In the museum business, we like to think about things that draw our societies and cultures together. The advertising biz tends to think about the same thing, but for different reasons. In the museum biz, it’s about finding our commonalities and watching historical trends; in advertising, it’s about figuring out how to sell stuff to different audiences.
One dying trend that I’ve heard some moaning about is the fact that we don’t all gather around the same five television shows every week. When television was king and there were only three major networks in the U.S., we had this common starting point for water cooler talk. With the advent of hundreds of cable channels and the internet (with its millions, or maybe billions, of channels), our individual interests have caused us to scatter away from each other and into these various channels. But, then again, maybe not.
I’ve noticed that our propensity for sharing common culture is alive and well on Facebook. This week alone, I’ve seen the same Little Red-Haired Girl in a LEGO ad numerous times, shared by friends of mine who don’t even know each other. I’m sure you’ve witnessed the same phenomenon on your own Facebook feed or other social networks.
Our need to share our culture socially has led to the rise of services such as Pinterest, wherein sharing culture is the specific goal of the service. Incidentally, it was Daughter who told me about Pinterest, so there’s another example of culture sharing.
I can’t be sad about the loss of television as a common connector for people, not when I’m seeing that sharing is a driving force in human nature and we’re sharing now more than ever.
Happy New Year, all! Go forth and share!