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Blogger Book Club III: The Take Away

By Devin Hurd

In no particular order, my impressions of The Whuffie Factor by Tara Hunt:

1) The concept of whuffie–and the creative application of evolving social networking mechanisms–is strong. It’s stretched a little thin over the course of this read, but it is thought provoking nonetheless.

2) While heavy on anecdotes, it is well written. Tara Hunt establishes her own credibility on this topic through a significant dose of practicing whuffie and her impressive contacts in industry.

3) Much of the advice in this book felt backwards to me. The assumption was that marketing concepts are easy, while sincere interaction with online communities is hard. I find the opposite to be true.

4) Business writing promotes thinking of people as “customers.” In the arts, I like to substitute the Anthony Braxton term: “friendly experiencers.”

5) This book did continually prod me to think more about my own online
presence via blogging and social network activities. Most of which I
engage in without a thought toward selling or promoting anything.


  1. Vis à vis point 3: This seems to gesture at a major distinction in the world of social networking – namely, whether a businessperson is actually a part of an online community and has an instinctual understanding of its sociology or has simply identified it from without as a marketing venue. My impression is that you (i.e., the advertised-to) can usually tell one from the other pretty quickly.

  2. I too find sincerity online easier than applying marketing concepts. But maybe that’s because I like trying to reach out through social media? I do know you can’t use it to sell traditionally, as in a marketing concept….

  3. How dare you bring up the notion of “sincerity” in the blogosphere!
    Okay, so I’ve been thinking about artist managers and public relations people in the context of this discussion, and in case you hadn’t already guessed, I am naturally inclined to distrust these people. Partly because I don’t like operators, and partly because I think many artists are being ripped off by managers and PR people who don’t do a lot of work and yet charge an arm and a leg for their services. It is possible that I’m being paranoid. And I also acknowledge that there are exceptions–good PR people and good managers who really do care enough to maintain balanced relationships with the artists whose work they represent.
    Anyway, my point is: I think it is in the interest of the powerful–if such a distinction is valid in the context of our relatively small community–to make sure we keep believing that marketing and PR is hard. But actually, the sincere online interactions that we are having? Those *are* marketing. And they’re a kind of marketing that only we can do. In fact, if our managers/PR reps took over our Twitter feeds and Facebook posts, etc., that would defeat the purpose and piss off our followers.
    Okay, there are too many grammatical errors in this post now. But it’s so hard to be sincere *and* maintain grammatical correctness!

  4. Corey,
    Excellent point about the perception of marketing and PR as “hard” being in the best interest of those who profit from running the mechanisms of marketing and public relations. It’s a counterintuitive truth that sincere community interaction fulfills the role of publicity in the sense that it draws attention to one’s ideas and presence. And may even have the marketing-centric benefit of creating an interest in one’s ideas and art. The natural suspicion one develops for the larger promotional machine that narrows public discourse to the “top-5” box office films or the latest “entertainment news” from American Idol has a way of minimizing our conception of what a good conversation (enabled by blogging and twitter) can do for the niche experiences that matter to us.

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