The Man v. Free Content: Not So Simple

New York City hosted a moment in time last weekend to, “a roving conference for those who create.”  I had the fortune to continue the conversation and connect with makers, thinkers and generally cool people you should know. My recommendation is emphasized for anyone with days full of conceiving, creating and/or distributing content. Co-founder, Lance Weiler compares the conference to, “a lightning rod”. Encapsulating the electrifying effect of DIY Days on a chosen location; working as a catalyst for thought and opportunity, which is a mighty mission. Weiler continues, “I think that really demonstrates the power of community…the fact that people are willing to share their time and talents…”.

And what is the going rate for time and talent these days? According to DIY Days, it is absolutely free. The event offers up assistance, ideas, connectivity at no cost and further takes the lead in promoting the open distribution of any content recorded during the event.

At this point I hear the vast majority of those outside the conference adding their two cents because a commerce-first perspective is built on a model privatizing content in order to sell it in line with the owner’s terms. I really don’t want to take you down a college paper style road comparing theories, so let’s return to a more practical level. I work closely with the commercial needs of brands at a social media marketing agency and community is consistently at the center of our discussions. As an agency focused on programs succeeding in social, online spaces, we hold the responsibility of communicating between the needs of brands and organic online habits of people. Including analyzing the inner workings of specific communities – who are the members, where do they meet, and what binds them together?

Am I basically saying that both the “suits/the man” and “DIY’ers” are working toward building and supporting communities? Simply put, yes. The two rival models are sounding remarkably similar these days. They have found common ground in the land of social media and related technological advancements. As consumers’ media consumption progresses toward individual choice, brands need to be thinking smarter about how to communicate their worth via a variety of new channels with distinct user attitudes. I offer the following big DIY ideas for remaining relevant to a changing consumer base:

  • Mobile applications are augmented, 3D and localized…and so are you! Apps are progressively syncing our hands and eyes closer to new experiences unlocked through our devices. App-mind folks Ethan Rublee and Noah Harlan give us a tour of this world in development.
  • Ever print a picture of Thom York to find yourself disappointed with only a 2D image? No longer with Makerbot making 3D printing a possibility.
  • The story continues on. It is clear at the end of the day, when curling up with your novel/iPad, that stories and storytellers are in as much demand now as during the age described by the 2,000 year old man. Visionaries such as Brian Newman and Jeff Gomez are key to understanding the current applicability of our insatiable desire for telling and absorbing stories.

If you missed the lighting rod live, see for the complete listing of speakers, partners and continued conversation.



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  2. 04/6 2010

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Hello! Big Fuel is a full-service marketing and communications company based in New York that takes brands from Content To Commerce. A unique approach that bridges "people stories" to "product stories" through social media and branded content.

Big Fuel is one part marketing agency, building brands through consumer insight; one part entertainment company, creating content that people love; and one part distribution company, driving guaranteed results by delivering content to targeted audiences. We work with major brands, leading agencies, publishers and platforms to help marketers achieve true consumer engagement.

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