Friday, February 8, 2008

s544 #4

I was grabbing a quick dinner at Henry's last night when an acquaintance walked up to my booth and set a cd of his latest poetic work down on my table. He retreated quickly, saying as he walked away,"This is some of my latest stuff." I don't know the guy very well, but our paths cross occasionally and I was intrigued. The whole interaction was interesting to me, talk about peer to peer file sharing. It couldn't have been more direct unless he sat down and recited the poems into my ear as I sat chewing away at my salad.

While I respect the guerrilla marketing technique of handing your work to someone in person, I was less impressed by the packaging. Sharpie on a CD-r in a plastic sleeve. This gets to the core of my posting today. You have to be able to effectively market your service/idea/vision/work. I think there is a resistance to hustling in my life, my library department and my library. It seems, er, unseemly to worry about gussying up your pure information so that people will want it. They should want it based on its academic merits. I know, I get it, I feel the same way, but not all advertising is evil. Making someone feel fat or unattractive so they buy something symbolic yet useless is an abuse of power. Persuading someone to use your service to increase their access to life enhancing information is almost a mandate.

But back to the poet. As I sat there looking at his offering, turning it over in my hands and my mind, I felt compelled to help him. Perhaps use my computer and my printing press to whip up some unbelievably compulsively over-designed CD case/objet d'art. Would that be offensive to him? Or would it be as inspiring to him as it had been to me?

1 comment:

Mary Alice Ball said...

Interesting thought, Kay. Did he give you the CD in the Sharpie CD-R case because he has no design skills or because he does not recognize the value of marketing? Maybe he was just trying to strike up a conversation, in a somewhat inept way...