Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A year in writing.

Well, fuck a duck.

It's less than a week before Christmas, and it looks as if I've lasted another year.

To date, I've written 280 posts in this space, and along the way grown my readership to close to 20,000/week. I like to think of this particular endeavor like I am the editor of a small-town newspaper in 1930s America. 

I provide news, commentary and local color for the tiny coterie of people in our community, which happens to be the ad community. I don't make any money from any of this, but somehow writing every morning, and connecting with the handful of people who have reached out to me through the years has been good for my soul and, ahem ahem, my personal brand.

Say what you will about the quality of my output, no one can fault my consistency. I've written nearly every week-day since late May, 2007.

My blogging colleagues and I, Bob Hoffman, the Ad Contrarian, Rich Siegel of Round Seventeen, and Dave Trott and his two blogs, are most often dismissive of social media.

Speaking for myself, its over-hyped-ness, its almost weekly proclamations that it would change everything and dominate advertising came across to me as bombast. And I hate bombast.

That said, though we disparage social media, the four of us seem to have done well by it. I think for the aforementioned reason. Consistency.

Somehow I am having the best years of my career when many of my former colleagues are pushing up vocational daisies.

Some of that, excuse my bombast here, is that I never for a moment have believed that "nobody reads the copy." Or, to coin a phrase, that "the written word has been dethroned." And there's "a fundamental shift in how we consume information from textual to visual."

As those who read Ad Aged know, I read Homer's Odyssey serially, finishing it only to start over again. (If you want to stick your toe into Homer and the Odyssey, I recommend Emily Wilson's new, and widely heralded translation. Many people regard her work as one of the year's ten best books.)

I read Homer because his "story-telling" couldn't be more perfect. His characters couldn't be more vivid. His battles and struggles could scarcely be more well-wrought and, yes, bloody.

3,500 years ago these very chapters thrilled Greeks listening to the epic sung in a town plaza or in front of a fire at night. The very basic human need that the Odyssey fulfilled then, stories and words still fulfill today. There is a basic human need they fulfill.

In fact, if I were to go all anthropological on you, I'd say, in my best Desmond Morris impression, that the basic core of our humanity is our ability to maintain some memory of the past and project it onto the future. We do that more often than not in words and pictures, not just pictures alone.

Apes can't do that, nor can apricots, nor apps, nor APIs.

So, we've made it, nearly, I shouldn't jinx it, through another circuit around Old Sol.

I've got a deal for you:

If you keep reading, I'll keep writing.

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