. Also a discussion of intent versus impact - or, as well as impact.

4) This incident contains a ton of elements usually present in conflicts that happen around discrimination. But it doesn't seem to be an incident of active and intentional discrimination (though this is up to debate and continued investigation, which Washington University is doing - see #3). We, in society are quick and fast to see these elements and go on the attack. This is steeped in many things, most of all, history. But to me, it feels like this one has been jumped on in a pretty unfair way. If we Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton every incident with these elements, we run the risk - in my opinion - of being treated (some would say even more so than we already are) as though we are crying wolf. I feel like we have to be able to have discussions along the continuum.

5) The use of the N-word. Taking all of the other points above into account, I think that ultimately, if it's continued to be put out there, we should not be surprised that it comes back to us in various unintended or "unapproved" formats. Again, taking all of the other points above into account, there is still a conversation to be had about the personal responsibility of choosing to use it and when - or the capacity to understand the landscape of that choice - or even see it as a choice. In my opinion, not being surprised is separate from not having the right to be offended.

Friday, January 4, 2013

First 5 Rally STL ideas go to budgeting [and the crowd said sports!]

Rally Saint Louis has announced the first set of crowd-voted ideas to move on to the budgeting stage. The 5 ideas to move forward were the ones to receive the most votes on the Rally website over the past month. The Rally team will now look at the logistics and potential or necessary partners for the top vote getters, set budgets, then put them back out to the public for funding. Ideas that did not make it into the top 5 will remain on the site and continue to accumulate votes.

Some of the reaction has been, well, typical St. Louis reaction. Actually, let's reframe this: typical human reaction. "Those ideas are too unwieldy" "who's gonna run them when they are done?" and, my favorite, "three out of 5 of these ideas are sports related - really? we need more sports?"

No, literally, I laughed out loud about that as I typed that. Here is why:

1. This is a sports town. So, given that this was an open, institutionally funded initiative, promoted through traditional channels and open to public vote, this should not be surprising. What should be surprising, perhaps, is that there was nothing to do with the Cardinals in the top 5. The people told us what we already knew.

2. This was never put forth as a platform for solving St. Louis's problems. This platform is called "Rally" St. Louis, not "fix" St. Louis. So maybe we do not need more sports, but that was not the point of this. Actually, I think when you look closely at the details of the sports related ideas, they contain elements that will address issues facing St. Louis.

3. This is my favorite. The top vote getter, a good 500+ votes ahead of the closest idea, is for organic urban farming. Hello. This flies in the face of every sweeping generalization you hear about St. Louis. It is the opposite of the Cardinals. This is what everyone should be talking about. The general traditionally reached public in St. Louis gave the most votes to a progressive, urban-centric sustainability initiative. That speaks volumes.

So let's reframe this, y'all. Because, really, the mere fact that such an idea was the top vote-getter in this specific process tells me that St. Louis has moved far beyond step 1 of becoming a city of the future. Let's get our self image caught up.

Related: A look at St. Louis-based crowd funding initiatives.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Opt-in is not just for email [Yes and also yes]

If you've ever been in a room with me when direct email is discussed (which, shockingly, is actually not a small number of people), you have likely heard my opinion on one-to-one email: Opt-in, opt-in, opt-in. Give me one person who asked me to send them something over one person unsubscribing, reporting me as spam, or emailing me directly to manually deal with their confusion. Bottom line and resource suck of dealing with confused frustrated people and/or, g-d forbid, getting your domain blocked aside, an opt-ed in connection, over time, has a much higher probability of converting. Yes, I could spray and pray, but I could also take the same resources and focus on people who've actually asked to talk to me.

Lately I've been thinking about how the opt-in concept translates to, well, everything else. How much more can we get done if we're at the table with people who've genuinely chosen to be there? How likely is it for one of my sons to do something I need him to do if I can find a way for him to opt-in to it? How much better is my energy spent sharing ideas with people who say "yes and also yes" as opposed to "that will never happen?"

I've been trying to use the flip side of that as a gauge. In any situation, has everyone opted into the same thing? Can I tease it out enough to get everyone opted in to the same thing? If not, where is my energy best spent?

Because, really, getting spam is annoying. If I can realizing when I'm spamming others, everyone wins.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Clean slate [This just in: Every day is a new day]

I am as appreciative as the next person for the huge collective and symbolic turning-of-the-page available to one and all with the ringing in of a new year. There's nothing more concrete than throwing away a calendar chock full of the past 12 months and putting up something fresh, new and ready for anything. I get it.

The past year for me - or, for a ton of people, if my Facebook feed is any indication - has been about working to take ownership of my world. Or maybe more accurately, take responsibility for how I choose to react to all the things in the world over which I have no control. And put out as much functional and positive energy as I can muster. And take advantage of every opportunity for growth that comes my way. So as we participate in the ritual of a new year, I find myself thinking about why we need such a large collective symbol in order to express this much enthusiasm for a new day.

Because, really, shouldn't every day be greeting with such promise?