Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ice Preserver

I've started a postcard writing campaign. Yes, it's a hallmark moment served up in one economy-sized wireframe panel. Partly it's a marketing ploy to compete for attention that no one is servicing -- hence the complete abandonment of the U.S. mail as a non-Holiday social medium.

Partly it's to reconnect with people whose memories remain with me, worthy of safekeeping no matter how or where they're kept (or even on display). This treasuring of closeness to past intimacies carries on regardless of present friendship status. Any comparisons here to Facebook are unavoidable and baseless.

The icebreaker overture got me thinking: with unlimited storage, an email account for every persona, all-you-can-eat bandwidth, and a generous calling plan, what's to keep us from reaching out and rekindling the warmth of those reflexive and reverberating friendships?

These days it feels like pretty much the gravity of foreseeable times and dates flies against this mission. From the deep long-term commitments of bosom parenting to the fleeting distractions of surface life there is, no calendar for holding dates like the ones I'm proposing. The out-of-the-blue barge-in has been abolished to the forcible entry ways of high school reunions and rounded-off milestone birthdays. The community of boundary crashers has no place in a perennial state of "what's expected of me lately?"

Our consumer-driven culture is no different in the affection economy. It's the hunted down fixation that love chooses you (you having no choice in the matter). Once you've skirted universal cosmic loneliness you may run into the arms of the most fashionable boulevard. In the light of day it remains a blind alley. But we never saddle up the same fatalistic sand bags around families. Perhaps the fact we don't get to choose family members is obscured by the lengths we go to isolate ourselves from our appointed siblings and parents.

Even a hospital visit is an ice preserver. That's the shivering sting of one chosen family member's determination. His rationale? A discharge was not merely a release from another friend's post cancer surgical recovery. It was a reprieve from needing to pay a single bedside visit. Ironically, he was released from responsibility the same day the other guy was released from the hospital? Why? Because the other fellow could not face another sting from our old friend, Coz Loneliness.

"Thanks for being out there" was a line attributed to our walk through a suburban Toronto phone book in 1979. We were mounting our own cross-border field investigation to discover the mystery behind the majestic melodies of a Canadian band named Klaatu, inspiring quests to conquer the same cosmic isolation now prompting the very postcard campaign. Is the great expanse of time still within the reach of our brotherly grasp? The constancy flickers in blocks of sawdust, anytime minutes, and a dim, thinning glass of hours, now out-of-circulation.

Will we pick right up where we left off? Will the postcard carry all the weight of a 20th century telemarketing blitz? What's to become of these living memories? Is there a conversation to be joined here?

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attentionSpin is a consulting practice formed in 1990 to create, automate and apply a universal scoring system (“The Biggest Picture”) to brands, celebrities, events and policy issues in the public eye. In the Biggest Picture, attentionSpin applies the principles of market research to the process of media analytics to score the volume and nature of media coverage. The explanatory power of this research model: 1. Allows practitioners to understand the requirements for managing the quality of attention they receive 2. Shows influencers the level of authority they hold in forums where companies, office-seekers, celebrities and experts sell their visions, opinions and skills 3. Creates meaningful standards for measuring the success and failure of campaigns and their connection to marketable assets.