Another Great Michael Wesch Video

55 minutes … long but worthwhile …


This prior one, less than 5 minutes, is one of my all time favourites …

Check out his blog post on “Context Collapse” here.

UPDATE:  June over at Network Weaving is lovin’ Michael Wesch too:

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Teenage Beer Drinking Party … Shibboleths

For one entire year in high school, at least once a week, I calmly walked into our Principal’s office, was offered the use of the PA system with a smile and I announced the time and location of a teenage beer drinking party that was broadcast throughout the entire high school. Eventually most of the kids from two different high schools made it out to one of the parties. I never got caught. Ferris Bueller eat your heart out.

Of course I did not actually announce, “Hey everyone! They will serve us booze at Daniel’s Restaurant! See you there at 7 pm tonight!” I spoke in code …

“There will be a Break Dance Club meeting at Danny’s at 7 pm tonight. Members are reminded to arrive promptly and dress appropriately.”

This was long before the “flash-parties” that are the terror of today’s parents, where news of a private “parents away!” party can spread by text message like wild fire and quickly escalate into a swarm of dangerous strangers wrecking and looting a home. That is an entirely different communication effect with its own memetic qualities.

“Break Dance Club” became a “shibboleth” for some of the teen community in my home town. The idea of a Break Dance Club seemed innocent enough to our teachers and parents in a context where a moon walking Michael Jackson was a mass communication pop culture hit. To us the idea of a “Break Dance Club” was an immediate attention getter. Our party music came from Canadian punk rock bands like Teenage Head (who I hired as a teenage rock concert promoter) and the raging guitars of April Wine.

Who are the goofs in this “Break Dance Club”? (murmurred explanation) Ahhhh … ok, I “get it”. I’m “in”. See you there. Hey – are you going to the Break Dance Club meeting? Wha? And so on …

What are your brand “shibboleths”?

Do you know the “shibboleths” of your competitors?

I wonder what Chip & Dan Heath would say about the structural factors that make effective shibboleths? I am reading their book about the memetics of ideas, “Made to Stick“. It is great! But it is focused on how to achieve mass viral success. So far I have not seen them elaborate on how a memetic brand can also have elements that are exclusive – maybe to your employees, perhaps to only your most important customers.

I have been thinking of “Social Capital Value Add” as a sort of shibboleth that will resonate with disciples of value based management, economic profit/economic value add and brand valuation. I am not going after a mass viral “Tipping Point” hit. I am trying to bring a message to a small but potent group of executives within a framework that brings them meaning both in terms of how to understand what is happening and what to do about it.

Is that the right approach?

Anywhoo – thank you to my friend Doug Ireland for explaining to me what I am thinking.

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