blogging is voice gifting

social media as gift giving, potlash

The Gifts of Voice-giving

I’m working on how to present to a new client crew the “how” of blogging. All of social media involves something that in the past I’ve suspected is best described as a Gift Economy “social media is like buying beers: the gift economy in social media” – (as opposed to a strict quid pro quo equality market economy). In Gift Economies the donor achieves status by sharing her or his status, i.e. wealth. This can be money, food, knowledge, symbolic powers of any kind. And the recipient takes on a mysteriously strong, never exactly repayable, bond of obligation through the receipt of this donation.

This is how social media works, to a rather pronounced degree I believe. And there are two things that are donated. At one level the donation is one’s – or a company’s – resources to the site as a contribution (be it Twitter, or blogging, or Facebook) making those resources available to others as readers. This is the aspect that most explicitly is thought of as “sharing”. These can be anything from points of view, to inside information, to the power to entertain. But additionally, in a second turn, one donates the platform of the site itself.  That is you donate the authority of your voice, your brand name, to whomever you quote, or highlight, or forward. And as such you donate your audience as well.

And so blogging is like this. It is about establishing these two levels of donation. The first is a vertical donation to the readers, however modest the wealth is in the content, and here the truism “content is King” works. The second is a more horizontal donation in the sense that a space, an authorized space, is offered up to others who inhabit it, conferring importance to every comment and hosted piece of content derived from somewhere else. This double sense of donation is what grounds blogging. The one that is often systematically less thought about is the second one, the way in which a generated space is offered to others, encouraging them to contribute to it as well. In this respect your site lifts up and propels others through its donation, and this is reciprocated in turn, through a sense of mutual investment.

When you comment on someone else’s blog post, you donate your little bit of status to their site.

When you quote a blog post in your own content, sharing it with your readers, you do the same.

When you host comments, and interact with them, your site offers itself to a sociability, a place for something to happen.

 

Advertisements

Lebron’s old team, virtual morality and the golden voice

Morality Goes Virtual

I side-stepped the human interest story a bit for the larger picture of how YouTube and various other media present a tremendous amplification and proliferation of affect, the spread of human experience which works as a bed for moral reaction and action – I chose “moral” instead of “ethical”. It is worthwhile to point out the development in the story itself, as the formerly homeless man has been offered a job, and apparently a house.

Left homeless after his life and career were ruined by drugs and alcohol, Williams has been offered a job by the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers and is being pursued by NFL Films for possible work. He and his compelling tale became an online sensation after The Columbus Dispatch posted a clip of Williams demonstrating his voiceover skills by the side of the road.

“This has been totally, totally amazing,” Williams said in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, his voice choking with emotion. “I’m just so thankful. God has blessed me so deeply. I’m getting a second chance. Amazing.”

via Washington Post Homeless man’s voice prompts job offers.

There is also another story, closely related though not as sexy, that of the ex-wife that raised the children that Ted Williams abandoned in the abuse of his own life with drugs & alcohol, the deeper social context and consequence beneath the life-ravaged face of a man and the in-concordance of a mellifluous voice that comes out.  

The move of the publicly shunned Cavaliers not long ago left at the basketball alter on live television, makes this media story all-the-more interesting, and through it all the liquidity of his golden voice (each time I hear it) ribbons through and above. His voice, disembodied, expresses a hidden power within Social Media. A living line of affection, and the ability to transform.