Guns and Roses said it best: Nothing Lasts Forever.
When I started out, in 2003, it was the blogger era. Some were amazing in content or design or.. consistency. The bike industry was on the verge of realizing the power and creativity of people/street culture vs. a brand controlled paradigm. Those who could figure out any kind of advertising were the leaders (because money/product helps you not have to work other jobs). In many ways it was like watching an emerging DrudgeReport: news in real time only filtered through an informed individual.
Bloggers who stand out in the field (and continue to do so)
But like the once epic MidnightRidazz website, the traffic migrated over to social media, namely facebook. For event organizing/promotion and ‘linking’ to articles or posts, instead of maintaining feeds. All the activity is now on their facebook page.
For a minute (2009-2012) Twitter seemed like a powerful organizing tool, particularly around the emerging hashtags #bike +INSERT CITY. #bikeNYC was a great thing to be part of at that time. Notably organizers held monthly meet ups so that participating hashtag users could socialize in real life. And it was exciting to jump into #bikeLA. It seemed like the passionate could have an equal or greater voice than the de facto nonprofit or transit agency. Large corporations responded to twitter complaints, but in no other way. A superhighway to being heard?
While twitter fades into the mainstream sunset – Instagram continues to grow, replacing soundbites with images, but retaining #hashtags and these are seemingly useful universally. In a recent @BicycleCulture board meeting we reviewed starting a women’s equality in publishing project – only to have it downgraded to “hashtag activism.” A no cost, cross platform approach that is “as easy to implement as it is to ignore.”
As projects come up or get left behind there’s this trail of digital bodies: websites, blogs, facebook pages, twitter and instagram accounts. A tumblr or two. Someone contacted me through flickr the other day and I felt senile. Who, what, how? My desire now is to make sense of it all and instead of reinventing new identities, to bring them together. But just as in web development or other technical work, it’s always easier to start fresh instead of stitching together all the frankenstein parts. My greatest professional mentor, Steve Rubich, taught me that it’s all about having patience to see how all these complex, janky systems can be interwoven to create the largest most power systems – otherwise everything is too simple, too new. Complexity isn’t the problem, but how it’s handled. Thanks, Steve.
The New Frontier:
I’m not trying to get sponsored (but, you know, it never hurts) and I’m not trying to be a professional anything. By trying to fit a “profile” or role earlier, I felt the need to jump into whatever came next, often abandoning whatever came before, instead of finding my voice as an individual and generalist. I have many interests and they evolve, with me. I think most people can relate to that sense of curiosity and change.
Podcasts! who doesn’t love them?
Why not video? I have a best friend who does weekly youtube videos (Holler, Kym Nonstop!) that are amazing – but production is too high a barrier, the visual experience too dominant. I want people to be able to go into their own heads, fill in details with their imaginations. The ‘radio’ format is an intimate way of telling stories and getting to know other people. Obviously, more on that soon 🙂
And it will be organic: so expect periods of silence and times when several episodes become available almost at once. Probably expect the quality to be questionable at first, and better with time!
It’s pretty amazing that after all these years of sometimes publishing, changing topics, formats, projects… that I still have people who read and follow along. Thank you.
Come visit me in LA and go on an adventure. We’ll record a story. If you wanna support these endeavors (microphones and computers don’t buy themselves!) won’t you hit the donate button?