Feed Me!

Apropos the end of yesterday’s post, I came across an article on the web that discussed RSS feeds which is another sign of how technology is allowing people to narrow down how much of the world to which they are exposed. You may be seeing this option popping up on blogs and websites you frequent. Essentially what the feed does is send story headlines and notifies you of changes to a website.

The technology is still in its beginning steps though the article terms it as the next killer app that will change the way business is done on the web. Like the start of web browsing, you have to download viewing software though Microsoft is apparently going to integrate a viewer in its next operating system. It also feeds you news and information without ads but that is sure to change as well as the technology becomes the new channel through which people view their world (and it ain’t cheap to transmit all this feed.)

Because it is in the beginning stages, there isn’t any uniformity to the feeds. Some may be sparse text headlines with links back to a website for more information, others might give you a multimedia blast with the entire text of an article.

What does strike me though is that this is another low cost opportunity for arts organizations to get information out to audiences and develop relationships with specific people by providing information tailored specifically to their interests. You can use this format to send information about upcoming seasons, warn people about a show that is about to sell out, or even remind people they purchased tickets for that evening when they turn their computer on in the morning. Given that people are subscribing less and waiting until the last moment to purchase tickets, organizations may also end up reminding people to buy tickets at all.

Certainly this might be a solution to a lot of the problems faced by the Mondavi Center in the article I cited yesterday about shows being forgotten and lack of good seats. Favored patrons be they students, subscribers or donors could have their own special feed with advance offerings and special deals.

I will be watching this technology to see how it develops and what implications it might have for the arts.

Arts In An Age of Technology

Today I have added the text of my speech on Arts in an Age of Technology to my files section. The speech essentially covers how arts organizations need to deal with the growing expectations that technology brings.

The speech is one I gave during my visit to Wayne State University but is bereft of the little notes I had included to remind me to share an anecdote or additional examples regarding applications of my points. Though I was already pretty much speaking on the topic and using the text as a guide rather than reading it, the ad libbed anecdotes actually added about a half hour to my speech.

Readers of my blog (if there are any of you) will recognize quite a bit of material toward the end from earlier blog entries. The beginning is material I have been pondering for a couple years and have actually spoken on before. It was rather exciting to be speaking on ideas I had only just formulated a handful of days before.

Hopefully the inclusion of this speech in the Practical Applications section is a precursor of many other articles and ideas which will appear there over time (presumably not all originating with me).

The Most Commanding Day of the Year

Today always reminds me of my grandmother who would announce that March 4th (forth) was the most commanding day of the year. It always seemed to me to be a day ripe to be made into a holiday. Two months after the new year, it would be a good day to reaffirm your dedication to resolutions.

I spent the better part of the day refining thank you letters to the search committee at Wayne State. Taking the time to send a letter to each one of them was practicing a bit of what I preached all week. Unfortunately, I also boasted that I wrote good thank you letters while there so I had an obligation to write particularly well. It wasn’t difficult for the most part since I was grateful to different people for different things. However, I hate to be derivative of myself in my letters so I endeavored to talk about my abilities in different ways.

Now that I have returned from my interviewing, it is about time to complete this experiment in reflecting upon my experience as I had suggested in my Feb 24 entry and go back to my stated purpose of finding practical applications to theories. (Another reason to look for a new blog host–this one doesn’t have the tools to allow me to link to earlier entries)

I was happy to see an article on the Washington Post website talking about the value of reflectively blogging about your performing experience. In this case, it is about a musician who is travelling and blogging about his impressions and experience. The article mentions many of the same concerns I expressed in my entry about an organization’s rightful concern about what uncensored, unguided thoughts an employee is conveying in his blog. The entire process seems to be a success and rather pleasing to all parties involved.

Although the blogging musician, Sam Bergman, didn’t know if his efforts would be valuable to audience members, another Arts Journal blogger, Drew McManus, felt differently and invited people to give their reaction.

Since I essentially argued exactly all of this during my visit to Detroit, I really have to restrain myself from forwarding these articles to them with a big “SEE, I’M NOT CRAZY!!!!” in the subject line of an email.

Tomorrow, perhaps I will place the text of the class I taught in my good ideas section. It integrates a great deal of what I posted in my earlier entries, but also talks about things I have been mulling over for a long time.

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