There is a danger of “echo chambering” when bloggers blog about other bloggers’ blog posts. And anyone who reads this blog knows I do it all the time. (It saves having to think up stuff.) That said, here is a stunningly cool idea, the ramifications of which for the arts I can only vaguely imagine.
On the Technology in the Arts blog, Andre Bouchard introduced the idea of Cash Mobs. In a nutshell, it is a flash mob that shows up at a local store and buys stuff to support that business. From the Cash Mob website (you read that right), we learn that:
The general idea is to encourage people to go into small, local businesses and spend their money, en masse, to give the business owner a little bit of economic stimulus. We’d help businesses grow, we’d make people happy, we’d get stuff for ourselves, have a great time, and maybe we’d get a drink to celebrate afterward.
They even suggest “rules.” My favorite is #8: The business must be within one block of a locally-owned watering hole. (That’s because another rule is that everyone goes out for a drink afterwards!)
The reason I’m bringing this forward should be obvious. It’s a *great* idea. And, since arts experiences represent (potentially) attractive gathering points for people, there is certainly going to be a way to make use of this in attracting people. But here is why I’m grinning as I write this. There is no (effective) way for the beneficiary of the mob to set it up. How artificial (and sleazy looking) would that be? It demands that some one or ones outside the target business think supporting that business is a good idea. (And I would warn anyone considering a trip around that bit of etiquette to consider how easy it would be to be “caught out” and how bad that would look.) This means that the most effective way to encourage people to “cash mob” you is to develop relationships with them! Two-way, meaningful relationships. I just can’t wipe the smile off my face.
I continue to believe that relationship-building with many, as Arts 2.0 can facilitate, is one of–if not the–best means of attracting financial support to the arts, one small bit (but many, many bits) at a time. Here’s a possibility. But heed the implementation warning. Reaping the benefit of a cash mob has to be a spontaneous outgrowth of sincere engagement.
Engage (and prosper)!