In essence the question was about whether this social media stuff is art or science or both...
"Applying this debate to social change, I believe it is both part art
and part science, along with some sweat mixed in, buckets of
perseverance, one strong vision, a diverse set of hands and a dash of
luck. And, this is a good thing."
I'd add a key thing here also.... 'timing'. I love what Gladwell has to say on the subject of timing in his Outlier's book - how so much of what has given people the opportunity for success is the luck of being born at the right time in the right place.
And that timing applies to putting a social media idea or practice into place. The Science part to me, is about putting the tools into place, setting up the facebook account or whatever. Then the art or creativity has to jump in.
If you are at the early end of the cycle you can rely on the science part. So and so did this, and I can map out exactly what they did and repeat it and it works. Yeah! Like the first 5 or 50 or 500 people to run a twitter fundraising viral campaign. Super!
But then you are too far into the cycle and it doesn't work so well any more.
This is one of those places where you have to switch hats again. Being creative and then being nimble to run with it.
I've been thinking alot about this in the context of the role of our decision making. I think they are related. I just read Jonah Lehrer's book 'How we Decide'. And while I don't think all his conclusions make complete sense, there is some very interesting things. I highly recommend the read!
For instance, the idea that the 'emotional' brain (which I equate with creativity) is actually the super computer of the brain, able to do enormous amounts of simultanious processing. Its able to look at all the trends on twitter that you've been following, then make what appears to be an 'intuitive' leap to the next big thing. Its the part of the brain that makes decisions, carefully weighing everything that it has learned - mostly completely without our 'awareness'.
It takes so little to get me feeling all warm and fuzzy. What was it today?
I received a little note in my inbox saying I'd been tagged in a video. Huh? What video? How? Who?
Its a greeting from a fellow 1st Fan from the Brooklyn Museum - saying hello to me and a few others from around the country who couldn't be at the May event last Saturday. I've never met her til this greeting, but I was so touched to be thought of. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy. (I said that already.)
But here's the first point: This reaching out makes me feel like part of the community and creates a desire to be more active in the 1stFans - to actually go to Brooklyn - to the Museum! (for more on community - go read or listen to Gladwell talk about the little community, in Pennsylvania where no one every had heart attacks, in his Outliers book.)
Why is this interesting?:
Because at the end of the day, its not about the tools. I know this in my head, but I understand it when I have a visceral experience of it. What is interesting to me is what happens when we just let go and allow our creative spirit to emerge, over and over again.
We can put a video up on YouTube, and so what?
Can we think of 100 creative ways to use a video to build relationships?
Here's a few.... please be more creative then me!!
Give flip cameras to audience before event and ask them to record whatever interests them in 5-15 second chunks. Upload them all to the web and ask people to rate, tag or re-mix them.
Ask audience/ patrons to record a video in 30 seconds or less in which they talk about what they are passionate about and why. (Specifically not about your stuff.) Post it on your U-Tube channel
Have your artists pick one or more of the stories from #2 and post their own 30 second response.
Gladwell and Outliers: 10,000 Hours Gladwell has a new book coming out... about Outliers. One thing these outliers have in common, is that they all put in 10,000 hours - that's 3 hours a day for 9 years - to become exceptional.
The obviously question is, do you have to be an exceptional person, to stay focused to put in that many hours for that many years? Or if we could all put in 10,000 hours focused on something, would we become equally exceptional?
And how are those 10,000 hours spent?
One thing I know from my experience, is that one of the keys is keeping on going ... no matter what. Another is paying attention while we do that. How many times do we have to get whacked on the head by the zen master before we see the light. I think another thing, is that when we spend this much time on something, we begin to trust that we know what we are doing, and don't second guess ourselves. Ultimately, I think we begin to let go, get out of the way, and tap into something bigger.
How does this play out?
Creativity is An Organic Process Here’s one example – it’s the process that interests me...
Brooklyn Museum was doing an exhibit on Graffiti a couple of years ago. So their team brainstormed about what they could do around building community with this exhibit, what kinds of activities and engagements could they undertake. I’m not sure how it all evolved, but this is what they ended up doing.
Built a graffiti wall
in the exhibit space where visitors could 'graffete' to their hearts content
took pictures of the wall over time and posted to Flickr
Collected graffiti examples from visitors
Encouraged people to go around Brooklyn and take pictures of graffiti, join the Flickr group and post their photos.
Created a graffiti app
created a little application on line for people to create graffiti and post to the website.
Where did the exhibit start and where did it end? Who is the artist, Who the participant? Which part is the virtual gallery and which one the real one?
As a colleague recently said,
'Their process is so organic. Everything they are doing is coming directly out of the work’.
Yes, that is one of the essential ideas about creativity – risking letting go, then tapping into (not controlling) an organic process.
So here’s the question I think these ideas are related, but I haven’t really sorted out how. What do you think?
Is this what creativity is about? How does being exceptional relate to this? Linking into the essence of something, and then just being open to all the ideas that come up?
I was reflecting on a recent post from Andrew Taylor regarding Gladwell's new book Outliers, about people with extraordinary talent. The gist of it, seems to be that you have to work fanatically at what you are doing to be great - put 10,000 hours into it and you are made in spades.
There is a lot to this. I see how friends who have had this kind of dedication to their work have been amazingly successful.
but wait there's more... Andrew points out that there might be more to it then that...
"Of course, the trouble with outliers is that they are outliers. When we
observe and analyze those who have risen to extraordinary heights, we
tend to miss the thousands or millions who had similar circumstances
and talents but did not rise so far (or vanished entirely). Just
because highly effective people share seven habits, does not mean those seven habits lead to being highly effective."
I'm pretty certain, that anyone who puts 10,000 hours of real effort into something, is going to produce results unless they sabotage themselves with their mind.
Brilliancy as innate essence
Here's another other idea.
Almaas, in his book, Brilliancy - The Essence of Intelligence, talks about "brilliancy" as a kind of intelligence - a fundamental aspect of
essence. This rings true to me, especially in the context of Gardner's multiple intelligences. I've only just started to read it, so don't know all the secrets yet, but what I get is that if we can tap into our true nature, we can access brilliancy or the ability to be brilliant. Maybe it takes 10,000 hours to learn how to do that :>). But maybe not.
When we are able to get out of our own way, stop second guessing, we can do amazing things, have great insights. This is a key part of the creative process. Open up to the channel and we can have great ideas. Haven't you had moments like that? When you get flashes of ideas, or say things even though you are not sure why?
We need both inspiration and the technique to articulate it.
My horn teacher, Martin Smith, used to talk about playing horn beautifully in an analogy of 'seeing this beautiful island that we wanted to get to. The views of it were amazing, and so inspired us. But it was over on the other side of the water. How to get there. Well we have to build a bridge. Then when we have finished building the bridge we have to remember why we built it'.
I will revisit the Brooklyn Museum in this context in a separate post, because I think they are on to something in their 'organic process' of social media.
Any of this making sense? What else are we missing?