Wednesday, August 14, 2013

BIG’s Blog: What is really lost from Gilligan’s Island?

For Baby Boomers and those who can remember when three national television networks dominated, today’s digital disruption has basically ended what we perceived as the national conversation.

We have lost the national cultural meeting place where a small clique of men at CBS, NBC, and ABC determined what we would watch and, news-wise, what was important.

What has it come to? Today, a 12-year-old with a smartphone can rival Rupert Murdock as a publisher to millions.  

Today, I can post a blog that is seen by thousands as they are having their first cup of coffee, without the intermediaries of a printing plant or delivery boys. And the same people who read my blog one moment can shift from that to the New York Times,, or Horse & Hound in minutes and without getting ink on their fingers.

So, setting aside the “ink on the fingers thing” for a moment, are we better off now in seeking out what we want to read and deciding for ourselves, or were we better off being told what was important?

I mean, that is really what the question is . . . isn’t it?

We can complain that there is no real national conversation, as we remember it, around what happened last night on Gilligan’s Island, because today people are seeking out their own entertainment interests from the gazillions of choices available. But was that old world real or contrived? We never were really a homogenous whole, were we? What got covered news-wise was what some local or national editor deemed to be important. If we didn’t like Gilligan’s Island, we would feel out of the mainstream of our friends, family, or co-workers.

It reminds me of the time I stopped in a New York City art gallery. I was looking at a showing of paintings I really liked but had never heard of the artist. One of the people who worked in the gallery approached me and briefly talked about the artist and then said, “this painting,” pointing to one of the paintings, “this painting is very important.” I couldn’t believe it, as the painting that she was pointing to was the one painting I didn’t like in the least. Important to whom?

It’s the same with determining what charity we will support. Forty years ago there were fewer charities. Today, just in the United States, there are over a million individual 501(c)3 nonprofit corporations. Why so many? Probably because not everyone sees the same problem or the same solution.
The new online world allows many more to tell their story, reach out, and create relationships with those of a like mind and heart. Will all the new charities succeed? Probably not. But then they are all going after the people you would love to have supporting your charity.

Yesterday is yesterday. Gilligan’s Island is long since in reruns and is no longer a part of the cultural conversation.

Today is today. And today’s world is the world you need to generate supporters in.  

Join us.

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