“When does the wisdom of crowds give way to the meanness of mobs?” http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/science/12tier.html.
Interesting article, but really what caught my eye was the first sentence. As I spend quite a bit of time with social networks, updating the Abraham’s Children website and blogging I sometimes feel like I’m losing sight of what I should do.
What should I do? These days, it’s getting a film out into the world.
Am I relying on the wisdom of crowds, or am I delivering myself to the madness of crowds? And where does “madness” start?
I’m building a brand and getting a message out – does that scream cliché or what? It would be easiest so say: “watch my film, its awesome”. That’s like Pepsi saying “drink Pepsi, its good”. That’s not a brand, not a message, not a life style, nothing exciting and why should you bother? There are millions of films out there and roughly 6,000 documentaries alone are produced in the US alone each year. Gotta do better than that.
What I learned in the last few months is nothing new but I never had a chance to put it into action with ONE PRODUCT (or service) in hand. Having only one product, my film, I had no choice but to concentrate on IT – obviously.
My first instinct was to create more product. As making another film is not practical I started thinking about merchandising. How do you merchandise a documentary about Muslim children? How do I pay for that? What is the risk of money spent upfront versus potential income? It didn’t seem worth the risk, so I ditched that idea.
Long story and many detours later I (re)-learned this: Focus: one message, one goal, one product. If you manage to get that one message over right; minds open, opportunities arise and people HEAR you. Once you’re there – you can go back (gingerly) to being your enthusiastic supporter of your own film with ideas to boot.
Once you have your message and your product all primped and ready – then you can unleash the crowds – because now you know where you are going and what your vehicle is. You still will possibly lose yourself in one mad crowd or the other – be it virtual, real or imagined. But at least your message is always the same and your product has integrity.
With your message straight you also have a better gauge when you are being taken over by the crowd(s). How many hours are you spending on Twitter, Facebook and your blog, when you could be making very targeted phone calls?
Run a test by announcing something that requires feedback, a sign up, anything where your ‘crowds’ need to act. Do they act? That only works if your message is on target. Otherwise your contaminating your social media ‘trials’.
So, either you change your message to fit your crowd or you change your crowd to fit your message… and sometimes you just bang your head against the wall – I did.
What is your message? What is your goal? What is the integrity of your product?
For Abraham’s Children?
→ Abraham’s Children bridges the gap between the Muslim world and the West.
→ Our goal is to get Abraham’s Children into as many classrooms as possible in America.
→ Abraham’s Children is beautifully produced, wholesome and its modular set up is ideal for a learning environment.