Today, I would like to first send you to a great read, an interesting post, a blog article, by Sheila Eggenberger, on her blog ” The Alembicated Genie” titled the Brave New World.
Here is the link, click here… And now byebye and enjoy your read! It is food for thought and teached me as much as it raised questions. I invite you to comment on her blog post and rather comment there than here because she initiated the discussion.
I have a few question marks when it comes to so called social media. Referring to Neil Postman’s “the media is the message” I have my doubts there. This is, by the way, the clue to today’s picture. Food, cats, and dogs give the highest engagement of friends on facebook. At least the portion of facebook that I see is not engaged in a lot of discussion.
Sheila wrote ” In the niche world, you can often start or continue an online conversation with the very perfumer (or social media-responsible person) whose creations rocked your planet/made you retch/elevated your quotidian existence.” I do not experience this conversation a lot. When I open facebook in the morning, I am the longer the more worried about the number of direct messages that I get where folks ask for free samples or my time by expecting that I chat with them about the weather.
I have a few friends where I enjoy this exchange, though.
The media is the message. I see with a smile how everybody talks on facebook and on twitter about what they like, which perfume for instance, without discussing and really communicating. It is a social thing and it sure does not hurt if people like your scents or any other product and share names and pictures.
But still, I feel we move backwards when it comes to quality of discourse and intensity of discussion. I am/was in a few groups and what I have seen there does not go beyond many likes and SOTD and nice pictures. Nothing wrong with that. But there are other ways to discuss and exchange.
From a commercial point of view, I am sure facebook and twitter are less important for artisanal micro brands. We need a discourse about what we do, how we do things, and about the fact that what we do is very, very different. This is why I think Sheila’s initial starting point is wrong. I understand why she wants to keep things simple but it is wrong. She wrote “For the sake of argument, I shall henceforth make no distinction between ‘indie’, ‘niche’ or ‘mainstream niche’. It makes it easier on this writer, and easier on the readers.” From my perspective, this is utterly important. Mainstream niche functions according to different rules. Maybe, on a side note, this is one of the discussions missing in the bloggosphere: How are things done and why does it matter whether a scent comes from a larger factory or from an artshop that resembles a kitchen more than a factory. Artisanal, indie perfumers need perfume lovers who take the time to think about how a scent is created, by whom and why and what makes it special. We need bloggers who are willing to do more than just like a picture, but who initiate a discourse in a medium that is made for that: Using printed words. Not like buttons. I think bloggers and the discourse happening there is key for artisanal perfumery, for the cultural heritage and I think it is important to make this distinction. I do not think that the social media are important. They are entertaining and supportive but far less important.
This is why I loved Sheila’s post so much, because she took the time to think, write and open up questions that are interesting and relevant. I hope to see more…