Why Search is a Waste of Time and Social Media allows us to Gain Time

“No matter how fast it seems, most search is a waste of time. In a way, we are using time (i.e., the time-based structure) to gain time.”

This quote is from a recent opinion blog in Wired Magazine online and it hits the target in clarifying what I have been trying to say to my clients for years now about the difference between Search and Social Media.

Yes they are two different animals. Why? because Social Media is Time Based and Search is not. The issue of time based vs non time based media is one dear to my heart as I studied Classical Animation. Animation is a time based media as is performance art, dance, music, new media, and some visual arts. “Usually time-based media are video, slide, film, audio or computer based and part of what it means to experience the art is to watch it unfold over time according to the temporal logic of the medium as it is played back.”

I know this to be true because of all the social media platforms, I have always loved Twitter the most. I knew that it’s “real time” communications and it’s dynamic quality were key factors in my love affair. David Gelernter goes on to state that this time based quality — which is inherent in New Media— creates new way of structuring time on the internet. This new structure re defines time on the internet, taking it from static websites and search results to the “streams” of data arising from your curated interests that constantly add into your feeds. As seen from the author’s sketch below we are at the intersection of the “now” and the “new”. We are now fully engaged and informed by Social Media.

“Instead of doing an endless series of separate searches, we tune the knobs on our stream-browser to continuously feed us just the information we need.”


Unlike Search which brings up pages for you to review, having your social network set up to monitor people, topics and issues that are of interest, allows you or your business to always be in the moment and in the now of the conversation. This is the Zen state of being.

“But it’s about time: “Bring me what I want” is almost always more useful than “Let me rummage around and see what I can find.”

The other awesome point that he makes on this paradigm shift in communications is that this state allows for an abundance of creativity. Again for those of us who love to create content on the fly this is the best place to be as it allows for constant inspiration, insight and interpretation.  This is the state of artistic perception that McLuahn referred to in his definition of an artist as being one who “updates consciousness “. The Artist is one who lives in the moment and not in the past or the future.

“Yet it took us more than 20 years in computing to get here. The field has finally moved from conserving resources ingeniously to squandering them creatively.”

How true. I have been engage with new media studies for 20 years now and remember the MIT article that I zeroed and keep in my files up until today that speaks of the coming convergence of computers, video and telecommunications. Today we have the net, you Tube and smart phones. What matters most are not the devices themselves but the new real time communication channels of Social media that run across our devices via the internet and deliver great content to us. This in turn allow you to place that information, be it text, image or video, in a context that is relevant to your business – thereby adding value each and every day to your personal life or your business. Over time that value becomes enormous as your networks grow in influence and reach.

Re-Imagine. The Power of the Personal Brand.

Let me begin by saying that I love the new WordPress blog interface that I accessed via the new home page. Sweet. Looks and feels alot like Tumblr and yet I am glad I do not have to post only in that totally crazy mad world of the Creatives – I can still remain respectable and hire-able by posting to Word Press. 🙂 Thanks WordPress for being cool and creative and for still seeing the creative writing on the wall!

It has been a busy summer. mostly doing websites and managing some social media properties. As of late I have been away on yet another one of those client journey’s. It was the classic scenario. To begin they love that I am so creative and want to know what I think—even went so far to claim that they are “obsessed” by me. Not a good sign as obsession leads no good… but hey for the first few weeks I felt like I had just won a shot at the Olympic good metal round in Fencing, my favorite sport, and that someone was actually listening to what I had to say!  Then suddenly the honey moon was over and I am assigned to what feels like the position of “employee” as all my creative ideas are swiftly, with no explanation, swept under the carpet and we return to BUSINESS AS USUAL — even though we have not signed anything to that effect and I have from the start been no other then what my Twitter Profile states.

In an effort to cheer myself up I set about to read some good inspirational stuff on my iPad about what I do best  –which is communications. Early this am I came across a post that lead to an app for a guy who claims to be a MEDIA Futurist. Excited not so much by what he had to say, I am sure I have heard it all before after all I have been in this game for a hell of a long time now, both on the technology, creative and sales side and adore McLuhan but rather by the his method of engaging me I proceed to the Apple Store for a download. For me McLuhan, is still my main media man for 100 years after his birth he is one of the few intellectuals who gave credit to artists saying “I learnt everything I know from the Poets and the Painters”.   AMEN.

Anyhow, I downloaded Gerd’s app onto my ipad so I could experience my first personal brand app, that was the coolest part and I made mental note to blog about it later as it had the same mind blowing effect as a good cranial adjustment — waking up some nerve endings which have fallen asleep in the race to please offer appeasement.

So the guy is named Gerd Leonard — not an American as one would expect but a European – as all white people are anyhow…..a German actually – who lives in Europe, who of course, lived for some time in the United States and advocates – god forbid, some green solutions– probably a fan of that guy who wrote the book called The Solar Economy back in the day.  Thankfully, in the video I watch on my ipad app Gerd talks only about Media Ecology so I don’t have to worry about the thought police knocking at my door…

Alas I am trapped in Canada, a nation of bean counters, who simple don’t get what it is to be Creative when it comes to business —-even though they do try on occasion, which typically means paying lip service to some tired old ad agency in Toronto who still advocates a mix of media even as Gerd speaks to me via his personal app loaded onto my ipad in a You Tube Video posted at his channel about “The Future of Technology”.  He is cool school and apparently advises large fortune 500’s in Europe about change and employs 25 “Change Agents”. While I do feel a connection with him thanks to social media my ipad craps out half way through his talk due to a bad Bell connection.  While feeling uplifted I am quickly forced to go back to the reality of the day, one spent in a country where the dominant network does not know the works of Marshall McLuhan little lone some dude named Gerd who has his own ipad app and recommend that we all  “RE-IMAGINE”. One can only re-imagine what that means for the Future of Canada,eh?

UPDATE: Just went to like Gerd on FB and see that three of my Facebook Friends also like him. Surprise, one is Canadian – Don Tapscott, whose own writings are greatly influenced by McLuhan.

The writing on the Wall – Social Media and the Crisis in Egypt

After nine days of protesting in Egypt which began with large crowds taking to the street organized by youth using the social media tools of Facebook and Twitter we are NOW seeing images of people throwing stones at one another while a strange group rides through the crowds on horseback and camels brandishing whips and sticks…a grim reminder of the reality of the pace of change when it comes to its implementation…

Danny captures Facebook on the face of ancient Egypt

Danny captures Facebook on the face of ancient Egypt

I am reminded of the metaphor of cars driving down the road. The fastest car belongs to the young tech savvy man – let’s call him Mark Z. The slowest car on the road (a camel special??) belongs to a government worker, who, in this case, works for the Egyptian regime. These are the two extremes. When worlds collide – moving at two different speeds in two different spaces…empires can fall. The blogger Danny Ramadan took the picture above on February 2, 2011 on his way out of Egypt… For me it sums up the reality of Egypt written on the face of a sculpted lion’s pedestal – Facebook – the social network…the global citizen. As Mcluhan said “In the electronic age we wear ALL mankind as our skin”

Without a doubt the use of Social Media was a key strategy in the organizing and exchange of information for the initial protests. The government then shut down the Internet providers in order to stop the expotential growth of protesters and its world wide amplification. Within a week Twitter and Google and a team of engineers joined forces to create Twitter Speak. as an alternative work around so that protesters could continue to connect and express themselves. This demonstrates the “speed to market” in which social media platforms can serve their users – one unparralled by those who maintain a business as usual mindset in the face of social change.

One of the hardest lessons for those of us who are “agents of change” in the field of technology, art and business is that change does not happen NOW, it takes time. Humans are creatures of habit and old forms of behaviour die hard. Yesterday, the ruling dictator of Egypt asked for 7 months to pack his bags while The President of the USA said change “should begin NOW”. The gap between the two timelines will be filled with chaos.. sticks and stones, broken bones and loss of life.

The good news is that technology speeds up the flow of information and the change in Egypt will happen much quicker then ever before in the recorded history of mankind.

I am a SociaL Media expert, OK, so now what?

SEOmoz Social Media Marketing

View SEOmoz’s Social Media Marketing Guide

Over the past few days I have been having a twitter conversation with @AEB_IT regarding the requirements for calling oneself a “social media expert”. He quotes some guy who says it takes 10K hours to be an expert in anything…..

I would like to add to that 10K hours the following – an art/NEW MEDIA education investment of over 50K that spans three decades…starting at the bottom of the pit – so to speak – as a visual artist – mucking about with paint and paper…and going all they way through to classical animation and FLASH only to be kicked to the curb once again by the investment master of 3-D Animation -S. Jobs and locked out of the i-pad world- it never ends…(there is hope as RIM has its playbook on the way to save the flasher’s day…)

My take on it – is this….sure it is a new category – and there are no standards set – yet, and no real degrees being offered – but if one has a background in business art and technology with over a decade of experience in Sales and Marketing theory and has worked in the trenches and seen every kind of good and bad sales scenario while consistently holding ones head high and following the development of new media, the internet, its business models, mentors and heroes, read the NOW books and understands the process of creating and curating content from not only a digital advertising perspective but a down and dirty Wharholian STUDIO Factory …then, it is a pretty safe bet to say that from that knowledge BASE and or BANK – one could quite possibly have the wherewithal to develop “strategies” for Social media success…

If this “artsy” talk is all too much for you – allow me to give you a sports analogy. I am a fencer. I fence because it is a strategic sport. Why? Cause you learn the rules, train the body mind and soul and then faced with a million split second decisions you BUST a MOVE – lunge – and hit the target bang on!

Ironically I found the “badge” above on a site today where, in order to declare to the world that I am a social media expert it seems ALL that is required is the following:
1. Ability to cut and paste code
2. Access to a site or blog to post the copied code
3. Confidence to stand and defend one’s position as an expert just in case you get a call for work or get “called on it” …

Which, by the way – all boils down to SALES…..

You can call yourself an expert in anything but at the end of the day – you are going to have to sell that IDEA, service or product – in a very creative manner in order to engage your post modern technology driven cultural client and get him/her to trust you and believe that you are indeed an expert in said service, product or idea….

Here is the sting. Your client does not “get social media” – that is why they called you in the first place. They then ask for your ideas and because they are the BOSS they will try to put you in your place – cause they wonder “do those ideas really WORK, how can you prove it”? as if any one ever proved what half of the old school ad budget worked! But they are small biz they have always just relied on word of mouth – the problem is the “mouth has gone online, John and Joan…..” Then then tell you how it has always been done and how they want you to do it, even though they have NO IDEA what social media is all about. Now, if they were to followed your strategy their entire world would be turned upside down, that is the real fear factor…. just kidding….we take it slow….baby steps…..get a twitter page….a facebook BRAND page…….blah, blah,…

Chances are this potential client never studied NEW MEDIA or read the all time basic primer called The Laws of Media by Marshall McLuhan. but that is not their business….so they are forgiven…you on the other had are under the gun….
which is when I say the following –
“Try this logic –
People are social.
Social media is about people – not corporations.
It is a “people driven economy”.
People create networks.
Networks are cultures.
People create culture.
and the icing in the cake for social media experts like myself…

Study the graphic below, if you can figure out what Law the bottom right corner of the tetrad resides under you are on your way to understanding the sheer POWER of social media. That, however, is an “advanced” discussion, better left for at least another decade or so…

My Summer Saga I Pad Mega Media Adventure

“Well I actually think, behind the crisis is, the kind of the inflection point or the transformation point. If you look back at the two previous crises, and I’m actually writing a book on this, it’s called The Great Reset, hopefully you’ll invite me back to talk about it when it comes
out in April or May. But if you look back on previous crises, they’ve always been associated with the rise of new economic systems. So, the crisis of 1873 was associated with the rise of the first industrial revolution, and it gave rise to the second. The crisis of the 1930s was the rise of the second industrial revolution and these big steel companies and auto companies, and then we figured out how to make the society work.
This is really a crisis, not just of the financial markets and wanton spending and too much credit, it’s a tectonic crisis that’s associated with the rise of a new economic order.” – Richard Florida from HP interview today ……   http://bit.ly/cJXu5J
It has been 4 months and the Crisis to which Richard speaks above has become for me – an ongoing EPIC adventure akin to that of Don Quixote.

Don Quixote

Love the media in the Don's hand, is it a long poking ipad thingy?

Armed with an Ipad, in the Spring I set out to take my business of sales and marketing consulting to the next level only to find myself filled with the creative angst of the Shakespearean query:  “To Be or Not to Be?”  which played out in spades over the spring and summer on a number of different levels with a number of different clients and their needs, wishes and demands. If I had the time or inclination to write down all the bizarre and laughable details it would be too much to believe, so allow me to speak in the sweeping terms of the times in which we live – and say that I have been off tilting at the windmills which represent old media vs new media while at the same time poking away at the Creative vs the Scientific, parrying between Male vs Female ways of thinking, engaging in left vs right brain processes and finally, lunging at LIFE and DEATH.
It all began April 20th with the BP fiasco which for me resulted in a long mediation on Modern Art and the Death of Culture
Death of Culture

Google death of culture and see who else has taken this subject on...

And so it was that I sashayed into a self interest course over the summer on “How to Die Well” thinking not of myself or those who I know but rather of our Culture as a whole, our Western culture which is now experiencing a deep grief and inability to come to terms with the loss of so much human, animal and plant life on daily basis due to its terrible inbalance which no man can correct. Indeed is seems that such a thing is impossible this late point in the game of western lifestyles, business practices and modes of thinking. I hoped for some reason to gain insight into what words I might be able to offer in the face of this ongoing  crisis. What ensued was a deep and often dangerous one sided discourse on life and death in the 20th Century lead by a leading expert who had failed to factor in …as they all seem to do….the effects of Media on the one hand and the natural balance of Life on the other which left me wondering, as usual, if my $50,000 art education investment was ever going to bear any fruit other than making me, once again, the OUTSIDER that Colin Wilson describes in his non fiction book on Artists.  Further, It left me grieving for the days when people still knew who McLuhan was in Canada. The expert heading up the session had attended Harvard and has worked in big Canadian Hospitals assisting over one thousand people in the face of their death. Still, like a fish in water what he was not aware of the environment that he lives – the Electronic Environment that McLuhan wrote of and how it that changed everything about our culture – including our response to Death and Dying…

As an artist, I have long embraced the concept that my Western Euro-Centric culture is on its death bed, a simple study of the works of the poets and painters shows this as a fact. What we see now are the final death throes of the demise of all our existing cultural institutions. For those who went to art school and studied the history of art this is not a new concept by any means. The absolute terror that this expert had seen over and over again by those facing death was the result of the TOTAL oblivion of their cultural memory which was delivered by the mercenary armies of the print bastards – armies who wiped out European Pagan and sacred culture and left all remaining scared of its monsters and demons and hungry ghosts and severely disconnected from any form of collective memory of ancestory in a matrix of disharmonic time which pits one race against another…

At one point the questions was posed as to why we were so terrified and disconnected when confronted with our own death or that of our family or loved ones. I tweeted out the word: “ARMIES”.

Buddy was completely taken back, shocked at the single keyword  which escaped my mouth like the a bird eating a small seed, quickly. The word came at him from what he thought was left field and he dismissed it as having no relevance to the rest of the conversation. All I can say is you cannot study the Media Theory of McLuhan for over 10 years and not know his theory on print and its relationship to citizen armies. If McLuhan is dry then try Bob Dobbs and the  “Print Bastards”. Same difference.

Greatest Salesman who ever lived!


The theology holds that “Bob” is the greatest salesman who ever lived, and has cheated death a number of times. He was famous for his SubGenius publication, SubGenius Pamphlet #1 (a.k.a. “The World Ends Tomorrow And You May Die”) (1979).

Whatever. If looks could kill I would have obliviated after that word “ARMIES” flew out of my mouth. From there on in I was cut off from an opportunity to expound on McLuhan or Bob Dobbs and had to listen instead to hours of discourse on Beuwolf, which incidently had been required reading prior to class.

I had googled the word Beuwolf and done the wikki check and found that it was some old english manuscript which made my hair want to fall out at the very thought of reading it so I got the equvilent of the Coles notes, reading the kids version which I picked up at Indigo. Before the class I scanned the book and looked at the pictures.

Shortly after my word was dismissed the history lesson began. I soon revealed my ignorance of British history by saying I did not know who Cromwell was. Back in my room later on I googled: Citizen armies on my IPAD and landed on the page below. The image says it all but the page honors McLuhan. DUH. Somewhere in a past I recall that I actually made an animated short on this concept — it is in storage somewhere…. Someday when I retire from this rat race or the world becomes truely aware of the environment in which we exist – and no, I do not meant the toxic slug of the old captains of industry — I will digitize my animated short and post it online…for now it is enough for you to study this picture and visit the link.

The Print Bastard

The Death of Western Culture


I am trying to warm up to the idea of wr…

I am trying to warm up to the idea of writing on creativity NOW…reading some online stuff and looking at tweets on the subject…it is a tricky subject cause everyone is an artist these days but no one wants to think creatively cause it is still too ‘out there”. Having been a creative all my life I find that the “creative class” as defined by Richard Florida is being bashed. BTW, he is moving to Toronto to teach at U of T! http://bit.ly/B5wAZ I just ordered his book “Whose your City?” I guess it is clear that Toronto is Richard’s!

The TO Post article writes, “In his most recent book, The Flight of the Creative Class, Mr. Florida foreshadowed his move to Toronto by pointing to all the American scholars who were drifting to Canada and Western Europe where he says better government-funded research opportunities are offered”. I guess not too much has changed since I wrapped my head around this issue over a decade ago…when I emerged as an up and coming Canadian Animator…creative still means access to some sort of funding in order to be so. It used to the the Church and then the state and now…it is still the government of Canada and Europe. In America creative is an online start up. I still think the most creative types today can be found in business.

McLuhan, our U of T CommuncationsTheory Guru defined the artist as being one who “wakes people up” to the present moment of what is happening right here and now! An agent of change. A change miester…these days that creativity of the moment appears in new online applications like Twitter and Face Book not in some painting or drawing or installation. Creativity in the way in which we connect online socially is the hottest NOW thing! It is the reason I choose this blog format. I can type short like a tweet or long like a blog..I am not confined by the layout of my blog…

About his search for a home in Toronto Richard says “When touring Toronto’s neighbourhood’s in search of his new home, Mr. Florida said he acknowledged high market prices, but his theory maintains that to an extent, it’s worth investing in expensive housing within a city’s core to avoid long commutes.
“It’s important not only as fuel costs rise, but also time costs rise. Do you want [people] spending two or three hours commuting when they could be spending that time thinking and being creative?” he said.
Here, here, that is exactly what I am doing in this August long weekend, sitting in my home office at about mid town Toronto chilling above the Caribana madness, thinking and being creative!

Richard Florida Welcome to Toronto!