Wednesday, February 2, 2022

I get notes.

As you may or may not expect, having written almost 6500 posts in this space, and having earned a considerable readership, including a small legion of people who check in with me every day, I get notes now and again.

Some of these are notes from people I know--or knew--in the long-ago past. Some are from people I share 32,000 or so connections with, so even though I might not know them, we have so many overlapping spheres, we might as well be friends. And I don't have many friends.

Some are from people out of the blue. From lands and places and people I've never heard of and will likely never visit or meet. 

That's the beauty of tele (faraway) communications. And it's also a lesson about being in the communications business.

Work--no matter if it's a novel, a banner ad, a tweet, or a blog like this one--isn't just designed to rattle around cyberspace, knocking against photons until it gets sucked into a black hole.

When we do our work, as much as we have to think about what we think good is, we also have to think about "what's in it for our readers?" What can I do, show, say, tell, allude to that helps to give them a perspective on the world that they might not have had before.

In ancient Knossos, long before the rise of Greece, there were temples made with giant blocks of stone that weighed upwards of six-tons. Later Greeks and Italians believed that one-eyed giants--the Cyclops--built these structures. Cyclopean, they called them. How, possibly, could humans achieve such feats?

All of us in the communications business--all of us writers, and talkers and thinkers and designers and directors and voice-over artists, need to think about this. 

How can we build things, create things and present things that excite people, intrigue people and make people wonder? How can we cause a reaction? Get a head to shake? Wake a viewer up at night?

How can we be provocative? Upsetting? Comforting? Funny? Annoying? Soothing? Timely? Or untimely?

To be unacceptable to those who rule our lives, HR, how can we touch people? 

Of course, we have information to deliver. We have mandatories and checklists and briefs as heavy as the aforementioned temple blocks. But how do we make things memorable, and full of life, hope and even love?

There's an atomization in the world now that says everyone is different and entire unto themselves. The antipode to No Man being an island and interconnectedness.

But communication starts with empathy. With understanding what Bernbach (perfectly) called SIMPLE, TIMELESS HUMAN TRUTHS.

As I writer, and I write this specifically to Darlene and Michael and Alison and John who have written to me in the past week or so, I have an acronym for you: WITT.

WITT should be on the walls of every agency and every client marketing organization. It stands for We're In This Together. In other words, you're not alone. I'm here for you. As you are here for me. To lend an ear, a should to cry on, a helping hand. Or, only, to serve as an example. 

Someone who writes every day--not because I'm necessarily good at it or have something to say--but because I believe, as Willy Loman believed that attention must be paid. 

We're In This Together.

Trying to make sense of a world that was shaved by a drunken barber and is bleeding, profusely, from twelve different, or fourteen different nicks and cuts.

That's all we can do.

Put one stone on top of another. And hopefully do it well enough so people stop and ask themselves, "how'd he do that?"

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