By: Chuck Frey
Seth Godin published his latest book, We Are All Weird, today. In it, he explains how the web has evolved into an amplifier of creativity.
Seth Godin published his latest book, We Are All Weird, today. I picked it up in the Kindle format, and skimmed through it on my PC. As usual, it’s a mixture of stories and observations, with plenty of his declarations of What It All Means.
The book celebrates the growing trend toward people following their own interests, versus doing what mass media and Madison Avenue tell us we should do. The web makes it easy for us to connect with like-minded folks around the world who share our unique viewpoints, backgrounds and obsessions.
As this trend has gained strength, the web has quickly become an amplifier for creativity within these “tribes” of like-minded people. Godin cites “a rapid increase in the pace of creative development. Jokes and memes and images and inventions and ideas spread faster and farther than ever before, gaining both speed and valuable edits as they travel. And then they come back to us, braining connection and support with them.”
“Creation is amplified by the Internet. It enables us to reach out to tribes who share our unique brand of weirdness. Anyone, anywhere can publish to the web. Our tribes serve “as a mirror and amplifier, furthering your interests and encouraging you to push ever further.”
That’s been my experience lately. I’ve been following a group of photographers on Google+ who are very good at high dynamic range (HDR) photography, a technique where you take multiple shots of the same scene at different exposures, and then “sandwich” them together with special software that picks the right pixels from each image. The result is a stunning image with a big range of color, from light to dark, that far exceeds what a digital camera’s sensor could ever record – and which is closer to the dynamic range of our eyes.
Thanks to this digital photography “tribe,” I have figured out how to do HDR photography. One of the members recommended a relatively inexpensive piece of software and a workflow that anyone can follow. He also has an e-course that goes into much more detail, which I intend to purchase as soon as I have a bit of spare time.
These excellent photographers share freely of their images and their expertise, answering questions from myself and others who are following them. The end result is that this tribe has pushed me to do HDR photography, something I knew about but which had seemed a bit mysterious until the tribe demystified it for me.
They’ve definitely been encouraging me “to push even further.” I think this is going on today in many different fields of interest. Godin’s goal with this new book is to shed light on this trend, and let us know that it’s OK to make a choice and pursue the offbeat things that we’re passionate about. By extension, he’s legitimizing the practice of creative, out-of-the-box thinking and looking beyond the norm.
Godin also encourages marketers, who are deeply scripted in mass communication tactics, to embrace these new splinters of interest or “tribes,” to meet them where they are and to cater to their unique needs, rather than trying to cram a one-size-fits-all product down their throats. Think the Scion automobile (built by Toyota), which is designed to be “modded” by its owners to make a unique statement.
We Are All Weird is worth the US$8 it costs to download and skim it. I can’t wholeheartedly endorse it, because it’s just a bit too scattershot for my tastes. It’s as if Godin slammed together a bunch of blog posts into a book. There’s a lot of somewhat interesting stuff, loosely joined. But it’s not what you would call a prescriptive book (“Here’s what’s changing, and here’s what you should do in response.”).
In a way, Godin is embracing the very ethos he’s writing about, letting each reader come to their own conclusions and interpretations of his work.