Thursday, May 09, 2002

Gonzo for the public sector?
Based on my experiences working with "public information and outreach" for a government education bureaucracy, I've been doing lot of thinking about how very appropriate Cluetrain's philosophy and the Gonzo Marketing approach is to the public sector. Does anyone one know if there's been any thought in that direction?
Macromedia sticks a toe in the Gonzo Marketing sea.

Well, they at least them seem to be trying to get the first part of what Chris Locke has been saying to businesses in Gonzo Marketing. An interview with Locke in the current online issue of The Guardian (which the Bombast guy calls the “best article on my checkered career to date") includes the following quote from Locke that pretty much sums up that first part.

What I'm telling them is: drop this invasive, intrusive advertising - it's not going to work any more - and build relationships around shared interests, and that will create good will towards your company. Instead of turning people off, you can turn them on by hooking them up and getting out of the way. And if this works, I see trillions of dollars shifting towards a bottom-up artistic web renaissance. What could come out of that is a cultural flowering that we can't imagine, just as the middle ages couldn't imagine the Renaissance. I don't think that's a whacked-out vision.

According to, Macromedia (the company that makes Flash and Shockwave) is going to use weblogs to provide a forum for the managers to discuss the new products, show developers how to use some of the new features and answer questions. Most importantly, the community managers would write like bloggers, with that casual, this-great-idea-just-occurred-to-me tone which sometimes makes weblogs so addictive…… Macromedia asks only that its bloggers keep their postings relevant -- no blogging about what they ate for breakfast, in other words. They're free to discuss any aspect of the software…

I think that it remains to be seen whether Macromedia will be successful in getting to the next level that Locke insists is of utmost importance – keeping the “voice” free. As reviewed online in Tom’s New Commonplace Book, On one level, Gonzo is a mythic tale of the reallocation of voice. The power to speak that the giants of mass marketing and mass media tore from us – the rape of voice – is envisioned restored to the multifarious intelligences of the Net.

One can’t help waiting to see just how much freedom Macromedia will allow its blog voices.