The other day I was putting the final touches on a proposal for a large bid. As I was sticking label tabs on a series of collated, three-hole punched, indexed folders I noticed that I was having a little trouble making all the labels line up EXACTLY the same. Well I thought, I’m not a machine and that reminded me of a passage I recently read in Jacques Barzun’s excellent survey of the past 500 years, From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to the Present.
“The machine is an agent of ABSTRACTION. It is itself an abstraction in that it does one particular task (or at most two or three) and yields identical products. There is no fringe of fancy, no happy error or sudden innovation as in the handworker’s performance.” (Page 554)
Barzun’s point was that we value something made by hand over something mass produced because it is unique as opposed to things that are mass produced by machines which are identical. That doesn’t mean that something mass produced does not have esthetic value. I think the 1956 Chevrolet Corvette is a beautiful car, but it not unique from other 1956 Chevrolet Corvettes. They only become unique after people own them, customize them and change them. Paintings, hand carved wood, Venetian glass, handmade jewelry all attract our attention because you can see the craftsman’s hand in the work. For example my daughter Jennifer (shameless plug alert) is an artist, jeweler, and bookbinder who hand makes everything because it is an esthetic that she and her customers value.
So being a video, online, communications, marketing kind of guy I started thinking about this. Video, as opposed to Film with a capital F, has often been relegated to “Mass Media”, as a vulgar, popular medium. I don’t pretend that an on-line video for a small business or Mentos induced cola explosions are “Art.” I am saying that in spite of the ability of mass distribution, video is made by individual craftsmen. Some of them are very, very good, esthetically pleasing and effective in their communication goals. A greater number are not so effective. But all videos are made by individuals or a group of individuals who have imparted their personality, their skills and their talents into the video.
As a video producer and online marketer I would challenge you to think about the fringe of fancy, the happy error or sudden innovation that makes your video, your message unique. Tell me how you are part of what you are putting online. Is being unique important for online social media marketing?
If you would like more information about how Image Media Partners can help make your social media marketing unique and effective, contact us.
Photo: keyseeker; MorgueFile